In today's world of sports, the hated athletes tends to get more attention than the beloved ones. While some athletes get hated on for legitimate reasons, other athletes are simply hated for being great at what they do. What you may find interesting about my list is that some of the most hated players are also some of the most respected.
Yankees fans will hate this pick, but sorry, he is hated by a lot of folks. Jeter is one of those athletes who is hated because of who he is and who he plays for. He is the captain of the most popular yet most hated team in baseball. Although Jeter has never been in trouble off or on the field, fans love to boo him and make fun of his "primadonna" looks.
I, for one, am not a Yankees fan, but there is no player in sports that I respect more than Derek Jeter. He plays the right way and never shows his opponents up. Even though he is hated quite a bit, he is also widely respected.
While golf is not considered one of the "three major sports" in our country, it is very popular and receives a lot of attention. One of the reasons viewers tune in to a PGA Tour event is to see how lefty Phil Mickelson is playing.
He is considered to be the closest thing to Tiger Woods' rival, and for good reason. Not only are they ranked one and two in the world, Mickelson has also taken some jabs at Woods and his Nike equipment. The rivalry has died down a bit because of all the drama surrounding Tiger, but don't be surprised if it heats up again soon. Mickelson is loved by many but hated by many, too.
Tom Brady is universally known as one of the greatest quarterbacks in NFL history, along with Joe Montana, Peyton Manning, Terry Bradshaw, etc. However, he is also hated by every other fanbase besides the Patriots'. He is one of those guys that we all love to hate—he is a good-looking guy, a successful football player with multiple championship rings, and of course, the real dagger to our hearts, he is married to a gorgeous Brazilian supermodel.
The dude has it all, and you hate that, don't you? Brady is very similar to the Yankees' Derek Jeter in that sense.
I don't know much about NASCAR, but I do know how much Kurt Busch is hated—a lot! From his loud mouth to his "off-field" issues, Busch doesn't have much when it comes to fan support. He once told cops who asked him to take a sobriety test, "I'm not doing this gay test!"
The real kicker happened in 2004, when Busch was nearly dropped by his sponsor. This was very odd, considering Busch dominated in 2004 and was the Driver of the Year. It takes a lot of attitude to have a sponsor drop a champion, don't you think?
Terrell Owens needs no introduction. T.O.'s antics have been questioned for years, and it should be no surprise to see him on a most hated list. The guy's ego should have its own zip code. There is no doubt the guy has skill, talent, and freakish athleticism, but his negatives tend to overshadow the positives.
He talks badly about his quarterbacks. He dances on opposing teams' 50-yard lines. He even tells people, "Get your popcorn ready," in reference to his entertainment. The guy is so hated that he currently can't find a team who will even sign him to a short-term contract.
Kobe Bryant is arguably the best player in the NBA and arguably one of the greatest players of all time. He and the Lakers are fresh off another championship and are hoping for a "three-peat" in 2011. Bryant makes some of the most difficult shots look easy and is the most clutch player since Michael Jordan.
Bryant is hated because of how good he and the Lakers are, but another main reason he hears a lot of "boos" is because of his swagger. Fans hate when he raises his arms in the air after a victory, and fans really hate when calls a foul for himself.
Fact is, most NBA players complain, but when Kobe does it, it really rubs people the wrong way. I believe the one of the two biggest factors that lead to the hatred of Kobe is the eerie similarities his and Michael Jordan's game have. Their fade-away, their dunks, their clutch genes, and their work ethic—all similar, but only Kobe's side is hated. MJ is the greatest and nobody wants that to change.
The second biggest reason why people hate Bryant is because of his Colorado court case. Although nothing ever happened and the "he said/she said" stories spread like wildfire, the public assumed he was guilty until proven innocent.
Kobe's jersey was still the NBA's top seller this past year and he continues to grow in the eyes of many, but his love/hate relationship with the fans will always be relevant.
A-Rod is a truly talented baseball player with every tool needed to be a star. This is exactly why he is hated so much—he cheated. A-Rod has proven the past couple of seasons that he didn't need the steroids to be a great player, but for most, it is too little too late. Once a cheater, always a cheater.
Furthermore, A-Rod has never done himself a favor by acting like he is bigger than the game. It is known across baseball that he doesn't sign autographs for fans and he often is seen in more tabloids than Brad Pitt. He is a gifted guy that will most likely go down as one of the best—and the most hated.
In Gator Nation, there will never be another player like Tebow. The rest of the nation is just glad they don't have to hear his name on "College Gameday" anymore. Fact is, Tebow led Florida on an incredible run and put forth more effort than some of us have ever seen.
Yet, there is a growing hatred for Tebow, and a lot of it is due to his nice guy attitude. Fans believe he is fake because we have all been let down so many times by so many other athletes. Nobody wants to believe he can be successful on the field and be equally as good off the field.
I think Tebow is hated more for the love affair that ESPN and other college football networks had with him these past few years, but if you look around the Internet, it is hard to find a guy who has more jokes written about him than Tebow.
"Big Ben" has had a rough few years, and when your own fanbase has turned against you, it is a bad, bad sign. Roethlisberger has been in his share of trouble off the field these past few years, and his careless attitude has only made it worse. Just like Kobe Bryant, Big Ben has been judged to be guilty until proven innocent when it's come to his rape allegations.
The only difference though? Easy. Big Ben has been accused on two separate occasions, and the mere fact that he was hanging out with college girls in a college town makes people question his decisions.
Roethlisberger better wear some ear plugs this season—it won't be pretty.
It seems to me that the only people that don't have a problem with what LeBron James did last week are the Miami Heat players and fans, LeBron James himself, ESPN, and LeBron's "entourage."
James is a rare combination of talent, speed, and freakish size. Going into this past season, his popularity was soaring and his game was seemingly improving. However, it is amazing how much can change with one poor decision.
People who are claiming he did nothing wrong are either Heat fans or don't understand reality. The dude made his own reality show for an hour, basically told the entire NBA he was the most important person in the world, and, oh by the way, he never once thanked the fans of Cleveland for all the support they gave him.
Now, I am not saying he should have stayed in Cleveland, because it really made no difference—it was simply the way he did it. The questions were staged, his answers were flat, and his composure was nowhere to be seen. It was almost as if he knew what he was doing was a big mistake.
His jerseys are being burned. His posters are being torn down. And his popularity is at an all-time low. Fans have actually blogged about subscribing to NBA TV just to root against James. As of right now, "King James" has gone from the "Chosen One" to the "Hated One."
Michael Vick—As long as he plays football, he will be number one on this list. I don't even want to get into details about why he is hated. Everybody knows what a coward he is, period.
Manny Ramirez—Not even loved by Dodgers fans anymore.
Alex Ovechkin—Known to be a rather dirty player.
Floyd Mayweather—More arrogant than LeBron, by far.
Tiger Woods—I debated about putting him in the top 10 but I chose not to. He is still very popular and most of my friends will always root for him over Mickelson.
Brandon Marshall—The next T.O.?