I don’t like you, Joakim Noah

Chris Crowell

Despite Ron Lewis’ NCAA heroics Saturday, which propelled the Ohio State Buckeyes into overtime with Xavier, there was a huge letdown on St. Patty’s Day: No one threw batteries at Carlos Boozer, the former Cavalier who made his long-awaited return to Cleveland. I haven’t been that disappointed since no one threw batteries at former Indian Jim Thome last season.

I’m kidding, of course. I don’t condone actual violence. But that doesn’t mean I don’t advocate unadulterated, mindless hatred toward athletes.

The return of Loozer got me thinking about my Hatred Power Rankings.

This ranking system quantifies my level of hate for certain people in sports and files those people from least hated to most. The Trinity of Evil has resided atop the rankings for quite a while and includes former Clevelanders: Boozer at No. 3, Thome at No. 2 and Satan, better known as Art Modell, at No. 1. I do not anticipate any movement at the top for quite some time.

But who is next? That is the question. There hasn’t been a recent sports figure that’s had enough detestable qualities to stay in the rankings. Perhaps I’m softening in my old age.

Or maybe I was just waiting for Joakim Noah, No. 4 on my list.

I can’t exactly pinpoint why, but I hate him. It’s either:

A) his goofy facial expressions,

B) his forced enthusiasm,

C) the hype he gets from announcers,

D) the fact that he plays for the University of Florida

E) all of the above.

When I see Noah get his eight rebounds, 10 points and 15 offensive and defensive no-calls every game, all I see is an over-hyped Anderson Varejao. Don’t get me wrong. I love Varejao, but let’s get serious. No one is putting him on Sports Illustrated. Everyone’s love of Noah is over the top and unwarranted.

I’ve watched Florida a few times this year, and every game goes like this: Noah starts playing like a bum, and announcers start saying things like, “This guy does things you can’t measure on a stat sheet.” Then Noah finally gets cross-eyed and grabs a good rebound, makes a good pass or dunk, starts celebrating like he found the meaning of life, and everyone starts slobbering all over themselves and ignores every no-call he gets the rest of the game. Oh my! What passion!

He makes me want to gargle gunpowder.

His whole act was annoying when Florida won a championship last year in a weak field of teams, but I didn’t hate him. Fast forward to this year: Florida backdoors Ohio State’s chance to be the first school to hold both the NCAA football and basketball titles and is now looking to sandwich that with another basketball title.

Add all of it up and it equals a serious amount of hatred – as well as an ample portion of sour grapes, bitterness and depression. It’s the most hatred I have for anyone who has not personally disrespected one of my teams.

And if I see that buffoon hold up another Florida title and do a silly, awkward dance with a shirt on his head while every ESPN analyst cries tears of joy, all the Ron Lewis 3-pointers in the world won’t electroshock me back into coherence.

Contact sports columnist Chris Crowell at [email protected].