Disrespect is a funny thing. Athletes and those tasked with motivating athletes find it everywhere. Draft position. Public opinion. Betting odds. Predictions from talking heads. If you aren't with a team, you're against them. If you're not propping them up, you're bulletin board material.
All it takes is for one person to say or do one thing that can be perceived as disrespectful, then No One Believes In Us and suddenly it's Us Against the World. And no one personifies that more than Rodney Dangerfield, whose most famous bit can sum up the feelings of every player or team that has ever been doubted, no matter how lightly or briefly, if at all.
Dangerfield passed away in 2004, but his legacy will live on forever in the sports world when writers - who will get no respect in this piece - are looking for an easy way out. As recently as September, Rodney Dangerfield was used in a headline on The Athletic to describe Zach Lavine's current standing in the league. LaVine is currently averaging a career-high 24.6 points per game for the 15-27 Chicago Bulls. LaVine got such little respect earlier this season that his coach benched him.
Perhaps LaVine should lean into it the way that Shawn Marion did during his playing days when people talked about his jumper.
He turned twitchy, the way Rodney Dangerfield did just before he grabbed his tie knot and declared, “I don’t get no respect.”
- New York Times
Even the latest NBA champions, the Toronto Raptors, are not immune from the Dangerfield label. It's a proud tradition for title winners. Previously, the San Francisco Chronicle explained that the 17-'18 Golden State Warriors got no respect. This was a team that had won two of the previous three NBA titles.