His marriage to reality TV queen Kim Kardashian lasted only 72 days -- but it appears NBA fans will not let Kris Humphries forget about it anytime soon.
The New Jersey Nets forward was loudly booed when he entered last night's preseason game against the Knicks at Madison Square Garden, and the crowd let him have it every time he touched the ball.
The fans needled him again in the closing minutes of the game, with a mocking chant of "We want Humphries!" as he sat on the bench.
The harsh treatment confirmed Humphries' new status as the most disliked player in the NBA, according to a just-released survey by Nielsen and E-Poll Market Research.
A whopping 50 percent of respondents said they dislike Humphries, a little-known player before his courtship of Kardashian, marriage and separation made him a fixture of gossip pages and websites like TMZ.com
After Humphries, the most disliked player is LeBron James, at 48 percent, according to the poll. James earned his villain status by bolting the Cleveland Cavaliers for the Miami Heat in the summer of 2010.
Humphries has "been on five magazine covers, all in a negative light," explained Nielsen Sports Vice President Stephen Master in an interview with Forbes magazine. "It's all so recent, he's gotten all this publicity for something other than basketball talent."
It's not just Humphries' popularity that has taken a hit following his tumultuous off-season.
His brief role as Mr. Kim Kardashian might have hurt Humphries, 26, in his search for a new NBA contract.
Humphries signed a one-year, $8 million deal with the Nets -- hardly journeyman money. But it was less than the $10 million a year, multi-year deal the 6-foot-9 forward reportedly was seeking.
The booing at the Knicks game was so merciless, a MSG Network announcer declared, "That was not a smattering of boos. That's a villain-in-the-Garden kind of booing."
Humphries brushed it all off afterward.
"It's whatever," he said. "We're here to win games. Got to do that, I guess."
His teammates said they did not anticipate the booing affecting Humphries' play. "We're here to give him some man hugs if he needs them, but he should be fine," said point guard Deron Williams.
- Sports & Recreation/Basketball
- Sports & Recreation
- Kris Humphries
- Kim Kardashian
- New Jersey Nets