For a while, LeBron James, Dwayne Wade, Chris Bosh and the Miami
Mafia Heat were unanimously the most hated team in the Association. With James Coming Home™, that top spot was left up for grabs and the Rockets have gladly taken it.*
*The Los Angeles Clippers aren't close behind. They have it all: complaining about every calls, dirty players, and goons.
Whether it's the painful low-post game of Dwight Howard's, the aesthetically unattractive 25 team free throw attempts per game, or the false perception of James Harden the actor/soccer player/head-jerking complainer, everyone seems to have a problem with the Houston Rockets.
Another reason people may be opposed to the Rockets is the Daryl Morey analytics movement. Old school guys like Sir Charles Barkley have obviously voiced their opinions on advanced metrics and MoreyBall.
Or maybe Patrick Beverley, who has major beef with Russell Westbrook, gets on the nerves of casual fans. Houston supporters have grown to love Bev as a tenacious defender, but most people consider him a dirty player who singlehandedly derailed the Thunder's title chances by tearing up Westbrook's knee in the playoffs a couple years ago.
Every time the Rockets are on national TV, it seems like the whole Twitter world is rooting against them. It's like how when you watch Karate Kid, nobody (besides Barney Stinson) roots for the Cobra Kai kid. The Rockets are the Iron Sheik when he fought Hulk Hogan. The Rockets are the villains of the NBA.
The hate isn't as widespread or mainstream like the Bad Boy Pistons of the 1980s, but it seems like everyone outside of Houston dislikes the Rockets for one reason or another. From the average basketball fans to the national media, everyone has a problem with the Rockets.
But it's not just the media or fans who have it out for Rockets, opposing players always seem to pick fights with Big Dwight. Even nice guy Kevin Durant has a problem with Howard.
And here's Mamba with some kind words for Superman.
And of course, Kevin Garnett had to get in on the action.
But when did Dwight start getting treated like he was Blake Griffin? This is not a recent development. It probably goes back to when he ditched Kobe and the Lakers after just one year. This November, Gary Payton came out and basically said players don't like him because they think he's "fake."
"I think he's disliked by a lot of players," Payton said. "What Dwight does is, you know you see all the smiles and all the antics, that is getting on player's nerves. To get this guy, Kevin Durant, to do what he did, you know it's starting to become a problem with players, because Kevin Durant doesn't really talk to anybody ... [Durant] goes at people that are fake with stuff. Only fake guys.
Fact: America loves to hate the Houston Rockets. But does that even matter? Not every movie has a happy ending. It really isn't a bad thing to be the antagonist, especially in the NBA.
As fans, we should just nod and smile every time someone knocks the Rockets on Twitter or rants about them on NBA Countdown. Because the main reason why the Rockets are disliked isn't because of Harden's style, Beverley's being an asshole or Dwight's goofball personality, it's because the Rockets are a good basketball team.
For the first time in a long time, the Rockets are a playoff contender. Nobody is going to hate you if you're a bottom-feeder or a pretender.
Be flattered that the Rockets are hated. Those who don't follow the team will talk and whine about this and that. But they wouldn't be talking at all if the Rockets weren't worth talking about.