Friday, February 10, 2012

My Take On the Forbes "Most Disliked Athletes in America" List (Part 2)

It's time to break down "Most Disliked" athletes 6 thru 10 on the annual Forbes list. Continuing from yesterday's list, I will again judge who should or shouldn't be on the top 10 of this list, and arrange their standings accordingly.

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6. LeBron James - I find it so ridiculous that people are so angry at Lebron for leaving the Cleveland Cavaliers. First of all, LeBron was a free agent and had every right to choose where he wanted to play basketball. I'd say waiting for his contract to expire was a lot more classy than the guy that follows him on this list, and Carmelo Anthony, both of whom demanded trades mid contract because they simply didn't want to play with their teams anymore. LeBron felt the same way about the mediocre crew surrounding him in Cleveland, but he stuck it out, and did everything in his power to make them the best team in the NBA his last two seasons there. I am in agreement with those who felt that going to Cleveland's owner and just saying he was done, was better than LeBron leaving him in suspense and announcing it on ESPN. But is that really enough to place him 6th on a list of so many athletes? No way.

And by the way, for those of you who all of a sudden have a problem with LeBron's "swag" and the way he plays the game--the chest pumps, the glares, the dancing--it's what he's done his whole career, so why is it a problem now that he's "taken his talents" to South Beach? And these ridiculous arguments of him not having the "clutch gene," please tell me who was coming up in the clutch for seven straight years in Cleveland? Anyone?

Bomber Boulevard Ranking: Somewhere between 10 and 15 (should be much lower, but I get that greatness is always hated)

7. Kobe Bryant - Bryant is one of the greatest NBA players of all time. No question. But he's also one of the most attitudinal and arrogant players to ever hit a basketball court. He's a whiner who plays with a chip on his shoulder, and he always has a problem with somebody. His feud with Shaq; his standoff with Lakers owner Jerry Buss, who, he admitted he purposely set out to embarass by demanding a trade in 2007;  his grudge against Ray Allen after a Seattle Supersonics route of the Lakers in 2004; his nit-picking of Allen Iverson after the Sixers took game 1 of the 2001 Finals. And going back to Shaq, Kobe was completely out of order when he threw The Big Diesel under the bus. He saw it necessary to mention Shaq's escapades with numerous women; a ploy by Bryant to take some of the heat off of himself after he got caught cheating on his own wife. Not cool.

It's been said that Bryant grew up around sisters that doted on him, and parents that spoiled him and it shows. He's a child, and something tells me that the way this season is going for the Lakers so far, we should expect to hear a lot of crying come season's end.

Bomber Boulevard Ranking: 2 (had Ndamukong Suh not purposely try to hurt someone, Bryant would be No. 1)

8. Terrell Owens - I guess what surprises me the most here is that T.O. has been out of the NFL for such a while now, it surprises me that people care enough to dislike the former Niners wide receiver for him to rank in the top 10. There's no discussion of Owens' talent. He's an All-Pro with two Pro Bowl selections, 153 career touchdowns and nine seasons where he ran for over 1,000 yards. But Owens has always appeared more about self-promotion than about simply playing the game. I guess his narcissism still rubs people the wrong way. But he did have a "quiet" season with the Bengals in 2010, and that should count for something.

Bomber Boulevard Ranking: 8 He's where he belongs.

9. Alex Rodriguez - I'm actually a little surprised, but also a little content with A-Rod's ranking. I thought he would be higher, but he actually is starting to move his way out of the top 10 and that's good news. Listen, I'm an A-Rod fanatic, but I criticize him fairly, just as I would any other Yankee. Was it stupid for him to use steroids? Absolutely. Has he shown himself to be too caught up in his personal drama? No question. Has he given many a Yankee fan reason to hold their breath when he takes the plate in the post-season. Yes, he has.

But let's get clear on a few things. A-Rod has been the Yankees best player since coming to the team in '04. If you're too prejudiced against him to believe that, check his stats. While his post-season numbers in New York have been paltry, the Yankees as a team were unable to reach beyond the ALCS until he carried them there. Think about that. A-Rod may be the best on the team, but he is not the only great player that the Yankees have had since '04; why no trips to the World Series? Hmmm.

Now as far as the steroids go, I get it, he cheated. But I do give him credit for owning it and moving on. Yes, originally he lied to Katie Couric on 60 Minutes years back, but who wouldn't have? Again, there we go holding players to a higher moral standard than we hold ourselves.

The personal drama? Like Tiger Woods, A-Rod never should have gotten married. He's a playboy and he knows it. Hopefully he's learned from that, and won't be marrying anyone any time soon. And him and Jeter? I think we all care more about the state of their relationship than they do. They're fine; Derek said so.

Bomber Boulevard Ranking: Between 10 and 15 (The steroid use keeps him near the top 10, but his heroics in '09 and his re-dedication to "team" moves him down just a bit)

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10. Kurt Busch - I'm not a NASCAR enthusiast at all, but I'm aware of Busch's rants and raves. He is definitely one with profanity, which is a no-no because we live in such a "straight-laced" society? It's not simply that Busch likes to curse, it's just never a good idea to direct it towards fans, the media and the owner that pays you. But again, I think we have far more examples of worse behavior by athletes than this. And a former Sprint Cup champ reserves the right to get testy every once and a while.

Bomber Boulevard Ranking: Not sure, but it's not so serious that he belongs in the top 10

Follow Rasheeda Cooper on twitter: @ra_cooper

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