Thursday, December 22, 2011
Survey: Kris Humphries most disliked
By Mike Mazzeo
Special to ESPNNewYork.com
LeBron James is no longer Public Enemy No. 1.
New Jersey Nets power forward Kris Humphries -- better known to the general public as Kim Kardashian's ex-husband -- is the most disliked player in the NBA, according to a survey conducted by Nielsen and E-Poll Market Research that appeared on Forbes.com. James finished second.
Humphries received a 50 percent dislike percentage, while James took in 48 percent.
According to Forbes.com, players had to have a minimum 10 percent awareness level from the public to have been considered for the vote.
Kobe Bryant, Tony Parker, Metta World Peace, Chris Bosh, Carmelo Anthony, Paul Pierce, Dwyane Wade and Lamar Odom rounded out the top 10.
James drew the wrath of fans after making the highly controversial "decision" to take his talents to South Beach and join the Miami Heat prior to the start of last season. A hero during his days with the Cleveland Cavaliers, James quickly became the villain for teaming up as a free agent with Bosh and Wade, instead of trying to win a championship on his own.
Humphries enjoyed a breakout campaign on the court in 2010-11, averaging 10 points and ranking fifth in the league with 10.4 rebounds. He re-signed with the Nets this week for one year at $8 million.
But it was off the court where Humphries became widely known. The 26-year-old began dating Kardashian during the season, and the two eventually got engaged after Humphries gave her a ring reportedly worth $2 million. The two were married on Aug. 20 in a lavish multimillion-dollar made-for-TV wedding, but they divorced less than 2½ months later, prompting speculation that their marriage was a sham.
On Wednesday night, the sellout crowd at Madison Square Garden booed Humphries every time he touched the ball, and later chanted "We Want Humphries! We Want Humphries!" while he was sitting on the bench.
"I've never heard an opposing player be cheered to be put in the game," point guard Deron Williams said. "... That was a nice gesture on their part."
Humphries said he "didn't know" if he was surprised by the response, but added he "felt like Rudy out there."
Humphries was asked if he expects to hear a similar response in opposing NBA arenas for the rest of the season.
"I don't know. I'm not too focused on it. I'm just here to win games," Humphries said.
Williams doesn't think such a reaction will affect Humphries.
"It's probably tough, but he's thick-skinned," Williams said. "He should be fine. We're here to give him some man-hugs if he needs them, but he should be fine."
Mike Mazzeo is a regular contributor to ESPNNewYork.com.