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Hi Haters: The 15 Most Hated NBA Players of All Time.

John FrielAnalyst ISeptember 15, 2010

Hi Haters: The 15 Most Hated NBA Players of All Time.

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    There are plenty of sports idols that are beloved and idolized by millions of people across the world. They are considered role model's and are imitated by followers who would give anything to get in some sort of contact with their idol.

    In other players cases, an average NBA fan would rather get in contact with a player to give them a swift, solid message to the face. While some players can be loved, others can be hated with a passion by fans and players alike that would give anything to see that specific players career end in the worst of ways. They are hated for many reasons, whether it's for being arrogant, ego-maniacal, or just playing dirty, but most hated players have made an entire career of being the player on the court to despise.

    The hated love the attention because of the motivation it provides, but the more arrogant the player gets from receiving all the attention the more he becomes hated. The loathing of a player have sometimes made a career out of it as in some of the cases of the players we are about to see, but the players probably wouldn't have it any other way since they become the center of attention.

    Some NBA players are known for being clutch. Others for being winners. This isn't the list to come to if you want to read about ambition and winning, this is a list for the haters of the world to let out their true feelings. I would also like to point out that in no way is this list my personal opinion. I based it solely on what the fans' consensus believes.

    Grab some haterade.

15. Paul Pierce

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    "I don't think Kobe is the best player. I'm the best player. There's a line that separates having confidence and being conceited. I don't cross that line but I have a lot of confidence in myself."

    If you call yourself the best player in the NBA, you're just asking for criticism and fire. The Boston Celtics veteran answered this question a few weeks after his team won the 2008 NBA championship against Kobe's Los Angeles Lakers and decided to stick it a little more to Bryant by declaring himself the best player in the NBA.

    While you can probably name about 10 players that have a better shot at being considered the best player in the NBA, "The Truth" was actually the leader of one of the cellar dwellers of the NBA prior to Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen joining the team. Not to take anything away from Pierce and his undeniable talent, but the best player in the NBA isn't on 30 win teams. The team's best season between Pierce being drafted and the monumental acquisitions was the the 2001-'02 season when they finished 49-33 and lost in the Conference Finals.

    After winning last season's three-point contest against less than stellar competition, Pierce contended that if he shot more three-pointers in games then he would be considered as one of the greatest shooters in NBA history. Like I said before, the greatest players don't call themselves the greatest at anything.

    The defining moment of the center of hate for people against Pierce came in game one of the 2008 NBA finals. Paul suffered a severe leg injury in the third injury that was appeared to be so critical that he needed to be carried off the court. Miraculously a few minutes later he came back and scored 15 points in the same quarter.

    Take it to soccer, Truth.

14. Shaquille O'Neal

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    Shaquille O'Neal is an interesting case in this list because he could also be considered as one of the most beloved players in NBA history. However, there are many cases that cancel out his general kindness and could put him higher on this list if not for his brilliant social skills.

    Leaving the Orlando Magic in favor for the glitz and glamour of Los Angeles was the first straw as O'Neal accepted a seven year, $121 million contract and left the team that he built and had led to their first NBA finals in franchise history. Shaq's time with the Lakers was nothing short of amazing as he led the team to three NBA championships, while winning three NBA finals MVPs and a league MVP in the process.

    Then came the highly publicized feud between himself and the Lakers organization, but mostly Kobe Bryant, who was at the center of the controversy. Shaq had taken jabs at Bryant during the tenure together calling him a selfish player before it spilled over in the the 2004 offseason and O'Neal was traded to the Miami Heat much to his pleasure.

    Shaq can playfully poke fun at players, but he can also be downright mean at times whether it's referring to Chris Bosh as the "Rupaul of Big Men" or dissing former Heat teammates Chris Quinn and Ricky Davis by saying in an interview after being traded to the Phoenix Suns that "We have professionals who know what to do. No one is asking me to play with Chris Quinn or Ricky Davis. I'm actually on a team again."

    The Rupaul comment is somewhat hilarious, but Chris Quinn doesn't deserve that.

13. Isiah Thomas

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    Prior to being loathed as a team executive with the New York Knicks, Isiah Thomas was a despised member of the Detroit Pistons and not just by fans who had a strong dislike for the Pistons either, but the greatest player to ever play the game of basketball.

    Isiah is no doubt rightfully considered one of the best point guards to play the game and has two NBA championships and 12 all-star appearances to his name. His showmanship and cockiness however irked a lot of fans who were already sour on the Bad Boys of Detroit. The fact that he was good at it and continued to lead his team as one of the best teams in the NBA gave fans even more reason to hate the talented point guard.

    The 1992 Olympic games was supposed to be the defining moment of his career as he was expected to make the Dream Team and play alongside the likes of Michael Jordan, Larry Bird, and Patrick Ewing, but was shockingly shunned. The reason for it being Jordan's on and off court feud with Thomas who reportedly told coach Chuck Daly that he refused to play with Isiah. Jordan gained the support of his teammates as well as Thomas was passed over in favor of Magic Johnson.

    His time with the New York Knicks is self-explanatory.

12. Manu Ginobili

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    Manu Ginobili may be loved by the city of San Antonio for his work he has done with the Spurs helping the team win three championships in his time with the team. He's a hard worker, hits clutch shots, and is considered one of the best foreign players to play the game.

    So what's the problem everybody has with the Argentinean?

    The flopping. While Vlade Divac introduced flopping to the NBA in the 1990s, Ginobili perfected it in the 2000's and has been irritating NBA players and fans alike since he joined the league in 1999. The art of flopping is basically when you intentionally absorb minimal contact from an opposing player and then dramatically falling to the floor in an effort to gain attention and a foul from the officiating crew.

    Popularized in soccer and beginning to become prominent in the NBA by many other players now, flopping has become a huge problem in the league as referees have had a harder time determining charging fouls from blocking fouls, makes the game slower from the amount of players acting like they've got shot, and has annoyed fans to no ends.

    It does make for some funny videos though.

11. Reggie Miller

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    Reggie Miller is undeniably the greatest three-point shooter to play the game. His ridiculous range, clutch shooting, and the motivation he gets from New York Knick-loving movie directors everywhere have allowed him to become one of the best shooters the league has ever set it's eyes on.

    Reggie joins this list solely on his affair with Spike Lee and the Knicks. Being hated by anywhere else might not have been worthy of him joining this prestigious group, but if there's any city that knows how to hate a player, it's the city of New York. It all began on one fateful June 1st evening during Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals.

    Miller had not been shooting well for the beginning of the game and the Knicks fans let him know it. Nobody let him know it more than movie director Spike Lee who was sitting court side and had the easiest access to the ears of Reggie by laughing and taunting him for the first three quarters of the contest. Much to the avail of the rest of New York, this only provided the fire that Miller needed to get going.

    The Knicks substantial lead had disappeared after Reggie hit three-pointer after three-pointer staring down Spike after each and every one. His 25-point fourth quarter performance led the Pacers to a 93-86 victory and capped it off with his famous choke sign that had the entire state of New York wanting the head of Miller for handing them the loss and Lee's as well for lighting the fire.

    The torture didn't end there as the two teams met in the Eastern Conference semifinals the next year. The Knicks were in prime position to win holding a six point lead with 18.7 seconds left and the Pacers inbounding. Miller was able to drain a three-pointer to cut the lead to three and then somehow stole Greg Anthony's inbound pass, ran back to the three-point line, and made a turn-around three-pointer that tied the game.

    The Pacers of course won the game and the series.

10. Charles Barkley

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    "I think the media demands that athletes be role models because there's some jealousy involved. It's as if they say, this is a young black kid playing a game for a living and making all this money, so we're going to make it tough on him. And what they're really doing is telling kids to look up to someone they can't become, because not many people can be like we are. Kids can't be like Michael Jordan."

    Nice Charles. I'm sure the one thing David Stern wants in his life is an NBA player basically telling children that they'll never amount to the status they strive years for. If anyone was going to say it though, it would be the outspoken Charles Barkley who currently makes an entire career out of being outspoken, this time where he can say quotes like this without worrying of too much scrutiny from the guys up top.

    Much like Shaquille O'Neal, Barkley's humor and wit was a driving force in his career as he not only established himself as one of the best NBA players, but a very entertaining person to listen to as well with his outlandish and out of the ordinary statements with one of the most controversial being that he hated white people.

    I'm not confirming that Barkley actually does hate white people, he doesn't seem to have any problems with Ernie Johnson, but it's probably not the right thing to say, "this is why I hate white people."

    Charles moment of hate began in 1991 in a game against the New Jersey Nets when he was listening to fan yelling racial epithets at him. Instead of letting it blow over like the average NBA player, Barkley decided to respond by spitting at the heckler. The only problem was that he missed and instead hit a young girl. The family of the young girl and Charles have since become friends, but in no way should a player let any fan get the best of him.

    Right Ron?

9. Kevin Garnett

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    Kevin Garnett has an ambition for winning and playing the game larger than nearly everybody else's in the NBA. After over a decade of hard work and disappointment with the Minnesota Timberwolves, he was traded to the Boston Celtics and won the much eluded championship in his first year with the team. Since then his health has deteriorated and he has been a shell of himself. His legacy however is still something to remember as he is basically the reincarnation of Shawn Kemp with a more consistent jump shot.

    Garnett's tenacity can sometimes get on the wrong end of fans and players alike. It is widely criticized that KG preys solely on smaller, whiter players and put it on full display when he got into a yelling match with the 6'3" Jose Calderon. Garnett and Calderon had been going at it in the third quarter and it spilled over when Kevin played full-court defense on Jose who had to deal with Garnett clapping in his face the entire length of the court.

    Calderon stood up to the much taller Garnett by issuing verbal jabs as well. Kevin's mouth has earned him a lot of hate from NBA players and fans from across the country and it has only progressed in his time with Boston. Critics say the trash talking has increased due to his deteriorating health and that he uses the talking as a way to get inside the heads of his opponent rather than playing the extremely hard-nosed defense that had gotten him fame with the T'Wolves.

    Slapping Tim Duncan in the back of the head while he wasn't looking is only the cherry on top.

8. Latrell Sprewell

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    As if his hair wasn't obnoxious already.

    We'll start at the end of his career with the Minnesota Timberwolves when he famously said one of the most idiotic quotes in sporting history. The T'Wolves had offered Spree a three-year, $21 million contract, which was somehow less than what he was already making. For the non-math majors out there, that's $7 million per year.

    Latrell decided that this couldn't support his diet of diamonds and bricks of gold and told reporters that it wasn't nearly enough because "I got my family to feed." Athletes are already criticized for the absurd amount of money they are making, but this was the straw that broke the camel's back for NBA fans who had enough from the veteran. In fact, he never played another NBA game after the quote.

    Oh yeah and then there's the part where he choked his coach.

    During a December 1, 1997 practice with the Golden State Warriors, coach P.J. Carlesimo had been telling Sprewell to make crisper passes and Latrell responded by saying that he was not in the mood for criticism and telling him to back off as well. Alright, the egos of players can get the best of them sometimes, so we'll let this one slide. When Carlesimo approached however, he was met with 'Spre' threatening to kill him and then beginning to strangle the much smaller coach for 15 seconds.

    Surprisingly, the Warriors let him go of his $24 million contract not long after and would go on to join the New York Knicks via trade. Strangling your coach can usually do that.

7. Ron Artest

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    While Ron Artest has seen his hate stock drop since cooling down with the Houston Rockets and Los Angeles Lakers, it's still tough for anyone to try and not remember the infamous Malice at the Palace that was originally caused by Ron Artest.

    Ron Ron had a tough upbringing in Queensbridge, New York that includes witnessing the murder of a player on the basketball court in a graphic manner when an opposing player broke the leg off a table and proceeded to stab Lloyd Newton in the back.

    Possibly an explanation for what ensued on November 19, 2004? Possibly, but still no excuses for doing what he did against innocent Detroit Piston fans. Ron had fouled Pistons center Ben Wallace hard on a shot and the 6'11" giant responded by shoving Artest in the chest. The two were eventually separated as Wallace was calmed down and Artest laid on the announcer's desk in an attempt to cool his emotions and allow the argument to run its course.

    That's all well and good, but it took a turn for the worse when a fan decided to throw a drink at the 6'7", 230-pound small forward and Ron responded by running into the first 10 rows of the Palace at Auburn Hills and began to pummel the wrong fan. Piston fans attempted to break it up, but Artest was followed by his teammates who decided to join in on the brawl.

    Two Detroit fans jumped on the court and were issued blows by Stephen Jackson and Jermaine O'Neal before the team was eventually led off the court by a flurry of boos and overpriced stadium food and drinks.

    Ron received the longest suspension in NBA history at 73 games and the post season. While Artest hasn't showed any signs of violence since then, his role in the fight sadly overshadows his other accomplishments as a lock-down defender and now NBA champion.

6. Rasheed Wallace

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    Rasheed Wallace holds the NBA record for most technical fouls for a reason.

    Wallace hasn't changed since originally being drafted by the Washington Bullets as his mouth has pretty much overshadowed any accomplishment that he has achieved in his long career that includes an NBA championship and four All-Star appearances.

    It's his confrontation with referees and his reasoning that he has never committed a personal foul in his entire NBA career that annoys NBA fans everywhere. Wallace has never been afraid to voice his opinions to the officials during and after games which includes a tirade following a Game 5 loss in the Eastern Conference.

    "All that bull^%&%-ass calls that they had out there. With Mike Callahan and Kenny Mauer--you've seen all that s%$#." It didn't stop there as he continued with his ranting and raving. "You saw them calls. The cats are flopping all over the floor and they're calling that s*^&. That s#$% ain't basketball out there. It's all f^%&*($ entertainment. You all should know that s%$%. It's all f$%#^&$ entertainment"

    'Sheed is starting to sound like me after a tough Miami Heat loss, but the difference between me and him is that I can get away with saying things like that. Rasheed Wallace is an NBA player and this is typically frowned upon by David Stern and the executives at NBA headquarters.

    It begins to annoy fans when Wallace makes the seem ridiculous facial expression after every foul call and then proceeds to run around the court as if the yelling and sprinting will change the call. The fun doesn't stop there for Wallace as he continues to talk to players and officials at the foul line and is famously known for coining the phrase "ball don't lie" when a player misses a foul shot after a disputed call.

    The problem is that every call is disputed according to Wallace.

5. Bill Laimbeer

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    Before Anderson Varejao. Before Manu Ginobli. Even before Vlade Divac there was a player who enjoyed the flawed art of flopping with a passion. His name was Bill Laimbeer and he was the OG of hated players.

    Laimbeer was originally a member of the Cleveland Cavaliers, but it was his final 14 seasons with the Detroit Pistons that he will be most remembered for. The problem is that he isn't too much remembered for his exceptional rebounding, defensive, and shooting skills as a center, but rather for his exceptional ability to annoy and get on the nerves of any opposing player and fan that had something to do with the game in question.

    Bill was considered a thug for his on-court play by dishing out hard fouls and then flopping at the sign of any slight contact much to the avail of every single person involved the game that wasn't associated with the Pistons. The Chicago Bulls became the center of attention as their late 1980's rivalry showed off the abuse that Laimbeer dished out to just about every player that wasn't in a blue and red uniform.

    Laimbeer could have been remembered for his game play rather than his physical play, but years of flopping and playing dirty are what earn you the title as a thug and as the original flopper of the NBA.

     

4. Vince Carter

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    Vince Carter might be loved by many fans from across the country for his spectacular aerial acrobatics, but being a great dunker doesn't make you number four on a list of the most hated players in NBA history. In fact, you're going to have to go North of the border to find the real reason why because there is no athlete more despised in Canada than Vince Carter.

    Vince was a staple of the Raptors team since joining the team in 1998 as a rookie and immediately had the city in the palm of his hands as he won the Rookie of the Year and the Slam Dunk competition the next year where he completed dunks that had previously never been seen before. The city of Toronto was in love with their new superstar as he led the team to a number of post seasons.

    After so many years of the team not achieving championship contender status, Carter began to change his in-game philosophy with the Raptors by reportedly throwing games and not playing to his potential. Vince would continue to be annoyed with the fact that coach Sam Mitchell would bench him for an extended amount of time.

    Carter would demand a trade and get his wish in the December of 2004 when he was traded to the New Jersey Nets. The sad situation for Toronto is that the pain was just beginning as Carter continued to stick it where it hurts most to the fans of the Raptors.

    Vince hit not one, but two game-winners against his former team with both of them coming in some of the worst fashions and in front of 20,000 Raptor fans that wanted his head.

    Having an entire country hate you is definitely worthy of a nod on this list, but there are still three more players that are more despised than Carter.

3. LeBron James

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    LeBron James is a new addition to this list and his hate stock was one of the smartest to invest in during this past summer.

    James was one of the most heavily hyped players in NBA history as a high schooler as he led his team to three consecutive championships and earned a $50,000 Hummer and the attention of lottery teams in the process as professional teams were purposely tanking games to earn a chance at drafting the 18-year-old phenom.

    The Cleveland Cavaliers won the first pick and wisely took James who would go on to win Rookie of the Year honors and two years later, they would make their first postseason since 1998. LeBron would continue to lead the team deep into the playoffs that was capped off by their first NBA finals appearance in 2007 where they would be swept by the San Antonio Spurs.

    It was then that the Cavs management did everything they could to surround James with talent by bringing in swingman Mo Williams, Antawn Jamison, and an aging Shaquille O'Neal over the next two seasons. The Cavaliers would win 60-plus games for those seasons, but were shockingly ousted in the Eastern Conference finals and semifinals respectively.

    LeBron didn't take too kindly to this going into the 2010 off season as a free agent. The Cavalier fans had been nothing but faithful and loving to James who then responded by running off to Miami on a national stage on an hour long decision that was appropriately named 'The Decision.' Cavs fans responded by burning his jersey and destroying any memorabilia they could get their hands on.

    We're really just getting started. James has showed arrogance on and off the court by showing off in blow outs, being called out by Chicago Bulls center Joakim Noah for dancing on the bench during a win, and calling himself 'King James.'

    I can respect James for his talent, but calling yourself a king while owning a total of zero championships is just fuel to a raging fire.

2. Bruce Bowen

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    Bruce Bowen gets all the credit he deserves as an elite defender. He is a deserved three time NBA champion and five time member of the NBA All-Defensive first team, but it's for other reasons why Bowen joins this list.

    I can say this with complete confidence and that is Bruce Bowen is the dirtiest player to play the game of organized basketball.

    How can I prove such a statement? If you watch some of his lockdown defense, you'll see one of the staples of it is running under a player while they come down from their shot in an attempt to purposely injure a player. Bowen places his foot underneath the jumping player and as the player comes down, they land on his foot causing the players ankle to roll.

    Ask Steve Francis, Jamal Crawford, and Amare Stoudemire what they think of Bowen's foot defense.

    Among some of his other accolades include kicking Ray Allen in the back, kicking Chris Paul in his chest, kneeing Steve Nash in the groin, and drop kicking Wally Sczerbiak in the face. Bruce's dirty play overshadows his superior defense, but after so many years of purposely trying to injure opposing players, it's only certain that you're going to gain some enemies on and off the court in the process.

    Bowen might be a lock-down defender, but he has based his career highly off of dirty plays and a disgusting intent on attempting to end players careers with his cheap shots and 'foot defense.'

1. Kobe Bryant

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    Kobe Bryant rightfully deserves to be known as one of the greatest player to ever step on an NBA court. His winning nature, unmatched desire and tenacity, and ability to hit the big shot separate him from just about every player in the NBA as he somehow finds himself on a level that is one of the most difficuilt to reach.

    Bryant has won five NBA championships and one league MVP in his time with the Los Angeles Lakers, but over the course of his career, he has become the most hated player to ever play the game of basketball outside of Los Angeles and China.

    Kobe has always been criticized for his game due to the fact that he has been recognized at times as a selfish player. Bryant has been in a number of late game situations where he could have passed the ball to open players, but instead decides to take a difficult shot against a number of defenders. Many people blame his lack of trust for his teammates for this fatal flaw in his game and it has hurt the team in a number of cases that includes Shaquille O'Neal growing so annoyed with Kobe that he demanded a trade away from the team where he had won three championships.

    Bryant walks up and down the court with an arrogance and cockiness that is unmatched and while it can win games, it can still greatly hurt the team. People were waiting for a true reason to garner their hate for Bryant and they got it in the summer of 2003 when Kobe was rehabbing an injury in Colorado.

    Kobe would be accused of rape by a 19 year old hotel employee and while the case was eventually was thrown out, the damage had been done and Bryant had become public enemy number one in the NBA and the country. Bryant was mercilessly taunted anywhere outside of the Staples Center and received the worst of it games at Denver where he would be booed out the stadium and met with chants of rapist every time he touched the ball.

    The taunting has still continued to this day as fans from across the NBA still let it be known that Bryant was accused of rape and is still a selfish player. The hate could be built off jealousy as Kobe is considered arguably the best player in the game today, but there is no doubt that Bryant is by far the most hated player to ever step onto a court.

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