As kids, we were all taught about the importance of good sportsmanship. Some kids listened and took those lessons to heart, others just didn’t give a fuck.
Today, we remember those athletes.
The biggest hitters. The best on-field fighters. The players who pushed the boundaries so far it forced their league to change the rules. The players who just ignored the boundaries entirely. The dudes you simply wouldn’t want to fuck with.
In making our list, we only had one rule: we weren’t going to include any athletes where fighting is a primary function of the sport. No boxers, MMA fighters, or wrestlers.
Here’s the official Fancy Boys Club draft of the meanest, dirtiest, toughest son of bitches to every play sports.
1. Ron Artest (Metta World Peace) | Matt Drufke
Small Forward, 1999 – 2017
Teams played for: Chicago Bulls, Indiana Pacers, Sacramento Kings, Houston Rockets, Los Angeles Lakers, New York Knicks, Sichuan Blue Whales, Pallacanestro Cantu
There’s really only one true way to start this list, and it all begins and ends with Ron Artest. Honestly, the Malice In The Palace may be the most defining event of the NBA this century, and none of that happens without Artest’s mayhem, not just because he started the brawl with Ben Wallace, but he did the most unimaginable thing a player could do: he went up in the stands and started punching a fan.
This whole list began as a conversation based on Myles Garrett’s assault on a player with their own helmet and what Artest did at The Palace. In talking with Brandon and Jack, I told them that I didn’t care what Artest was giving up in terms of height, weight, or age. I am positive he would destroy Garrett in a fight. I believe what I said was, “Garrett may murder someone and fuck their wife, but Ron Artest would kill himself in your house just so he could haunt you forever.”
This is why if I heard there was a fight between Artest and any other person in the world, I would always assume that Artest came out as the victor. Inside him lies the lone characteristic who will always win a fight: the capacity to find the thing that no person should ever do, and then to go ahead and do it.
2. Charles Oakley | Brandon Andreasen
Power Forward, 1985 – 2004
Teams Played For: Chicago Bulls, New York Knicks, Toronto Raptors, Washington Wizards, Houston Rockets
Simply put, Charles Oakley was the man you least wanted to fuck with in the history of the NBA. There is a reason he lasted 20 years in the league. His entire job was to beat the hell out of people and scare them out of the lane. Both inside and outside of the NBA, he was Michael Jordan’s right hand man.
Every player begrudgingly respected him, whether they wanted to or not. To this day, he carries the gravitas of being the toughest son of a bitch to ever play the game. His legend is such that he got thrown out of Madison Square Garden because the owner thought Oak was bad mouthing him. Instead of making things easy, he opted to throw hands with security. Like, all of security. In fact, it was so awesome and looked so bad for the Knicks and owner and noted c.h.u.d. James Dolan, that NBA commissioner Adam Silver and the GOAT Michael Jordan had to be the mediators to work things out. Things never got worked out because the sun never sets on a badass.
3. Ronnie Lott | Jack Baker
Cornerback, Strong Safety, Free Safety, 1981 – 1995
Teams Played For: San Francisco 49ers, Los Angeles Raiders, New York Jets, Kansas City Chiefs
Ronnie Lott is the greatest defensive back in NFL history. He was one of the biggest hitters of all time, while also being a true shutdown corner. He was basically Darrelle Revis, if Revis could hit like Ray Lewis. He is still the only player to ever be named All-Pro at three different positions.
But the real reason he belongs at the top of this list, is that he chose to have his finger amputated rather than miss any football games. After mangling his finger tackling Dallas Cowboys running back Timmy Newsome, he was faced with two options. He could have reconstructive surgery, or he could just cut the finger off. Surgery would have forced him to miss games, so he made the football decision.
That is the kind of dude you don’t want to mess with.
4. Dennis “The Worm” Rodman | Michael Grace
Forward, Enforcer, Loose Canon, Anti-Hero, 1986 – 2006
Teams Played For: Detroit Pistons, San Antonio Spurs, Chicago Bulls, Los Angeles Lakers, Dallas Mavericks, Long Beach Jam, Fuerza Regia, Orange County Crush, Tijuana Dragons, Torpan Pojat, Brighton Bears
Listen. Dennis Rodman is BFF with Kim Jong Un and endorsed Trump in 2016. He was regularly the first dude to throw bows on the court and carried the Bad Boys legacy through the nineties. He was a through and through punk ass motherfucker, who had the game and physical ability to humiliate you and break your ribs.
He amassed 212 technical fouls and $860k in unpaid child support.
Beyond that, he was the kind of guy to risk his physical well being just to keep the ball in bounds. He tossed his body all over the floor, sometimes to the dismay of an opponent’s shin, sternum, or testicles.
He was in a movie with Jean Claude Van Damme and the only reason I remember he was ever on the Spurs was because of a scene in the movie Eddie. But enough about my opinions, roll that beautiful bean footage:
5. Mike Vallely | Jack Breunig
Pro Skateboarder, 1986 – Present
Now, with my first round pick being a skateboarder, my colleagues may or may not have used phrases like “That’s going against the rules” or “Jake already ruined it”. Personally, I would call it drafting with my heart, but I’ll settle for “going rogue”. Nonetheless, 11-year-old, Tony Hawk Pro Skater-playin’ Jake would have been utterly heartbroken if I didn’t pick one of the toughest dudes to ever shred.
Not only is Mike V known for being an accomplished pro skater, stuntman, and FHL hockey player, he’s been the lead singer of Black Flag since 2014.
BLACK. FUCKING. FLAG.
This ain’t no Vampire Weekend shit. You don’t get into Black Flag from your previous writing experience with the Harvard Lampoon. You get in by stepping up to yuppie shit-stains who look at you funny.
Which he did. Four of them at once. He wailed on them like Candido Camero rocking out on the congas.
Exhibit A, fuckers:
6. John McEnroe | Jake Breunig
Pro Tennis Player: 1976 – 2006
You thought we were going to have a Baddest Athletes draft and not include the Bad Boy of Tennis? Not on my watch.
John McEnroe is known for quite a few accolades. He set the record for best single season win rate in the Open Era in 1984 with a whopping 82-3, as well as the record for highest men’s combined total of titles. He’s competed in pretty much every tournament worth noting and retired in 2006 as one of the most decorated athletes of all time.
He’s also known for being a raging asshole on the court and frequently disrespecting umpires and authority.
I’ll be honest here; in this Battle Royale scenario we’ve painted up in this piece, I don’t know if McEnroe brings much to the table in a physical sense. I’m sure he can take a punch just fine, and dish one out just as well, but as a D&D player of 12 years, I know damn well that a good bard can go a long way in a scrap. I drafted John solely to have him howling up a storm and hurling insults as a means to fluster opponents and bolster his allies.
Okay, maybe I did mess this up. Oh well.
7. Rasheed Wallace | Michael Grace
Forward/Center/Goon, 1995 – 2013
Teams Played For: Washington Bullets, Portland Trail Blazers, Atlanta Hawks 2004, Detroit Pistons, Boston Celtics, New York Knicks
Sheed was a Grade A jabber in his prime. He would shit talk but back it up. He was assessed THREE HUNDRED SEVENTEEN technical fouls, third most all time. He was a primetime player in the Malice at the Palace.
His sense of intimidation was second to none, as he was regularly considered one of the league’s loose-canon heels. Take for instance a clip where not a single punch was thrown. He didn’t say a word. Just stared down Ron Garretson and got ejected. True heel shit.
Or how about when he was ejected for shouting BALL DON’T LIE on an opponent’s missed free throw?
There’s badass because you’re always the first one to scrap, and then there’s badass because you’re a goddamn wildcard. Rasheed Wallace simply did not care what anyone thought of him, ever. Not much more badass than that.
8. Lawrence Taylor | Jack Baker
Quarterback Destroyer, 1981 – 1993
Teams Played For: New York Giants
In the 80’s no one partied, or hit, harder than Lawrence Taylor. The only thing he enjoyed more than destroying QBs was cocaine. And hookers. He was like if Bender Bending Rodriguez also happened to be the greatest defensive football player of all time.
He was named Defensive Player of the Year 3 times. The first of which came in his rookie season, making him the only rookie to ever win that award. He won the league MVP in 1986 in what many believe to be the greatest defensive season in NFL history. He revolutionized the linebacker position, and the way teams schemed on offense. He was also fucked up pretty much the whole time.
He spent thousands of dollars a day on “coke and hoes.” He partied so hard the Giants didn’t think he would live past the age of 30. They insured his life for $2 million. He one time showed up to a team meeting in handcuffs because the prostitutes he was partying with the night before had lost the key and couldn’t take them off. I imagine everyone in the Giants locker room was so afraid of him that they didn’t even mention it.
He also won the Main Event at WrestleMania XI because of course he did.
9. Nolan Ryan | Brandon Andreasen
Teams Played For: New York Mets, California Angels, Houston Astros, Texas Rangers
First things first, let’s get this out of the way: Nolan Ryan pitched in the major leagues for 27 fucking years. That’s absurd to say, because he didn’t do this back in the 1800’s before medicine existed and pitchers threw around 70 MPH. He did this until 1993. Between 1971-1992, he started fewer than 25 games one time. He led the American League in strikeouts every year from age 40-43. He retired with a career ERA of 3.19, which would have been good for 4th best ERA in the American League in 2019. In 1993, as his career was ending, he tore a ligament in his arm. He tried to stay in the game after he tore the ligament, and his last pitch was 98 MPH.
Oh yea, and at age 46, he beat the crap out of Robin Ventura in what would go down as one of the most one sided ass beatings in baseball brawl history.
10. Tonya Harding | Matt Drufke
Pro Figure Skater/Celebrity Boxer
I’m sure there should be other women on the list, but if there was only going to be one, it’s gotta be Tonya Harding.
First off, she was the first American woman to ever perform a triple axle, which should tell you what her drive and determination entails. Harding is all passion and motor. All she wanted to be the best, and she showed she was willing to do anything (for better or worse) to get to the top.
After skating, Harding kept showing her grit through boxing and rolling derby. She never quit and never gave up and just kept putting her body and soul through hell to try and keep moving forwards. Pound for pound, Tonya Harding is probably the toughest person on this entire list.
Check back next Wednesday for rounds 3 & 4!
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