The Most Hateable Players in the NBA PlayoffsBasketball, Columns, The Rev — By Rev. P. Revere on May 2, 2012 at 9:00 am
Every time a game takes place, there is typically one player who stands out as a hateable sort; some deservedly so, and some not. And there is certainly no shortage of hateable players in the NBA playoffs. Here’s a quick rundown of the most “hateable” player in each NBA playoff series.
(1) Chicago Bulls vs. (8) Philadelphia 76ers: Joakim Noah
This one is pretty self-explanatory. Noah is the type of agitator and relentless effort guy that you absolutely love if he’s on your team and absolutely despise if he’s not. One of the best rebounders and defenders, Noah gets under opponents’ skin night in and night out. He also is one ugly human being, with his gap-toothed smirk, ridiculous hair and ludicrous wardrobe. Further, Noah has one of the most hideous shooting strokes in the history of the league. But he’s damn good at what he does, which only makes him more hateable to opposing players and fans.
(2) Miami Heat vs. (7) New York Knicks: Shane Battier
You know, there’s a multitude of players to choose from in this series. J.R. Smith has plenty of detractors. Chris Bosh had a hilarious song inspired by his uninspired play. Melo was villainized for holding the Nuggets hostage. And LeBron James is simultaneously the most hated and beloved player in the league, kind of like Kobe has been his entire career, albeit for different reasons.
But when I read in “The Best American Sportswriting 2010” that Shane Battier quite literally has virtually no friends in the entire NBA, he moved to the front of the list. When your peers don’t even like you, particularly in today’s friendly culture between NBA players, then you must be a hateable guy. It makes sense, seeing as Battier’s primary role is irritating the game’s superstars. It doesn’t help that he went to Duke and that one of his best traits is knowing how to properly take a charge. No one who has ever played a single game of basketball in his or her life likes someone taking (or calling) a charge. Well, no one except Shane Battier. He totally seems like the type of guy who would call a charge in a pickup game.
(3) Indiana Pacers vs. (6) Orlando Magic: Hedo Turkoglu
Yes, Tyler Hansbrough has a poor man’s version of Joakim Noah’s game, but it’s hard to get fired up about anyone on Indiana. The Magic? That’s another story. Dwight Howard has successfully transitioned from a happy, beloved big man who put on entertaining shows in the dunk contest to a moody, whiny superstar who can’t seem to get out of the way of drama.
But, seeing as Dwight is out for the playoffs, the ire shifts to teammate Hedo Turkoglu. For starters, Hedo never looks like he’s exerting any effort out on the floor. He is, of course, but he looks almost in a daze with his style of play. Then, there is the whole fiasco in Toronto, where he quite literally stole millions upon millions of dollars from the Raptors. Finally, the guy blocked a freakin girl in the celebrity game during All-Star weekend in Philadelphia back in 2002. I saw it in person with my own two eyes. What a jerk.