Updated Rankings of NBA's Most Hated Owners

Brendan Bowers@@BowersCLEContributor IIJanuary 10, 2013

Updated Rankings of NBA's Most Hated Owners

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    NBA owners must manage a delicate line between business and fandom with every decision they make on behalf of their team.

    When that line isn't managed properly, they become polarizing figures.

    From rooting too much for their own team to actually moving it, there are any number of reasons why an NBA owner can become hated.

    It's worth noting, however, that this hate is differentiated into two categories.

    There are some owners hated by fans outside of their home city but loved by those who support their team. Then, there are also others who everyone hates.

    In ranking the NBA's most hated owners, this list is measuring the totality of that group.   

No. 7: Dan Gilbert

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    NBA fans no longer hate Dan Gilbert as much as they did in 2010.

    In response to the open letter he wrote to LeBron James following James' decision to sign with the Miami Heat, Gilbert instantly became the NBA's most hated owner.

    He only held that top spot down for about a year, though, and was never actually hated by his hometown fans in Cleveland.

    Since that time, James has expressed regret about how he handled his decision. Gilbert has also expressed similar sentiments regarding his response

    All of which has the Cleveland Cavaliers' owner falling to No. 7 on this list.

No. 6: Mark Cuban

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    I've watched Mark Cuban on the sidelines, wearing Dallas Mavericks gear while rooting on his team, and thought to myself that I might act the same way if I ever stumbled across a billion dollars.

    At the same time, though, I totally understand how he might rub fans the wrong way.

    According to the Dallas Morning News, Cuban has been fined an estimated $2 million during his 13 years as owner of the Mavericks.

    The majority of that money has been spent on obnoxiously screaming at NBA officials.

    Sometimes he's had a valid case in launching his objections. Other times, however, he didn't.

No. 5: Mikhail Prokhorov

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    Mikhail Prokhorov's purchase of the New Jersey Nets was approved by the league in May of 2010.

    He was then instrumental in helping to facilitate their move to Brooklyn, New York. The Nets had played over 30 years of NBA basketball in New Jersey before his arrival as owner. 

    Just this season, Prokhorov's team also made the controversial decision to fire coach Avery Johnson.

    Besides not taking Deron Williams' shots for him, Johnson had also been named NBA Coach of the Month in November.

No. 4: Donald Sterling

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    No matter how many games the Los Angeles Clippers win, as long as Donald Sterling owns the team, he will remain amongst the NBA's most hated owners.

    His spot was secured forever by the claims Elgin Baylor made against Sterling in his 2009 employment discrimination suit. 

    A Los Angeles County jury rejected Baylor's suit in March of 2011, but Sterling will not soon be forgiven by NBA fans for the allegations that stemmed from the suit.

    His lack of financial support for the Clippers in general, prior to those allegations surfacing, hasn't helped his standing either.

No. 3: James Dolan

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    Jeremy Lin is not the best option for the New York Knicks at point guard this season.

    James Dolan's decision this summer helped facilitate the fact that Lin plays now for the Houston Rockets.

    The way Dolan came to that decision, however, is what angers fans with the Knicks owner.

    For example, Ian O’Conner at ESPN New York reported the following after the Knicks decided to not match Lin's offer sheet.

    According to a source close to the situation, Jim Dolan, a notorious grudge holder, feels betrayed that the Harvard kid took him to school after the Knicks gave him his big shot.

    This time, the emotionally-charged decision worked out better for the Knicks. At least it has so far this season.

    Dolan's other decisions, however, like to perpetually employ the services of Isiah Thomas, haven't worked out as well.

No. 2: Clay Bennett

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    Clay Bennett purchased the Seattle Supersonics in 2006 on the condition that he would make "a good-faith effort" to keep the team in Seattle.

    Then, in November of 2007, he announced his intentions of moving to Oklahoma City.

    Emails even emerged later indicating that Bennett never actually planned on ever keeping the team in Seattle in the first place.

    He's the worst kind of owner you could ever imagine for your team. The one who buys it with the specific intention of ripping it from your community.

No. 1: The Maloof Brothers

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    The Maloof brothers, George, Gavin and Phil Maloof specifically, would have found themselves on this list regardless.

    Yesterday, however, they shot to the top of the rankings when Adrian Wojnarowski from Yahoo! broke the following news.

    The Maloof family is finalizing an agreement to sell the Sacramento Kings to a group that hopes to move the franchise to Seattle for the 2013-14 season, league sources told Yahoo! Sports.

    Kings co-owners George, Gavin and Phil Maloof are expected to keep …The deal will sell the Kings for approximately $500 million to a group led by hedge-fund manager Chris Hansen and Microsoft chairman Steve Ballmer. The group is seeking to relocate the franchise to Seattle's KeyArena for the 2013-14 season.

    When you move your team from the city that's grown to embrace it, you become the most hated owner in the NBA, which the Maloof brothers now are.