The NBA is full of stars in every division, but while outstanding play may lead to success on the court, it doesn’t always result in popularity in the eyes of the game’s most passionate fans.
Public perception is more important to some players than others, and when it comes down to it, negative feedback can act as one of the biggest motivators for an NBA player.
The game is full of mid-level players who struggle to earn respect, but when it comes to the NBA’s greatest, there are a handful of stars who can't escape criticism from such a widespread fanbase.
Amar’e Stoudemire used to be one of the most exciting power forwards in the entire league, but following his departure from Steve Nash and the Phoenix Suns, the New York spotlight has made him a target of criticism.
Nobody seemed to care that Stoudemire didn’t play any defense under Mike D’Antoni in Phoenix, but with the Knicks, it has been a point of emphasis for those who harass the big man.
His attack on a fire extinguisher didn’t help in the 2012 playoffs, and he became the butt of many jokes around the league.
Stoudemire entered the 2011-12 season out of shape and had his worst year in recent memory, so if he can come back strong, a solid 2013 should help him re-earn the self-appointed nickname of STAT (Standing Tall And Talented).
Kevin Garnett was once known as one of the game’s most dominant big men, but as he’s continued to age, he’s become much better known for his trash talking and bizarre on-court antics.
Barking at Jerryd Bayless, doing knuckle push-ups in the playoffs and giving a unique interview to Craig Sager don’t help his cause, but the overall amount of time Garnett spends talking to himself on the court makes him come across as somebody to simply stay away from.
While playing for the Minnesota Timberwolves, Garnett was an aggressive young player who intimidated with his play on the court. It seems that ever since being traded to the Boston Celtics, the intimidation comes in far more creative ways.
There’s a fine line between intensity and insanity, and Garnett appears to be pressing up against that line the closer he gets to the end of his playing days.
There’s a lot to love when it comes to Blake Griffin’s incredible athleticism and highlight-worthy finishes, so why has he become one of the most loathed stars in the eyes of many fans?
First, Blake's "stardom" is constantly up for debate.
Griffin’s success is heavily reliant upon his athleticism, and some don’t like to think of a star as being someone who can’t shoot or defend—even if he is averaging 21.7 points and 11.5 rebounds for his career.
He’s not exactly the most modest player in the game, as his willingness to argue calls and stare down helpless defenders shows that he knows just how good he is, and he wants everyone else to know it, too.
His willingness to flop is bizarre considering how solid his motor is, so we’ll see if the NBA’s new flopping rule will help in that department.
Just a few seasons ago, Dwyane Wade would have been about as far away from this list as it gets, but since the Big Three was formed in Miami, the 2-guard’s image has taken a hit.
On the court, Wade has seemingly added an element of viciousness to his game, possibly as a result of accepting the villain role in James’ place (as reported by the South Florida Sentinel's Ira Winderman).
Kobe Bryant has endured a ton of success over a long period of time, but it’s the ego that comes with the triumph that simply rubs people the wrong way.
The 34-year-old’s desire to win is unquestionable. He is one of the greatest to ever play the game and he is as hungry as anybody in the league to win big despite the five championship rings he’s already collected.
That passion and intensity is a big part of why he’s won throughout his career. But when intensity is accompanied by cockiness, humility seems to go out the window.
A year with Dwight Howard may add some spice and levity to a locker room that has been somber in the recent past, but at this point in Bryant’s career, he is all business until his playing days come to an end.
Dwight Howard went from being one of the most beloved players in the NBA to one of the most despised with the seemingly never-ending Dwightmare in 2012.
Howard is the most recent superstar to play GM and have the final say in where he plays—despite being in the middle of a contract.
The situation in Orlando was ugly, drawn out and in many aspects completely unnecessary. The Magic have a new head coach, general manager and center all set to make their debut in 2013, but the pain for fans will last until their winning ways return.
Luckily for Howard, he has the personality to recover quickly, and his fun-loving nature and dominant play will do wonders in the court of public opinion.
Howard may be a player we love to hate heading into the new year, but by the time the season comes to an end, don’t be surprised if we’re all back on the D12 bandwagon.
LeBron James is arguably the best basketball player in the world today, but that by no means equates to popularity among the NBA’s harshest fans.
It all began with James’ decision to sign with the Miami Heat.
Spurning the Cleveland Cavaliers made a lot of people feel sorry for the Cavs organization, but his decision to take his talents to South Beach on national television was what turned his public perception for the worst.
The fact that James took less money to play alongside his friends is often passed over by critics in favor of the notion that he simply can’t win a title on his own. James is now an NBA Finals MVP, and while the fans have slowly started coming back around, there are still plenty out there who won’t change their minds because of one successful season.
Most reasonable fans should be able to put The Decision behind them at this point, but for those who will never be able to let it go, there will always be something else to fuel the fire in James’ direction.
If there is any player in the NBA who receives more negative publicity than LeBron James, it has to be Carmelo Anthony.
It’s almost become a cliché to criticize the 28-year-old forward, but that doesn’t stop the hate from coming his way.
He and James receive criticism from all different directions, but the difference is James is oftentimes recognized as a great player with an egocentric agenda, while Anthony’s basketball abilities are too often thrown out the window all together.
His attitude hasn’t always been the best, and his defense is downright awful, but his scoring ability makes him one of the best point-per-game players in the league.
Anthony has given us reason to lambaste him in the past, but there’s seemingly no denying that he is a superstar in this league.