Last updated on May 8th, 2022 at 11:10 am
Over the years, we’ve seen fans hate teams for using dirty tactics or for being outrightly dominant. Let’s be honest, no ardent fan would want to pay for a ticket and see their favourite team annihilated. Even though this sort of behaviour is normal in any competitive sport, there are those fans who take it a tad too far.
Teams like the Jordan led Chicago Bulls or the Larry Bird led Celtics were quite dominant during their era’s and thus were subject to constant attacks and ridicule from the hosting teams.
Such teams not only evoked scorn but also pure vitriol. The opposing teams’ fans could not stand watching these teams in action.
Thus, many fans ended up booing these teams and in some cases chanting hateful messages.
Many of the teams on this list not only faced attacks from the fans, but were also subject to plenty of criticism. Most NBA fans blamed most of the hated teams in the NBA for ruining the NBA.
Whether it was through the existing structures in place, style of play, or the merger of superstars to form “superteams”. That said, let us look at the most hated teams in the NBA’s history.
- 2019-2020 Brooklyn Nets
- 2006-2007 San Antonio Spurs
10. 1995-1996 Chicago Bulls
From what we’ve seen over the years, very few NBA fans love teams that dominate and win. While the 1995-1996 Chicago Bulls ultimately became the greatest NBA team of all time, it’s quite hard to imagine that they are in fact one of the most hated NBA teams.
NBA fans hate teams that their teams can’t beat and this was the case with the 1995-1996 Chicago Bulls.
In that same season, the 1995-1996 Chicago Bulls set an NBA record registering 72 wins and only losing 10 times. While this was the greatest season for any Chicago Bulls fan, the players had a rather tough season on the basketball court.
On the road, the Chicago Bulls were often on the receiving end of insults from the opposing team’s fans. With one of the most hated players of all time on their team, this only made things worse.
9. 2016-2019 Golden State Warriors
Just like the 1995-1996 Chicago Bulls, the 2016-2019 Golden State Warriors also received a similar fate in the NBA. With the splash brothers leading the team in the two previous seasons, the Golden State Warriors were simply unguardable.
While many NBA fans considered the duo one of the greatest, it’s Kevin Durant’s decision to join the already star-studded team that made many NBA fans hate them even more.
Many NBA teams were not happy with the Warriors, considering the fact that they changed the way other teams played the game of basketball. Teams began shooting more 3-pointers. Many NBA fans and analysts considered Kevin Durant’s move not only weak but also an easy trip to the NBA finals.
Kevin Durant ended up becoming the most hated player in the NBA that season.
Apart from Kevin Durant, the Warriors also had another player that many NBA fans loved to dislike, Draymond Green. Draymond was outright dirty and widely known for his trash-talking that often resulted in heated debates and in-court altercations.
8. 2012-2013 LA Lakers
For many years, the LA Lakers have always been one of the most hated teams in the NBA, regardless of the season. With so many championship berths, it’s clear to see why. During the 2012-2013 season, many NBA analysts and fans expected the Lakers to add another championship title to their already full cabinet.
Despite having a star-studded team, the LA Lakers ended up becoming a bust.
Just before the season began, the LA Lakers acquired Pau Gasol and Dwight Howard adding up to an already packed team. The other members of the team included Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash, and Metta World Peace.
While the franchise expected the team to bring back its 17th championship, the team struggled during the playoffs because of injuries, implementing different tactics, and changing head coaches mid-season.
7. 1997-1998-Utah Jazz
If there is anything that we’ve learned from Michael Jordan’s Last Dance, it’s that only one team really stood in the Chicago Bulls’ way for the final championship. That team is the 1997-1998 Utah Jazz. Unlike most teams, the Utah Jazz was an all-around team that succeeded in every department.
Under the leadership of one of the greatest NBA players Karl Malone, the Utah Jazz not only had a successful season but also annihilated teams with ease all the way to the NBA Championship finals.
Just like the Chicago Bulls, it’s their winning ways and tight-lock defence that made them one of the most hated teams that season. Heading into the playoffs, the Utah Jazz had an identical record to the Chicago Bulls winning 62 games and losing just 20 games.
Apart from Karl Malone, the Utah Jazz also had one of the most disliked players in the NBA, John Stockton. Besides his outrightly dirty plays, John Stockton was super aggressive and often ended up receiving many calls and fouls.
6. 1985-1986 Boston Celtics
Considered being the greatest Boston Celtics team ever, the 1985-1986 Boston Celtics team was a force to reckon with. Under the leadership of Larry Bird, the Boston Celtics not only won the year’s NBA championship title but also set a franchise record of 67-15.
While the Boston Celtics were not a dirty team, many NBA fans disliked them mainly because of their star-studded roster.
Comprising 5 halls of farmers, with Larry Bird, Bill Walton(onetime MVP), Robert Parish, and Kevin McHale completing the core of this team. Despite being plagued by several injuries throughout his NBA career, Bill Walton would end up having an impressive season that saw him scoop the 6th Man of the Year award.
In the same year, Larry Bird ended up winning his third consecutive NBA MVP award. According to many analysts, this was Bird’s best season in his entire NBA career. During the year’s playoffs, the Celtics would end up sweeping the Chicago Bulls and Milwaukee Bucks.
The Celtics would ultimately face the Houston Rockets, defeating them in just 6 games. Their impressive run and dominance saw them become one of the most hated NBA teams.
5. 2012-2013 Miami Heat
No one in the NBA loves a star-studded team apart from the fans of that franchise. This was the fate of the 2012-2013 Miami Heat after LeBron James left Cleveland and take his talents to South Beach.
Lebron’s move not only sent a shock wave throughout the NBA but also made him the most hated player in the league.
Alongside Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade, many NBA teams and fans pointed out that the Miami Heat were a super team. Thus, when on the road, the Miami Heat were always on the receiving end of the opposing team’s fans.
When fans could not find any flaws in any of the key player’s games, they would often make their attacks personal.
Whether it was attacking LeBron James’s receding hairline or Chris Bosh’s “soft” approach to the game.
While many fans hoped these attacks would affect the performance of Miami Heat’s core players, it was always ended up having the opposite impact.
The Miami Heat not only became dominant but also ended up winning that year’s NBA championship.
4. 2000-2001 Portland Trail Blazers
While their home fans dearly loved the Portland Trail Blazers, the rest of the NBA could not stand them. Under the leadership of Rasheed Wallace, the Portland Trail Blazers were a defensive force but also a pain in the neck.
Dubbed the “Jailblazers”, the Portland Trail Blazers were undeniably one of the biggest teams. With a newly assembled squad, the team finished the season with 40 wins out of 60.
However, the team would struggle during the postseason, after Wells was ruled out during their encounter with the LA Lakers. Even though the Portland Trail Blazers were a solid team, it’s their unruly behaviour that often got the best of them.
Rasheed Wallace ended up making history by receiving 41 technical fouls that season. Bonzi Wells, on the other hand, had received a $50,000 fine after he made offensive remarks.
3. 2001-2002 LA Lakers
Arguably one of the most controversial teams in the history of the NBA, the 2001-2002 LA Lakers are the 3rd most hated teams in the NBA. Despite winning another championship berth, the finals between the Lakers and Kings comprised controversial calls, overlooked fouls and plenty of free throws.
While the Lakers were a dominant team at the time, their game against The Kings exposed their flaws as a team. After sweeping both the Portland Trail Blazers and San Antonio Spurs, the Kings were the only team that the Lakers needed to defeat to get into the NBA finals.
Five games into the 7-game series, the LA Lakers are down 3-2. According to many analysts, the NBA commissioner David Stern is believed to have colluded with the referees to ensure that a New Jersey Nets and Kings finals would not suffice. This was mainly due to what he believed would be poor TV ratings.
While this theory bore no fruits, one thing remains certain; the referee made a mess of the game. Apart from calling non-fouls on the Kings, the referee also ignored making calls on clear fouls by the Lakers.
Due to the controversy that surrounded Game 6, Game 7 ultimately ended up becoming the most-watched Western Conference game in the history of the NBA. Game 7 ended up attracting more than 23.8 million viewers worldwide.
2. 1993-1994 New York Knicks
Under the tutelage of Pat Riley, the 1993-1994 Knicks ended up being one of the most revered teams in the NBA that season. Apart from being a defensive juggernaut, the New York Knicks were also efficient offensively. With Patrick Ewing being the leader of the team, the New York Knicks were not only successful in the regular season but also in the post-season as well.
During the year’s playoffs, the Knicks defeated the Chicago Bulls, Brooklyn Nets, and the Indiana Pacers. Just like the Detroit Pistons, the New York Knicks were aggressive and outright dirty.
With two of the dirtiest players on their roaster (John Starks and Charles Oakley), it was quite clear that this team was more than willing to do what it takes to win.
The Knicks playoff match against the Chicago Bulls would see Jojo English and Harper trade blows. This would ultimately result in an on-court altercation between the two teams. Both organizations ended up receiving a $50,000 fine, with Harper receiving a two-game suspension and English a one-game suspension.
The other players who got involved in the altercation ended up receiving a $2,500 fine each.
1. 1988-1989 Detroit Pistons
Popularly known as the Bad Boys of the NBA, the 1988-1989 Detroit Pistons is the most hated NBA team of all time. While most NBA teams at the time played hardball, the Motor City Bad Boys had a wholly novel approach to the game that spared no one.
Whether it was Larry Bird, Michael Jordan, or Scottie Pippen, any star player on the opposing team would feel the wrath of the Detroit Pistons.
Under the leadership of defensive-minded core players, the Detroit Pistons wreaked havoc throughout the league. While the Detroit Pistons did all they could to stop star players, their ultra-defensive and aggressive approach to the game was not enough to stop Michael Jordan in that year’s NBA finals.
This led to the Piston’s head coach insinuating that a set of rules had been planned by the NBA to protect Michael Jordan. Many people refer to this set of rules as the Jordan Rules.
Despite their dirty approach to the game, many still regard the 1988-1989 Detroit Pistons to be one of the greatest basketball teams of all time.