Presenting the 2010-11 All-Despised Team
It is nearly the All-Star break, and sportswriters from around the country are compiling lists of which players should win which awards.
That’s all fine and good, but what about the players who have distinguished themselves in other areas? What about the players who have generated so much ill will that the skies temporarily darken every time those players’ names are mentioned?
Okay, so maybe that last statement is a bit hyperbolic, but the fact remains that a number of NBA players have been doing themselves no favors in the public relations department this season. That being the case, here are the players who have made the 2010-11 All-Despised Team up to this point.
G LeBron James :
James gets listed at guard to make room for some deserving forwards, and since he handles the ball more than many point guards, it’s not too much of a stretch.
Ever since his ill-fated “Decision” broadcast that informed the world that his talents were headed to South Beach, James has walked around with a bulls-eye on his back. The vitriol is worst in Cleveland, but seemingly everywhere he goes, someone has something to say. Whether it is a specific insult, such as a fan recently asking whether James’ mother is headed to Boston for Valentine’s Day (a reference to the rumored relationship between James’ mother and Delonte West last season) or just a chorus of boos raining down on the NBA’s former Golden Boy, James is this season’s Public Enemy No. 1 — and it’s not even close.
G Deron Williams :
Seen as a classy player since his rookie season in 2005, it didn’t take long for perceptions to change upon the resignation of Utah Jazz fixture Jerry Sloan. Rumors began to swirl almost immediately that Williams had somehow forced the legendary coach out of Utah, and that is all it took for fans to turn on him as he received a mixed reaction of cheers and boos during his first game at home since Sloan’s departure.
It will take more evidence of his direct (or even indirect) involvement to truly cement Williams’ place amongst the more reviled players in the NBA, but he’s certainly on the right track.
F Kevin Garnett :
The best place to start with Garnett would have to be the beginning, specifically Nov. 2. That is when Garnett supposedly called Detroit Pistons’ forward Charlie Villanueva a cancer patient during a game. Villanueva’s accusation sparked outrage in fandom and led to various Celtics’ figures running damage control, from Celtics president Danny Ainge claiming that Garnett actually said “you are cancer” during a radio call-in to WEEI to Garnett himself saying that he called Villanueva a cancer.
While those explanations from Celtics management didn’t exactly convince anyone of Garnett’s innocence, the dust had finally started to settle when Garnett was ejected from a Jan. 28 match-up with the Phoenix Suns after swatting Suns forward Channing Frye in the groin on a jump shot. The play stirred the pot once again and had everyone talking about whether Garnett is a dirty player or not.
Oh, if he could just heed the advice of Chicago’s Joakim Noah and “be sweet.”
F Carmelo Anthony
This is an interesting case. Anthony does not conjure the same harsh feelings from fans as the others on this list, but his continued refusal to sign a three-year, $65 million dollar extension with the Denver Nuggets has bred some malice amongst Denver fans. By seemingly trying to force his way out of Denver and into New York or nearby whereabouts, the fans have taken it as a slap in the face, resulting in some boos here and there for the Nuggets’ young star.
However, if he is traded before the deadline (and especially if he winds up in New York), he will get a scaled-down version of what James experienced upon his return to Cleveland as a member of the Miami Heat. The anger is on simmer at the moment; it would just take one nudge for it to boil over.
C DeMarcus Cousins
Only a rookie and already he had done something few others have — alienate so many people in such a short amount of time.
From his “choke” sign late in a December game against Golden State that his own team eventually choked away to his pouting to his being kicked out of practice to his fight with teammate Donte Greene in the locker room after a loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder, his immaturity has been everything we were warned about in the weeks leading up to the 2010 Draft. Due to this, he is burning bridges left and right with his coaches, teammates, and fans at rates not seen since Allen Iverson was still in Philadelphia.
Many rookies enter the league as immature children before growing up, and there’s no reason to believe that Cousins can’t do the same. But if he doesn’t, then he may very well be on future incarnations of this list for years to come.
By: Eric Lorenz
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