“Most Hated” NBA Players This Season According To Social Media | This List Might Surprise You 

Before we get into The Most Hated, let’s acknowledge the beloved social media sons of the NBA.

The Good Guys

When looking at the NBA’s biggest names, Steph Curry sits on the opposite end of the “most hated” spectrum, with 84 percent of reactions to him on social media being positive, Giannis also comes in with 71 percent of reactions to him as positive, and only 1 percent being negative. Kevin Durant sits at 57 percent positive and Damian Lillard sits at 70 percent positive.

The Bad Guys 

Grayson Allen is social media’s most hated NBA player this season, according to new research.

A recent study by a social media data collection company analyzed the online reactions to articles surrounding the NBA’s most popular players, to see which stars were the most hated. Only players with more than 10,000 total reactions across social media were included in the study. 

Grayson Allen (Milwaukee Bucks)

The Milwaukee Bucks shooting guard was found to be the most hated, with a whopping 32 percent of the 14,800 reactions to articles featuring him being negative, which is not surprising considering a plethora of incidences that can be described as “dirty or blurring the lines between competitiveness and hooliganism dating back to his days tripping opposing players enroute to winning a National Championship at Duke. 

 

His questionable tactics have continued throughout an NBA career that has seen the rambunctious Allen play for three teams (Utah Jazz, Memphis Grizzles, Milwaukee Bucks) in four seasons

Who can forget his two flagrant fans in 8 seconds in a 2019 Summer League game?

Most recently, Allen received a one game-suspension for a flagrant-2 foul that fractured Chicago Bulls player Alex Caruso’s right wrist in January. 

 

 

Allen became public enemy No. 1 in Chicago after that play, but the enigma that is Grayson Allen can’t be fronted on when it comes to his talent. He’s always seemed to thrive off of the contentious relationship he develops with opposing players. 

Not much has changed in these NBA playoffs, where Allen, who averaged 11.1 points per game this season, has  his talents on playoff display while lead guard Khris Middleton sits the series out with an MCL sprain. 

Despite resounding boos from Chicago fans, Allen’s 22 points in Game 3 were a playoff career high, which he surpassed in Game 4 with 27, including going 6-for-7 from three-point range.

His ability to play bush league and be an All-Star when need be makes him the NBA’s perfect villain. Him being a high-level white American player in the NBA also adds some fuel to the fire. Comparisons to former Duke bad boy Christian Laettner have done little to help Allen’s general popularity.

But regardless of what you feel about Allen’s tactics, he’s a polarizing figure, who’s been accused of everything from abusing his white privilege to being hated on because he’s a “white boy” with sick game who doesn’t back down.  

Which is why Allen is the only player on the “most hated” list with more negative reactions than positive ones. His 26 percent positive reactions result in a differential of –6 percent. With the NBA becoming less physical in every way Allen’s reputation for a dirty playing style has notably come under fire this season and this is clear from what social media thinks as well.

 

Patrick Beverly (Minnesota Timberwolves) 

Coming in second place is Timberwolves demonstrative point guard Patrick Beverley, who has received the lowest percentage of positive reactions out of any player on the list. Only 15 percent of the 49,300 social media reactions came out as positive, alongside 4 percent negative reactions, with the rest being judged as neutral. Beverley is yet another NBA player that has come under fire for his aggressive defensive approach and constant trash talking only rivaled by Golden State Warriors motormouth Draymond Green — which might explain the opinions fans have on news regarding him. 

Tristan Thompson (Sacramento Kings)

Tristan Thompson comes in third place as 23 percent of his 617,700 social media reactions are positive, and 6 percent are negative. The Bulls power forward is the third most reacted to player behind Kyrie Irving and LeBron, with many negative reactions coming from his off-court actions. Of course, his soap opera relationship with his child’s mother Khloe Kardashian and the multiple scandals with women in and outside of his relationship influences Thompson’s popularity. 

Commenting on the findings, a spokesperson from Sidelines.io said: “It’s clear from this data that NBA fans on social media don’t forget controversy, with some players still receiving backlash for moves they made seasons ago. Others have built up reputations for unsportsmanlike play and are the type of player that fans love to have on their own team, but love to hate if they play for anyone else. Nearly every player on this list receives more positive reactions than negative ones, so Grayson Allen stands out at the top of the list for the haters outweighing the supporters.”

Ben Simmons (Brooklyn Nets)

Fourth place goes to Nets point guard Ben Simmons, with only 20 percent of the 451,200 reactions to him on social media being positive, and 3 percent negative. Simmons ties with Tristan Thompson when comparing the difference between their positive and negative reactions, but Thompson ranks higher in the list due to his higher percentage of negative reactions. Ben Simmons has fallen under heavy scrutiny this season following his forced trade from the 76ers.  

Simmons recent refusal to suit up as the Nets got swept out of the playoffs and his subsequent excuses about not being mentally ready continues to plummet his popularity to a point that even a relationship with the Jenners can’t fix. 

LeBron James (L.A. Lakers)

Surprisingly, “King James” himself features in this season’s top ten most hated players, with LeBron receiving only 31 percent of positive reactions from around 8,400,000 in total. His 7 percent of negative reactions is also the third-highest on the list. LeBron is not unaccustomed to scrutiny from NBA fans and with the Lakers underperforming this season, social media and the talking heads that fuel the social media mosh pit, have been emotionally-invested in ripping the Lakers. Bron even came under attack several times by Kareem Abdul Jabbar, who later issued an apology, but the damage was already done. 

Kyrie Irving (BK Nets)

Kyrie Irving and his refusal to get vaccinated dominated a large portion of conversations surrounding the NBA this season. The mercurial guard sits in eighth place on the list, with 38 percent of the 793,100 reactions to him on social media being positive, and 13 percent being negative, the second highest in the top ten.

Kyrie’s dispute with the Celtics during his time playing for the Boston-based team is still fresh, and the negative reactions to news involving him highlights this. His back-and-forth with fans, which included an exchange of expletives and some bird flipping didn’t help his ranking. He did however, have almost three times the positive reaction, showing that he receives lots of support, especially from non-vaxxers. 

Narratives change quickly in the NBA, and social media is fickle, so all of these guys can bounce back with a huge 2023.

 

JR Gamble joined The Shadow League in 2012. The General Manager of Content & Social Media is in his 25th year of covering sports and culture professionally. He has covered a wide variety of major sports and entertainment topics across different mediums, including radio, newspapers, magazines and national TV. His passion is baseball, the culturing of baseball and preserving and documenting the historically-impactful accomplishments and contributions of African-Americans in baseball.