Ten years ago this week, the nation met LeBron James when he appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated, hailed as "The Chosen One" as a high school junior.
These days, that headline could be, "The Despised One."
One of the fun perks of sports is fans can boo athletes as easily as they can embrace and cheer for them. Kings rookie point guard Isaiah Thomas was booed in New York on Wednesday because of his name. Though he's not related to Isiah Thomas, that's how much fans in New York can't stand the Knicks' former front-office executive.
James might be the most frowned-upon player in the NBA in part because of "The Decision," his all-about-me announcement that he was leaving Cleveland for South Beach. He also likes to talk about himself in the third person, a sign of a big ego.
James' first NBA game was against the Kings at Arco Arena. The media huddled around him to hear what he had to say. He didn't talk in the third person then, and he wasn't despised. Back then, he was a refreshing addition to the NBA.
Now, rival fans want to see him soar and dunk, but they also love to see him hesitate in the fourth quarter, defer to others and fail.
It's a bummer James won't visit this season. Kings fans will have to save their catcalls for Kobe Bryant on April 26.
What to watch
NBA, Kings at Detroit, 4:30 p.m., CSNCA: Though 9-22, the Pistons have won five of seven.
What to do
College baseball, Cal State Northridge at Sacramento State, 2 p.m.: The Hornets open the season with a three-game series.
Who is the most despised athlete in sports today?
Vote above or leave your comments in the comment field; Or, go to www.sacbee.com/sports
Who will be the Giants' best hitter this season?
Brandon Belt: 5%
Melky Cabrera: 6%
Aubrey Huff: 1%
Angel Pagan: 1%
Buster Posey: 48%
Pablo Sandoval: 39%
Total votes: 330
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