Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Who Is The Most Hated Man In Sports?!?

I don't "hate" anyone. That's just too much energy to give off for someone who isn't paying a bill or changing a diaper. Still, there are some folks whom I strongly dislike, and Lebron James would be one of them.

No need to lie, I mostly dislike James for his childish on-court antics during his teams' epic first round playoff battles with the Wizards a few years back. But that's basic fandom, you aren't supposed to like a guy who is largely responsible for sending your favorite team home every Summer, and often does so with the aid of some very lenient officiating when it comes to calling travelling violations. So, all things considered, even after last Summer's disgraceful Lebron-A-Thon, I can only dislike the guy so much.[1]

Not all sports fans are made the same of course, and lots of folks do take sh*t rather personal. While I sorta understood the fury of Cavs fans that culminated in a rash of public jersey burnings and some billboards that weren't very nice to his mother, I think that sorta crossed the line. I mean, seriously, you're so angry at a player that you'll destroy your own sh*t that you worked hard to obtain? What part of the game is that?

Anyways, while Lebron's decision to take his assorted talents to South Beach may have made for good TV, it's been a PR disaster thus far.
Miami Heat guard LeBron James has a lot of work to do on his reputation. That’s at least according to the latest Q Score, released exclusively to CNBC, on Tuesday morning.

In January 2010, The Q Scores Company took a poll of the general population and found that 24 percent of people thought of James in a positive light, compared to a 22 percent negative opinion. Henry Schafer, executive vice president of the company, told CNBC that the average sports personality has a 15 percent positive score and a 24 percent negative score.

Schafer says that now only 14 percent of the general population see him as a positive figure, a 41.6 percent drop, while 39 percent view him in a negative light, a 77 percent decline. In fact, LeBron is now the sixth most disliked sports personality, according to The Q Score Company, behind Michael Vick, Tiger Woods, Terrell Owens, Chad Ochocinco and Kobe Bryant.

“Instead of his change to the Heat being seen as the best way he can win a championship, many have looked at it and how he chose to announce it as a selfish move,” Schafer said.
I find it rather interesting that the NBA is typically derided as a league of unlikeable primadonnas, yet this list is full of NFL players, and a golfer. Go figure. I also can't help but notice another common thread here. Did you also catch it?[2]

Whether this effects Lebron on court remains to be seen. He was one of the few players popular enough to get cheered in all 30 NBA arenas, but that surely will no longer be the case. Will now becoming universal villain effect his ability to execute in the crunch? Prolly not. It's also equally likely that he'll sell a lot more jerseys because folks love pulling for bad guys. He hasn't suffered endorsement-wise, and moving to a bigger market can only bring him more money. So, I guess if he can deal with getting booed, it's a wash.

Question: What athlete can you absolutely not stand? Do you think Lebron's popularity will ever recover from this? Are you equally shocked that Barry Bonds is no longer on the list?

LeBron's Q Score Takes Huge Hit [CNBC]

[1] Now that the Summer Of Bron landed him in the Southeast Division, I'll get to see him trample my team 4 times a year instead of the usual 3. Lovely.

[2] Five brothas and one Halfrican-American. I'm just sayin'.

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