Bayless is known for his controversial opinions and scathing takes on athletes, coaches, rappers & more.
In the spirit of Thanksgiving Day we’re taking a look at five players that Bayless loves and five players he hates in this article from Bleacher Report.
Skip Bayless is a former ESPN commentator who has been fired for his controversial opinions. He has made a list of players that he loves and hates in the NBA.
Whether you agree with his opinions or not, Skip Bayless is one of the most well-known and respected NBA commentators. Even though he has never played professional basketball or if his views are controversial, the legendary analyst will always speak his mind. That is why Skip is so well-liked in the business, despite being one of the most divisive people in the media.
He’s a must-watch character on television because he sticks to his guns no matter what. Skip Bayless has supporters in the media and in sports, but his critics seem to have the most vehement views on him (most noticeably Charles Barkley from Inside The NBA). Even players that Skip admires, like as Kevin Durant, have disagreements with the ESPN commentator. However, over Skip’s illustrious career as a basketball pundit, he has given certain NBA players the benefit of the doubt while others have experienced his wrath.
Here are Skip’s favorite NBA players and his least favorite NBA players. Here is a list of NBA players that fit within both categories, based on video evidence and what we’ve seen from Skip during his career.
5 Players Who Skip Admires
Manu Ginobili, No. 5
Manu Ginobili is a potential Hall of Famer with the San Antonio Spurs and a renowned servant. Despite accepting a 6th man position, Manu had All-Star talents and ability with the squad, winning four NBA titles. Ginobili may have made more All-Star Teams and had a higher career PPG if he had started more games. As a consequence, Ginobili is considered as one of the NBA’s most selfless players.
Ginobili is one of Skip’s favorite players, owing to his role in helping the Spurs dominate the NBA for nearly a decade. Skip also admires Manu’s ability to deliver in a pinch, something the Argentinian does on a regular basis. Manu is a Spurs icon and one of Bayless’ favorite players because to his selflessness and ability to kindle a fire off the bench.
Kawhi Leonard (#4)
Even though Skip Bayless couldn’t tolerate Kawhi when he pushed his way out of San Antonio, The Claw returned to Skip’s good graces after joining the Los Angeles Clippers instead of the Los Angeles Lakers. Before the 2020 season, there were several theories regarding where Leonard might sign after winning the 2019 NBA championship with the Toronto Raptors. The Los Angeles Lakers, of course, were widely assumed to be Leonard’s main destination.
After all, the Lakers had LeBron James on their roster, as well as Anthony Davis, who had just been acquired. Rather of establishing a Big Three with the Lakers, he joined the Clippers and became LeBron James’ main adversary. Of course, whenever Skip gets the opportunity to play against LeBron, he will take it. With Leonard now residing in Los Angeles and pursuing his third title, Bayless will back him all the way to the finish, putting the Spurs turmoil behind him.
Kevin Durant (#3)
As Skip Bayless has mentioned several times, he likes Kevin Durant as a basketball player. While Bayless’ admiration for Durant may stem from his quest to uncover LeBron James’s competitors, he is without a doubt one of the top-five talents of his age. Kevin Durant has cemented his place among the top-15 players in NBA history as a four-time scorer and possibly the most unstoppable perimeter player of all time.
Skip Bayless pushed and pleaded for the club to force-feed the ball to the 6’10” forward instead of the 6’3″ Russell Westbrook for years during Durant’s time in Oklahoma City. When it came to Durant taking a backseat at times, Bayless sounded like a broken record, pleading for the scoring forward to exhibit more selfishness. Durant enjoyed the greatest success in his career with the Golden State Warriors, but it never occurred. Skip Bayless was ecstatic when Kevin Durant won back-to-back Finals MVP awards over LeBron James.
Tim Duncan is number two.
Tim Duncan, the best player in the history of Skip Bayless’ favorite team, the San Antonio Spurs, is a personal favorite of Skip’s. While Bayless usually has factual proof of Duncan’s tremendous influence on the court, Skip’s affection for Duncan sometimes gets in the way. Duncan’s success may cause the analyst to become entirely blinded by it, and he often places him higher on the all-time list than even LeBron James. But one thing is certain: Tim Duncan, regardless of who he is compared to, is the greatest power forward of all time.
Karl Malone came the closest to Duncan in terms of effect, but neither he nor the Utah Jazz great could win many NBA championships like Duncan. Skip Bayless was certain that Duncan, who was in his late 30s at the time, was the finest interior defender in the world and had been since his rookie season. While it’s difficult to disagree with Skip’s appreciation for Duncan, the five-time champion isn’t Skip’s all-time favorite player.
Michael Jordan is number one.
Who else could possibly be number one? At every opportunity, Skip Bayless lavishes adulation on Michael Jordan in every manner. It’s difficult to disagree with Skip’s compliments since Michael really was a one-of-a-kind individual. There have been many great players before and after Michael Jordan, including Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Wilt Chamberlain, Shaquille O’Neal, Kobe Bryant, and LeBron James, but none have come close to Jordan’s domination on the court.
Jordan dominated every facet of the NBA game, winning six titles and never losing in the Finals. Michael also performed something that Skip cherishes the most: he dominated the fourth quarter. Skip prefers to disregard what happens for the duration of the game and concentrate on the last quarter, which is when players are named and games are won. Jordan was the master of the comeback, coming through in a variety of regular-season and playoff situations to put his team on top. Bayless will never alter his views about Michael being the GOAT, much as Skip’s colleague Shannon Sharpe worships LeBron James as the finest player on the planet.
5 Players Who Avoid Hate
Damian Lillard (#5)
Skip Bayless, for whatever reason, does not seem to recognize Damian Lillard’s brilliance on the floor. The point guard’s lack of playoff success is his biggest justification for his being an overrated talent. Although Bayless acknowledges that Lillard is one of the league’s most clutch players, the analyst believes that the point guard only shines during the regular season. Despite the fact that Lillard lacks the playoff experience of some of the league’s best players, Skip is known for being tough on the Trail Blazers’ star.
Bayless even has a 6-minute video where he comes at Lillard as a leader, winner, and all-around great in a variety of ways. In reality, Skip does not consider Dame to be a superstar, preferring to wow spectators with his regular-season performances. Damian Lillard was chosen to the NBA 75th Anniversary Team, and whether Bayless likes it or not, he will be a future Hall of Famer.
Luka Doncic (No. 4)
Luka Doncic is one of the finest young players in the world, and if he keeps up his outstanding performance on the court, he will soon be the face of the NBA. At the age of 22, the Slovenian sensation has already been named to two All-Star teams and two All-NBA teams, as well as winning Debut of the Year in his rookie season. By being a key ball-handler who scores and also produces for others, the Slovenian great has a systematic approach to the game. Skip, on the other hand, despises the All-Star Game, owing to one name: Larry Bird.
Luka has been dubbed “Baby Bird” by the media because he possesses a high-arcing shot and, like Larry Legend, plays the game with limited explosiveness. Bird is one of Skip’s all-time favorite players since he was a clutch performance and winner throughout his career. During the 1980s, the Celtics legend won three NBA championships, two Finals MVPs, and three MVPs as the league’s face (along with Magic Johnson). Even if the comparison between Luka and Bird is unfair to Luka at this point in his career, Skip dismisses it. Doncic has a long way to go before he can be as dominating as Bird throughout the course of his career, but Bayless will not entertain any conversation of Luka’s greatness at this time.
Allen Iverson (#3)
Despite the fact that Skip and Allen Iverson have both said that they do not dislike one other, there is no denying that the commentator has made some highly nasty remarks about the four-time scoring champion. During his tenure with the Denver Nuggets, Iverson went on TV to ask why Bayless hated him so much, to which Skip answered that he doesn’t hate the 2001 MVP. While no one can deny Bayless’ claim that he doesn’t hate him, the commentator has been outspoken in his criticism of Iverson as a player on several occasions.
When it came to Iverson’s selfishness as a player, Skip often referred to him as “Me, Myself, and Iverson.” While there’s no doubting that Iverson played the game his way, taking a lot of shots and always wanting to score, Skip’s criticisms have been severe. Bayless preached that Iverson will never win an NBA championship because of his selfishness, and he will continue to preach that message as long as he is on television. Skip will be the first to laud Iverson’s legendary bravery and passion, but the commentator was plainly not a fan of his playing style.
Russell Westbrook (#2)
Russell Westbrook has been the target of Skip’s anger the most this season. Westbrook has been a target for Skip since his days in Oklahoma City. Bayless is an Oklahoma City native who supports the Thunder, but he isn’t a fan of Westbrook’s play on the court. The triple-double champion is a phenomenal individual talent, but Skip constantly criticizes him for his lack of team success. For years, Bayless chastised Westbrook for being a selfish point guard who stole possessions from Kevin Durant, an all-time great scorer.
But Bayless’ objections go far further. Skip has often said that Westbrook is out of control, obsessed with box scores, and a turnover machine. Bayless believes Westbrook will never win an NBA championship, and it seems that he is correct. This season, Westbrook has battled with the Lakers, who have struggled on both sides of the court. While Skip is entitled to his view on Westbrook and has many valid things to make about the point guard, it is clear that the analyst is not a fan of the point guard.
LeBron James is number one.
No player in NBA history has received as much criticism as LeBron James, with Skip Bayless being the most vocal critic. Even though Skip denies having a personal grudge towards LeBron, it’s difficult to believe given how often Bayless slams The King on a regular basis. Skip hammered the drum earlier in LeBron’s career about how the small forward anointed himself King without any rings. Skip had fodder for the rest of his career after James’ loss in the 2011 Finals, once again harping on how James isn’t clutch and has a killer instinct.
Ray Allen’s playoff shot in the 2013 NBA Finals also provided ammunition for Skip, who said that the sharpshooter “saved LeBron’s career.” Skip is continuously nitpicking about facets of James’ game, even after he has won NBA championships and established himself as the indisputable greatest player in the league. Skip will always find something to critique about LeBron, whether it’s his free-throw shooting, three-point shooting, or social media remarks. Finally, and most significantly, the GOAT discussion is what ticks Skip off the most. Michael Jordan is Bayless’ all-time favorite player, and he believes James will be unable to tie the former Chicago Bulls star’s shoes. Bayless refuses to believe that LeBron, who has a 4-6 Finals record, has a chance to unseat Jordan, who has a 6-0 record. Because LeBron is Skip’s most despised player, Bayles will always find a way to bring up his shooting inconsistency, playoff failures, and dark on-court incidents.
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