Don't Hate the NBA's "Most Disliked Players," Hate The Game

Making a list. Checking it twice. And then realizing not every list needs to be made.

Christmas may be over, but the the holiday season is still upon us. Everywhere we turn, we’re enveloped by twinkling lights, the smell of fresh pine needles, festive music, cookies that melt in our mouths, and the resulting feeling of undeniable holiday spirit.

Keeping that feeling of warm fuzzies and overwhelming kindness in mind, I thought: what better way to celebrate this time of year -- a time of giving, loving, appreciating, and joy -- than to make a list?

Not just any list, mind you. No no. A very special list. A list divulging which xoJane writers you, wait for it: Just. Can’t Stand. You know: the ones who make you want to strangle yourself with a strand of high wattage Christmas tree lights, who you hope choke on a candy cane, and got nothing but coal in their stockings. Just a light-hearted, no big deal, list that would totally destroy the fragile psyches of each and every one of the amazing people who write for this site.

Quick! Leave their names in the comments.

Except ohmygod: DO NOT DO THAT.

Because that would be super rude. I mean, no one would EVER do that to someone, right?

Well, no one except everyone who does.


Here’s the thing: I subscribe to “US Weekly” and I watch E! I even have the TMZ app on my iPhone and the only redeeming quality I’ve ever found in the grocery store is the racks upon racks of tabloid magazines (well that and wine and goldfish). I am well aware that one of the recurring features of those celebrity-driven media outlets is their “Best and Worst” lists. And, quite frankly, those lists don’t bother me.

Most of the time, they’re fairly harmless commentary of movies that flopped or horrible red carpet outfits. You know, things that shouldn’t actually affect a person’s self-esteem. (I mean, if someone dedicated an entire magazine page to how heinous my outfit was, I’d move to Antarctica, but I just assume celebrities know how to handle it.)

Plus, I just don’t give much thought to the exploitation of celebrities. I’m anti-paparazzi in theory, but obviously not in practice. I feel bad that celebrities are put under a microscope, but also think they sort of chose that life.

That being said, I think that went too far with the list they released last Wednesday naming “The NBA’s Most Disliked Players.”

This isn’t the first time has release this list (last year Lebron James earned the #1 spot for the way he handled his departure from Cleveland), but I didn’t realize how inappropriate I felt it was until I saw this year’s “winner:”

Kris Humphries.

In case you actually did have to move to Antarctica because of a terrible outfit, let me fill you in: Kris Humphries is a very mediocre basketball player who was basically unknown until he married, and 72 days later, divorced Kim Kardashian.

So why is a marginal player who only two days ago was re-signed by the New Jersey Nets (meaning he wasn’t even technically IN the NBA at the time of the poll) at the top of a list that frankly seems like something a gaggle of bitchy 6th graders created?

Oh right. Because of his personal life.

People don’t hate Kris Humphries because he gets paid $8 million to average 10 points a game. No, they hate him because of his brief stint as a reality star and boyfriend/fiancé/husband to Kim Kardashian. They hate him because they suspect his marriage was a sham and that it was all for the money. They hate him because of what’s been said in the press and the tabloids. They hate him for absolutely NOTHING that has ANYTHING to do with how he performs on the court.

I’m not going to pretend that I have any idea what it’s like to be Kris Humphries. I don’t know if he married for love or money. I don’t know if he knew what he was getting into when he started dating Kim (we're totally on a first name basis). I don’t know if he wanted to be a celebrity or if he thought somehow he could date a reality star and manage to stay out of the spotlight.

What I do know is that putting yourself out there is hard. I know this because I do it. Everyone at xoJane does it. In fact, Jane once described finding writers for this site like “casting a reality television show.” All of the writers here write about ourselves and our lives -- the good, the bad, the fat, and the skinny. We open ourselves up for praise, criticism, and feedback. And while it’s fun and rewarding most of the time, there are definitely days when one mean comment ruins the entire afternoon. And I’m just one small supporting character in a cast of shining stars.

So while I can’t even imagine someone creating an xoJane shit list, even worse, I can’t imagine being ranked at the top of it. (Only because, obviously, that honor would go to Cat. KIDDING, Cat!!!) Seriously though… Imagine being ranked by profession, but scored solely on your personal life. Sounds pretty horrible, right?

In a time where so much about life sucks for so many people, what’s the point of focusing on hating professional athletes? What’s the point of focusing on hating anyone? (Obviously, when I say “anyone,” I’m not including certain politicians who are ruining everything.) What’s the point in polling people on which basketball players or actors or reality stars we can’t stand? Certainly nothing productive or good can come from this type of survey. Don’t we have something better we could be doing with our time and energy?

I don’t have any sage advice with which to end. And I get that in the scheme of things, there are far worse atrocities occurring in the world than a "Most Disliked" poll. It just seems to me that this one small thing is an unfortunate example of the myriad of problems we have in society. And as naïve as it may sound, I just wish that weren't the case.

I didn't really celebrate Christmas this year. I didn't exchange presents or go caroling. I didn’t even get a tree because I hate to watch them die. But it appears as though, despite my best attempts to keep the Christmas spirit out, it may have managed to nudge its way in.

So while I take a few much-needed days off to relax and regroup, I’ll be happy that I’m lucky enough to write for a website that would never make a list that tears people down. I’ll be thankful that I am in the company of such amazing and diverse writers. And I’ll gladly count my blessings, aka each and every one of you.

And I'll hope that in the New Year we can all treat each other with the kindness we deserve.

Happy Holidays.