Top 10 Most Hated NBA Teams: Fan Fury and Basketball Feuds

most hated nba teams

Basketball is a sport fueled by passion, and with that passion comes fervent support for your team and, inevitably, a strong dislike for rivals. Here’s an in-depth look at the top 10 most hated teams in the NBA, exploring the reasons behind the animosity and the historical context that fuels these fiery rivalries.

1. Los Angeles Lakers: The Dynasty of Disdain

The Los Angeles Lakers reign supreme as the NBA most hated team. Their immense fanbase, the “Laker Nation,” stretches across the globe, creating a natural target for envy. Their long history of championship teams, boasting legends like Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Magic Johnson, Kobe Bryant, and LeBron James, has left countless franchises and their fans yearning for similar glory.

The Lakers’ ability to attract high-profile superstars through free agency or trades, further amplifies the hatred. LeBron James’s much-publicized move to Miami in 2010, dubbed “The Decision,” left a bitter taste in many fans’ mouths, solidifying the Lakers’ villainous status. This combination of immense success, star power, and a massive fanbase ensures the Lakers will always be a team that ignites passionate dislike.

2. Boston Celtics: A Legacy of Rivalry and Entitlement

The Boston Celtics are the Lakers’ arch-nemesis coming second on the most hated NBA teams list, boasting a passionate and knowledgeable fanbase with a long memory. Their historic rivalry dates back to the 1960s, featuring iconic battles between Bill Russell’s Celtics and Wilt Chamberlain’s Lakers. Countless playoff battles throughout the years have only intensified the animosity.

Celtics fans are known for their demanding nature and deep understanding of the game, which can be perceived as arrogance by outsiders. The team’s rich history of 17 championships fuels a sense of entitlement among some fans, further contributing to their “hateable” status.

3. Golden State Warriors: The Splash Brothers and the Hate They Generate

The Golden State Warriors’ recent dynasty, fueled by the offensive firepower of Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, dubbed the “Splash Brothers,” has earned them a significant amount of hate. Their dominant style of play, featuring an avalanche of three-pointers, is seen by some as boring or disrespectful to traditional basketball. Opponents and fans argue that it prioritizes individual brilliance over teamwork and downplays the physical aspects of the game.


Draymond Green’s outspoken personality and on-court antics, which have resulted in numerous suspensions, further add to the Warriors’ villainous image. Their success, while undeniable, has come at the cost of generating significant animosity around the league.

4. Brooklyn Nets: The Superteam Shortcut and Kyrie’s Sideshow

The Brooklyn Nets’ strategy of acquiring established superstars like Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving to form a “superteam” has rubbed many fans the wrong way. This approach is seen as a shortcut to success, bypassing the years of development and team building that most franchises endure. Critics argue it disrupts league parity and creates an unfair advantage for teams with deep pockets.

The drama surrounding Kyrie Irving’s off-court decisions, such as his refusal to get vaccinated against COVID-19, further tarnishes the team’s image and fuels fan frustration. The Nets’ “superteam” experiment, while undeniably talented, has come at the cost of fostering resentment from fans who favor a more organic path to championship contention.

5. Miami Heat: Heat Culture and the Memories of “The Decision”

The Miami Heat have carved a niche as the league’s villainous darlings. Their “Heat Culture” emphasizes relentless defense, physical play, and a “win at all costs” mentality. This style, while undeniably effective, can be frustrating to watch for opposing fans who see it as overly physical and potentially dirty.

The Heat’s two championships under LeBron James, Chris Bosh, and Dwyane Wade, fueled by James’s infamous “The Decision” to leave Cleveland, solidified their villainous status for many fans who felt betrayed by James’s departure. Even after LeBron’s return to Cleveland, the Heat’s aggressive style and relentless pursuit of victory continue to generate animosity from a significant portion of the NBA fanbase.

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6. Los Angeles Clippers: Forever in the Lakers’ Shadow

For years, the Los Angeles Clippers have existed in the shadow of their glamorous counterparts, the Lakers. However, their recent acquisition of Kawhi Leonard to play alongside Paul George has propelled them into championship contention, attracting a new wave of hatred, making them one of the most hated NBA teams. Critics see this move as an attempt to copy the “superteam” model employed by the likes of the Brooklyn Nets, bypassing the traditional path of building through the draft.

Additionally, some fans view the Clippers’ success as a threat to the Lakers’ dominance in Los Angeles, further intensifying the rivalry between the two city rivals. While the Clippers have embraced the “underdog” mentality for years, their newfound success and star acquisitions have thrust them into the spotlight and made them a target for fan dislike.

7. Philadelphia 76ers: The Process and the Embiid Effect

The Philadelphia 76ers’ fanbase, known as the “Trust the Process” crowd, has a reputation for being fiercely loyal and sometimes overconfident. During “The Process,” a period of deliberate roster building through the draft and accumulating young talent, the fanbase remained patient despite years of underwhelming results. This unwavering loyalty can be perceived as arrogance by opposing fans, especially when the team underperforms expectations, making them on of the most hated NBA teams.

The presence of outspoken players like Joel Embiid, who thrives on getting under opponents’ skin, further fuels the fire. Embiid’s dominance and trash-talking antics, while entertaining to some, can be seen as disrespectful and contribute to the animosity directed towards the 76ers. All these factors are the reason that Philadelphia 76ers have made the list of the most hated NBA teams.

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8. Houston Rockets: The Rise and Fall of the Small Ball Revolution

The Houston Rockets, under the leadership of Daryl Morey, pioneered the “small ball” strategy. This approach emphasized spacing, three-point shooting, and avoiding traditional big men in favor of smaller, quicker players. While highly successful, leading to multiple deep playoff runs with James Harden as the centerpiece, the strategy drew criticism for undermining the physicality and teamwork aspects of basketball. Opponents argued that it relied heavily on isolation plays and a lack of interior defense.


The Rockets’ “small ball” experiment, though innovative, ultimately fell short of a championship and left some fans with a sense of the team being a one-trick pony. The strategy’s decline has left a legacy of debate and continues to be a source of animosity for some fans who found it disrespectful to the traditional way the game is played.

9. New York Knicks: Dysfunction and a Demanding Fanbase

Despite a lack of recent success, the New York Knicks remains among most hated NBA teams due to their large and demanding fanbase. Nicknamed “Knicks Nation,” these passionate fans have high expectations for their team, often leading to frustration and disappointment. Years of questionable front office decisions, underwhelming draft picks, and a revolving door of coaches have resulted in a lack of sustained success.

This inconsistency fuels the mockery of opposing fans who view the Knicks as a team perpetually mired in dysfunction and one of the most hated NBA teams. However, the Knicks’ passionate fanbase ensures they remain relevant, even in times of struggle, and their unwavering loyalty, while admirable, can be seen as arrogance by those who haven’t witnessed championship glory in New York for decades.

10. Indiana Pacers: The Grindhouse and a Reputation for Physicality

The Indiana Pacers have built a reputation as a tough, physical team that can be difficult to play against. Nicknamed the “Grindhouse,” they employ a defensive-minded style that emphasizes hustle, grit, and making opponents uncomfortable. While this approach has earned them respect for their toughness, it can also be seen as dirty play by some. Opponents and fans argue that the Pacers rely on overly physical tactics and borderline fouls to disrupt the flow of the game. This perception, coupled with a lack of recent championship success, contributes to the Pacers’ status as a most hated NBA teams.

Also Read: Michael Jordan’s Last Shot: The Pinnacle of NBA History

Wrapping It Up!

In conclusion, the NBA thrives on passionate rivalries and strong opinions from this list of most hated NBA teams. While some teams garner widespread admiration, others become magnets for dislike. The reasons for this animosity are as varied as the teams themselves, ranging from historical dominance and superteam formations to fan expectations and playing styles. Ultimately, this “hate” adds a layer of intrigue to the NBA experience, fueling fan interest and keeping the league exciting for years to come.

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