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Playing the Field: NBA floppers, NHL tough guys, NFL uniforms

Who are the fake tough guys in the NBA?

The Charles Oakleys of the league don’t exist anymore. The Robert Parish’s don’t exist. Hell, the cheap-shotting Bill Laimbeers of the NBA are now non-existent.



Flopping, clutching, grabbing and haymakers that hit nothing but oxygen have been the rule of the NBA since, oh, say 1991.



We all know why this is the norm and unfortunately, most of us are now fine with it. The league does not want another Rudy Tomjanovich or Ron Artest situation. And the Jordan era quickly ushered in a climate that stood for protecting elite players at all costs. It’s understandable.



But there has to be some grey area between the Artest melee and what happened to Amare Stoudemire in 2007. Brendan Haywood said yesterday that the NBA is full of fake tough guys and we applaud him for speaking up. A player, not a talking head, had to say it.



A look at the NBA’s five biggest fakes when it comes to being a brawler:



1. Chris Bosh

Never afraid to get into it with a player half his size, Bosh has been flexing and jawing for a decade now. We’re well aware that if he stayed in Toronto, he wouldn’t have made this list. But the fact is, he’s in Miami, and as that team’s third wheel, his act has quickly grown tired.

2. Dwight Howard

Your classic bully. Bigger than everyone else. Tosses elbows around as liberally as humanly possible. Would never stick up for a teammate.



3. Kevin Garnett

If KG wasn’t a former league MVP, he would unquestionably be No. 1 on this list. His greatness as a player buys him some space here. But Garnett is notorious for chirping and posturing all game long. And when it’s time to actually throw a punch? KG will be the first to take five steps backwards and throw his arms in the air. Or just choke someone.



4. Zaza Pachulia

His “toughness” may pass the test overseas. But in the end, he’s a soccer player who just happens to be 7-feet tall.



5. Matt Barnes

Don’t let the tats fool you. He only enjoys playing in warm weather and resorts to low brow tactics when the going gets rough.



Guy takes a blade to the face


On the theme of sports toughness, there’s little doubt that the majority of hockey players could beat up the majority of basketball players. Even as a basketball first-guy, that’s understood.



But it seems today that the toughness gap between the NBA and NHL is as wide as Curt Schilling’s mid-section.



Take a look at the Minnesota Wild’s Kyle Brodziak take a skate blade to the face last night from his own teammate. Brodziak returned to the game THAT PERIOD with a visor on.

In case you’re wondering, the Wild aren’t even in the playoff picture this year so the game was, more or less, meaningless:



Knight falls on the NFL


Nike lord Phil Knight is one step closer to ruling the world as his shoe company now makes the jerseys for the most successful sports league on the planet.



This is scary news for us humans and even worse news for traditionalists. Sure, there wasn’t that much change in the jerseys this year. But by now we should know that Knight is just setting us up.



We’re just a season or two away from the Eagles wearing Baylor neon green or the Steelers donning fluorescent yellow.