In this week of rivalry posts, there's a lot of hate going around. But, while often our hatred is aimed more generally at TEAM X or TEAM Y(to paraphrase Seinfeld, we root for, and hate against, laundry), sometimes the individual can rub us the wrong way. In fact, sometimes, this feeling can come about from one of our own, which makes it an extra-special brand of hate.
Every team has them. The troubled loner who just didn't fit in. The gunner who never met a shot he didn't like. The awkward stiff who was just so frustrating to watch. Or maybe you just didn't like his face. Hating a guy you only ever see on your television playing a children's game requires some fairly arbitrary judgements, afterall, yes?
So, exactly who is the most hated Mav? Well, we decided to let you decide, from the list of candidates I've broken down here:
Lamar Odom: Start with the freshest hate, right? Most anyone who follows this team and/or has visited this site probably knows just about all there is to know about Odom's time in Dallas. He arrived with great fanfare, was cheered loudly and exuberantly when he debuted, and then proceeded to have not only his worst season by far as a professional, but one of the worst seasons in recent memory for a non-scrub Dallas Maverick. Even decline-phase Josh Howard didn't look this bad. Then, to make matters worse, Odom essentially quit on the team, left, considered coming back, and was finally unceremoniously dismissed.
Erick Dampier: Quick, who is the biggest free agent acquisition in Dallas Mavericks history? Technically a sign and trade, Dampier was a free agent who was coming off his career year in Golden State, a campaign that saw him average 12-12 and resemble the sort of productive big man the Mavericks had been missing since the 80's. Dampier arrived in Dallas a very "old" 29, and though he was a quality rotation player, never quite lived up to the eight figure annual salary he was given. His token stone-handedness and complete lack of any sort of developed offensive game made him tough to watch at times, even despite his strong low-post defense and quality rebounding.
Antoine Walker: Like Odom, Walker was the original multi-talented but enigmatic forward who would be brought in with high expectations and ultimately disappoint before leaving seemingly just as soon as he arrived. Walker was a classic "jack of all trades, master of none" type of player, who could pass and rebound and score, but not at an elite level, and with every positive encouraging play there seemed to come an equally infuriating negative one. From 40 foot threes early in the shot clock to matador defense(largely the result of poor work ethic and conditioning issues), Walker was not exactly a textbook fundamentally sound basketball player.
Evan Eschmeyer: Probably a very nice man. But in a world of professional basketball, when Evan Eschmeyer gets six years, $20 million(this being over a decade ago, when that was serious money), a man who was widely considered to be one of the least talented player in the NBA, something is seriously wrong. It would take Mark Cuban several seasons to find a taker for Eschmeyer's awful contract; in the meantime he did absolutely nothing to suggest he deserved to even be in the league.
Tari q Abdul-Wahad: Ok, so Eschmeyer got six years, $20 million. Abdul-Wahad got six years, $40 million. In the words of Mark Cuban, Tariq "didn't really want to train, didn't want to practice", and was "interested in a lot of things besides basketball". So, $40 million well spent! Abdul-Wahad would play in just 18 games for the Mavericks his first two seasons, and then would collect a paycheck from the beach for close to the next half-decade.
Shawn Bradley: In retrospect, when I look back at Bradley's career, there were laudable qualities worth mentioning. He was one of the best shotblockers in basketball, had an underrated and effective midrange set shot, and is known to be active in the community with charity work. However, during his playing days, Bradley was the bane of my existence. The #2 overall pick arrived in Dallas, and was one of the first in the long, long line of highly overpaid Maverick centers. Hilariously uncoordinated, Bradley was not the most nimble of guys, and watching him was at times a test in pain-endurance.
Did we leave someone else out? Feel free to vote "other" and let us know who!