By Jeff Labrecque
Updated December 22, 2011 at 06:55 PM EST
Paul Battaglia/AP

Kris Humphries isn’t exactly a big star in an NBA galaxy full of LeBrons and Kobes, but he’s being treated like one because of his off-the-court profile. When the New Jersey Nets forward took the court last night to face the New York Knicks in an exhibition game, the Madison Square Garden crowd greeted him with boos and heckled him every time he touched the ball. The crowd had so much fun taunting him that when he sat on the bench, they pleaded for more, chanting, “We want Humphries! We want Humphries!”

This wasn’t an isolated incident. According to a new fan poll, Humphries has surpassed LeBron James as the most disliked player in the league, a somewhat surprising showing for a non-superstar like Humphries. Last year, the 6’9″ forward averaged 10 points and 10.5 rebounds per game for the Nets. (Last night, he only played six minutes.) Solid, but not exactly numbers that would draw attention or notoriety to his play. Clearly, the vitriol is directly linked to his involvement with soon-to-be ex-wife Kim Kardashian. But what is he most guilty of in the eyes of fans: Marrying Kim? Failing to stay married? (As if.) Simply portraying himself in their reality circus? Perhaps the latter, since fellow Kardashian prop Lamar Odom came in tenth on the hate list?

But hasn’t Humphries suffered enough? In the grand scheme of things, he seems like a relatively innocent bystander — sort of like Pinocchio when he was seduced and sent to Pleasure Island. Like the wooden puppet, Humphries is near-real, finds himself in over his head, but narrowly escapes after being made to look like an ass. Booing Humphries just seems cruel and unusual.

Would you boo Humphries if you had the chance? Out of loyalty to Kim, or out of loyalty to good taste?

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