For me a huge part of being a Utah Jazz fan has been, through the trials and tribulations of their playoff sojourns, learning to hate other teams. I'm not a fan of the Los Angeles Lakers, and there have been many players great and small (Kobe Bryant to Rick Fox) that I really am not a fan of. Regional rivals from the Denver Nuggets have made my hate list quite frequently as well. Who could forget all the games against the Seattle Super Sonics? Who could forget Shawn Kemp and wishing he would, I dunno, somehow not be so athletic? I know I still haven't gotten over Don Nelson and his Golden State Warriors sweep of the Jazz all so many years ago. And collectively, as a fan base, I don't think any of us could ever like the Chicago Bulls. Seriously, Dennis Rodman? Bison Dele? Screw those guys.
But probably the biggest obstacle for the Jazz over the years (besides the Lakers, who have been a problem for every team out west) have been the Portland Trail Blazers. They were the team that knocked us out during John Stockton and Karl Malone 's prime, and the team that knocked the team out during Jeff Hornacek 's last year in the league as a player. Another small market team, but with a filthy rich owner -- and a team that has actually gotten players to be Rookie of the Year / All-Star level. They seem to get a return on their drafting investments quicker than the Jazz. And they seem to be winning games more regularly as well.
The problem is, for the most part, these are good dudes. Even Karl Malone patched things up with Brian Grant years ago. Greg Oden is a tragic story. Arvydas Sabonis seems like an awesome dude. Wesley Matthews is a Jazzman. And Damian Lillard went to college in Utah.
For me finding those one or two players to focus my hate is a little tricky with this team. There's no obvious villain like Carmelo Anthony or Kenyon Martin or J.R. Smith or Arron Afflalo. I think it ends up being something silly, like Terry Porter and Rasheed Wallace, or Isaiah Rider. Porter really left a mark when he averaged 26.0 ppg (.548 fg%, .529 3pt%, .852 ft%), 8.3 apg, 4.0 rpg, 1.0 spg against the Jazz in the Western Conference Finals back in '92. He absolutely torched the team, and the Blazers in general killed the Jazz from outside. I'll never forget it.
So which Portland player do you hate the most?