Of course you enjoy watching the NBA, it’s a great sport. But there are those players that, whenever they pop up on the screen, you either want to change your channel or put your fist through the television set. Sometimes it can be hard to explain why you hate an athlete so much, but you have your reasons. The NBA has no shortage of people that get hated on constantly, and a lot of that has to do with exposure.
In the NFL, MLB and NHL, it can be hard to catch a good glimpse of what the player looks like, so there isn’t as much exposure or recognition. In the NBA, however, you get full closeups of a guy’s face, and sometimes you want to just hit that face with a folding chair. Trash talkers, backstabbers, underperformers, a lot of players in the NBA are just plain unlikable.
But which players do the common fans hate the most? It’s hard to gauge a true public opinion and rank them, but we tried it out anyway. This is not a list of the top 20 NBA players that I personally hate the most, or else the list would be exclusively made of guys that played for rivals of my favorite college team. Instead, this is a guess at the general consensus of the most hated players in the NBA. So sit back, take a deep breath, and try not to get too mad as you read the top 20 most hated active NBA players.
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20 Stephen Curry
It seems like where there's success, hatred/resentment isn't too far behind. It’s always easy to hate on the guy that just won the MVP award and the NBA Finals. While nobody really hated Curry before the season started, it only comes with the territory when you reach the spotlight. Some fans say that he’s not a real basketball player, simply a JJ Redick clone who can only hit three pointers. Others think that his nickname is stupid (the Babyface Assassin) while others just don’t want to see his daughter in a news conference ever again. This hate is fresh and will only get worse if the Warriors win another title next season.
19 Jeremy Lin
Jeremy Lin made his debut back in 2012 with the New York Knicks and helped lead the team on an amazing comeback and then a hot streak that they sorely needed. The country couldn’t stop talking about “Linsanity”, as the first player of Chinese or Taiwanese/American to ever play a game in the NBA. While most were excited about the attention that the Harvard grad was receiving, some felt that he was being overexposed. There were plenty that were sick of the hype surrounding Lin, making him essentially the Tim Tebow of the NBA because of non-stop coverage and squeaky clean image.
18 Kevin Garnett
The hate for Kevin Garnett wasn’t really there when he was playing with Minnesota (in his first stint with the team), mainly because he was toiling away in a small market. It was when he was a member of the Celtics that many fans nationwide began to express their dislike for The Big Ticket, since there are a lot of people outside of the Northeast that dislike Boston sports as it is. Garnett was accused of flopping, talking trash, throwing elbows on purpose, you name it. Bringing titles back to Boston didn’t help that, either. The hate for Garnett doesn't just come from fans, as many of Garnett's NBA peers don't like him either.
17 Chris Andersen
Nobody disliked Chris Andersen in college, because nobody is quite sure where Blinn College is. Andersen went undrafted and played overseas for several teams before being signed by the Denver Nuggets in 2001. Andersen looked like a beach bum when he started, so the hate still wasn’t flowing at that point. The real hate didn’t come until the 2006 season when he was banned for two years after violating the league’s drug policy. All of the tattoos and the cocky attitude while a member of LeBron James’s heat squad really made people turn on him even more.
16 J.R. Smith
J.R. Smith was selected in the first round out of high school in the 2004 NBA Draft by the New Orleans Hornets, and not too many people knew who he was. During the lockout, J.R. Smith played in China, and came back to the NBA, where he signed with the Knicks for $2.4 million. Expectations were high for Smith when he received the Sixth Man of the Year Award in 2013, but he sure had a lot of problems that went along with it. During that season (and the next one), Smith was suspended for elbowing, violating the drug program, and untying opponents’ shoelaces. He ended up as another overpaid under-performer for the Knicks, and was shipped to the Cavaliers where he came up short in the playoffs. Cleveland fans may be hating on him too now after his abysmal performance in this year's finals.
15 Amar’e Stoudemire
If you want to find the man that was responsible for sending the Knicks organization back a few years (well, at least one of them), look no further than Amar’e Stoudemire. While he was with the Suns, Stoudemire was a beast, making several All Star Game appearances. Stoudemire signed a huge, $100 million contract with the Knicks in the summer of 2010 and said that the Knicks were back. Instead of competing with the Heat, the Knicks continued to slump as Stoudemire has been an injured and overpaid mess, earning the ire of New York fans and the media. These days, Stoudemire is on the Mavericks roster.
14 Paul Pierce
There are a lot of reasons that Paul Pierce is hated by a lot of NBA fans, and everyone has one that they stick to. For some, it’s because his Celtics teams knocked a lot of squads out of the playoffs in their “Boston Three Party” run, talked a lot of trash while doing it, or didn’t sign with your team when he had the chance. If you’re a Brooklyn Nets fan, one of the big reasons to hate him is because he showed nearly no effort while on the squad, even admitting that the roster was a bunch of overpaid big names.
13 Rajon Rondo
If there’s one thing that Rajon Rondo has going for him, it’s the fact that he hates Floyd Mayweather, and most of you do too. Rondo stayed in Boston while Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett both took off, and he made it a point to be a thorn in the franchise’s side (and vice versa) while he remained. Between getting into beefs with management, referees and even teammates, Rondo’s act ran dry in Boston. Rondo was eventually traded to the Mavericks after whining enough and hasn’t lived up to the hype just yet (at least not for Dallas).
12 Tyler Hansbrough
There is a pretty decent chance that you don’t have any idea who Tyler Hansbrough plays for these days if you’re a casual NBA fan. In case you didn’t know, Hansbrough is a member of the Toronto Raptors now, but the hate for him mainly goes back to his college days. While a member of North Carolina, Hansbrough was seen as a cheap player, basically a reincarnation of Duke’s Christian Laettner. The hate has softened a bit as Hansbrough isn’t as relevant (mainly because he knows he isn’t as dominant in the pro ranks).
11 Tony Parker
If you aren’t a fan of teams winning a lot, then you might hate the San Antonio Spurs. You could think that Manu Ginobili has a weird bald spot or that Gregg Popovich is a bit of jerk when it comes to interviews, and you can’t really hate Tim Duncan. For the most part, Parker is the source of any hatred toward the Spurs. His play isn’t why people hate him, it’s that one time that he may or may not have done a Nazi salute, or the fact that he cheated on EVA LONGORIA with one of his TEAMMATE’S WIVES.
10 Derrick Rose
Derrick Rose is pretty much the Robert Griffin III of basketball. Early in their careers, it looked like they were going to be mainstays for a long time, but both have had injury problems and Adidas keeps promoting the living daylights out of their many ‘comebacks’. Rose even won an MVP award during his career with the Bulls, although some people had their opposing opinions. Rose is seen as a crybaby by some of the fans around the league, thinking that he is too cocky and just doesn’t care enough to play through injuries. Maybe it’s just people that hate Bulls fans for talking him up so much.
9 Kris Humphries
Believe it or not, Kris Humphries was the most hated player in the NBA at one point according to a Q score rating that determines popularity. Humphries is a member of the Washington Wizards now, and some of the hate has gone away, but some still remains. The reason why Humphries was so hated just a few years ago is because many fans believed that he stopped caring about basketball so he could focus on his 72 day long marriage to Kim Kardashian. The questioning of the work ethic did him no favors, but he doesn’t have to worry about being a reality star these days.
8 Blake Griffin
If you do a poll of the fans of the NBA, there is a decent chunk that dislike the Clippers forward, but the people that really hate Griffin are some of the other players around the league. Trash talking is one of the big reasons that players dislike going against Griffin, and his hard fouls that he has committed are another big part. Griffin also makes a habit out of pleading with officials for fouls when he thinks that he has been done wrong, and going out of his way to dunk over players is seen by some as ‘bush league’.
7 Dwyane Wade
It’s true that Dwyane Wade has won three championships with the Miami Heat, but a lot of people think he is overrated because he won those titles with Shaquille O’Neal and two with LeBron James. Whiny and cocky are two words that come up often when talking about Dwyane Wade, and it really rubs people the wrong way that he has tried to give himself ‘cool’ nicknames like “Flash”. Wade had a chance to take big money and be the star of a team in Miami (or somewhere else), but took less money to get himself another title with LeBron. This has caused people to say that Wade is a sidekick who acts like a superstar.
6 Chris Bosh
There are plenty of people that hate Chris Bosh, and the people that like him have to ask “Really? Chris Bosh? Who would hate that guy?” Apparently, plenty of people hate him, stemming back from the decision to join both Wade and LeBron James in Miami, going even further than Wade did because he turned down superstar money to play the third wheel role. Bosh is also a big goofball when the cameras are rolling, and some of the fans around the league really get annoyed by it. Bosh hate has died down a little bit lately as he has had to take a break from the NBA due to blood clots.
5 Joakim Noah
The hate for Joakim Noah started back in his days with the Florida Gators when he did some ridiculous dance on national television. The hate has only gotten worse in the pros, as Noah has been getting under the skin of players and fans as a Chicago Bull. It seems like most people just don’t like Noah’s face, and want to punch him simply because he’s goofy looking. He has plenty of other things going against him, such as ripping Cavs and Heat fans and getting way too choppy on the defensive side of things.
4 Carmelo Anthony
Carmelo Anthony, when healthy, is always toward the top of the scoring list, but yet most people wouldn’t put him in the upper echelon of NBA players. The big argument against Carmelo is that he takes way too many shots and tries to take over the Knicks by doing so. Anthony gets blasted for his lack of effort on defense, seemingly only wanting to fill the stat sheet so he can get paid more money when he asks for it. Some Knicks fans will say that he acts like a martyr who is trying to save the team when he’s the one that got them in their current mess, in the first place.
3 Dwight Howard
Dwight Howard was a young and exciting talent when he was drafted first overall by the Orlando Magic, but has no championship rings and a few different roster moves to show for it. Howard gets ripped on for not seeming to have the champion spirit that it takes to make it to the mountaintop, saying that he’s too soft to be considered among the greatest centers of all time. The sky was the limit for Howard, but fans look at him as the guy who would rather avoid contact and collect a big paycheck. The Rockets got deep into the playoffs this year behind Howard and James Harden, but Harden is easily the more popular of the two.
2 Kobe Bryant
Where do you even start when it comes to the reasons why so many people hate Kobe Bryant? He gave himself his own nickname, for starters. He has missed plenty of late shots when there were people wide open, he has talked trash about his own teammates and management, refused to take any less money to make his team relevant, he flops, he never passes, his ego is the size of Idaho, the list goes on. Ever since injuries started to take their toll on Bryant, people feel bad for him more often than they hate him, but there are still plenty of people that would have him ranked number one on the most hated list.
1 LeBron James
Before you even opened this list, you had to have known that LeBron James would be on the top. People have been crucifying LeBron since he was 16 years old and basketball writers were hailing him as the next Michael Jordan. Ever since then, everything LeBron does is compared to Jordan, and those that grew up rooting for the 1990s Bulls absolutely hate LeBron. If he misses a game winner, it’s the top headline. If he loses a championship series, it’s the top headline. If he says that he’s the best basketball player in the world, it’s the top headline. LeBron is a smart businessman, seems to be a nice guy and is a dominant athlete. Still, nothing he does will ever be good enough, and he earned a lot of enemies with “The Decision” that took him to Miami for four seasons.
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