Professional sports are fundamentally built upon undying love and irrational fanaticism, but from those two things comes another pervading sentiment: hatred.
Honestly, hating a team or player is often more a part of the fan experience than cheering on the athletes and franchises you love. Now, you should never get as much satisfaction seeing a rival or a player you can't stand lose or fail as you do when your team or favorite player succeeds, but the feelings are awfully close, and many sports fans have no problem admitting it.
With that being said, we decided to take a look at who the most hated athletes are in sports today. For one reason or another, these guys make some people's blood boil with how they do things on or off-the-field.
For just a brief period of time, as you read this feature, by all means let the hate flow.
10. Bryce Harper
The 23-year-old Harper is unquestionably a baseball phenom. A four-time All-Star and last year's NL MVP, he was named “Best MLB Player” at the ESPYS after hitting .330/.460/1.109 with 42 home runs in 2015. But the cockiness he possesses plus the hype he's had surrounding him since he was in high school has made him a loathsome figure for some.
Before even playing in the majors, Harper compared himself to Hercules, and humiliated more experienced players with homer after homer. The kid can't help being great, but the grandiose displays of skill and the bitter scowls on his face when he doesn't jack a home run can make him unlikable.
">February 24, 2016
Young stars are always hated out of envy. But Harper doesn't do much to promote a humble image of himself, and that doesn't help his cause. Next: Dwight Howard >>>9. Dwight HowardHoward is still a productive player, and he averaged a double-double for the 12th straight season in 2015-16. He also inked a three-year, $70.5 million deal with his hometown Atlanta Hawks this off-season. So why all the hate? Howard first had an ignominious exit in Orlando, calling for Stan Van Gundy's firing and later turning off fans. Then, he ticked off Lakers fans by squabbling with Kobe Bryant during a lackluster season in Los Angeles.Finally, during his time in Houston, Howard got under the skin of a handful of prominent NBA players, leading to this memorable on-air quote from former Seattle Supersonics legend Gary Payton. Charles Barkley also asked Howard this spring why he is so disliked. In fairness to Howard, some of this hate might be misguided or unwarranted. But like it or not, he finds his way on our list.Next: Tiger Woods >>>8. Tiger WoodsWhile Tiger Woods was once universally recognized as the best golfer of this generation, many also consider him one of the most selfish athletes of our time. Just before the news of his cheating ways broke, Tiger became the first athlete to pass $1 billion in earnings (add that to the list of reasons to hate Tiger Woods).
But even before Elin Nordegren divorced him, Tiger was setting himself up as a villain. He lacks the propriety of a golfer by adding fist pumps, finger points and howls to traditionally reserved tournaments, but his immature behavior doesn’t end there: he unabashedly throws clubs and swears when things aren't going his way on the green. He also failed to devote time to his fans when he was in his prime.His ultimate downfall in performance felt like a long-time coming for many who disliked him beforehand. Next: Alex Rodriguez >>>7. Alex RodriguezA-Rod is undoubtedly one of the greatest players in MLB history. He's also one of its most disliked. The venom from opposing fans has subsided slightly this season as the 40-year-old's play has declined, but he's one of the few players in baseball who was guaranteed to be booed at every opposing ballpark (and sometimes at home).Why is A-Rod so hated? Take your pick from this myriad of reasons. The record-setting contract. The "slap" during the 2004 ALCS. His post-season failures in New York. The PED use and subsequent (false) denials. You can go on for a while. Even his own team didn't want him back in 2013 and following suspension in 2015.
">February 26, 2015
A-Rod may have endeared himself to many Yankee fans over the years, but not many outside of New York are fond of him. If he were closer to the prime of his career, instead of in the twilight of it, he'd be higher on this list.
6. Draymond Green
A year ago, maybe even a couple of months ago, Draymond probably wouldn't have cracked this list. But the "bad boy" of the Golden State Warriors earned his spot with his penchant for trash talk and recent habit of striking players in the unmentionables.
First, it was Oklahoma City's Steven Adams in the Western Conference Finals. Then it was Kyrie Irving in the NBA Finals, and finally LeBron in that same series, leading to the suspension that shifted momentum in the Cavs' favor.
He also added an off-season arrest for good measure.
">July 13, 2016
Draymond may be loathed by many, but he's undoubtedly one of the most versatile players in the NBA and a major part of Golden State's loaded roster. The Warriors don't look likethey're going to stop winning anytime soon, and that only makes it more likely Draymond will remain hated. Next: Johnny Manziel >>>5. Johnny ManzielAt first it seemed like Johnny Football was just being a dumb 20-year-old. But three years, multiple under-the-influence antics and a domestic violence charge later, things don't like like they're getting any better for the former promising quarterback.
Twenty-two months after drafting him as their presumed franchise quarterback, the Browns cut Manziel, but instead of focusing on rebuilding his image and performance, he chose to focus on non-stop partying.
">April 29, 2016
It's clear that Manziel has serious substance abuse problems and needs professional help. His father, who begged Johnny to go to rehab, fears he won't live to see his next birthday.
But the immense joy Manziel seemingly gets from documenting all of his misdemeanors turned concern into apathy, humor and annoyance.
4. LeBron James
LeBron entered the NBA out of high school in 2003 with impossible expectations, hailed as "The Next Jordan." Amazingly, he's pretty much lived up to them, but not without some bumps along the way.
It's fair to say the hate for LeBron didn't start in earnest until "The Decision" in 2010. That television special made him Public Enemy No. 1 in the eyes of many NBA fans, and rooting against him became something of a past-time. Heck, Skip Bayless even made a career off of it.
">May 9, 2014
At this point, hating on LeBron is becoming (has become?) a thankless task. What more can the dude accomplish? Six consecutive NBA Finals appearances, three championships, three Finals MVP's. He also does a lot of charity work and has suited up for the U.S National Team. Still, there are those who will never like him or give him his due, simply because he isn't MJ or doesn't meet some other set of criteria in their eyes. For that reason, he's still firmly on this list. Next: Tom Brady >>>3. Tom Brady
People always hate the pretty boy who wins at everything, but there are justified reasons sports fans despise Brady. First there's Spygate, when the Patriots essentially disrespected the integrity of the game by attempting to gain a competitive advantage by videotaping the New York Jets’ coaching signals in 2007.
Then, of course, there's Deflategate. Brady's alleged deflating of footballs alone is detestable, but his blatant and pathetic attempts to cover up his involvement (like his ridiculous explanation about his cell phones) made matters much, much worse.
">April 25, 2016
Greatest quarterback of all-time? Maybe. Most hated QB of all-time? He's up near the top of that list as well.
2. Greg Hardy
Hardy's on this list for one reason: his history of domestic violence and perceived lack of repentance for it. That, coupled with his clashes with teammates and coaches in Dallas last season are the reasons he is persona non grata around the NFL despite his prodigious pass-rushing skills.
After Hardy returned to the NFL with the Cowboys following a year's suspension for a domestic violence incident with his girlfriend (charges were dropped), he gave an interview during which he seemed to exhibit a lack of remorse for what had happened and said he hoped to come out "guns blazing" when he retook the field.
This quote caused a backlash and inspired Fox Sports' Katie Nolan to blast Hardy in an opening monologue for her show "Garbage Time."
Fans of opposing teams loved to hate Hardy and use him as an example of Dallas' win-at-all-costs reputation. It doesn't seem likely that he'll be suiting up elsewhere in the NFL anytime soon.
1. Floyd Mayweather
Pretty Boy Floyd is one of the most accomplished boxers of all-time, sporting a 49-0 record with 26 knockouts. Simply put, he's been peerless no matter what weight class he has fought in.
So why is Mayweather No. 1 here? Well, inside the ring and when talking about his boxing skills, he's insanely cocky, and that drives some people nuts. But more importantly, he has a laundry list of domestic assault and battery on his record. He even served a two-month jail sentence for it in 2012.
Simply put, you can admire Mayweather's spotless boxing record, but his record outside the ring is definitely checkered.