No American professional sports league lends itself to the criticism of individual stars quite like the NBA. The proportional importance of every player in the top tier of pro basketball, combined with the Association's long-standing strategy of promoting its biggest names 'til kingdom come, lends the sport to a more cohesive connection with the national celebrity culture.
That, in turn, leaves the NBA's superstars susceptible to the ritual building-up and tearing-down that marks the 15 minutes of fame "enjoyed" by pop culture phenoms everywhere.
It's no wonder, then, that the NBA went "BIG" to promote its product last season—big people, big personalities, big paychecks, big powerhouses and, as it happens, big backlash from the viewing public at times.
Not surprisingly, it's the biggest stars of all who tend to invite the bulk of said backlash. They're the ones whose on-court talent lands them in the spotlight, where their flaws are exposed and, thus, can be picked apart more easily.
It's the faces of the league, then—like these seven superstars—that tend to become the focal points of vociferous debate among hoops heads everywhere.