Our friend Gregg Doyel at CBS Sports recently put Dwyane Wade on blast, calling out the Heat guard for elbowing Lance Stephenson in the head during the Eastern Conference finals and concluding that Wade is the dirtiest player in the NBA.
Me? I wondered why Doyel misspelled Metta World Peace.
Not to excuse Wade, who has shown a diabolical side lately, which goes counter to his good-guy image (Doyel calls Wade "a bad guy" which I guess doesn't take into account all the good Wade does away from basketball). In fact, if we were drawing up a current list of the league's dirtiest players -- well, why don't we do that right now? -- Wade would make the cut, but not exactly at the top.
Seriously, now: When you start the bloodiest brawl in NBA history and then nearly decapitate poor and innocent James Harden with an elbow chop to the temple, how could you not be No. 1? World Peace has this contest nailed, and it really isn't even close. He's not a frequent flagrant fouler -- sorry about the tongue twister -- but when he does get the itch, the result usually isn't very pretty.
And so, with all due respects to Doyel, here's our list of the Dirty 10:
10. Serge Ibaka, Thunder. Warriors center David Lee, an undercover dirty player, probably belongs here, but Ibaka punched Blake Griffin in a sensitive place this season. That gives him the edge.
9. Andrew Bynum, free agent. Maybe one cheap shot doesn't make a reputation, but his shameless hit on J.J. Barea three years ago was so senseless and diabolical that we'd be wrong for letting him off the hook.
8. Tyler Hansbrough, Pacers. Pyscho T does play hard; give him that. But he also goes over the line at times. Maybe it's frustrating being an NBA role player after you've been on top of the college basketball world, as he was once upon a time ago, when he impacted games with skill instead of elbows.
7. Zaza Pachulia, Hawks. The Hawks' strongman is always in the middle of a mix whenever a scrum develops, usually because Pachulia snuck an elbow where it didn't belong.
6. Dwyane Wade, Heat. For all of his evil and sneaky shots to the body, Wade is rarely punished. The league replayed his shot to Stephenson and didn't issue a fine. Same for when he got tangled up with Rajon Rondo a few years ago, which resulted in Rondo dislocating his elbow. But at least we know Wade isn't as innocent as we first believed.
5. Kevin Garnett, Celtics. He'd rate higher except most of KG's dirtiness comes from his mouth. He causes more mental harm than physical harm, but does it so often that he pushes players over the edge. Carmelo Anthony met KG at the team bus. That's all you need to know.
4. Kendrick Perkins, Thunder. When he isn't taking his frustrations out on the referees, Big Perk is getting under the skin of his man and usually getting away with it.
3. Reggie Evans, Nets. He grabbed Chris Kaman's package, an act of violence that is frowned upon even by the most heinous of hatchet men. Some lines you just don't cross.
2. Matt Barnes, Clippers. Over the years Kobe Bryant mixed it up with Barnes quite often, then Kobe begged the Lakers to sign Barnes two years ago because he liked his guts. For the second straight season, Barnes led the league in flagrant fouls.
1. Metta World Peace, Lakers. Therapy has helped soothe the NBA's most destructive force, but every now and then, his dark side appears. Without a doubt, he tops the list because of his body of work, not for what he did last season, which by his standards was mostly harmless. Meaning, nobody was sent to the hospital.