Hated Detroit athletes

Submitted by MGoCooper on December 8th, 2011 at 7:33 PM

In light of the Ndamukong Suh suspension, I got to thinking about Detroit athletes that have been hated by the rest of America. Of course everyone always points to Bill Laimbeer (deservedly so), but it goes much further than that. So with that in mind, I thought I'd compile who I thought were the most hated Detroit athletes. Turns out, Detroit probably has the biggest collection of hated athletes in the history of professional sports.


1. Ty Cobb- Meanest son of a bitch that's ever received money for playing a professional sport, hands down, end of discussion. Would recieve death threats by the hundreds every week, in addition to the standard hate mail.

2. Bill Laimbeer- To this day, will still get booed by NBA crowds. Once named by Sports Illustrated as the most hated man in sports.

3. Dennis Rodman- You'd be hard pressed to find an basketball player more disliked.

4. Bobby Layne- People hated his night life, and how all the morning cab drivers knew his name. Only professional athlete since Babe Ruth that could perform at an all star level completely drunk.

5. Bob Probert- Opposing fans opinions of him ranged from thug, goon, and hack artist. (F*uck them though, I loved him growing up)

6. Isiah Thomas- Most would agree he's one of the 50 best players of all time, but the snubbing of the bulls after they eliminated the pistons, really harmed Zeke's image around the league. 

7. Dick "Night Train" Lane- His ferocious play infuriated opposing fans, and like ohio fans of today, fans would constantly hope injury on him.

8. Rasheed Wallace- "Ball don't lie" and neither did the boos that Sheed got while playing in road games.

9. Hank Greenberg- Being the first Jewish sports superstar, came with a lot of drawbacks fort the times Greenberg played in. The racism and anti semitic  actions and comments he'd have to endure, rivaled what Jackie Robinson experienced.

10. Ted Lindsay- It was impossible to for opposing fans to hate Goride Howe, given his peaceful demeanor, so they chose to hate Lindsay.




MGJS SuperKick Party

December 8th, 2011 at 7:38 PM ^

I feel that Suh is still liked by a lot of the country. He is leading the defensive tackle all star voting.
<br>I would agree with your list. Ty Cobb was so mean, and he was hated for the way he played...
<br>When I first read the title, I thought it was our least favorite Detroit athlete, which is definitely Brandon Inge. He is vastly overrated in my opinion, and paid way too much.


December 8th, 2011 at 7:44 PM ^

We should totally have a reasonable debate about Brandon Inge....

Seriously, though, that's a whole other story.  Without getting political, Brandon Inge is the [controversial person] of Detroit sports figures.  I don't understand how a baseball player can polarize a fan base as much as Inge does.

Mod edit: Don't even mention prominent politician's names unless directly involving the University or college athletics. It's an invitation for flame wars.


December 8th, 2011 at 8:15 PM ^

Ok, let's be adults here.  There is no denying that any President of the United States is a polarizing figure.  I was making a point without saying anything partisan.  I can be a republican, a democrat, an indepedent, a member of the whig party, anything and recognize the polarization of the office.

I understand the rules and all, but we can probably do without censorship.  I wasn't being political, I was making a point about Brandon Inge by comparing him to the only other figure that is similarly polarizing in the SE Michigan area.


December 9th, 2011 at 12:44 AM ^

Every political figure is polarizing. Unless you are referencing Ghandi or something (and even that will get you in to debates around campus), you're asking for trouble.

Sports are one of the few times all of us can agree on who we are supporting, etc., so why even get into it?


December 8th, 2011 at 7:59 PM ^

I feel that Suh is still liked by a lot of the country

I'm not sure you're right about that one....

As someone who lives outside Detroit, I can tell you that's not how most people think of him. Whether deserved or not his continuous "rough" play on the field seems to have earned him a reputation as a cheap shot artist and a bully. I'm not trying to take away from his talent, because's he's a fantastic player, but his actions  speak way louder than his words.

Also, the argument that "he's just bigger and stronger than everyone else" is totally laughable. Sure, he's a monster, but its the NFL ... they all are. I'd like to see Schwartz get in his ear a bit more and start threatening to fine/suspend him for penalties that cost the lions dearly.




Thurman Merman

December 8th, 2011 at 9:32 PM ^

Actually, I'm beginning to think that Schwartz is part of the problem.  They've created and encouraged this sort of play out of the team and I don't think they fully know how to control it.  If the team doesn't clean up a lot of this sloppy play and penalties, they need to find someone who WILL keep the players in line.


December 8th, 2011 at 10:28 PM ^

As much as Bears fans hate Green Bay, what Suh did there, more than the other incidents, badly sullied his name and reputation. Worse, he didn't seem to take ownership, or have an understanding of what is inappropriate. The sense given by Suh was that this is how he ALWAYS has played. The perspective of fans outside of Detroit now is that he is a dirty player.

The sad thing is that Suh is now under a microscope. This is of his own making.


December 8th, 2011 at 7:43 PM ^

The Bad Boys were so awesome. When I think about guys like Cobb, Probert and even what Suh did on Thanksgiving, I cringe a bit. But the fact that the old school Pistons did EVERYTHING against the grain of the glamorized, establishment whore NBA and prospered is such an accomplishment.

Every time I hear about the rest of the country hating them, I smile.



December 8th, 2011 at 7:49 PM ^

Layne wasn't really "hated."  As for the drinking, remember that Vince Lombardi was the first coach in professional sports with a mandatory weight training program.  The entire Yankee team of the 50's and 60's got hammered regularly.  In this era, with alcohol scapegoated so much, and "substance abuse policies" used as a bargaining chip during negotiations, 

As for Lindsay, he was one of the dirtiest players who ever played the game.  When he "unretired," the NHL commissioner called it "a black day for hockey."  Things were just a tad different back then.  


December 8th, 2011 at 7:54 PM ^

My grandfather used to follow the Lions around the country, and he says they used to boo the hell out of him, every time he touched the ball. He said the articles about him in the papers, especially in Cleveland were always harsh.


December 8th, 2011 at 7:50 PM ^

I don't think he was hated (or even really all that well known nationally) until after he went to San Antonio, dyed the hair, and started acting like a bit of a lunatic.  Also there were/are plenty of people who like Rodman either for his antics or just because they respect his play.


December 8th, 2011 at 7:54 PM ^

Does anyone else find the Lions somewhat hard to root for? I think its because I have grown up idolizing Michigan football, but I value class very highly in a team. With Schwartz and Suh, I have a hard time pulling for the Lions occasionally. They're my home team, so I still root for them, but it can never even approach the level of my Michigan fanhood.


December 8th, 2011 at 8:11 PM ^

I love Michigan too but not sure that has anything to do with my feelings for the Lions.  I know what you're saying though about the Lions, although I don't have trouble rooting for them.  My trouble is respecting them.  It's almost as if it's been so long since the franchise has done anything that they have no idea how to act.  I'm inclined to start with Schwartz and talk about how the Lions aren't acting any differently than he is, but I remember this kind of thing going back a long way.  I wish they knew how to act in public though because this is embarassing.

Section 1

December 8th, 2011 at 7:54 PM ^

But Hank Greenberg being on it seems crazy.  He'd be on the Most Loved List as far as I know.  A gentleman, a sportsman, and a bona fide Amrican hero who enlisted in the army in wartime at the absolute peak of his All-star baseball career.


December 8th, 2011 at 7:57 PM ^

Howe was anything but peaceful early in his career. The Red Wings organization had to sit him down and persuade him that he didn't have to fight everybody on the ice due to his talent.

"Howe did not set the league on fire right away. Howe spent more time establishing his physical reputation in that time, scoring a total of only 35 goals but dropping the gloves with any and all comers. The Red Wings were able to convince him that he would be better served to stay out of the penalty box, the ambidextrous shooter scored 35 goals in 1949-50, second in the NHL to Rocket Richard's 43."

"Despite an even temperament and a real distaste for combat, there is a part of Howe that is calculatingly and primitively savage," Mark Kram wrote in Sports Illustrated in 1964. "He is a punishing artist with a hockey stick, slashing, spearing, tripping and high-sticking his way to a comparative degree of solitude on the ice."

"He's got more elbows than an octopus. If an octopus has elbows." - Frank Selke

Check out these pix of his famous '58 fight with Ranger enforcer Lou Fontinato:



December 8th, 2011 at 8:01 PM ^

I know it is not for his play in Detroit but rather his play in Vancouver but Todd Bertuzzi gets booed in every arena that he plays in for the most part.  This is especially true in Colorado still to this day. 

I know it is for good reason he gets booed as his incident with Steve Moore was horrendous.

BOX House

December 8th, 2011 at 9:03 PM ^

Was gonna mention him as well. 

A lot of people around Detroit don't even really like him, still. I'm a big supporter of second chances, though, and I've grown to like him as a player. He's a tough player but seems to stay pretty quiet these days.


December 8th, 2011 at 8:05 PM ^

Not necessarily hated in his time, but if you are talking about lifespans it's clear who the most hated Detroit athlete of all-time SHOULD be:

Denny McLain. The man is pure scum.



December 8th, 2011 at 8:15 PM ^

A reporter once asked the legendary Ty Cobb, how he'd fair against today's pitching. Cobb said "I'd hit about .290". ".290?" the reporter asked, "you hit over .400 5 times in your career!". To which Cobb replied "Fuck, I'm 77 years old now".

Charlie Chunk

December 8th, 2011 at 8:19 PM ^

I know it's a long time ago, but I think you need to add Detroit Lion Alex Karras to that list.  He was a bad ass and pretty much hated by the league for his tough as nails play.