If you’re like most Americans, if not most sports fans, you probably didn’t know much about New Jersey Nets forward Kris Humphries until just a short time ago. Throughout most of his NBA career, Humphries was as anonymous as they come, mostly playing off the bench during an eight-year career that took him from Utah to Toronto to Dallas before finally ending up in New Jersey.
Of course, Humphries is anything but anonymous now after his very public courtship, 72-day marriage and subsequent divorce from Kim Kardashian, the current reigning queen of reality television. While I might not be the first person to question the man’s judgment — anyone who decides to marry a woman who launched her career by producing her own sex tape should have his head examined — he’s done nothing that deserves his new designation as the most disliked player in all of professional basketball.
According to a poll released by Nielsen and E-Poll Market research, 50 percent of those surveyed dislike the inoffensive Humphries. That’s more than LeBron James, the man who supposedly betrayed all of Cleveland. He was only disliked by 48 percent. Some surveys are of dubious value, but it’s clear that this one actually reflects a bit of reality, asHumphries was roundly booed by Knicks fans at Madison Square Garden earlier this week whenever he touched the ball. And even when he was on the bench, the home crowd mocked Humphries by cheering for him to be put back into the game.
Of course, the real reason Humphries is in such deep kimchi is the fact that he’s dared to challenge the Kardashian celebrity machine.
As Helen Smith pointed out earlier this week, Humphries was only exiled from his new family once it became clear he wasn’t going to put up with any more nonsense from his wife and her toxic family:
For example, on a recent show, Kim and Kourtney are heading to LA for business and tell the guys they are not allowed to have anyone in the hotel suite. Kris wanted to relax and have friends over for a party but he was told that no one was allowed to be there while they were away. Kim and Kourtney had spent the previous weeks filling the house up with women, friends and a naked male yoga instructor. Kris was disgusted but no one cared.
Smith believes Humphries should now serve as a role model for men who need to learn how to stand up to their nagging wives, but I’m afraid his is more of a cautionary tale.
If Humphries were still together with Kardashian and appearing regularly on her television program, she would be doing all she could to pump his career and line his pockets. But by standing up to Kardashian and insisting that they have a real marriage, rather than one just made for TV, he’s placed himself directly in the crosshairs of a family business that relies on cheap celebrity to keep the money train rolling.
As you might expect, the celebrity “journalists” who rely on Kardashian to keep their publications alive are more than happy to help trash what remains of Humphries’ reputation. After all, if destroying the name of an otherwise good guy is the price of continuing to get juicy Kardashian scoops, they’ll be happy to pay.
In the end, Humphries made the right decision to extricate himself from that circus. Unfortunately, doing the right thing often comes with a very high price. It looks like Humphries’ soon-to-be former wife, and her family, will be doing their level best to make sure he pays that price for a very long time.
Eric McErlain blogs at Off Wing Opinion, a Forbes “Best of the Web” winner. In 2006 he wrote a “bloggers bill of rights” to help integrate bloggers into the Washington Capitals’ press box. Eric has also written for Deadspin, NBC Sports and the Sporting News, and covers sports television for The TV News. Follow Eric on Twitter.