In the NBA today, the media focuses in on the stars like Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, and Dwyane Wade.
But, there are players who play hard and put up solid numbers but who are ignored because they either play in a small market or they remain in the shadow of a star.
Because I dislike seeing these players continue to go unnoticed and be unappreciated by the fans and the media I have decided to create this slideshow as a tribute to the hard workers.
So, without further ado, let us begin!
This particular pick may draw a bit of ire.
I picked Mike Bibby for this particular one because, in the grand scheme of things, he goes relatively unnoticed. Bibby is an extremely hard-working guard who plays the game with passion and enthusiasm.
And although he may not put up the Joe Johnson-like numbers, he is still a very important piece of this team. He has always been a solid three-point shooter and has always had good assist numbers.
He is a veteran who has been around on a team full of young talent. Bibby has been vital to the Hawks success. Ever since he arrived in Atlanta in 2007, the Hawks have been a phenomenal team.
Coincidence? I think not.
There had been rumblings that Jeff Teague was, and still is, knocking on the door, but I hope it is not the case as I feel Teague is not a suitable replacement for the Hawks. Bibby is an important part of this team and always has been. He has just gone unappreciated, underrated and unnoticed on a team of young stars.
Obviously Beno Udrih is not a household name. In fact, it is just a weird name and one that is actually quite fun to say.
Anyway, Beno Udrih has been a model of consistency throughout his entire career. Unfortunately, he has never really gotten the opportunity to prove himself. In San Antonio he was stuck behind the cheating and lying Tony Parker and now he is behind the young star in Tyreke Evans.
Some might say that his numbers aren't very impressive and that is true. But he hasn't gotten many minutes or many touches for that matter because of Evans.
When Evans was injured last year, Udrih exploded and was great. He averaged a ton of points and shared the rock. But now that Evans is back, Udrih has taken a backseat again.
I feel it is unfair to keep Udrih in Sacramento and that he should be traded to a team where he would get more minutes.
Andrei Kirilenko's numbers will never shock you, nor should they ever, considering the amount of talent on the Utah Jazz team.
Andrei, more affectionately known as AK-47, has been with the Jazz organization for almost 10 years now. The Utah Jazz have consistently been one of the best teams in the NBA for a very long time.
Like I said, Kirilenko's numbers aren't jaw-dropping, but they are what the Jazz need. The awkward looking Kirilenko brings intensity, spirit and an overall love for the game when he steps on the floor, and his style of play fits in with what the Jazz are trying to do.
Kirilenko knows his role and he plays it to the utmost perfection. But with stars like Paul Millsap, Al Jeffreson, and Deron Williams, outside of Utah, AK-47 goes largely unappreciated.
Without AK-47's contributions to the Jazz organization, they may not be as good as they are today. And what they are is one of the elite teams in the NBA.
Nene Hilario is one of a very select group of players in the NBA who comes from Brazil. He also has one of the coolest names in the NBA. It makes you laugh when you say it.
Like Kirilenko, Hilario has spent his entire career with one team (Denver Nuggets) and has always known his role. He has never been the star on a team that includes the media men Carmelo Anthony and even Chauncey Billups in some ways.
What Hilario has been is one of the most consistent players in the NBA. He has always brought the same passion and fun-loving attitude to the floor and that is why people love him.
But, like everyone else on this list, he remains unappreciated and underrated on a team of stars such as Carmelo Anthony.
The Chicago Bulls are one of the most covered sports teams in terms of the media in the NBA. Like New York they have always been the center of the attention and have always had a lot of pressure on them.
The Bulls have a lot of talent on their team and the majority of the media attention they get seems to focus on their point guard Derrick Rose (understandably so) and the injured Carlos Boozer.
One name that doesn't get mentioned a lot is the awkward and quiet-looking Joakim Noah. Noah has played with the Bulls for four years. He has been mentioned in trade rumors but other than that has remained ignored.
Noah has been an excellent defensive presence for the Bulls while he has been with them and has always been tops in the league in all the major defensive categories.
This year has been no different. Except, this year, Joakim Noah has developed a legitimate offensive game making him even more dangerous. So far, he has averaged 15.6 points per game, 13.2 rebounds per game, and a really good 1.5 blocks per game.
It is hard to believe that someone who plays in such a big market goes relatively ignored. He is unappreciated and unnoticed. It is a shame.
I was hesitant to put Josh Smith on this list for several reasons but, I decided that it would be a shame not to.
Josh Smith is one of the budding young stars in the NBA today. He plays the power forward position for the Atlanta Hawks.
Josh Smith is a complete player to say the least. Every game he seems to contribute a ton of points, a lot of rebounds, a lot of blocks, and even a few assists.
His numbers don't scream All-Star or legend but he is still very young. Although he does very well, he plays on a relatively-ignored Atlanta Hawks team in terms of media with the exception of Joe Johnson.
Not a lot more to say, really, except it is sad.
Luol Deng has been with the Chicago Bulls for about six years now and has been a vital part of their team.
He has been extremely consistent throughout his time in the NBA and plays as an over-sized shooting guard or small forward. Deng has a knack for getting a lot of rebounds at his position and still getting a ton of points.
Even with the arrival of such players as Joakim Noah, Derrick Rose, Ben Gordon (gone now) and John Salmons (also gone), Deng has been a great player.
He plays the game with fire and passion and is an overall scary-looking guy. He has been vital to the Bulls somewhat moderate success and has benefited from having Rose in the backcourt. So far this year, Deng is averaging close to 20 points per game and about seven rebounds per game. Even with the injury to Boozer, Deng has been keeping the Bulls afloat as they wait for his return.
Russell Westbrook has been one of the best point guards in the NBA ever since his arrival with the Oklahoma City Thunder just a few years ago.
Together, he and Kevin Durant have turned the franchise completely around and into a potential championship team. Now, I don't really have to say that Durant grabs a lot of media attention, but Westbrook goes relatively unnoticed.
On a team with not a lot of big names or experience, he and Kevin have become true leaders and have lead their team into the playoff picture.
Just on a side note, the other night, Russell Westbrook scored 43 points against the Indiana Pacers.
Anyway, so far his season he has averaged about 23 points per game, 8.3 assists per game, two steals per game, and has been generally spectacular.
Luis Scola, in my mind, has been so good for so long and it frustrates me to see him get such little recognition. Scola has been one of the better power forwards in the NBA for the last little while.
The Houston Rockets have always had little mentioned about them in the media with the exception of Yao Ming. This year the Rockets haven't been nearly as good, but in the past they have been, and Scola has been vital their success.
He has never been the scoring king but, like I said, he has been consistent. He has always grabbed a lot of rebounds and played solid defense. This year it has been different for Scola as his game as improved even more. As of yesterday, Scola is averaging 21.5 points per game and 9.5 rebounds per game.
Luis Scola has been the lone bright spot on what has been a really disappointing season for the Houston Rockets team so far. Hopefully he gets some recognition this year and maybe, just maybe, he may get a chance of making the All-Star team for once. It would be nice.
The Los Angeles Lakers have been one of the best teams in the NBA for an extremely long time. The majority of the media attention, if not all, has always been focused on Kobe Bryant, his troubles and his accomplishments.
Some of the leftover media scraps have been left to the players like Gasol and Ron-Ron. There is no doubt that those players are vital to the success of the Lakers, but there has been one player who has gone unnoticed in the grand scheme of things and that has been Lamar Odom.
Lamar Odom has been with the Lakers since 2004 and has been used as a bench player and as a starter when players have gotten injured. Although he has been a bench player, his numbers have always been consistent and good.
Personally, I have always thought that Odom had the best chance of getting triple-doubles. He has been average when it comes to points, but his rebounds and assists numbers have been spectacular, especially considering his size. He displays great leadership and commitment. He plays with passion, fire, intensity, and enthusiasm. He is vital to the success of the Lakers and their hopes of a three-peat.
Odom, because of the players that surround him, gets little media attention or recognition.