During his first few years in the NBA, Joe Ingles let his game speak for itself.
Now in his fifth season, the Australian is being discussed as the league’s best trash-talker — not that he agrees.
The Utah forward furthered his case for the somewhat coveted crown in his Jazz’s 100-94 win over Detroit.
No one was safe in the Motor City. Not All-Star Blake Griffin, who Ingles mouthed was a “flopper” after a soft bump drew an offensive foul call, nor a heckling fan.
The 31-year-old literally sealed the win with a kiss, turning to blow one to the rowdy courtside patron after nailing a dagger three from the corner.
Ingles insisted he never used trash-talking as a tactic but couldn’t deny his motor-mouth often stalled opponents’ games.
“I’m very good at being able to talk to people and kind of get people off their game,” he said on Adrian Wojnarowski’s ‘The Woj Pod’ podcast.
“Some guys just get so rattled by it. And then the rest of the game they’re so worried about me or hitting me or trying to push me or trying to screen me, that it ends up being an advantage for us.”
Ingles added: “I don’t go into a game like tonight, we’re playing the Clippers tomorrow thinking I’m going to go to blah blah blah and say this.
“I’m not always the first one to start talking. I do hear a lot and I’m always going to have my teammates’ backs.
“Things just happen I guess.”
Ingles, who made the 10th most three-pointers last season at the fourth best rate, said he’d packed away his friendly banter on arrival in the US.
But it eventually returned and was on show for the world last season, frustrating Oklahoma City Thunder counterpart Paul George during the Jazz’s chippy playoff series win.
“I’ve always talked on-court and off-court. It’s not something tough for me,” Ingles said.
“But if you went back to my first couple of years playing over here, I definitely wouldn’t have been blowing kisses to people because I think I shot like eight per cent.”
Although admitting his tongue had loosened, Ingles stopped short of attributing it to his NBA rise.
“I definitely don’t think I signed my deal or (our) playoff runs (had an effect),” he said.
“I haven’t been sitting at home like ‘alright, now I feel like I can say something’.”
The 31-year-old also had a message for the online haters: “I’ve got a receding hairline, I’m slow and I’m probably not the most jacked up with abs and all that, but I’m still going to beat you one-on-one.”
Published by Staff Writers, 17th January 2019 on foxsports.com.au