NBA players have one of the best gigs on the planet.
They get to play basketball every night. They’re doing the same thing millions of little kids, above-average teenagers, and overweight middle-aged men are doing.
Except they’re doing it in front of thousands of people and getting paid millions of dollars to do it.
If anyone could accurately say they were living the dream, it’d be an NBA player. Guys like Dwight Howard, Jeremy Lin and Kevin Durant look like they’re having a blast out there, like they really love their jobs.
And they should. It’s an easy job to love.
But then you’ve got guys in the league who look like they hate their job or would rather be someplace else.
I’m not just talking about the mean-muggers like Kevin Garnett or Ben Wallace who wear a scowl as part of their game.
This list is a compilation of guys who look like they’d rather be anywhere else on the planet than on an NBA court for another day of work.
These are guys who look like they genuinely don't like being paid to play basketball.
OK, let’s get this one out of the way first.
Tim Duncan’s stoneface is the stuff of legend.
Since the man teamed with David Robinson out of Wake Forest, he’s anchored the closest thing the NBA has seen to a dynasty in the past 20 years.
But he hasn’t enjoyed it.
He’s set screens, grabbed defensive rebounds, banked in 12-footers and laid the ball in at an unmatched level over the last 15 years. And he’s done it all in small-market San Antonio, never once even creating so much as a mention that he might take his talents elsewhere.
His straight-faced nature, steady play and lack of attention-getting has made him a satirical favorite at The Onion.
Nicolas Batum is emerging as a capable star in Portland this year.
He’s had a handful of highlight-reel blocks where he’s ran down the opposition on a fast break. He’s dunked over the likes of JaVale McGee. Heck, he’s even made nine threes in a game.
And nobody has looked more apathetic doing so.
During a recent game against the Atlanta Hawks, Batum was the Trail Blazers’ leading scorer. He had 22 points and eight rebounds. Yet the only time a hint of a grin crossed his face was after he didn’t get a rundown block.
Business as usual.
Even that dunk over McGee—the Association’s second-leading shot blocker—didn’t stir a reaction from Batum.
In an interview with The Oregonian, he says “I had no reaction because I was like ‘Did I dunk on two guys? Yes. And a foul? OK.’”
Maybe it’s a French thing, as Boris Diaw’s disinterest rivals that of Nicolas Batum.
Diaw spent more than three years playing on the NBA’s most entertaining team—the Steve Nash-led Phoenix Suns. That team had as much fun as this year’s Miami Heat, except nobody thought they were jerks when they were doing it.
But Diaw, like Batum, just goes with the flow. He does his job and doesn’t think twice about it. He doesn’t see the need to enjoy catching lobs from one of the greatest passers of a generation.
Now that he plays for the worst team in the league, it’s easy to see why he considers basketball a job. Nobody wants to play for the Bobcats. But before arriving in Charlotte, he still didn’t have fun.
DeMarcus Cousins appears the angriest of all players on this list. And it’s not only appearance—he actually is angry.
Angry to be a Sacramento King.
Angry before that.
He was angry in college. Character questions plagued Cousins when he entered the draft out of Kentucky.
The guy is an unparalleled talent, no question.
However, he doesn’t seem to be willing to dedicate himself fully to his team.
He plays well in spurts. But one has to wonder if he’d be able to string more of these spurts together if there was some situation out there he somehow felt comfortable in.
Then maybe he’d get excited about his highlight plays.
Even before he was the wrong half of the NBA’s greatest YouTube clip, Kendrick Perkins has hated being in the NBA.
His scowl debuted to the masses in Boston. It’s still on display in Oklahoma City.
For a guy who lost 30 pounds and gained $36 million in the last year, he still wears angry a little too often.
For a man who looks like he hates the world so much, he plays like it as well. Perkins leads the league with 10 technical fouls this season, two ahead of second-place Tyson Chandler.
Apparently he’s trying to improve on last year, when he tied for ninth with 11 Ts.
On a fun-loving team like the Thunder appears to be, an angry guy down low may not be the worst thing in the world. Perkins’ anger may be the most valuable of the bunch.