Over the years, many larger-than-life sports figures have been despised by the masses for simply doing what they get paid to do — winning! Kobe Bryant is one of them. But why are he and other incredibly gifted entertainers looked upon in such a negative light? Is it their will to win which trumps many others in their field? Is it their ability to beat the opposition? Is it flat-out hatred for someone who excels at what he does?
Kobe hasn’t been the only hated athlete over the years. If you go way back to baseball’s early days, Ty Cobb was the game’s premier hitter, but he also was one of the dirtiest. Therefore, players as well as fans were quick to give the Georgia Peach a hasty Bronx cheer. Fast-forward to present day, where the most hated athlete in any game has to be Alexander Emmanuel Rodriguez — A-Rod, for those who aren’t familiar with the former 1993 Gatorade Player of the Year.
The reason I mention the accolade is due to the fact that it is always easier to knock someone down when all he seems to do is dominate. How could someone hate on someone else for being better? When was the last time you heard someone say a bad word about a perennial backup? It seems like a long shot to have heard someone a few years back ragging on Luis Sojo. Not to take away from what he accomplished over his career, but it just doesn’t have the same ring when you make negative comments about a role player.
Barry Bonds, despite all he accomplished over his stellar career, has experienced backlash his whole life. Not only was he always the best player on every team he ever played on, but he also grew up getting guidance and advice from the likes of Willie Mays, Willie McCovey, Orlando Cepeda and his own father. It appears that a large bulk of Bonds’ backlash came after his steroid speculation — however, he was a shoo-in Hall of Famer before any of those talks began to swirl. He was the first 500 homer/500 steal man in the game (crazy, huh?), a member of the 40/40 club, and he won seven MVP awards.
But it’s his and other hated figures’ desire for excess, essentially, that throws the common sports fan in the opposite corner. The average fan, including myself, wonders why a superior athlete needs to have more when he seems to have it all. Once again, that adds fuel to the fire why fans hate Kobe so much. He was a winner in his past when he had one of the game’s greatest big men in Shaq Diesel. That wasn’t good enough. He drove Shaquille O’Neal out of L.A. It’s also easier to take Bryant down a notch because in his career, he has yet to beat the Boston Celtics when it really counts, and all great Lakers have defeated the Green when it matters most.
Still, I don’t honestly see the Lake Show getting the job done this time around, which will give Kobe haters yet another reason to keep hating on No. 8 … or, I mean, No. 24 (because he’s one better than Mike, right? Wrong!).
This series will end with the Celtics winning in six because Bryant, while being one of the best to ever play the game, may become softer than his recent modeling pictures when he has to look a hungry Celtics team in the eyes with the title on the line.
So who’s going to be the next most hated athlete of this generation? Who knows? Get back to me after July 1, especially if you’re from Drew Carey‘s hometown!
Powered by WordPress.com VIP