The Most Hated Young Athletes in Sports

Zack Pumerantz@z_pumerantzAnalyst IIINovember 29, 2011

The Most Hated Young Athletes in Sports

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    As the older generation of athletes continues to fade out, there is naturally an influx of new blood ready to make their mark.

    While many are revered for their ability, some are garnering more attention for their agitating traits.

    Whether their pompous auras hinder team chemistry, their eccentricities bother fans or their irresponsible actions aggravate the league, these players are seemingly in the spotlight for the wrong reasons.

    Here are the 20 young athletes (less than five years in the league) who are most despised.


20. DeMarcus Cousins

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    After a promising career at Kentucky, the 6'11" center was chosen with the fifth-overall pick of the 2010 NBA Draft by the Sacramento Kings.

    While he did finish his stellar rookie year with 14.1 points and 8.6 rebounds per game, DeMarcus Cousins' attitude still needs some work.

    During his first season, he was kicked out of practice, benched and left behind after getting into a scuffle with Donte Greene regarding his lack of the ball.

    Insinuating that his opponents are choke artists isn't quite the way to garner respect either.

19. Jimmy Clausen

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    He may have thrown for 8,148 yards and 60 touchdowns during his tenure at Notre Dame, but Jimmy Clausen still looks like a hopeful member of Jersey Shore.

    As he marinates on the bench behind budding star Cam Newton, Clausen will have plenty of time to perfect his craft.

    His fist pump should develop with time.

18. Austin Rivers

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    While many college basketball fans likely judged the child prodigy the moment he committed to Duke, his bloodlines bring the most negative assumptions.

    As the son of 14-year NBA veteran and current Boston Celtics head coach Doc Rivers, Austin Rivers believes that people see him as a "spoiled kid."

    The 2011 Naismith National High School Player of the Year may not worry about his critics, but it'll take consistent production to shut them up.

17. Ricky Rubio

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    Highly regarded as one of the best European prospects ever, Spanish guard Ricky Rubio was taken with the fifth overall pick of the 2009 draft after the Minnesota Timberwolves traded Mike Miller and Randy Foye for the selection.

    The seemingly careless star was ready to sign, considering the T'Wolves had an agreement in principle with his former Spanish team, DKV Joventut, to buy out his contract.

    He eventually backed out, begging fans to likely question the rookie's motives.

    While he is slated to play for the team this year, fans still need to be convinced that this prima donna is serious.

16. Ndamukong Suh

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    While fans can certainly appreciate the former Nebraska star's determination and aggression, a line must be drawn.

    After recording 10 sacks last season and winning Rookie of the Year, Ndamukong Suh essentially changed the nature of the beleaguered Detroit Lions.

    But with his recent stomping of Packers guard Evan Dietrich-Smith on Thanksgiving Day, Suh is being punished by the league for two games

    Fans are undeniably starting to curl their eyebrows in bewilderment with his increasingly dirty play.

15. Stevie Johnson

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    This budding star's lack of focus in key moments has continued to attract negative media attention.

    While fans could seemingly empathize with Stevie Johnson's drop and post-game tweet last season against the Pittsburgh Steelers, his recent antics aren't so appreciated.

    Not only did he mock Plaxico Burress after scoring against Gang Green by pretending to shoot himself, but he dropped two critical passes to potentially win the game.

    His obnoxious representation of Santonio Holmes' flying celebration was a bit superfluous, as the original is aggravating enough.

14. Jon Jones

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    As the current UFC Light Heavyweight Champion and the youngest UFC champion in history, Jon Jones naturally garners plenty of hate.

    However, it's his alleged lack of a genuine humbleness and pious nature that seem to garner even more disdain.

    Some may call it jealousy, others fear.

13. Dez Bryant

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    With the talent to become a legend and the mindset to become a flameout, former Oklahoma State receiver Dez Bryant is only beginning to taste success.

    Six hundred and twenty yards and six touchdowns will certainly garner league-wide attention, but his lateness and character issues from college will continue to haunt him.

    A ring would silence his critics.

12. Brittney Griner

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    While this 6'8" phenom naturally sticks out, Brittney Griner caused plenty of jaws to drop in March of 2010.

    Named the nation's No. 1 high school women's basketball player by in 2009, Griner clearly doesn't let anyone get in her way.

    She was ejected for punching Texas Tech's Jordan Barncastle in the face (breaking her nose) following an uncomfortable arm exchange.

    With Griner wearing a men's 17 or 18 size shoe, Barncastle is lucky it wasn't a kick.

11. Hanley Ramirez

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    With 134 home runs and a .306 career average, potent shortstop Hanley Ramirez may excite the baseball world with his ability, but he worries those same minds with his lack of hustle. 

    Not only was he benched last season, but he refused to apologize for his careless style of play.

    With fiery manager Ozzie Guillen being hired to lead the Marlins, changes seem imminent one way or another.

10. Michael Crabtree

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    After being chosen with the tenth overall selection by the 49ers in the 2009 NFL Draft, former Texas Tech receiver Michael Crabtree decided to try his hand at haggling.

    Without a contract in place, Crabtree eventually became the first rookie since 2005 to not show up for training camp.

    Allegedly prepared to sit out the season and reenter the draft, Crabtree began to alienate excited fans and a hopeful front office.

    Clearly a fairytale start to his career.

9. Patrick Kane

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    This scrappy winger may have 103 goals and 200 assists in four seasons with the Chicago Blackhawks, but Patrick Kane lost plenty of respect when he punched a cab driver for not having correct change.

    Kane and his cousin gave the driver $15.00 and the fare was $14.80. 

    While he was charged with second-degree robbery, fourth-degree criminal mischief and theft of services, the negativity he brought to the NHL was perhaps most detrimental.

8. Andrew Bynum

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    This promising center's career once again reeked of doubt following his flagrant foul of J.J. Barea before a Mavericks sweep in last year's playoffs.

    His selfish approach to an injury-prone past, dirty play and lack of production have led fans to question their main big man.

    This season is a huge test for the 7'0" prodigy.

7. Chris Johnson

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    He may have been the leading rusher since 2008 (4,598 yards) before this season started, but his arrogant approach to getting a new contract must've rubbed plenty of fans the wrong way.

    While he was arguably worth more than the $1.065 million he was set to make this year, the four-year, $53.5 million contract extension he eventually received eclipsed all the odds and undoubtedly hindered any other signings the Titans hoped to execute in the near future.

    Not quite the ideal team player, Chris Johnson hasn't started the 2011 season like he had expected (No. 18-ranked running back with 699 yards rushing).

6. Terrelle Pryor

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    This former Ohio State star may be remembered most for allegedly selling memorabilia, getting suspended and eventually leaving the team and entering the 2011 NFL Supplemental Draft.

    Now with the Oakland Raiders, Terrelle Pryor will have plenty of time to prioritize and work on his craft while riding the bench behind Carson Palmer. 

    He likely has even more work to do with the fans.

5. Tyler Hansbrough

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    While it may be undeserved, the hate surrounding this slothful, yet exuberant former UNC star is undeniable.

    His NBA career with the Pacers so far hasn't been as prolific as his college career, but his work ethic is never questioned.

    Tyler Hansbrough is the model player, yet painful to watch.

4. Mark Sanchez

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    One pass becomes a brilliant play-action completion on the sideline, while the next soars perfectly into the chest of an expectant defender; New York Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez continues to take fans on a rollercoaster ride.

    His fiery leadership and supposed dedication are both exciting, but his baffling mistakes and lack of significant development have led to a questionable future.

    Time will tell whether the former USC star can prove his doubters wrong.

3. Bryce Harper

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    While his hair certainly reeks of a rebellious nature, Bryce Harper's on-field antics are a bit more worrisome.

    This wunderkind had the legend tag placed on his shoulders long before being chosen with the first-overall pick of the 2010 draft by the Washington Nationals.

    His 502-foot home run was obviously impressive, but the obnoxious kiss he blew to minor league pitcher Zachary Neal seemingly counters any ideas that Harper will eventually become a star.

2. Tim Tebow

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    While he is respectful, fearless and iconic, former Heisman Trophy-winning Gator Tim Tebow can't seem to shake off the doubts from his haters.

    His 5-1 record since taking over as starting quarterback for the Denver Broncos is quite impressive, but the media is seemingly still more concerned with his religious values and his lack of an orthodox style.

1. DeSean Jackson

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    While there's no denying his speed, acceleration and open-field elusiveness, DeSean Jackson's celebratory antics are beyond inexcusable.

    His pompous, self-entitled nature seems to haunt his teammates, his coaches and his fans.

    Opposing teams may gasp in awe at his amazing kick returns, but his own team simultaneously clenches in hopes that his excessive celebrations won't garner a yellow flag... or worse.