Get your shades folks, we’re about to block out the haters here.
When discussing the narrative of american sports – you can go down a number of different paths. This can be biggest superstars or most valuable franchises. It can be least popular organisations or those that are on the rise.
In this article I will discuss the least liked franchises. It’s an objective listing by all parts, but worth a discussion none the less.
So here goes – the most disliked american sports franchises are as follows:
8. New York Knicks
Most smart NBA fans hold a grudge over the New York Knicks for one thing and one thing only – incompetence. Yes, you read that correctly. For a team based out of the marketing capital of Eastern America – you’d think they’d have a history of attractive top level free agents, superstar names and possibly winning multiple championships. Rub your eyes, readers, because that can only be further from the truth. Owner James Dolan might take a blame or two for that.
The Knicks epitomise what it is to be a wasted sports franchise. They play night-in night-out in one of the world’s most iconic sports venues – Madison Square Garden. They can attract an almost sold-out crowd each night with visitors and tourists to the city. They are still ranked as one of the most valuable teams in America. Maybe it’s jealousy on some parts for fans who wish they had what the Knicks had. But they don’t actually want to be a Knicks fan, that’s for sure.
7. Ultimate Fighting Championship
Well well well. What do we have here? Why, only the most successful MMA promotion in the world, by a long shot! Unfortunately with that title, as you’ll come to learn with other franchises, comes some dislike. Unfortunately for the UFC, they haven’t masked certain decisions or stances that have been unpopular fans. Through all the going-ons behind the scenes – leading man Dana White acts as the media spokesmen for all of it – and if you know Dana, you’ll know why some fans hold an animosity toward the UFC.
The UFC have made a number of unpopular decisions over the years. Starting first with their actual existence – which in the 1990s originally angered many about the promotion of the brutality of the sport. Then you have the drug cheats, which there are plenty of, and when they try to rectify the situation many end up being wrongly punished. Then you have the taking away of sponsorships, the lack of lucrativeness for fighters in their video games and minimal pay to bottom rung fighters. They may never win some fans over.
6. Golden State Warriors
Ten years ago the Golden State Warriors would have been nowhere near number 6 on this list. That’s what multiple NBA Championships in a row do to you. Where do we start. The big gripe a lot of fans have was how they baited Kevin Durant in free-agency from smalltown, homegrown darlings Oklahoma and paired him with three All-Stars. It almost seemed unfair at the time. David Stern may have blocked that trade years ago.
They not only dominated the league in exemplary fashion – but transformed the way basketball was played. Their effective use of the 3 point shot saw less big man offense and more jacking up shots from anywhere in the court. It sounds fun at first, right? But then you have guys who can’t defend, can’t dunk, can’t really do much other than shoot the 3 ball. Depending on your taste – the old school fans definitely haven’t forgiven the Warriors for their influence.
5. Dallas Cowboys
When you call yourself ‘Americas Team’ you’re bound to end up high on this list. The Dallas Cowboys tie second for Super Bowl appearances and Super Bowl wins. Despite not having as much success in the past two decades – their reputation in the 70s and 90s has lived with them. Owner Jerry Jones transformed them into a dynasty in the 1990s but failed to build any rapport with anyone other than a Cowboys fan.
Franchise centre-pieces such as Tony Romo and Terrell Owens weren’t exactly league-wide beloved during their playing days too. When you think of Southern America – you think of barbecue, cattle ranches and the Dallas Cowboys. They have an almost intrinsic association with the big oil miners and wealthy businessmen that call Texas their home. Being a big NFL franchise for decades – they get lots of TV time, attention and support – and most other football fans hold a grudge with that.
4. Los Angeles Lakers
Not every one has bought the ‘showtime’ aspect of the Lakers franchise. In the greater landscape of the NBA – the Los Angeles Lakers have always represented a ‘Hollywood’ aspect in the league. Unfortunately for them, the showmanship and the hype surrounding their every move is as polarising as any team. The big names of Magic Johnson, Kobe Bryant and LeBron James have consistently brought that polarising element to the team over the years.
The Lakers marketing strategy doesn’t help things, either. They’re known for their big trades and attractiveness in free agency. It’s heartbreaking sometimes to see talent move from a smalltown team to L.A – but somehow equally as intriguing. It’s almost seen as a step up for most players to test themselves in L.A. The dislike comes with their success too, given their multiple NBA rings and hand picked superstar teams they’ve had over the years. They’re almost what every NBA team wants to be, but they can’t.
3. Absolute Championship Akhmat
If you’re a true MMA fan – you’ll know who Chechnen dictator Ramzan Kadyrov is. Kadyrov has been known to many followers of the sport as a crippling figure, deeply involved in the local promotion of MMA despite a slue of controversy. His rule over the Chechen Republic has involved the ordered killings of homosexuals and those who are opposed to his ways. He also once put his son in an MMA fight, who wasn’t even ten years old.
He is a publicised friend of 155-pound UFC champion Khabib Nurmagomedov too, despite the controversy. His promotion Absolute Championship Akhmat (ACA) is mostly based in the Chechen Republic. It merged with Absolute Championship Berkut (ACB) last year that held shows around Europe. ACB were also without controversy – having dissolved out of thin air and leaving many fighters unpaid as a result. Many will hope Kadyrov distances himself from creating a black mark over the sport.
2. Boston Celtics
I write this as a Celtics fan, so I’m very aware of the dislike for the Boston Celtics. In ways – I can see why. I became a Boston Celtics fan out of the innocence of the shamrock and Irish associations. For die-hard Celtics fans – you’d be hard pressed to find fans in the U.S that live outside of Boston. With a lot of these teams success has played a factor in the hatred. But for Boston, it may have been a bit different.
Bill Russell dominated the 60s and early 70s with a team that won 11 championships out of 13 seasons. Even as a Celtics fan I can understand how much of a drag that might have been. Fast forward to the 80s were diversity and foreign culture comes into the forefront of the NBA – and their star player is a blonde white man (Bird, Larry). That team too were hard nosed, old school and disliked. They were successful – but not with a transcendent superstar like Michael Jordan or LeBron James.
1. New England Patriots
As I’ve covered all 3 sports (MMA, Basketball & Football) for the past year or so – I don’t think I’ve encountered quite a hatred for a team like the New England Patriots. Recency bias plays a factor here given their dominance in the league over the past two decades. They live and breed success, and fail to possess much of a likability factor. The two leading figures in the Patriots organisation are Tom Brady and Bill Belichick.
Brady is a goody two shoes, biology-defying vegan that has lingered over the league for the past 20 years. Belichick is a grumpy old man that can outsmart you by staring at you. Not exactly two men who you gravitate towards immediately. Given they have the most Super Bowl appearances out of any NFL team – most football fans groan at the thoughts of another Patriots victory. It’s both to be respected and, well, disgruntled at.