Before the 2010-11 NBA season began, SI.com ranked the 25 most hated sports teams of all time. The new-look Miami Heat, having alienated many fans with the way their stars came together and their premature talk of winning multiple titles, secured the last spot on the list even before LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh had played a game together. Move ahead to June 2011, and many NBA observers are rejoicing after LeBron struggled in the biggest moments and Miami fell to Dallas in the Finals. Would the Heat now rank higher on this list? Here was the rest of our top 25.
2 of 25Mark Rucker/Transcendental Graphics, Getty Images
1909 Detroit Tigers
The Tigers were loathed precisely because of one man: Tyrus Raymond Cobb, arguably history's most hated athlete during his playing days. Cobb, still only 22, led the Tigers to their third straight World Series (they had lost the previous two to the Cubs!) by winning the Triple Crown (.377, 9 HRs, 107 RBIs), including nine inside-the-park homers. His ornery nature and sharpened spikes (he gashed the arm of popular A's third baseman Frank Baker) prompted widespread hate for the Tigers. Cobb often received telegraphed death threats.
3 of 25Andy Hayt/SI
1983-84 Georgetown basketball
The scowling Hoyas made many observers uncomfortable with their style and, truth be told, appearance. Coach John Thompson, all 6-foot-10 inches and 300 pounds of him, towered over an all-black roster led by Patrick Ewing's equally towering 7-foot presence. "People would heckle and we would see a lot of signs, particularly about Patrick, about how he couldn't read or some other personally offensive things," Thompson said. "There definitely were some racial aspects to it, but that's what was there. If we had been all white, it probably would have been our size [they criticized]."
4 of 25Dave Sandford/Getty Images/NHLI; AP
2001-02 Toronto Maple Leafs
The 2001-02 Maple Leafs were a team of enforcers, including Darcy Tucker, who drew the ire of the NHL after hip-checking Islanders' star Michael Peca into the boards in Game 5 of the first round of the playoffs, tearing Peca's ACL and MCL and knocking him out for the rest of the playoffs. The Leafs would go on to lose in the Eastern Conference finals.
5 of 25Sam Forencich/NBAE/Getty Images
2000-01 Portland Trail Blazers
With their incessant bickering and boorish behavior, the Trail Blazers, long cherished in Portland, alienated their customers and disgusted the rest of the league's fans. The biggest lightning rod, of course, was forward Rasheed Wallace, who set an NBA record with 41 technical fouls, threw a towel in the face of teammate Arvydas Sabonis and had to be restrained by teammates from charging coach Mike Dunleavy in the locker room.
6 of 25Bob Rosato/SI
2004 Team USA men's basketball
By turns full of braggadocio (Carmelo Anthony guaranteed a gold as training camp opened) and seeming to shirk responsibility ("It's not like it's the end of the world," LeBron James said after a 19-point pool-play loss to Puerto Rico), this team could have been pronounced too young to know better: Anthony was 20, James 19, and it featured an average age of 23.6. But decorum and discipline were so poor that coach Larry Brown wanted to send several players home from Athens on the eve of the Games. After another pool-play loss, to Lithuania, and a medal-round defeat to eventual gold-medalist Argentina in the semifinals, Brown pronounced himself "humiliated" and the alibis flew. The previous three "Dream Teams" composed of U.S. professionals had lost a combined two games. This version lost three in the 2004 Olympics alone. It was the first time a U.S. team of professionals had failed to win gold.
7 of 25John Durant/SI
1919 Chicago White Sox
There have been many attempts to tell the "true story" about the Black Sox -- how they were mistreated by penny-pinching owner Charlie Comiskey, how Shoeless Joe Jackson never really took money and played his hardest at all times, how Buck Weaver only knew about the scheme but was not part of it -- but in the end the main story was this: The 1919 White Sox threw the World Series. Top row: Swede Risberg, Fred McMullin, Lefty Williams, Chick Gandil Bottom row: Buck Weaver, Shoeless Joe Jackson, Happy Felsch and Eddie Cicotte
8 of 25Walter Iooss Jr., Heinz Kluetmeier/SI
1976 East Germany Women's Olympic Swimming Team
At the 1976 Montreal Olympics, East German women won 11 gold medals in 13 races, stunning the highly touted U.S. women, who won only a single relay. Years later, Stasi files confirmed that diabolical cocktails of uber-doping had boosted the German women's muscles, deepened their voices and decisively dropped their times. Even before the documented revelations, their suspiciously rapid improvements, like their appearances, were giant elephants in the arena. As a souped-up Kornelia Ender swam her way to three individual gold medals, U.S. hope Shirley Babashoff left the Games with three individual silvers and thoughts of what might have been in a clean pool. Today, the 1976 GDR women's swim team remains the most injected squad ever projected onto the sporting landscape.
9 of 25Bernstein Associates/Getty Images; John Biever/SI
1993 Notre Dame football
Perhaps the most hated version of the Fighting Irish because its 1993 campaign indirectly led to the playoff format that all college football fans know and love: the BCS. When Notre Dame was ranked No. 2 to close the season and Florida State was crowned national champions (Notre Dame had beaten the Seminoles head-to-head), Irish coach Lou Holtz and fans cried foul over the lack of a sanctioned national title game.
10 of 25Walter Iooss Jr./SI
1972 Oakland Athletics
Not to say the 1974 A's were disliked ... but they had won the previous two World Series and they still finished 11th out of 12 American League teams in attendance. The team was a circus act under meddling owner Charlie Finley, but to the never-ending frustration of opposing teams and fans, the A's won again in '74, beating Earl Weaver's Baltimore team in four games in the ALCS and then pounding the Dodgers in five in the World Series.
11 of 25Peter Read Miller/SI
2005 USC football
Many came to resent the "Hollywood" aspect of the Trojans -- quarterback Matt Leinart partying with Paris Hilton; celeb-fans Will Ferrell and Snoop Dogg hanging out at practices. Fans of other conferences bemoaned the Trojans' purportedly inferior Pac-10 competition. They cried foul over the "Bush Push" that helped USC pull off a last-second win at Notre Dame. To many, though, the run-up to the Trojans' BCS title game against Texas served as a nauseating apex, with ESPN's analysts debating how the '05 USC team would fare against some of the greatest teams of all time. Vince Young and the Longhorns rendered the argument moot, but the public's animosity lingered for years due mostly to the NCAA's prolonged silence over allegations that Bush took money from potential marketing reps during his time there. That silence was broken in June 2010, and you know how the story ended.
12 of 25Rich Clarkson/Time Life Pictures/Getty Images
1972 Soviet Union Olympic Basketball Team
Even the appeal process was divided across Cold War lines in the aftermath of this gold-medal contest, a disputed 51-50 win by the U.S.S.R over the U.S. After the U.S. filed a protest, it was rejected by a vote of 3-2, supported by Puerto Rico and Italy, and rejected by Hungary, Cuba and Poland. Before the gold-medal match in Munich, the U.S. had never lost an Olympic basketball game
13 of 25George Gojkovich/Getty Images
1986 New York Mets
The hard-partying crew (seen here, left to right, are Lenny Dykstra, Dwight Gooden and Darryl Strawberry) infamously trashed their flight home from the NLCS Championship Series win over Houston.The 1962 Mets were lovable losers, but this group were detestable winners of 108 regular-season games. Pitcher Bob Ojeda admitted in author Jeff Pearlman's book The Bad Guys Won that "we were a bunch of vile f------." Bristling with arrogance and trash-talkers, this hard-partying crew had a trio of players (Jesse Orosco, Danny Heep, Doug Sisk) who charmingly called themselves "the Scum Bunch." The Mets were involved in four on-field brawls that season as well as a fracas in the Houston nightclub Cooters, and infamously trashed their flight home from the National League Championship Series in a drunken orgy that could have made the ancient Romans blush.
14 of 25Manny Millan/SI
1991-92 Duke basketball
Darlings after its 1991 championship, Duke's image shifted the following year during its second straight national title run. The pinnacle was "the shot" from Christian Laettner against Kentucky in the East Regional final, which still stings Wildcats fans and Duke haters when it is replayed time and time again each March.
15 of 25Mike Powell, Otto Greule Jr./Getty Images
1990 Miami Hurricanes
The Hurricanes were penalized for a bowl-record nine unsportsmanlike conduct penalties in the 1991 Cotton Bowl against Texas, prompting the NCAA to institute the so-called "Miami Rule," which penalizes a team 15 yards for excessive celebration or taunting. These guys knew people despised them, and reveled in the fact.
16 of 25Shaun Botterill/Getty Images
1998-99 Manchester United
The team's ongoing golden age has attracted legions of glory-hunting supporters far beyond the industrial city's limits. And if success breeds contempt, then no team in club history was more reviled than the treble winners of '99, a side featuring Dwight Yorke, Andy Cole, Roy Keane and David Beckham (pictured, far right). Manchester United pulled off one the most memorable comebacks in soccer history, scoring twice in stoppage time to defeat Bayern Munich in the Champions League final to capture the historic treble.
17 of 25Rich Clarkson/Getty Images
1989-90 UNLV basketball
Investigators made 11 visits to the campus -- looking into charges of academic irregularities and recruiting violations -- in the nine months prior to the Rebels destroying Duke 103-73 in the title game. It was the biggest blowout in the history of the championship game. UNLV star Larry Johnson finished with 22 points, 11 rebounds and four steals in the final. "We want to win this championship bad," Johnson said the day before the final, "so that the NCAA guys will have to stare at that trophy on Coach's desk while they ask all those questions during the next investigation."
18 of 25Walter Iooss Jr./SI
1976 Oakland Raiders
Beginning with Al Davis' arrival as coach in 1963, you could hate any Oakland Raiders team for the next quarter century. The franchise's slogans -- "The Pride and Poise Boys" and "Just Win, Baby" -- reeked of arrogance. Raiders rosters included hard-edged players such as Ted Hendricks. Defensive back Jack Tatum left Patriots receiver Darryl Stingley a quadriplegic, then had the gall to publish an autobiography titled They Call Me Assassin. Why pick '76? Oakland was behind late in the 1976 AFC Divisional Playoff round when a controversial roughing the passer call against the Patriots set up Raiders quarterback Ken Stabler's bootleg touchdown run with just 10 seconds remaining. The Raiders would go on to win the only Super Bowl in John Madden's regime.
19 of 25Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images
1993-94 New York Knicks
These Knicks were a collection of chest-pounding, elbow-throwing players who won without any of the aesthetically pleasing basketball that their famously suave coach, Pat Riley, had overseen during his tenure with the "Showtime" Lakers. Yes, the likes of Charles Oakley, Anthony Mason, John Starks, Derek Harper and Greg Anthony defined grittiness in complementing star center Patrick Ewing, and the Knicks were statistically a great defensive team. But their rough-and-tumble style went over so well that after their seven-game loss to the Rockets in the low-rated 1994 Finals, the NBA cracked down on hand-checking in an effort to liberate perimeter scorers and increase scoring.
20 of 25Damian Strohmeyer/SI
2007 New England Patriots
It's one of the most delightful press conference clips for Patriots haters. "We're only going to score 17 points?" asked an incredulous, smirking Tom Brady when he learned of Giants receiver Plaxico Burress' Super Bowl XLII prediction. Four days and 14 points later, Brady ate his words as the Giants pulled off arguably the biggest upset in Super Bowl history, defeating Bill Belichick's unbeaten team.
21 of 25Tony Triolo, Walter Iooss Jr./SI
1978 New York Yankees
Immortalized by reliever Sparky Lyle's classic book The Bronx Zoo, this edition of the Bombers was an even more farcical soap opera of clubhouse intrigue and unseemly back-page headlines than the year before. With bombastic slugger Reggie Jackson still in the cross fire, imperious owner George Steinbrenner -- who incurred widespread enmity for assembling "the best team money can buy" -- publicly demeaned his players and threatened to fire his hot-headed manager, Billy Martin.
22 of 25B Bennett/Getty Images
1974-75 Philadelphia Flyers
The Broad Street Bullies were the first hockey team to use intimidation as a tactic. Urged by coach Fred Shero to "take the shortest route to the puck carrier and arrive in ill humor," rugged enforcers like Dave (The Hammer) Schultz, Bob (Hound) Kelly, Don (Big Bird) Saleski and Andre (Moose) Dupont racked up penalty minutes in record quantities while clearing the way for skill players like Reggie Leach, Bill Barber and three-time NHL MVP Bobby Clarke.
23 of 25Al Tielemans/SI
1992 Dallas Cowboys
In Super Bowl XXVII, Leon Lett provided some solace to Cowboys haters in the fourth quarter of a 52-17 rout over the Bills. When Lett looked to have a sure touchdown, he began high-stepping his way into the end zone, holding the ball out. Streaking down the sideline, Bills receiver Don Beebe punched the ball out just before the goal line. Still, Jimmy Johnson and Co. were holding the trophy at the end.
24 of 25NBA Photos/NBAE via Getty Images
1988-89 Detroit Pistons
Between the joy of Magic and the majesty of Michael was the dark and frightening rise of the Bad Boys. Outside the state of Michigan, you wanted these guys in handcuffs. Never has an NBA team been so easy to detest, what with Rick Mahorn throwing forearms, Dennis Rodman elbows and Bill Laimbeer fits. Worst thing about them? They were a great, championship-winning basketball team.
25 of 25Focus on Sport/Getty Images
1986 Miami Hurricanes football
For these Hurricanes, the path toward hatred started the previous season, when coach Jimmy Johnson was accused of running up the score in a 58-7 Orange Bowl victory against Notre Dame. By the time its players arrived wearing combat fatigues for the 1987 national championship game, Miami's outspoken, provocative style had run its course with casual college football fans.
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