The NBA is full of athletes that are loved by millions of fans across the country. Wearing jerseys of their favorite players, going to basketball games to see their favorite teams, there is no shortage of passion for the sport. But there is a fine line between love and hate, and in this case, the spectrum is very narrow. These are some of the most hated players in the NBA today:
1. Carmelo Anthony
Once expected to be one of the greats, Anthony certainly lived up to his name. But after 8 years apiece with the Denver Nuggets and the New York Knicks, respectively, he was never able to win a championship. Starting off alongside Allen Iverson in his rookie year, Anthony emerged as a leader for his team as years passed. Unfortunately, for him, his years in a rather cursed Knicks team never became a true championship contender. He really became hated when he requested a trade that landed him with the Oklahoma City Thunder. A year that labeled Anthony as a selfish player basically ended his career. The following year, he was let go after just 10 games with the Houston Rockets, which ruined his chances at any redemption.
2. Draymond Green
A changed man in the 2018-2019 season, Draymond Green was once the Rasheed Wallace of old. This possibly being the reason for the 2016 loss of the Golden State Warriors to the Cleveland Cavaliers. Green was suspended for Game 5 of the Finals which started the spiral towards a comeback win for the opposing team. His suspension came from physicality and what in sports terms, one would call a dirty play, leaving Green to be infamously a dirty player.
3. Kyrie Irving
Once a protégé of LeBron, Irving decided that enough was enough. After an ugly fallout and a media controversy, Kyrie Irving was traded for Isiah Thomas by the Boston Celtics. This trade, unfortunately for both sides, did not work out. Thomas fizzled away with injury and emotional distress. Irving found himself being the new LeBron, guiding young talent that didn’t want to be guided. Ultimately leading to internal conflicts and an untethered team. And finally, in the 2019 offseason, Irving landed in New York with the Brooklyn Nets. The results of that change are yet to be seen.
4. Kevin Durant
Quite possibly one of the most hated players of all time, Kevin Durant is known as the “Snake.” Starting as a candidate of being called the G.O.A.T. as a player for the Oklahoma City Thunder, Durant soon became the subject of ridicule. After a devastating loss to the Golden State Warriors in the 2016 playoffs, Durant chose to sign with the enemy in the following season. Once a warrior, Durant claimed two championships before his season-ending Achilles injury in 2019. Battling through internal conflicts with fellow teammates throughout the season, Durant chose to leave the Warriors and join the New York Nets alongside Kyrie Irving. Although he is expected to miss the entire 2019-2020 season.
5. Russell Westbrook
In the good old days, Westbrook and Durant were teammates. While Durant got most of the attention, Westbrook was the Robin to his Batman. And once Durant controversially left, Westbrook became the hero. Westbrook became the first player since Oscar Robertson to average a triple-double in a season. Not only that but he did it for three straight seasons. However, some say that he is a stat-padder, which makes his effort or lack thereof quite meaningless. There are many videos and criticizers across the media that have proof of Westbrook fighting his own teammates for a rebound. He has also been accused of passing the ball for extra assists even if he has an open shot. Whether one is a fan or a hater mostly depends on how these statistics are viewed.
6. Stephen Curry
For the old school fans, Stephen Curry is a most hated player. Known as one of the players who changed the game forever, Curry’s 3-point shooting has raised the bar. His lethal range is beyond most defences. He is simply one of the most hated players in the NBA because he is too good at what he does.
7. Lebron James
Lebron is one of those players that are either hated or loved. There is no middle ground. His legacy of winning three out of nine of the Finals he’s made it to is remarkable. Not to mention, those nine were back-to-back. Although his legacy is scarred by the fact that he opted to leave his original team, the Cleveland Cavaliers, and joined a super team consisting of Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh. He won two championships with them but returned to the Cavaliers after three seasons. After delivering a championship to Cleveland in 2016, he possibly achieved redemption.
Whether these players are loved or hated is a debate to be had. One thing that is not up for debate is that the most loved or the most hated players in the NBA are greats and future Hall of Famers. They all impact the game in one way or the other and their legacies will be talked about for years to come, even after their retirement.
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