5 Alex Rodriguez – New York Yankees
Unlike most of the other guys on the list, A-Rod is the one guy who is hated in spite of wanting nothing more than to be loved… or maybe because of it. In any case, throughout his entire career Alex has shown his desire to be held in the same regard as a guy like Derek Jeter, but he just can’t seem to get there. He’s like the dude who’s probably totally harmless, but he calls you to hang out so often, you just can’t help but want him to go away.
4 Sean Avery – New York Rangers
Sean Avery is exactly like the worst guy you went to high school with. He’s the jacka** who teabagged you when fell asleep at the party and then tried to hook up with your sister. He’s Stiffler on skates. Hockey players are supposed to be workman-like and stoic. Avery wears giant sunglasses, unnecessary scarves, and has sections on his Wikipedia page entitled “Racial Slur,” “Legal Issues,” and “Fashion Interests” (which should really just be consolidated into one section called “Buttmunchery”). He even had a new NHL rule instituted that says you’re not allowed to screen a goalie by standing in front of him and dancing around like a dork (loose translation). And no joke, it’s called “The Sean Avery Rule.”
3 Jonathan Papelbon – Philadelphia Phillies
Papelbon may have been a much bigger contender for the top spot a few years back, you know, back when he was actually an effective pitcher. Somehow, he believed that taking 10 minutes between pitches and pursing your lips like a Jersey Shore chick getting her new profile pic taken qualified as intimidation, and for a while, it worked. He was one of the game’s best closers until everyone put all his crap aside and realized he wasn’t very good at pitching, then they hit every ball he served up. Now he just puts three guys on base every inning and somehow still manages to record the save. Which makes him what? That’s right, even more unlikeable than before.
2 LeBron James – Miami Heat
Not too long ago, LeBron was a runaway winner here. When he dumped Cleveland on national television with enough smug self-satisfaction to fuel Donald Trump for a lifetime, anyone who didn’t root for the Heat thought he was the worst man on the planet. Since then, fixing his attitude and playing absolutely out of his mind on his way to a ring has helped repair his reputation a bit, but we’re still wary. Mostly because that Samsung commercial where he goes and hangs at the barbershop feels way too much like someone’s desperate campaign to convince us all he isn’t a complete ass, and let’s just say, we’re not convinced.
1 Kobe Bryant – Los Angeles Lakers
You just know that Kobe Bryant is the type of guy who hears that he’s topped a most hated list and he absolutely revels in it. Which is part of the reason so many people hate him. It seems he wouldn’t have it any other way because he knows that you don’t like him and he loves it, and that’s why he tops the list. In the end, Kobe is the most hated because he’s so damn good and it makes anyone who isn’t a Lakers fan wish he’d fall of a cliff. In the long run, it’s likely we’ll all look back at him the way we do with Jordan — we despised him for torching our teams but we’ll respect him when his career is done. But today, he’s still playing; so let’s just go right on hating him.