Hang out with a group of people long enough, even a best friend, and you’re bound to get on each other’s nerves at time. When you’re an athlete who spends much of your time with the same group of guys on flights, buses, in hotel rooms and even at home, the same thing is bound to happen. On top of that, throw in fame, fortune and the need to be the star player on the team and you’re bound to have friends become foes and downright threaten to kill each other on occasion.
In honor of those relationships in sports that turn sour, we countdown the 10 teammates who hated each other. Some of these teammates never liked each other from the start, while others were really good friends until they started messing with their buddy’s wife. Either way, this list is filled with guys that probably won’t be showing up to each other’s birthday parties anytime soon.
11. Kyrie Irving and Dion Waiters
Kyrie Irving and Dion Waiters were two of the Cleveland Cavaliers’ most talented young players. Irving would go on to be the better of the two, which makes sense considering he was drafted slightly higher, won Rookie Of The Year in his inaugural season, and has evolved into one of the game’s best point guards. Waiters, however, is no pushover, he was also a top five draft pick and he can definitely put together some great efforts on the court, even if he’s not a consistent performer like Irving.
As the two were rising to stardom with the Cavs, it quickly became apparent that the locker room wasn’t big enough for the both of them. Their egos collided, to go along with the tricky situation of how to share the basketball between two players who want to score a ton of points. Eventually, reports started to leak out that Waiters wanted a trade so he could have a fresh start somewhere else. In early 2015, he was shipped to the Thunder in a three-team deal that saw the Cavs land Iman Shumpert and J.R. Smith. It wouldn’t be the last time Irving had a personality clash with a Cleveland teammate, though…
10. Peyton Manning and Mike Vanderjagt
If you’re a superstar or future Hall Of Famer, its perfectly acceptable to call out a lesser teammate for not being good enough. But when you’re an NFL kicker, you pretty much have to keep your mouth shut… even if you are the best kicker in the game. Former Indianapolis Colts kicker Mike Vanderjagt learned that lesson the hard way after calling out his quarterback Peyton Manning (and even coach Tony Dungy), basically saying Peyton wasn’t tough enough. Manning shot back during an interview at the Pro Bowl, calling Vanderjagt an “idiot kicker.” Vanderjagt’s ego was always bigger than his leg and within a few years he was out of the NFL, which just goes to show you shouldn’t call out the star quarterback.
9. Barry Bonds and Jeff Kent
Former San Francisco Giants sluggers Jeff Kent and Barry Bonds were never exactly known for being the most humble players in the clubhouse. In 2002, the two got into a physical fight in the dugout, after which Kent went on record and stated that the two had duked it out on more than one occasion and that their shoving matches had happened at least five or six times before. It has always been known that Bonds wasn’t the easiest to get along with, not just in terms of being friendly with teammates, but in terms of getting along with the media as well. Put another historically big ego like Kent (who was also an All-Star), and it’s obvious why the Giants’ dugout had the potential to explode once in a while.
8. Michael Westbrook and Stephen Davis
Apparently former Washington Redskins Stephen Davis and Michael Westbrook hated each other from the very beginning of their relationship and when you stack 53 guys together on a football team, let them put on pads and hit each other at practice, they get to act out their dislike for each other physically. While we’re sure Westbrook and Davis may have had plenty of opportunities to work out their anger, it apparently wasn’t enough for either of them. Westbrook took Davis aside and promptly smashed his face in on the sidelines at training camp back in 1997. Whatever Davis said or did to make him mad, we’re willing to bet he stopped bothering Westbrook after this incident.
7. Kobe Bryant and Smush Parker
No one can deny how awesome Kobe Bryant’s career in the NBA was. He’s the only player that Michael Jordan ever said was comparable to him. That’s the highest form of praise from the game’s greatest player and we all know that Kobe doesn’t exactly have a self-esteem problem. It makes sense, then, that every once in a while a journeyman teammate might not appreciate Kobe’s greatness as much as others. Say, for instance, ex-Lakers point guard Smush Parker. As Parker explains in this recent television appearance, he wasn’t allowed to speak to Bryant at practices because he didn’t have the basketball resume necessary to have the privilege of conversing with the Black Mamba.
6. Riley Cooper and Cary Williams
Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Riley Cooper once went to a country concert and used the N-word on camera, likely after a few adult beverages. To say the least, using that particular word doesn’t make you a lot of friends in general. But when you play in a league that has a large African American fan base and just as many black athletes as white athletes (if not more), it’s not exactly going to make you the most popular guy on campus. While many of Cooper’s black teammates forgave him for using the slur, it seems Carry Williams certainly did not. The two fought at practice back in 2013, shortly after the whole slur incident happened. We can safely assume that while many players forgave Cooper’s mistake, others were probably rooting for him to get his butt kicked.
5. Gilbert Arenas and Javaris Crittenton
Former Washington Wizards stars Gilbert Arenas and Javaris Crittenton hated each other so much, things almost became irreversibly violent between the two. Apparently they used to play games of high stakes poker against one another on long flights during road trips and Arenas must have taken a really bad beat. He owed Cirittenton about $50,000 (according to some reports) but wouldn’t pay up. Due to Arenas’ lack of willingness to pony up, both teammates ended up carry guns into the locker room because they hated each other so much. Neither player is in the NBA anymore and the saddest part is Crittenton is now in jail on drug and manslaughter charges. Just goes to show that being rich doesn’t stop your buddies from suddenly being hard to get a hold of after poker on a Friday night.
4. Brent Barry and Tony Parker
Brent Barry and Tony Parker used to be good friends away from the game of basketball. They did pretty well playing together too, winning a pair of NBA titles in 2005 and 2007. Unfortunately, things went quite sour between them when it was discovered Brent’s wife Erin spent quite a long time exchanging racy text messages with Parker. The texts and Parker’s infidelity were cited as a reason for his separation and eventual divorce from bombshell wife Eva Longoria. To say the least, Parker and Barry probably aren’t going to be hanging out at each other’s birthday parties anytime soon. It’s kind of funny how Eva and Tony used to be the hottest celebrity couple on earth at one point. Bet none of us saw a gorgeous woman like Ms. Longoria getting cheated on.
3. Tonya Harding and Nancy Kerrigan
Tanya Harding and Nancy Kerrigan were technically teammates going into the 1994 Olympics in Lilehammer, at least from the standpoint that they were both gunning to represent the United States. Harding obviously didn’t like the friendly competition, because she hired a hitman to come after Nancy in a practice session just before the Olympics. Kerrigan became a star and Harding became one of the most hated and ridiculed athletes ever after it was discovered she wanted her teammate to get clubbed enough to miss the Olympics. Kerrigan still did well at the Olympics, but she wasn’t able to secure a gold medal despite being favored to do so. Although we can’t really fault her — getting focused and healthy after you got drilled in the knee with a baton is tough to do.
2. Kyrie Irving and LeBron James
The city of Cleveland, and indeed the entire state Ohio, rejoiced when LeBron James announced he was “coming home” to the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2014. Well, everyone except maybe Kyrie Irving. Although the Cavs had been awful since LeBron “took his talents to South Beach,” Irving had been the lone bright spot on the team as he emerged as a premier NBA point guard and the leader of the team.
All that faded away when superstar LeBron came back to town. The two co-existed for a few years, making three straight NBA finals against the Golden State Warriors (but only winning one). Just when things seemed to be going well, Irving demanded a trade away from Cleveland, saying he was sick of playing in LeBron’s shadow. The Cavs were forced to scramble, eventually trading him to Eastern Conference rivals Boston Celtics for an injured (and older) Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, and a first round pick in 2018. Now we’re just hoping for a LeBron vs. Kyrie playoff series.
1. Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal
From 2000-2002 not a single team in the NBA could stop the dominant 1-2 combination of Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal. Their dominance led the Los Angeles Lakers to three straight titles, and there may have been more in the making had the two been willing to co-exist over a longer period of time. Back then, Shaq was the more proven star, winning the NBA Finals MVP award in all of their championship seasons, while Kobe was eagerly waiting to take over the team. Eventually it became too difficult for two of the best in the game to keep being teammates and the Lakers begrudgingly traded the older O’Neal to the Miami Heat, ending the Lakers dynasty of the early millennium.