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10 NBA Players That Played For The Team They Grew Up Hating

Fadeaway World

Fadeaway World

Naturally, all basketball players grew up being a fan of their home team, or at least admiring great players that made them follow that squad, use their jerseys and attend their games when given the chance to.

Considering how passionate we all are about sports, it’s pretty normal to have a lot of hates for rival franchises that consistently beat our own teams, even though young ballers know they may end up playing for those teams when they make it to the pros.

And now that we’ve got this digital era, it’s not rare to see fans burning players with their old tweets after talking smack about a given player or team. Today, we’re going to let you know about 10 players that played for the team they grew up hating.

10. Rajon Rondo (Pistons) - Celtics, Bulls


The controversial Rajon Rondo was forced to play for two of the teams he hated the most growing up, mostly because of how dominant and successful they were early on.

Rondo grew up a die-hard Detroit Pistons and Isiah Thomas fan, and perhaps that really impacted the way he used to play in the defensive end, but wind up playing for the Celtics and Bulls.

9. Amir Johnson (Laker) - Celtics


Amir Johnson grew up watching the Showtime Lakers and even pointed out James Worthy as his favorite player of all times. Amir Johnson has never been much of a good player, so he’s been forced to play whenever he’s been told to instead of having the chance of choosing his preferred destination.

Naturally, that forced him to use a white and green jersey and play for the Boston Celtics despite being a Lakers fan.

8. Joakim Noah (Knicks) - Bulls


Even though Joakim Noah’s Knicks stint was pretty much a disaster, it gave him the chance to live up to his dream of playing in the big apple.

Noah grew up hating the Chicago Bulls as all Knicks fans do, and he even told scouts during workouts that he was a diehard Knicks fan and “hated Michael Jordan”, but grew to become the team’s most vocal leader and one of the most beloved players in their history.

7. LeBron James (Bulls) - Cleveland


Due to his great admiration for Michael Jordan, LeBron James was a die-hard Chicago Bulls fan and was constantly being linked with a move to the Windy City. Also, he stated that he actually hated Cleveland as a city growing up because the “big city kids looked down on him”.

The Akron native winds up becoming the Cleveland Cavaliers’ greatest player ever, and constantly kicked the Bulls’ butt in the playoffs.

6. Isaiah Thomas (Laker) - Celtics

Isaiah Thomas is one of the most underrated players in the league, but he wasn’t able to hold on to his dream of playing with the Lakers after signing a 1 year deal with Denver.

Still, it would be at Boston where he’d thrive the most and become one of the most beloved players of their recent history, despite growing up as a die-hard Lakers fan thanks to his father, even stating that he was “brainwashed to being a Lakers fan”.

5. Klay Thompson (Laker) - Warriors


Klay Thompson grew up looking up to his old man, a former member of the Los Angeles Lakers; and constantly dreamt about following his footsteps. And even though he also became a professional baller, he’d have to “settle” for playing for their Conference rivals, the almighty Golden State Warriors.

On a side note, he even admits he was forgotten the Warriors even existed, and completely forgot they were in Oakland as well.

4. Derrick Rose (Bulls) - New York

Derrick Rose MVP Chicago Bulls

Being a Chicago native, obviously Derrick Rose hated the New York Knicks’ guts, and constantly lit them up when he was still the Chicago Bulls’ go-to-guy. Nonetheless, he was forced to play with the team he hated the most after the Bulls let him go, although he wouldn’t fare quite well there either.

Perhaps, he finds it tough to be motivated to play for the Knicks after he was born on the time of the biggest rivalry between them and the Bulls.

3. Jordan Clarkson (Spurs) - Lakers

Feb 6, 2015; Orlando, FL, USA; Los Angeles Lakers guard Jordan Clarkson (6) dribbles the ball against the Orlando Magic during the second quarter at Amway Center. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Back in the day, Spurs fans and Lakers fans completely hated each other, mostly because they were constantly fighting to rule the Western Conference en route of becoming the ultimate king of the NBA.

Growing up a San Antonio Spurs fan, Clarkson would even watch his father wash David Robinson’s and Sean Elliott’s cars, so playing for their rivals must have been a tough pill to swallow.

2. Isiah Thomas (Bulls) - Pistons


The Pistons and the Bulls have a long history of hating each other’s guts, and Isiah Thomas would only add more fire to that hate after leading the Pistons to one of the most successful eras in franchise history despite being a Bulls fan.

Also, his personal feud with Michael Jordan wouldn’t do much to help with this situation, but he actually grew up sneaking up to Bulls games with his friends, and hated “all Detroit sports”.

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1. Paul Pierce (Lakers) - Celtics


Believe it or not, Paul Pierce was a die-hard Los Angeles Lakers fan and “bled purple and gold” before becoming one of the most iconic players in Boston’s history.

The truth was the team’s leader and never hesitated to let everybody know a piece of his mind, and he is the biggest example of ending up loving the team you grew up swearing to destroy, even after not wanting to be drafted by that franchise.