Utah Jazz forward Joe Ingles has quickly become a cult hero in the NBA, with his school teacher looks and laser three-point shooting...it's hard not to love the Aussie swingman.
Whilst his playmaking and shooting have been consistent for the past couple of seasons, he has recently added a new wrinkle to his game, becoming one the league's most prominent/hilarious trash talkers, regularly getting under the skin of both opposing players and their fans.
Just ask the Detroit Pistons, who were on the end of a dagger three from Ingles this week, with the Aussie blowing a kiss to some courtside fans.
Joe Ingles blew a kiss to some Pistons fans sitting courtside after hitting the dagger. 😂 pic.twitter.com/NAYVHkRp5Y- NBA on TNT (@NBAonTNT) January 15, 2019
In an appearance on the Woj Pod today with ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, Ingles laughed off his new reputation around the league, saying he found the whole thing quite amusing.
"I can play the same way and talk to everyone in the arena - coach, other team, the players - where it does make me laugh a little bit in my head when it's happening, but some guys just get so rattled by it and then the rest of the game they're so worried about me or trying to hit me or push me or screen me that it ends up being an advantage for us," he said.
"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."
In a league of giants, Ingles is relatively unassuming, despite his 6-foot-8 frame, more the everyman than and NBA star and while fans and people on Twitter may think they could beat the Aussie one-on-one, Ingles isn't having any of it.
"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," Ingles added.
Joe Ingles got Lauri with the step-back then waved goodnight 👋 pic.twitter.com/6l3CfVp9lU- Bleacher Report NBA (@BR_NBA) January 13, 2019
In last season's playoffs against the Oklahoma City Thunder, Ingles stepped things up with both his level of play and in the ears of opponents, embracing his one-on-one matchup with All-Star small forward Paul George, describing the ongoing coverage of their intense battle as 'hilarious' with fans and media alike enjoying the vocal back-and-forth from the pair across the Jazz's 4-1 series win.
"You can tell when someone's starting to get a little frustrated…it wasn't anything planned but as it built up, obviously you hear things, and I was getting asked about it in my media availabilities and it became way more out of proportion than I thought me playing in the NBA would ever get to."