Single page view By Patrick Hruby
Page 2

Not to put too fine a point on it, but I loathe the Los Angeles Lakers. Detest the Dallas Cowboys. Would be hard-pressed to say a nice thing about Tiger Woods that doesn't involve his bank account and/or marrying a Swedish bikini model.

When the insufferable New York Yankees and irritating Boston Red Sox met in last year's American League championship series, my sincerest wish was for both clubs to crash and burn -- and somehow embarrass the Chicago Cubs in the process.

Kobe Bryant
AP
Kobe Bryant, a player many fans love to hate.

In short, I'm a player hater. A nattering nabob of athletic negativity, the sort of anti-fan whose favorite childhood sports memory involves Bobby Hurley's leaving the floor to go potty during UNLV's bushwhacking of Duke in the 1990 NCAA championship game.

And to think: I didn't even like the Running Rebels.

I know I'm petty. Thirty-two flavors of pathetic. Peyton Manning could donate his entire salary to tsunami relief; I'd still pull for him to overthrow his next pass into Rodney Harrison's waiting hands. A bigger person would repent, put down the Haterade and get on with a positive, purpose-driven life. So would I, sans two nagging details.

I'm a small, purposeless man. A shabby barnacle on the hull of S.S. Humanity.

More importantly, I'm having too much fun.

Coretta Scott King once said that hate is too great a burden to bear, injuring the hater more than the hated. Maybe so. Then again, she never experienced the sheer, giddy joy of watching Kobe Bryant weep like a figure skater following the Lakers' defeat in the 2003 playoffs.

Truth is, sports contempt can be glorious, as uplifting as a V2 rocket. Just ask the guys behind carlosloozer.com, a Web site mocking Carlos Boozer's ugly free agent defection from Cleveland to Utah last summer.

"Response [to the site] has been great," says Tim Parnin, 35, a Cavs fan and Web designer. "We've been selling T-shirts to Sweden, Australia."

"Someone in Japan bought 20 shirts," adds Brian Kirby, 36, also a Cavs fan and Web designer. "Just one person. We get Koreans, Chinese. Thousands of people from Belgium for some reason."

LOVE TO HATE
So much hate, so little time ... and to heap it all on one person? Forget it.

Spread the love -- umm, hate -- all around and vote on who you hate the most from the playing field to the front office.

VOTE NOW!

To root is human; to root against, sublime. Besides, a thousand Belgians can't be wrong. Herein, the case for player hatin':

Hate is Fun
The dialogue ("yippee!") is dreadful, the acting ("noooo!") an affront to grade school drama productions everywhere. Yet in botching the "Star Wars" prequels, George Lucas managed to get one thing right.

He focused on Darth Vader.

Everyone admires heroes. But great villains always steal the show. Think Iago in "Othello," the shark in "Jaws," John Rocker at Shea Stadium. Black hats make us watch, if only to witness their eventual comeuppance. Would the recent presidential election have been as enjoyable if John Kerry wasn't an effete, flip-floppy windbag? If George Bush wasn't a devious, warmongering moron?

Continued...


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PASS THE HATERADE