Tar Heels fans are a passionate bunch. It would be hard to find another group in college basketball that loves their team and hates other teams more than UNC fans do.
Tar Heels fans have a penchant for latching onto certain players or coaches (usually those affiliated with Duke) and hating them with a surprising amount of vigor.
It's actually understandable. UNC is a great team and shares a bitter rivalry with the Duke Blue Devils. Such passionate fans are going to build up resentment towards anyone that they feel is jeopardizing their team's success.
Here are ten people in the college basketball world that UNC fans despise.
Tar Heels fans will forever hate J.J. Redick.
Admittedly, everybody hated J.J. Redick during his playing days at Duke. But UNC fans showered the Duke star with particular disdain.
The problem with Redick is that he was actually a great player – and he knew it. He'd follow every made basket with a head bob and a little smirk, as if to say, “man, I'm good.”
The Orlando Sentinel's Mike Bianchi visited Chapel Hill a few years ago wearing a Redick jersey. He was heckled viciously for wearing the jersey, even five years after Redick's departure to the NBA.
Redick may have been a college basketball hero to some, but he'll always remain a villain to Tar Heels fans.
Christian Laettner frustrated college basketball fans everywhere.
Laettner's famous game-winning shot didn't even happen against the Tar Heels, but that doesn't mean that UNC fans hate him any less.
Laettner had a reputation as an arrogant, nasty player. That reputation was only furthered by his kicking of Kentucky's Aminu Timberlake in the 1992 NCAA Regional Final game (an act that should have led to an immediate ejection).
Kentucky fans will always be haunted by that memory, but at least they didn't have to spend four years staring at Laettner's smug face.
Laettner tormented the Tar Heels to no end during his college career, and no group of fans liked him less. UNC fans can at least take solace in the fact that his NBA career was never anywhere near as good as it was supposed to be.
UNC fans can't stomach Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski.
Even the most diehard Tar Heels fan will admit that Coach K is a phenomenal coach. He's one of only two college coaches with over 900 wins, and, more recently, he's done an incredible job leading Team USA in international play.
But despite their grudging respect for Coach K, UNC fans still can't stand him.
In fact, Brett Friedlander of StarNewsOnline reports that some UNC fans have admitted that they've been rooting against Team USA because they can't stomach the thought of Coach K winning. Bruce Young, an Air Force veteran and lifelong Tar Heel supporter, told Friedlander:
I’m almost ashamed to say that I have not pulled for the United States basketball team the last two Olympics. People say I’m crazy and I’m a traitor, but as a Carolina fan, I’d love to see the stain of losing the Olympics on (Krzyzewski’s) record. It’s very difficult, because I feel like I’m doing something wrong, but I just can’t pull for the guy.
UNC fans dislike Coach K to the point that they can't even root for their own country? That's a lot of hate.
Jay Bilas has always had a soft spot for the Blue Devils, much to the chagrin of UNC fans.
Few things are worse than a biased commentator. Listening to an expert gush constantly about one particular team gets old fast. That's the problem Jay Bilas has with Duke.
Bilas really does try his best to sound objective, but there's no denying the man's love for Duke basketball.
It's not entirely his fault, though. He was a four-year starter for the Blue Devils from 1983-1986. It would be tough for anyone to remain objective in that position.
But still, UNC fans can only take so much Duke-loving before they get fed up. Bilas has long since passed that threshold.
By all accounts, Bias was an absolutely great guy. That doesn't mean, however, that Tar Heels fans will ever forgive him for destroying the 1986 UNC squad.
Bias treated the February game in Chapel Hill as his own personal coming-out party. He lit up the Tar Heels for 35 points and added this iconic steal to his legacy.
To make matters worse, that game against UNC is the one game that everyone remembers when they think of Bias. He will forever be remembered for shredding the Carolina defense, and that's something that Tar Heels fans won't forget.
Even younger UNC fans probably remember Gerald Henderson's infamous foul.
Tyler Hansbrough was going up for a layup when Henderson rocked him with a vicious elbow to the face. Henderson claimed after the game that the elbow wasn't intentional, saying:
"I was not intentionally trying to hurt anybody. Obviously, it was a foul. I was not trying to hurt or hit the kid."
While it doesn't look like Henderson was trying to injure Hansbrough, there's no doubt that he was trying to commit a very hard foul against him. Hard fouls during garbage time are always frowned upon, but a Duke player fouling a UNC star?
That's cause for hatred.
Vasquez was a huge pain in the sides of UNC fans.
Vasquez's impressive triple-double performance against the 2008-2009 UNC squad would have been enough to draw the contempt of Tar Heels fans. But since graduating from Maryland, Vasquez has made it even harder for UNC fans to like him.
A few years back, ESPN's Eamonn Brennan reported that Vasquez, despite playing at Maryland, has always considered himself a Duke fan. As if that wasn't bad enough, Vasquez still hasn't been able to resist taking a few shots at UNC.
247Sports.com's Seth Hoffman reported that, while speaking to the media at his jersey retirement celebration last year, Vasquez said:
"I think we can beat UNC at UNC anytime."
He may have already graduated from Maryland, but Vasquez has ensured that he's still hated by Tar Heels fans everywhere.
Paulus pestered UNC all through his four years at Duke.
Paulus was one of those classic hustle guys. He was the player that was always credited with “doing all the little things” and “just wanting it more.”
You love those players when they're on your favorite team. But when they're on a rival team, you hate them with every fiber of your being.
That pretty much sums up UNC fans' relationship with Paulus.
Paulus made his living by pestering North Carolina guards during his four-year stint at Duke, particularly by drawing some questionable charges. Nothing was worse than watching a player brush by Paulus and seeing the diminutive point guard collapse to the ground like a sniper victim.
This video pretty much says it all.
Dick Vitale has been criticized for his love for the Duke Blue Devils.
Dick Vitale's case is similar to that of Bilas. “Dickie V” just can't seem to keep the Duke love inside of him.
Vitale's critics have actually taken to calling him “Duke Vitale” and “Dookie V” because of his sheer love for the Blue Devils. He may have the best of intentions at heart, but hearing him blather on about Duke (even if they aren't playing) becomes grating after a while.
During a 2003 UNC-Duke game, Duke student Patrick King disrobed and (wearing nothing but a swimsuit) danced while UNC's Jackie Manuel was taking free throws.
Manuel missed both of the free throws and the legend of Speedo Guy was born.
Admittedly, what King (Speedo Guy) did is actually pretty funny. It's amazing that Manuel didn't just burst out laughing. But for UNC fans, King and his ensuing ESPN special were just another example of the way the national media gushes over Duke.