No. 4 Duke basketball player the rivals loved to hate the most: Shane Battier
2001 NBA Draft: Round 1, Pick 6
Memphis Grizzlies, 2001–2006
Houston Rockets, 2006–2011
Memphis Grizzlies, 2011
Miami Heat, 2011–2014
Shane Battier’s playstyle lends itself to being hated. Taking charges, getting physical in man-to-man defense, and swarming ball handlers with trapping help defense doesn’t typically ingratiate one to opponents. You don’t average over two steals and two blocks per game in consecutive seasons without ruffling a few feathers.
As part of the winningest Blue Devils team in the history of Duke basketball along with the 2014-15 team, Battier not only was a terror on the defensive end, but also a thorn in the side of opposing defenses as well. The Michigan native shot 44% his junior year on over five attempts per game and then converted 42% of his over seven triples per game during his senior season.
Battier got any remaining non-Duke fans who didn’t hate him to change their minds when he helped LeBron James and the “Big Three” era Miami Heat win two consecutive titles in 2012 and 2013. Few players will ever be as coveted by one’s own team while scorned on another as Battier was during his playing career.