No Athletes Inspire as Much Devotion as the Ones I Love to Hate


#21

This is such a perfect way of describing Marchand.

I mean, I was cheering for the Bruins over the Leafs, but if that 3rd period of Game 7 would have gone differently, I would have loved to see the loss rubbed in Marchand’s face constantly.


#22

Like every single one of these articles about sports the only thing I can relate with is wrestling but let me tell you AJ Styles is an actual bad person but the day where he takes his last uppercut, kick, head-butt, etc. to his nuts I will actually be pretty bummed out.


#23

I’m a Raptors fan and I hate Paul “The Truth” Pierce.

I grew to despise him in the first round game one in 2014. Then he broke my heart by hitting this shot a few years later in another playoff series. Despite being retired he still pops up doing analyst work where he casts doubt over the Raptors.


#24

It is taking literally every ounce of my self control to not become The Russell Westbrook Defender in this thread. Suffice to say that we are all lucky to be alive at the same time as Russ.

Ross Barkley, formerly of Everton, is one. Ever need someone to injure a player on the team you root for, like clockwork, every time they play? He’s your guy. Marouane Felliani, for similar reasons. Every Patriots small slot receiver that looks like they should be showing apartments somewhere, for obvious reasons.

As I was thinking of this, I realized this is one of the major things that draws me to sports management games. I can still remember that Carlos Vela was good for a goal against me every time I saw him in Football Manager 09 My current Motorsport Manager 2 villain is a driver named Florencia Santa Ana. The game wouldn’t be the same if I wasn’t constantly jockeying with her for position on the podium.

I do have to say that, sometimes a player who elevates himself through hard work truly elevates himself. Rob mentioned Matthew Dellavadova and I would have to make the argument (see the table below), that through his play he has truly elevated himself to the elite of the sport.


#25

huge Westbrook fan, but calling it “high school basketball” is a high quality burn and i respect it.

Anyway, as for me response to this question is easy: whichever undeniably gifted player knocked KU out in the tournament this year. I will go to my grave cursing Anthony Davis’ name. DiVincenzo is my enemy.


#26

it implies that Russell makes most NBA players look like middle schoolers whose bodies haven’t changed, and yeah, im here for that comp


#27


#28

Speaking of athletes, who, in their prime, I loved to hate!!!


#29

I find it almost impossible to hate any basketball player, but that’s probably because I’m from Baltimore so my loyalty to any single team isn’t all that strong.

Football is a different story, I don’t think there’s an athlete that’s easier to hate than Tom Brady.
edit: actually put me on the spot and I’d be pressed to find many quarterbacks I 100% liked.


#30

In writing these down, the players I love to hate are foils of my favorite athletes in a given sport.

When I was a child, Omar Vizquel was my baseball hero and could do no wrong, so growing up in an era surrounded by constant accolades for Jeter and the Despicable Yankees was extremely frustrating.
My baseball consumption has fallen off in my adult years. So currently, Cristiano Ronaldo holds my ire as the player I most love to hate. His talent and work ethic are undeniable, but any time anyone puts him in the same stratosphere as Lionel Messi, my blood boils a bit.

Adjacent: In my eyes, Pep Guardiola turned football into an art. In the late 2000’s his tactics and footballing philosophy of holding possession paramount were perfectly juxtaposed against Jose Mourinho’s counterattacking masterclass at Real Madrid. This created another foil for me to love to hate and when the two wound up in Manchester together I was absolutely thrilled. Watching his football dominate that city thrilled me for many reasons, not least of which being the humiliation of the “Special One”.


#31

also Shaquille O’neal, as a foil to Steve Nash.
As a smaller kid I grew to admire athletes with finesse and skill over the physical marvels of the sporting world. Shaq would post up, receive a pass, booty-bump his way under the basket, and toss it in for 2. To this very small boy it looked very much like bullying.


#32

As a fellow Westbrook hater that Jazz series was a thing of beauty. It embodied everything I love about basketball and encapsulated everything I dislike about Westbrook. A team with no all-stars used good schemes and unselfish play to beat three superstars chucking up contested long 2’s. There were two game where the Thunder had more turnovers than assists. Zach Lowe had a great breakdown of Westbrook’s struggle and where the Thunder can go from here.


#33

I’m gonna hop on board and agree, obviously, with Tom Brady and add in Bill Belichick. I understand that part of it comes from them winning all the time, but also I just don’t like them? Which is weird in part because I went to college at what many see as the college equivalent of New England: Alabama. I also really don’t like the Cowboys, but that’s mostly because Jerry Jones is the literal worst.


#34

donovan mitchell or not knowing this guy stans for the jazz means I won’t ever


#35

Agreed. I will also say that in general I tend to hate sports/sports star fans more than the star themselves. Westbrook plays like, the opposite brand of basketball as what I like to see- lots of passing and ball movement, the sum of the team ending up being better than its individual parts - but also, the lengths that Westbrook fans will go to defend his play exacerbates my dislike and forms it into something approaching the villainy rob talks about in the article. Not only does he play for triple doubles he also takes an absurd amount of shots, including horrible contested deep twos and threes (hes shooting 31%! He’s not even a great three point shooter!). Yet despite all of this he gets most of the credit when okc do well and yet none of the blame when they don’t; the list of excuses and other sources of blame are endless (he has no help, his coaches don’t install any kind of offensive system, his teammates can’t shoot, etc etc) despite the fact that almost every aspect of his team has changed over the years and he has never really played any differently.

I’m not going to say Westbrook is terrible, but that he is overrated, his MVP should have gone to James Harden, triple double averages are a terrible record to judge the quality of a player by, and of all the stars in the NBA he’s probably the one I’d least want my team to have help me win a championship. His athleticism is remarkable and when he starts popping off hes a unique player to watch but yeah, can’t help but hate him.


#36

I’m really doing my best not to respond to the Westbrook hate in this thread and not be the stan that proves your point as he’s my favorite player but the idea that he doesn’t get blamed when they lose is pretty specious and counter-indicated by NBA Twitter and NBA Media in general. A Zach Lowe article blaming Westbrook for the Thunder’s shortcomings is linked 3 posts up.


#37

Fair, my wording on that was pretty poor. I guess I meant to say that argument applies more to the group of people I was speaking to, who are employing those arguments following their loss to the Jazz.

I guess what I’m saying is that with a lot of other athletes fans of that athlete can admit their faults; there isn’t a large fanbase of Ben Simmons fans claiming that his lack of a jump shot doesn’t hurt his game, I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone defend James Harden after the rockets lost horrendously last year. Yet I see Westbrook fans leap to his defense after every criticism, a lot of responses to Lowes article linked above do that very thing, fans claim Westbrook’s lack of utility off ball isn’t a huge issue, blame the coaches for a lack of ball movement despite the fact that there have been coaching changes without any change in OKC’S offense, defend Westbrook’s inconsistent/lackadaisical defense by talking about his offensive load, etc.


#38

The thing that is fascinating about Westbrook is that it feels like all of his worst features are all of his best features looked through a different lens, or vice-versa. You can get mad at him for throwing up bad shot after bad shot on an elimination game or you can say he’s forced to play hero ball because the two superstars that were supposed to be around him vanished (be they Durant and Harden on the big picture or PG and Melo on the recent series). You can say his team will never be a real contender focusing so hard on a kinda low-efficiency shooter, and you can say his team is only as good as it is because he drags them there through sheer force of will. He’s the perfect “love to hate” guy: his flaws are often evident and yet they are also the same things that make him such a good player.


#39

I did look up some stuff afterwards which made my post incorrect. Aaron Boone was injured at the time and Alex Rodriguez filled in for (And eventually replaced) him at third. The Rangers passed on Canó for Joaquin Árias, so that was a Thing. Canó being one of the best second basemen around definitely made the decision to move Jeter more difficult, so he too became entrenched at short much to the detriment of defense.

Still doesn’t make the idea of Jeter winning Gold Gloves any less ridiculous though!

Yeah, I didn’t make it clear I meant public haha. Yankees FO definitely knew but they couldn’t do anything about it since they had nowhere else to stash Jeter (I doubt perception would’ve been great if they had him DH at age 30)


#40

DRAYMOND FUCKING GREEN

Look, I know, Draymond is the quintissential player you love on your team and hate on another, yada yada yada. But, goddammit, he is so unbelievably douchey. From his incessant nut kicking, to obnoxious gloating while standing the most talented team of all time… It’s just…It’s just so unappealing, and worst of all they win. It would be so much easier if Draymond was a loud mouth dirty player on a normal great team but the fact that he gets to do it on the Golden State Warriors makes the whole thing that much worse.