Whether the name "LeBron James" elicits smiles or frowns in your home, one thing is clear:
LeBron James burns bridges like William Tecumseh Sherman.
His decision to head to Miami and join Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade put a huge target on the Miami Heat.
His new Nike commercial shows what he has to deal with on a daily basis and makes it seem like this is a level of hate was unseen before now.
Does that mean the Heat are sports' most hated team ever?
Since sports began, there have been villainous teams. Whether it was due to style of play, off the playing field demeanor or just plain douchebaggery, teams have always found ways to make fans despise them.
So which squad wears the evil crown?
Note: I know list is pretty U.S.-centric. I'd love to hear from foreign sports fans who can add some international perspective.
Also, if you love to hate, check this out. I'm a preeminent scholar on hating.
Tim Tebow made this team hate-able on his own, but the fact that he just wouldn't lose brought ire from football fans across the country.
Has there ever been a team that had no neutral position on it? It's either hate or love with these Gators.
America's team's arrogance easily could have been enough for the entire nation.
It's no wonder why the rest of the world thinks the States are pompous.
Every single Spurs game should be nationally televised.
On C-SPAN. It'd be the most exciting thing on the channel.
Not sure many teams have been this cocky without winning anything of consequence since 1968.
And having Santa's evil cousin as the coach doesn't help either. The guy curses more than Harry Potter.
New York youngsters should ask their parents why they never were able to go to a NCAA tourney game growing up.
CCNY's point shaving scandal kept the tournament away from the New York City for more than 40 years until 1996.
When the most notable guys on your team are named "McFilthy" and "McNasty," it's hard to get any sort of love.
However, if they worked at McDonald's, they'd be set.
Baltimore is not a great city to have hating on you.
Not exactly the players' fault, but nevertheless, the team was despised.
This team featured an arrogant crew of fireballers called the "Nasty Boys."
No, it's not due to the idea of listening to Rob Dibble speak. Although his ideas are just as hate-able.
Yes, this team had Walter Payton and won a Super Bowl. Congrats to them.
Nonetheless, no one is allowed to make a rap song this atrocious.
A bronze medal in basketball is unacceptable, especially after a Carmelo Anthony gold guarantee.
But a 19-point loss to Puerto Rico gives everyone the right to insult them. Can you name that starting five?
Didn't think so.
Number of rock fights with fans the MLB has witnessed from all teams but these Giants: 0
Number of rock fights with fans the Giants got into: 2
The Leafs weren't exactly a powerhouse during the '90s, so when they found success in the new decade, they decided to get annoying about it.
Playing dirty and abusing referees were key tactics for Toronto, and many fans suspected referees of favorable treatment for the Leafs.
Doesn't sound so cool.
Back in 1987, this team was known for its long balls.
But now, this team is known for its long lies. These two make Goldman Sachs CEOs look honest.
No one outside of Los Angeles wanted to see this foursome take home a ring just to satisfy Malone and Payton.
It's hard to root for Detroit, but by gosh, America managed.
Having the word "dick" in its star player's last name describes this team perfectly.
The real reason to dislike them, however, is Shelden Williams. No talent, overpaid, and married too well.
Ty Cobb managed to make this team hated all on his own.
At 22, he was the face of the team...and soon, became the face of racism.
They were so smiley at the time and they just loved their time together.
But once they had to forfeit 31 wins, a large part of the nation wore those same smiles.
Sadists, all of them.
It'd make sense that a team that lost nearly two out of every three games would leave its bad decisions on the field.
Wrong. Vince Coleman and Bret Saberhagen throwing firecrackers into crowds and Bobby Bonilla heckling media members highlighted an anything but lovable group of Mets.
The coach, Bill Musselman, had roughly 100 rule violations during a four-year tenure with the team.
The players tackled Ohio State's Luke Witte after a hard foul.
Match made in heaven.
Riddled with scandals, the Sooners under Barry Switzer didn't make many friends.
And once Oklahoma got hit with major probation in 1989 and Switzer ditched them, America just smiled.
Diego Maradona's handball alone led many soccer fans to dislike this team, but that's not the only reason for the ire.
In the 1990 World Cup, they scored about as often as a nun. Five goals in the entire tournament still got them to the Finals, but by that time, even Poland was rooting for West Germany.
The 2004 Red Sox were the lovable scoundrels who broke the 86-year championship drought for Boston baseball.
The 2007 version just over did it. Celebrations that would make Ochocinco cry and a pair of juiceheads not even Snooki would touch were just the tip of the iceberg.
Artest led the charge, literally, into the hate world, as he, Jermaine O'Neal and Stephen Jackson took the elegance out of the Palace.
I'm surprised the nickname "The Animaniacs" never caught on for those three. They were as close to whacking each other with mallets for laughs as any team in NBA history
Roger Clemens hurling a chunk of a bat at Mike Piazza in the Subway Series didn't exactly label this team as a fan favorite.
It's hard to get people to turn off the World Series, but judging by the fact that this series got the worst TV ratings in the championship's history, the Yankees managed.
To be fair to Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, this team is hated solely because LeBron James took his talents to South Beach.
However, they've become the NBA's public enemy number one. The Superfriends are actually the Legion of Doom.
Claude Lemieux could be the dirtiest player in NHL history, and he set the tone for the Avalanche.
Or maybe it's a mudslide.
Rasheed Wallace whined more than a trip to Napa Valley, and set an NBA record of 41 technical fouls.
Which makes teammates charging the head coach and saying fans don't matter seem like non issues.
Oakland under Al "Just Win, Baby" Davis haven't received the national love that many other classic NFL teams have.
Stealing a game from the Patriots in the playoffs with one of the most ridiculous calls in football history cost these Raiders that chance.
Winning the BCS title game on a very controversial pass interference call would have been enough to sour any football fan on these Buckeyes.
When Maurice Clarett started his downward spiral, those fans went back to sweet.
Vengeance is good.
This team had an unbelievably cocky side, and pulling off the treble (winning the Premier League, FA Cup and Champions League) brought even more contempt to England's glamorous club.
They also had David Beckham, which should push everyone on the fence over to the hate side.
Yes, these Hoyas were known for their intimidating size and brutal strength down low.
That still doesn't make it okay for fans to show up with banners covered in racial epithets.
In fact, nothing makes that okay.
Owner Charlie Finley paid Mr. Fingers to grow that mustache and insisted two of his players only be referred to by their nicknames because he thought the team needed more flare.
What really ticked people off, however, was that this joke of a team just kept winning. They won their third straight World Series with the seriousness of a Barnum & Bailey act.
A Christian Laettner-led Blue Devils crew was on television nearly every week, as college basketball talking heads fell in love with Duke.
Which is weird, because falling in love with kids who do this is normally something Roman Polanski would do.
Redefining the word "uncontrollable," the Hurricanes' first possession in the Cotton Bowl began as a first-and-40 due to two unsportsmanlike conduct penalties.
At least one was intentional, as Robert Bailey went out of his way to knock out a Texas kick returner.
Sounds like a nice bunch of fellas.
Winners of 108 games, the Mets made sure they would never be known for their professional performance.
Why else would they get into four on-field brawls and a quarrel in nightclub, trash one of their flights and nickname part of their team "the Scum Bunch?"
The NFL's only undefeated team makes itself hated more and more every single year.
Why? Because they just won't shut up about "Perfectville." No one cares about the champagne-popping, Mercury Morris and Co.
The Knicks played every game the exact same way: rough. They probably used sandpaper to wipe the sweat away.
So when the NBA decided to change rules to increase scoring by calling more hand-check fouls on the perimeter, how do you think key tough guy Anthony Mason described the game?
The Runnin' Rebels lived true to their name: They ran up the score, including a 30 point beat down in the championships game, and they ran their mouths.
The team will also continue to run from the law. Numerous allegations still hover around the team, and the suspicion of scandals in college hoops may have started in Vegas.
Another one of those teams that either makes you smile or grind your teeth.
Fact is, when this team lost its title hopes to Boston College in a nail biter, writers in other parts of the country stopped their coverage and cheered openly.
That's hate, folks.
The Patriots spent most of the season calling any person that merely spoke the words "New England" disrespectful.
Which is ironic, because the Pats ended up being the disrespectful ones by cheating in the Spygate scandal.
They got their just desserts, however, as the Giants sent them home from the Super Bowl. 18-1.
"The Broad Street Bullies" might be one of the best nicknames in sports, but with it, came great hate from hockey fans continent-wide.
Being called "everything evil about the game" is something only Hannibal Lecter would be proud of.
When Vince Young ran across the goal line for the go-ahead touchdown in the BCS Title Game to beat the Trojans, many sighed in relief that USC would not win everything.
And when Reggie Bush had to relinquish his Heisman trophy from this year, those same people just laughed in bliss.
Germany really thought they could put a blond wig on Woody Harrelson, call her Kornelia Ender, have her win three individual medals and get away with it?
Sorry, but when the athletes make Barry Bonds' head look small, there's definitely doping going on.
With 22 radio and television stations dedicated to America's team, the Cowboys were only slightly below Justin Bieber in daily news coverage.
Also, they allowed Jimmy Johnson to coin the worst phrase in sports: "How 'bout them Cowboys!"
Now, we are stuck listening to him every weekend. Lucky us.
The fact that Will Smith and Martin Lawrence share the title of "Bad Boys" with these Pistons is an insult to Detroit.
If you thought the movie had a lot of dirty play, just watch some of Laimbeer and Co. Their brand of hoops makes the arena look more like a really large boxing ring.
George Steinbrenner called this assemblage of Yankees "the best team money can buy," setting the hate-able demeanor for the franchise.
Boston fans probably hate these Yanks more than any, as they erased a huge deficit in the AL East to tie the division with the Red Sox and then walked off in the one-game playoff thanks to the man in the picture.
Bucky "F&*%$@" Dent.
Is it coincidence that a Jimmy Johnson-coached, Michael Irvin-led team made the list twice?
Maybe, maybe not.
What isn't a coincidence is that nearly everyone became a Penn State fan on Jan. 2, 1987, and cheered when Vinny Testaverde showed up with the accuracy of an AK-47-toting infant.
Beating the Russians united the U.S. like nothing since WWII.
In a totally unrelated manner:
"In Soviet Russia, hockey slap shot you!"
These fellas opened the door to scandal in Major League Baseball, and as fans can tell, the sport's better for it.
I meant much worse. Disgracing America's pastime is unacceptable.
In one of the biggest travesties in sports history, the Soviets got three attempts for a hail mary pass and hoop at the buzzer and scored on their final try to send the U.S. home with a silver medal.
Which the Americans never picked up. An amazing gesture.