“You’re mad at me, but I am killing you.”—NBA star Gary Payton “Find the hate.”—NFL star Warren Sapp “Why can’t you be more like Rafi Kohan?”—your mom, probably
Whether in basketball, football, or MMA, athletes talk trash to each other—and sometimes to fans—like it’s their job. And in some ways, it is: sports only matter if we decide to care about them. And insulting your opponent, or playing the heel, is probably the fastest route to making someone care. Talking smack is as old as the bible; it’s perhaps the original sport.
But until now, there’s never been a book about it.
In this lively, often hilarious history, Rafi Kohan interviews some of the world’s top competitors—on the petty rivalries and mind games that fuel them. He talks to point guards and soccer strikers, cricketers and insult comedians, forming a theory along the way about the surprising and influential role that name-calling plays in our world.
Brilliantly original and wide-ranging, Trash Talk is a book for sports fans, culture mavens, or anyone looking to get an edge.
Rafi Kohan is an Atlanta-based writer and editor. His first book, The Arena, was a finalist for the 2018 PEN/ESPN Award for Literary Sports Writing. Previously, he has served as deputy editor at the New York Observer and as executive editorial director for the Atlantic’s creative studio, Re:think. His writing has appeared in numerous publications, including GQ, Men’s Journal, Rolling Stone, The Ringer, and the Wall Street Journal.