Kobe Bryant and the Top 10 Jocks You Love to Hate and Hate to Love
Some guys can just rub you the wrong way.
A select few rub everyone the wrong way, including their own fans. But among those, the hatred sometimes creates an unusual fan base.
Throughout history, athletic competition has provided us with countless heroes and villains. It seems now, more than ever, these men can be one in the same. Here are the top 10 most simultaneously hated and loved sports personalities.
Honorable Mention: Manny Ramirez
Manny Ramirez, or "Man-Ram" as his detractors would refer to him, has the rep of being one of the greatest right-handed hitters of all time.
He also seems to have cheated to get to that point, thereby nullifying any chance of getting into the Hall of Fame.
He's been loved by fans of any team that would have him, from Boston to Mannywood and he could have been the mayor of Boston had he not played his way out of town. After his third PED run-in, he'd have a hard time getting a table at Denny's in Tampa.
10: Sean Avery
Following in the footsteps of players like Chris Chelios and Claude Lemieux, Sean Avery is the NHL's poster boy for guys you love to have on your team but absolutely hate when they play against you.
He's not the most talented player to lace up the skates, but he is one of the most annoying...ask Martin Brodeur.
9: Ozzie Guillen
The fiery manager of the White Sox always has something to say, and he doesn't give a $%^& what you think.
He's honest and speaks from the heart.
It is this braggadocio that puts a spotlight on him, but it also sheds light on a number of baseball's problems as they happen. Baseball could probably use more Ozzie Guillens, not less. Nevertheless, he's also one of baseball's most despised.
8: Jeff Gordon/Tony Stewart Tie
Jeff Gordon has enjoyed a cult following for being a pretty boy from California who was as dominant a figure as NASCAR has ever seen. Jeff Gordon has also been despised for that exact same reason.
Tony Stewart, on the other hand, has won his fair share of races but has been accused of being a dirty driver while doing so. He's also been known as one of the more abrasive figures in racing (a reputation he seems to be shedding). This hasn't stopped his fans from loving him, but he's also as despised as anyone.
7: Kobe Bryant
None of this has any perceivable impact on his performance on the court, but he is absolutely loved by his fans, hated by his detractors and amazes everyone in between with his will to best player on the court .
Kobe, however, also ticks off that same group when he seems to mail it in some nights.
6: Chad Johnson/Terrell Owens Tie
The artist formerly known as Ochocinco is back to being plain old Chad Johnson andnd Terrell Owens is still boring old T.O.
There's not enough space in my hard drive to list the infractions against these two. Let's just agree that they are truly hated....and loved.
5: Alex Rodriguez
A-Rod, A-Fraud, A-Roid, whatever you want to call him, he's done a fantastic job of alienating his entire fan base.
He started out as the fresh-faced kid who was going to destroy every hitting record known to man. After a half-hearted apology for using steroids, much of the general public made up their minds to forget about another cheater.
He's hated for everything from making more money than most small countries to getting hand-fed popcorn by Cameron Diaz at the 2011 Super Bowl.
He's an enigmatic figure, and it will be interesting to see how he holds up as he gets closer to the home run record.
4: Tom Brady
He's won three Super Bowls and is married to one of the hottest models on the planet. He looks more like a GQ cover model than a quarterback. He's everything that everyone else is not.
He helped make the horrible New England Patriots into a perennial NFL power. He was a sixth-round draft pick that actually made it to the big time.
What's there to hate? Tom Brady makes us hate ourselves, so we hate him back even more.
I know I do.
3: Michael Vick
Michael Vick once looked like a lost cause, but he's made great strides to clean up his image.
This doesn't mean the general public can stomach the thought of him. There's a portion of the population that will never forgive Michael Vick for his role in a dog-fighting ring, while it seems the rest are waiting to see if the other shoe drops.
He could end up being the NFL's greatest comeback story or just another waste of space. It's all up to him.
2: Tiger Woods
Tiger's troubles have been palpable, but fans crave his days of domination so much that a return to form could help fans put his sex scandal behind them.
The revelations about Tiger were akin to finding out—well, its magnitude is too great to put into words.
Tiger is the best example of a celebrity with a squeaky-clean persona falling from grace. Lucky for Tiger, the only thing Americans love more than a fall from grace is a resurrection from the depths of despair.
1: LeBron James
From what I can tell, LeBron is hated by everyone on this planet, excluding Miami Heat fans.
But if that's true, why did LeBron just pass Kobe Bryant in jersey sales?
LeBron James is an exciting beast of an athlete who is publicly struggling with the fact that he was once loved by all (or at least by most) for legitimizing Cleveland and subsequently vilified for leaving them at the altar.
He also seems to have a propensity for saying and tweeting every moronic thought that pops into his head, only to retract his statements after being called out by the media and fans.
I don't know anyone who is a fan of his anymore, but obviously someone is.