December 27, 2011
LeBron still enemy No. 1
By fans? By players? Different answers.
With fans, LeBron James, whether he chooses to wear the tag of villain or not, is public enemy No. 1 for the way he changed the free-agency landscape and announced his decision.
When it comes to players, Raja Bell has a unique way of getting under players' skin. Zaza Pachulia would be a close runner-up.
As far as most embraced from the public perspective, few maximized their visibility during the lockout as well as Kevin Durant, whose marketing people could not have done a better job.
With players, there is enduring respect for Grant Hill and how he persevered through career setbacks while maintaining sportsmanship in his play.
Garnett is all bark
Los Angeles Times
In one poll released recently, Kris Humphries was the most hated player in the NBA.
Is it because he married Kim Kardashian and they filed for divorce less than 21/2 months later?
Certainly, LeBron James remains one of the most hated in the league because of last year's "Decision."
Another player on the hate list is Kevin Garnett.
Garnett is known as a constant trash talker during games. But he always seems to talk his smack to players smaller than his 6-11 frame and to European players.
No one in the NBA is afraid of Garnett.
They just think he's a fake tough guy.
Nowitzki, Hill personable
The NBA is filled with players who elicit both positive and negative feelings.
Dirk Nowitzki, Grant Hill, Manu Ginobili and Tyson Chandler are some of the more personable and liked players in the league. Nowitzki might still be glowing from all the love he received after winning his first championship.
LeBron James and Chris Bosh are on the other end of the spectrum, merely for joining forces with Dwyane Wade in Miami to create must-see TV.
Kobe Bryant, for all his greatness, is a polarizing figure. Some respect his toughness and will to win. Others view his intensity and competitiveness as over the top. Perhaps those observers are jealous of his success?
LeBron makes both lists
So you want to know who the NBA's most liked and disliked players are. What is this — high school? An episode of "Glee"?
LeBron James, of course, makes both lists. That's how versatile he is.
Kevin Garnett gets under a lot of people's skin with his fake tough-guy act. Ron Artest/Metta World Peace is still a villain to some who remember the brawl. J.J. Redick, carrying the Duke gene, is booed everywhere.
Kobe Bryant is universally loved, rebounding from a sexual assault charge years ago. Dwight Howard has led in All-Star balloting, but he'll lose his membership in the Good Guy Club with Magic fans if he exits Orlando. Popular Grant Hill could run for office, and should.
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