While most basketball players remain likeable and stick to their jobs – stepping on to the court, doing their bit, scoring points for their respective sides and themselves, then leaving after a hard day’s work – there are some who have earned a not-so respectable reputation.
These players have created friction with their teammates and coaches, engaged in fights and activities that at times led to an arrest, or exhibited hostility. They may be immensely skilled in doing what they do, but they have created a persona not as much liked as one would expect from the all-time greats of the game.
Sporting News has compiled a list of 23 players who have, over the course of their careers, managed to build an environment of animosity with their teammates, coaching staff and/or fans.
The man known to have created a stir with his announcement in an ESPN special in 2010 wherein he said he was leaving the Cleveland Cavaliers for Miami Heat. As Sporting News puts it, it was a “public relations disaster from conception to execution.”
Speaking with ESPN, he had said, “Going through my first seven years in the NBA I was always the ‘liked one’ and to be on the other side — they call it the dark side or the villain or whatever they call it — it was definitely challenging for myself.”
Suspensions, fines, and lack of respect for coaching staff are what comprise the story why Rodman is the second most hated NBA player in history. It wasn’t only his friendship with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un – his behavior when he joined Chicago Bulls led to a suspension for 11 games.He was also fined $1 million for kicking a cameraman.
Nevertheless, his contribution is considered significant in the Bulls by winning three titles.
Playing his final game on April 13, the Los Angeles Lakers guard (counted among the Lakers’ best like Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Magic Johnson and Jerry West, Firstpost notes) might be a revered personality on field, but has attracted controversies over his career. He might not have been charged in an alleged sexual assault case filed against him in 2003, but he settled the case and offered an apology.
Commemorating his 20-year career, Nike athletes have put together a video honoring the basketball player.
Some of the other players who found themselves on the list include Bill Laimbeer (#4), Latrell Sprewell (#5), Allen Iverson (#6), Rick Mahorn (#7), and Danny Ainge (#8). The entire list can be viewed here.