If you are not a WWE fan, this article still applies to you. If you are not a WWE fan the term “turning heel” is not an injury. It means when a typically good guy, in one predetermined move, immediately takes on the bad guy role. Of the more recent “heel turns” here is the best.
— D.C. (@DarrenConnolly_) January 31, 2021
Some iconic WWE heel turns have been ingeniously used to adeptly describe other situations in other sports. See I told you this article still applied to you.
When Kevin Durant signed with the Golden State Warriors, many Oklahoma City Thunder fans took it as a kick to the face. Underneath the super-imposed heads, the iconic moment is when Shawn “The Heartbreak Kid” Michaels ended the long time tag team of “The Rockers” by super-kicking Marty Jannetty.
KD to the Warriors pic.twitter.com/D1DaCgEibf
— The King of Living. (@khristen) July 4, 2020
Fast forward through the NBA season to earlier this week, and we have a perfectly executed heel turn by Atlanta Hawks center Dwight Howard. Yes, this happened after an ejection and yes the fan going nutty is wearing the opposing team’s colours but come on man. (I really should not have laughed as hard as i did - - actually I should probably stop laughing).
Dwight you’re cold for this. 😂 pic.twitter.com/lzJGDoMI02
— NBA on ESPN (@ESPNNBA) February 28, 2021
Now, it’s not just basketball players who play the bad guy role. Please put the emphasis on the word “play” in that last sentence. Enter Cincinnati Red Joey Votto!
— Joe Giglio (@JoeGiglioSports) May 15, 2020
For as much as the NHL is trying to phase out fighting, nothing gets fans out of their seats like seeing willing combatants throw their gloves off. As a youngster I saw Dave Semenko protect Wayne Gretzky. In a much smaller sense nowadays, Milan Lucic/Patrick Maroon protect Connor McDavid. The heel heat felt by Brandon Manning in the Philadelphia Flyers and Edmonton Oilers re-match after an early season incident between Manning and McDavid was overblown but still real.
There is nothing wrong with playing the bad guy. There is nothing wrong hating the bad guy. Just remember folks, typically it is just an act. Not scripted like in the WWE but an act nevertheless.