It is always talked about that everyone hates LeBron James, Ron Artest, Gilbert Arenas, etc...
There are, on the other hand, those players that the fans and the country just love. Whether it's for offseason charity dedication or an admirable play-style, some players simply attract love from the people.
On each slide, two sections will be featured. The first one will say who the fans love the most, and the second section will say who the country as a whole loves the most. In the majority of the cases, that player will fit the slot for both sections, but there are differences. Enjoy!
Agree? Disagree? Comment below.
Fan Favorite: Joe Johnson
No one ever put much faith in the hands of Joe Johnson, but he proved everyone wrong. Every year, he is harshly underrated by all, and every year, more and more people realize what a gem he is for the Atlanta Hawks.
Only the fans who follow the team notice how valuable his 20 PPG really are to the team.
Country Favorite: Josh Smith
Welcome to the block party!
Smith is popular today because of two skill sets he possesses: blocking and dunking. He doesn't just block shots and dunk, however. He does it with swagger, which is why he is where he is today.
Keep watching Smith's game, because he'll keep coming up with absurd plays that really embarrass the victim more than anything.
Fan Favorite: Paul Pierce
Again, not the easiest decision, but with all things considered, he's the only guy who can fulfill the slot as the Boston Celtics fan favorite.
That's what longevity does for a player. He's been with the Celtics since 1998, and was the only upside to the franchise in their roughest patch in history. Then, they finally made trades, bred Rajon Rondo and rose back to glory. The only difference with Pierce is that he's been through it all and is the obvious face of the team until the day he hangs up the jersey.
Country Favorite: Shaquille O'Neal
As much as Ray Allen is loved immensely across the board, Shaq is one of the few NBA players that could beat him here.
Is he a ring-chaser? Maybe, but that's not how we often choose to look at it.
Shaq has been one of the great NBA personalities for forever it seems, and he's still at it. Whether it's checking out his hilarious twitter quotes, or jaw-dropping ESPN commercials, he's one of the most loved NBA players of all time
Fan Favorite: Stephen Jackson
He's one of the biggest hotheads in the league, and while he performs well, it is generally accepted that if his attitude drops, his performance will greatly rise. That's one of the prime reasons why people hate certain NBA players, but this is specific to the Charlotte fanbase.
Fans often go to the games just to see Stephen Jackson in action (i.e. argue with a referee, start a fight, throw a chair).
And, not to mention, he is averaging nearly 20 PPG, and has significant improvements this year in almost every statistical category.
Country Favorite: Stephen Jackson
Hard to put him here, because he's regarded as one of most unlikable players in the league, but that doesn't change his entertaining. Whether you live in New York or Los Angeles, who doesn't like to change the channel to TNT and watch Stephen Jackson freaking out over...well...nothing.
Fan Favorite: Derrick Rose
Pick a reason, any reason.
We can praise him again and again for being the best Chicago Bull since Michael Jordan, the undisputed most valuable and least dispensable leader on the team, and the young franchise player who will be around for a long, long time.
Need I say more?
Country Favorite: Derrick Rose
MVP! MVP! MVP! MVP!
In his first season in the spotlight, Rose hasn't choked under the pressure, or fallen down from the weight on his shoulders. Floating near the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference, the Bulls have performed at the same (if not better) level as teams with "Big Three"'s such as the Heat and the Celtics.
He's the leading MVP candidate, and for good reason.
He's deviated away from trouble thus far, therefore, he's loved by almost all.
Fan Favorite: JJ Hickson.
Almost everyone will call the Cavs the worst team in the league. So who's the fan favorite? He who immediately seems to help your team the most. JJ Hickson.
Country Favorite: Andersen Varejao
The floppy-haired, currently injured Cleveland center is actually, statistically, having one of his best seasons thus far. For some reason, he attracts basketball fans around the country. Maybe it's his intangible impact on the team, or maybe everyone just appreciates the fact that he comes out to play, despite his team's 0.167 win percentage.
Fan Favorite: Dirk Nowitzki
For similar reasons to Paul Pierce, Dirk Nowitzki takes the cake with loyal service to the Mavs since 1998. He's a rare physical talent, and while other stars have came and left during his 12-year tenure in Dallas, no one has ever received the fan love that he has.
Country Favorite: Dirk Nowitzki
Dirk is 7'0'' tall and has averaged 23 points, nine rebounds and three assists throughout his entire career, while maintaining a .887 free-throw percentage, .382 three-point percentage and a .476 career field-goal percentage.
Though he gets older, the numbers stay the same.
Including the fact that he stays out of legal and personal trouble, America will always love Dirk for who and what he's done for the Dallas Mavericks and the NBA.
Fan Favorite: Nene Hilario
The Nuggets are the most, say, awkward team on this list because of Carmelo Anthony and Chauncey Billups leaving. A lot of new guys have come in to town, some even worthy of great hometown love, but not this early (Gallo, Chandler, Felton).
That, for the most part, leaves Nene, Al Harrington, Aaron Afflalo and JR Smith. Harrington hasn't quite been there long enough to make the cut (nor do the fans want him to stay long enough). Don't get me wrong, the Nuggets fans love Afflalo, but he's just an average player at this point of his career.
Then, we have JR. JR Smith is one of my favorite players, but then again, I'm not a Nuggets fan. They're frustrated because they see a ridiculous amount of potential in the still-just-25-yearold shooting guard, but it hasn't yet come to anything.
Leaving only Nene.
Country Favorite: Nene Hilario
Again, more of a process of elimination call than anything else.
Fan Favorite: Richard Hamilton
There is [another] ex-superstar on the roster in Tracy McGrady, but the fans aren't catching him at a good part of his career. Richard "Rip" Hamilton is the only remaining Piston from that incredible 2004-06 run that the fans still love.
Is his production down? Well...yeah, but whose production is up in Detroit, nowadays?
Country Favorite: Tracy McGrady
Even with his nearly eight points per game in 2010-11, he still averages 20 PPG throughout his entire career.
When he leaves the NBA (which may be soon, unfortunately), he won't be remembered as a mediocre Piston. He'll be remembered as a Houston Rockets superstar, because that's where the bulk of his career has been spent.
In fact, the Pistons fans who appreciate the NBA probably love T-Mac as well, but as a fan, you can't say he's more valuable than Rip.
Fan Favorite: Monta Ellis
This was one of the toughest decisions to make in the article. Both Ellis and PG Stephen Curry are adored by the Golden State fan, but Monta slightly edges Stephen out.
This is because of seniority, for the most part. Both are young, but Monta has dominated, shadily averaging at least 25 PPG over his three-year tenure with the Warriors. Curry is a three-point king, and an elusive speedster. He is growing on the fans and is near even with Monta Ellis, but there can only be one.
Country Favorite: Stephen Curry
He's actually one of the favorite NBA players in the country. This dates back to 2007, 2008 and 2009. Davidson college was always a mediocre Division I team, but then they started winning games. It wasn't because of coaching or team chemistry—it was all because of Curry.
Everyone always loves the underdog, they say, and Curry helped Davidson rise to unexpected success, which boosted his stock and love in the NBA draft.
Fan Favorite: Luis Scola
There are both good reasons and bad reasons for the fans loving Luis Scola. The good reason is that he averages 19 points and eight rebounds per game, so he is very valuable to the team. The bad reason, on the other hand, is that they don't realize the sheer importance of another player on the team...
Country Favorite: Kyle Lowry.
Unknown to most, but NBA fans around the country regard him as another one of those breakout players, and if you look at his stats, you'll know exactly what I mean.
Fan Favorite: Danny Granger
A quiet superstar, Granger is very indispensable to the Indiana Pacers. This is yet another team where the fan favorite is the player who most successfully carries the team's weight on his shoulders, which is clearly Granger.
Averaging over 21 points per game, Granger puts up superstar numbers that the Pacers fans appreciate more than the rest of the country.
Country Favorite: Darren Collison
At 6'0'', 160 pounds, many doubted how the former UCLA star would perform in the NBA, making him a bit of an underdog (there's nothing America loves like the success of an underdog).
It's clear that he has a bright future, averaging about 14 points, three rebounds and five assists per game this season. Watch out for him in the upcoming years.
Fan Favorite: Blake Griffin
And it will be for a long, long time. His 22.8 PPG and 12.6 RPG lift him to elite status, but it's not just that. He's also a very valuable player, or so it seems so far (Griffin is still just a rookie). They may not currently be in playoff contention, but Griffin's Clippers has them sitting at a much higher position than they were last year without him.
Country Favorite: Blake Griffin
Not much to say here, but so much to watch. He is the best highlight-reel player in the league, so what's not to love?
(Players around the league hate his physical play-style, but they have no voice here).
Fan Favorite: Kobe Bryant
I could go on and on explaining why he's here, but you all already know that.
The most obvious call on the list.
Country Favorite: Kobe Bryant
This one was not so obvious for two reasons: 1. The rape allegations; and 2. Jealousy.
Kobe has obviously faced a great deal of trouble with the rape allegations, but has quite successfully recovered from that part of his life.
Then comes the jealousy, a lot of it centering around whether he or LeBron James is better. So I analyzed the roster and elminated some players.
It came down to Kobe Bryant and Derek Fisher, but as much as Kobe is hated, the level of love he's obtained through the years is no match compared to Derek.
Kobe Bryant: The most hated and most loved Laker.
Fan Favorite: Rudy Gay
The Grizzlies have been terrible in the past decade, but this season they are finally maintaining a winning record. This is largely because of Rudy Gay's development into an NBA star.
HIs 20 points and six rebounds per game aren't that impressive on paper, but it's the value that he provides.
Country Favorite: Rudy Gay
Among the reasons listed above, Rudy's always been a good guy. He's avoided trouble and is known as a character.
In addition, as the pattern is now well known, his highlight-reel-plays attract positive attention from the NBA fans.
Fan Favorite: Dwyane Wade
Sorry LeBron, but you just haven't been around long enough--or accomplished quite as much. Wade's been with the team ever since anyone can remember, and it was DWade who won a championship for Miami in 2006, not LeBron.
Country Favorite: Dwyane Wade
Eliminate some irrelevant players, give Wade the obvious edge over Bosh, and add all the LeBron haters due to his decision to join the Heat, and Wade is on top.
Not just by process of elimination, though. Wade is a highlight-reel player that not only puts up numbers and fulfills the intangibles, but has a desirable superstar personality.
Fan Favorite: Andrew Bogut
Milwaukee's not so bad (they have decent chemistry, maybe?), but I certainly wouldn't go so far as to say their roster is deep. Bogut's 12 points and 11 rebounds per game are solid numbers.
A lot of people may be thinking "What?! What about Brandon Jennings?!" Think hard about it. He's a sophomore, and his numbers are nothing special. This judgment is likely based on his 2009-2010 55-point performance. Yes, yes, we all remember. But the fans don't like that as much as they like consistent numbers...or playoff appearances.
Country Favorite: Andrew Bogut
Again, believe me when I say that it is hard to call Bogut the most widely-loved player under any circumstances, but take a look at the Bucks roster.
He's been around and make impressions as a solid defender and consistent performer, so the "love" is earned.
Fan Favorite: Kevin Love
Well...obviously. Despite the team's awful record, Kevin Love averages 21.3 points and 15.5 rebounds per game (leads league). He's on the peak of beating the all-time consecutive double-double record of 44. The fans love him because of the positive energy and happy-go-lucky attitude he always possessed, not to mention his stats.
Country Favorite: Kevin Love
Outside of the state of Minnesota, Kevin Love remains loved. The quick improvement consistent play-style give NBA fans a lot to adore.
Fan Favorite: Deron Williams
What? Already? Yes, already! The only other feasible player here would be Kris Humphries, but Williams is just respected at supernatural records.
And Brook Lopez? The 6'11'' center who brings in five rebound per game? I don't think so.
Country Favorite: Deron Williams.
Even with the Jerry Sloan drama, and the trade drama, no one else is as loved and respected as the Nets elite PG, DWill.
Fan Favorite: Chris Paul
Not much argument to be made here. If other loved players and efficient ballers have been through NOLA, the furthest that they have gotten is a complement to CP3.
Country Favorite: Chris Paul
He could be in this slot due to process of elimination, the personality, the multiple all-star appearances, the steals, the assists, the acrobatic plays or the tough defense. But in reality, it's just a combination of them all that makes this placing obvious.
Fan Favorite: Landry Fields
Leave all your hate in the comment box below; I'm prepared to embrace it. Call me a fool, call me ignorant, but when all is said and done, true Knicks' fans favorite player is Landry Fields.
Maybe it should be Amar'e Stoudemire, but logic doesn't always win the battle these days.
He's the best rebounding guard in the league, averaging nearly seven per game, but he also drops just 10 points per game. So what is it?
He can dunk, shoot threes, rebound, but not over Amare. He brings a great personality to the team, but how important is that?
In my opinion, it's the subconscious realization that Landry can be a valuable member of the team for the next decade, and maybe even more.
Country Favorite: Chauncey Billups
Another extremely controversial pick. Some of you will completely agree, saying that Melo is immature and over hyped and that Amare Stoudemire is a conceited baby.
On the other hand, some of you may never have seen such a terrible placement in your lives, claiming that you just gotta love Melo and Stat because of how electrifying they are.
Either way, there are a great deal of haters for the two, and everyone loves Chauncey Billups. Whether he's been young, old, in Detroit, in Denver, in New York, he's stayed out of trouble and gotten done what needed to get done.
Fan Favorite: Kevin Durant
On a lot of teams in the NBA, Russell Westbrook unexpected outbreak or Serge Ibaka's foreign presence could land them a spot on this list, but only the Thunder possess Kevin Durant.
The team management, one of the best in the league, finally committed to rebuilding when they traded away their ex-best player Ray Allen for cap room. They did this so they could draft a franchise player (Durant) and then build around him.
All the recent success for the Thunder isn't just related to Kevin Durant—it's directly because of all the team operations with him at the center point. Why was Russell Westbrook brought to OKC? Kendrick Perkins? Everyone else? To build a team around Durant.
Country Favorite: Kevin Durant
The vast majority of basketball fans love Kevin Durant, and many of them aren't sure why.
Coming out of the University of Texas at Austin, the hype surrounding Durant was colossal, among the most of any NBA player...ever.
So, what did he do? He lived up to it, averaging over 20 points in his rookie season. He is currently coming off a scoring title and surely on the way to another one.
That is what the fans love and respect. His work and determination to live up to the absurd hype bestowed on him coming out of Texas.
Fan Favorite: Dwight Howard
Another one that goes without explanation.
Even if Dwight wasn't a character and an NBA savior, he's one of the few guys who sticks around in Orlando these days.
Country Favorite: Dwight Howard
Longevity, respectable game-play, a positive attitude and an entertaining highlight reel can help earn a spot such as this one.
Fan Favorite: Jrue Holiday
This may come as a surprise to many. On a team with superstar Andre Iguodola and re-emerged center Elton Brand, how is Jrue Holiday the fan favorite?
Well, besides the fact that Andre Iguodola is a money-seeking selfish athlete, he won't be a 76er for much longer (trade), and neither will Elton Brand (age).
Therefore, Holiday is the future. With 14 points, four rebounds and six assists per game, he's a pretty versatile player who should only become a better scorer and passer as the years go by (last year was his rookie season).
Country Favorite: Elton Brand
Elton has been around for a long, long time it seems. The peak of his career took place during his tenure as a Los Angeles Clipper, and the past few years he's been in a bit of a slump. Until this year.
Averaging about 15 points and nine rebounds, it is safe to say that Brand deserves a fair amount of credit for Philadelphia's decent performance this season.
Fan Favorite: Steve Nash
Nash, Nash, Nash. Where to start?
First of all, his numbers are up in 2010 more than every in his career, despite the worst Sun's record in recent memory. But to the fans, it's more than that.
His attitude and skill set is not something you see frequently, not to mention his two NBA MVP awards. He just can't win that title. The Suns fans know that if they win a title with Nash, it's completely because of Nash.
Country Favorite: Steve Nash
Nash is quite the character, as well.
From his parodies and commercials to his soccer background, slam dunk contest helper and Entourage cameo, Nash is everywhere, and it's almost always in a positive way. Take the Fan Favorite description and the Country Favorite description, and you're talking about an excellent person.
Fan Favorite: Brandon Roy
At a national level, Roy's injury and slow recovery have shifted the spotlight off of him, but in the city of Portland, the fans still love him.
In a way, he's saved the franchise from terrible times and restored them back to being a "contending team," though he hasn't really done as much as many fans think.
Roy is a brilliant scorer, but isn't too great at many other aspects of the game. This is not a permanent spot, so keep that in mind. Unless Roy has a miraculous comeback into the spotlight, LaMarcuc Aldridge will take over this spot.
Country Favorite: LaMarcus Aldridge
Right now, the Blazers aren't good because of Brandon Roy; they're good because of LaMarcus Aldridge. He is having a breakout season of the ages, and everyone is noticing it.
People, myself included, love to turn on the TV and not hear about LeBron's triple-double or Kobe's game-winner, but LaMarcus Aldridge's 30-point, 20-rebound night.
Fan Favorite: Tyreke Evans
A 12-38 team, Sacramento sits in the last slot of the Western Conference standings. If they shattered the record for most consecutive wins in a single season from now until game 82, they would likely still miss out on the playoffs. Is there any hope for this franchise? Yes. Tyreke Evans (maybe Demarcus Cousins, too). Averaging 18.3 PPG, 4.9 RPG and 5.5 APG, Evans is the beloved player who keeps the Kings fans engrossed in the game.
Country Favorite: Omri Casspi
Omri Casspi is the NBA's first Israeli player, which has led to a lot of positive publicity. People like the story and like to hear about him and his success, thus making him the most widely-loved player on an ailing franchise.
Fan Favorite: Tim Duncan
Yes, I understand that there are several Spurs players who are loved by the team, but in reality, there's not much argument you can make for a guy besides Tim Duncan. Though he's getting older, I can't see the Spurs being as incredibly successful the past decade they way they were with Duncan at center. He's the messiah for San Antonio, and with Ginobli, Tony Parker and more, the good times keep coming.
Country Favorite: Tim Duncan
Tim Duncan has been around a little longer than Kevin Garnett, is a little better than Kevin Garnett, is more successful than Kevin Garnett, is known as a much greater guy than Kevin Garnett and is more loved on a national level than Kevin Garnett.
Fan Favorite: Andrea Bargnani
Not surprisingly, the most valuable player on a poor team is the fan favorite. His 21.5 PPG and 5.5 RPG are impressive enough to attract love from the fans, but clearly not valuable enough to win a lot of games.
Country Favorite: DeMar DeRozan
This one wasn't easy to decide. I wanted to say Bargani, but that's just not the case. DeRozan, a 2011 Slam Dunk Contest contestant, is a highlight reel player, and while his stats on paper aren't very impressive, the game footage makes him the most widely-loved Raptor.
Fan Favorite: Paul Milsap
For all relevant reasons, read below (note: this was written after Deron Williams' trade to the Nets).
Country Favorite: Paul Milsap
People love to see a story like this. Milsap is the only player to ever lead the NCAA in rebounding for three consecutive years, and maybe four if he didn't declare for the NBA draft after his junior season.
But then he got selected by Utah in the second round, and hasn't amounted to much until this season. His numbers have skyrocketed in almost every major category, and he has outburst performances from time to time that leave the nation in awe.
All Honors In Any Way, Shape Or Form: John Wall
His hype coming out of Kentucky was insane. The 6'3'' point guard sports No. 2 and is the ray of hope on a Wizards team that hasn't been good for a while. He will be great, everyone knows it, so the fans love him.
The world loves him too, however. The infamous "John Wall Dance," the circus moves and the absurd physical talent keeps the country tamed, no matter how poorly the team performs.
Not to mention, his rookie stats are rather impressive, and if not for Blake Griffin, he would likely win rookie of the year.