2012 shall forever be known as the year of "Hater Armageddon." Well, at least by basketball enthusiasts.
The Miami Heat won their second NBA championship with a 121-106 victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder on June 21, 2012. This was Miami's second NBA Finals appearance since they acquired LeBron James, Chris Bosh and Mike Miller during the summer of 2010. The Dallas Mavericks had previously defeated them in a six-game series during the 2011 NBA Finals. The Heat won their first NBA championship in 2006.
"Mavs NEVER stopped & now entire franchise gets rings. Old Lesson for all: There are NO SHORTCUTS. NONE."
Maybe a trio of Kobe Bryant, Chris Paul and Andrew Bynum with a head coach who knows James better than anyone else would've fared better against the Heat? Thanks to Gilbert, there's no chance that anyone will ever witness such entertainment outside of the Twilight Zone.
I wonder what Pat Riley thinks about "Shortcuts?" While we're at it, I wonder what Kentucky Wildcats men's basketball head coach John Calipari thinks? The Wildcats won the 2012 NCAA men's basketball championship when they defeated the Kansas Jayhawks on April 2. Calipari won this first championship by using an unconventional style of roster development through mostly one-and-done players.
Calipari and James are two of the greatest sports villains. Here are more 21st century teams and sports figures who've injected more poisons into the hearts and souls of sports haters and trolls all around the globe.
2008-09 And 2009-10 Los Angeles Lakers (Kobe Bryant, Ron Artest)
Ron Arest's (currently known as Metta World Peace) behavioral issues are well-documented. Kobe Bryant was coming off a rape case that was dismissed in 2004. Bryant was trying to prove himself as more than a sidekick to Shaquille O'Neal on that Lakers dynasty in the early-2000s.
The Lakers made three consecutive NBA Finals appearances from 2008 through 2010. They lost to the Boston Celtics in 2008. They defeated the Orlando Magic in five games during 2009. They defeated the Celtics in seven games during 2010. That was Peace's first season with the team.
2009 New York Yankees (Alex Rodriguez)
The New York Yankees finalized a $275-million contract with Alex Rodriguez in December 2007. That alone would create angst amongst fans outside of New York. Now consider the fact that he admitted to using performance-enhancing substances from 2001 through 2003. Rodriguez has had numerous on-and-off-field issues that have put him in a negative light.
The one thing that haters had was that Rodriguez regularly underachieved during the postseason. That changed in 2009. The Yankees won 103 regular-season games and seven playoff games en route to an American League pennant. The Yankees defeated the defending World Series champion Philadelphia Phillies in six games. Rodriguez went 5-for-20 (.250 batting average) with six RBIs, five runs, three walks and a home run during that series.
2005 Chicago White Sox (A.J. Pierzynski, Ozzie Guillen)
As a Chicago Cubs enthusiast, it boggles my mind to think that the Boston Red Sox, Chicago White Sox and St. Louis Cardinals had all won World Series in a three-year stretch from 2004 through 2006. The White Sox and Cardinals are two of our main rivals. The Red Sox were the only team who could sympathize with us. Now we're all watching our rivals reach unprecedented heights while we're drowning in this weak sauce all by our lonesome selves.
Cubs fandom aside, A.J. Pierzynski is easily one of my favorite players. I can't understand how anyone wouldn't love this kind of personality and passion. However, it's a significant reason for why he's regularly considered amongst the most-hated players in sports. Ozzie Guillen is one of the most-vocal figures in sports. He often finds himself in hot water because of this.
They both won a championship with the White Sox in 2005.
Villainous Mentions: 2011 Alabama Crimson Tide, 2009-10 Duke Blue Devils
Joshua Huffman graduated from Middle Tennessee State University as a marketing major in 2009. He's been a Middle Tennessee resident from 1986-88 and 2001-present. He lived in the Upper Peninsula and Northern Wisconsin from 1988-01 and for approximately eight months in 2009-10 as he completed a 20-game volunteer position with the USHL's Green Bay Gamblers. His favorite sports organizations include the Green Bay Packers, Chicago Cubs, Nashville Predators and Tennessee Titans. He can be found on Twitter HERE.
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