So it has come to this. Names like Packer, Cross, Pearl and Maggard have fallen by the wayside. Now, the long journey of hatehatehate has left standing only two men contestants, and quite the pair they are. The disdain for these two chumps is unmatched among Kentucky fans. There are simply not two people who conjure the same feelings of nausea mixed with rage that our finalists spark in the bellies of Cat fans everywhere. And now we have the opportunity to answer a question that would seem to be unanswerable. Who sucks more?
Christian Laettner has long been the standard bearer as the most hatable player, possibly in college basketball history. Even fans of other teams, people who could never understand how bad the shot felt to the Big Blue Nation, can admit that Laettner is a turd at the very least. And they’re right…Laettner is the guy we’ve made a life of hating. He’s as much a microcosm of Duke as Coach K. He’s a pretty package, the All-American Boy, if you will. He shot it straight and won all the time and the media, for the most part, thought he was the cat’s pajamas. But just like Coach K, we know he’s a snake. A chest stomper. A jerk. A guy still living off his one big moment almost 20 years later. The people on television who supposedly know their stuff talk about him in the context of great college players, but we don’t listen. We the people know the truth. Great college player? Maybe. Biggest pretty boy, sweater around the neck jagoff ever? Without question. Oh…and then there’s this.
And so time has marched on with Laettner seemingly stuck permanently at the top of the heap. We had already resigned ourselves to the fact that the Dookie would remain alone in the annals of Kentucky history as the most hated opposing player ever. And just when we thought we had it figured out, Joakim Noah showed up. As a freshman he played little, left sitting behind other PHBers like Matt Walsh. We caught only glimpses of him at first, wondering who this lady was that Billy Donovan had so graciously let play dress-up with the team and sit on the bench. Well…the joke was on us. As a sophomore, Noah and the gang arrived on the scene and started winning…a lot. But it wasn’t the winning that pissed us off. The chomp, the finger wag, the chest pound…I’ve detailed all of them in past posts. The pounding those Gators put on the Cats for their two years in the spotlight was probably the most glaring demonstration of the dropoff in our program during Tubby’s final years. Watching them raise two championship trophies twisted that knife even deeper. But the part about Noah that makes him the worst is the fact that he actually loves for people to hate him. He knows everybody thinks he’s a douche and he doesn’t mind at all. Cheerleaders called him ugly, old women harassed him, fans called him anything and everything, and he just took it all in and stored it in the space where most people house their soul. He is still the same loser, hated even by Bulls fans today and just as loud and annoying as ever. If you asked him, I’d still bet he says he loved beating Kentucky more than anybody. It’s appropriate then, I guess, that we might just hate Joakim Noah like nobody else, even Christian Laettner.
By far the most difficult decision of our lives is upon us. Noah or Laettner? Can it even be decided? Well, if nothing else, we’re going to try.
Vote in the poll and comment in the comments.