Conflict is human nature. While we automatically assume sports stars have perfect lives, the reality is quite different. In fact, many of them have feuded with their teams for a variety of reasons. These include some of the top performers in Super Bowl history and legendary NBA stars.
Contract disputes are very common in the world of pro sports. Some athletes fall out with their coach or a teammate. There are many root causes that create these dramatic but entertaining situations. You just can’t take your eyes away. Today, we’ll take a look at 25 high-profile players who feuded with their teams via The Sportster. Check out the list below.
25. LaMarcus Aldridge
After nine seasons with the Portland Trail Blazers, Aldridge felt unsettled. The seven-time NBA All-Star was the team’s top scorer but wasn’t happy and lost faith. The power forward thought Damian Lillard would take his spot and that’s where things got nasty.
Aldridge forced a move to the San Antonio Spurs. He said that wanted to be the greatest Trail Blazer ever. That didn’t happen and he left a lot of people disappointed. However, there’s no denying that his time in San Antonio has gone well. Sometimes you have to do what you have to do.
A two-time Super Bowl winner, Manning spent the entirety of his NFL career with the New York Giants. However, it’s easy to forget that the San Diego Chargers drafted him, not the Giants. This was despite Manning and his father emphasizing that he wouldn’t play for them.
In the end, he got his way. Having feuded with the franchise behind the scenes, the first overall pick got his move to the Big Apple. Meanwhile, the Giants traded Philip Rivers to the Chargers as part of the deal. Manning went on to great success with the Giants.
After eight seasons with the Denver Nuggets, Anthony decided that he had enough of life in Colorado. He wanted out, but the Nuggets resisted. It appeared strange because the Nuggets were by no means a bad team, but obviously he had had enough of life in the Mile High City.
Anthony feuded with the Nuggets’ board and forced a move to the New York Knicks. The highlight of his stay in the Big Apple was when he became the NBA scoring champion in 2015. But he had less team success there than he did in Denver. Still, he is a 10-time All-Star so he’s probably not that fazed.
Rooney broke into the Everton first-team at the tender age of 16. You would think that he would have a great relationship with his then-manager David Moyes because of this, but the opposite was true. The young Liverpudlian complained that Moyes was overbearing and controlling. In the end, something had to give.
The former DC United star left Everton for Manchester United, where he starred for the next decade. However, he returned to Everton for one year before departing for the MLS. Furthermore, he reunited with Moyes when the latter took the manager’s job in Manchester. Finally, he had the last laugh when the board sacked Moyes following bad results.
Bill Belichick is a man who knows what he wants. That got in the way of his relationship with Wes Welker. The wide receiver feuded with the head coach behind the scenes and eventually left for the Denver Broncos.
It was his free choice to leave but in reality, he no longer had a functional relationship with Belichick. Even if he had stayed, things wouldn’t have improved so he made the right decision to move on. In the end, Welker was very open about his feelings and made a point of speaking out about the coach.
Arenas caused chaos after abandoning the Golden State Warriors for the Washington Wizards. In fact, he created so much drama that the NBA had to introduce a salary cap for restricted free agents. It didn’t have to be this way as Arenas was the NBA’s Most Improved Player. Things looked good for him in California.
Then he flipped a coin and made his choice. The level of disrespect is insane. However, things didn’t go well for him in Washington either so it wasn’t worth it. He infuriated two fanbases but got very rich in the process.
After 20 seasons with the New England Patriots, Brady finally departed for pastures new. He moved to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in one of the biggest stories of the 2020 offseason. Brady is 42 and past his prime. However, his relationship with Bill Belichick was sour as they feuded over the past few seasons.
In short, it’s a situation of two forces of nature going up against each other. Brady was angry when Belichick banned his personal trainer from the Patriots’ training facilities. Meanwhile, the coach resents the implication that he can’t win without the star quarterback. It all combines to make this year even more intriguing.
Legendary Spanish goalkeeper Casillas has won everything available in the game. However, the former Real Madrid star still managed to have a massive fallout with his old team. In particular, he feuded with his volatile Portuguese manager Jose Mourinho in a dismal turn of events.
Mourinho saw Casillas as a threat to his power in the locker room. He responded by dropping the goalkeeper several times, much to the ire of fans. In the end, enough was enough and Casillas left Madrid for FC Porto. It was a sad way for him to leave the club where he gave everything.
It’s fair to say that Howard’s relationship with his former Orlando teammates wasn’t magic. After he quit the Magic for the Lakers he accused his former team of being full of players that ‘nobody wanted.’ To sum up, not the best way to endear yourself to your fellow professionals.
Some might say it is an exaggeration to say that he feuded with his teammates, but Howard definitely whined a lot and wasn’t content during his time in Florida. In the end, Kobe Bryant complained about his lack of professionalism in LA too. Sometimes you have to look in the mirror.
Ever a volatile personality, Favre made his name with the Green Bay Packers. He spent the majority of his career in Wisconsin but infuriated the team when he departed. First of all, they did push him out of the door, so it’s understandable that he might not have been happy about that.
As soon as he moved to the New York Jets, Favre was on the phone to the Detroit Lions. He allegedly gave away team secrets in a merciless manner. Furthermore, he eventually rubbed salt into the wound by joining the Packers’ archrivals the Minnesota Vikings. Finally, he also talked the Packers down for the remainder of his career.
Alongside Michael Jordan, Pippen is synonymous with the Chicago Bulls’ success in the 1990s. However, while things were spectacular on the court, the opposite was true off of it. Pippen’s relationship with GM Jerry Krause is legendary for being one of the most bitter in sports history.
In 1991, Pippen was desperate for financial security and signed a terrible seven-year contract worth $18 million. By the end of his contract, he was the 188th highest-paid player in the NBA. He feuded with Krause throughout this period and finally walked away when the deal expired.
Owens was very good at three things. First of all, he was an excellent wide receiver as his six Pro Bowl appearances attest. However, he also knew how to insult teammates and burn bridges. This made him one of the most volatile but interesting characters in the NFL during his prime.
He caused trouble with the San Francisco 49ers after successfully spreading the rumor that Jeff Garica was gay. Amongst other things, Owens left the Philidelphia Eagles, after accusing Donavon McNabb of ‘wilting under pressure.’ Not too many missed him after he left.
Allen was part of the Boston Celtic’s ‘Big Three’ alongside Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce. He helped them to an NBA Championship, but all was not well behind closed doors. Rajon Rondo became increasingly vocal in the locker room and rubbed Allen the wrong way to the point they feuded.
In the end, Allen decided that he had enough of the toxic environment he found himself in. So he did what you should never do and joined their main rivals, the Miami Heat. Fans never forgave him for that decision, but it just goes to show what a negative effect Rondo had on him.
Hamilton feuded with the Texas Rangers after they decided not to extend his stay in the Lone Star State. The Rangers ended things in a way that definitely didn’t impress him. There’s nothing like a contract dispute to cause friction between two parties. This is a perfect example.
As soon as Hamilton joined the Angels, he let loose. But he didn’t just target the board, he also went in hard on the fans., calling them spoilt and saying Dallas isn’t a baseball town is one way to ensure your departure is final. Nobody rolled the carpet out for him when he came back as an opponent.
‘Becks’ was the most famous soccer player on the planet and changed the game. His former Manchester United manager Sir. Alex Ferguson didn’t approve of his celebrity lifestyle. This created tension in the locker room but it all boiled over when Beckham made a mistake in a game.
Fergie told Beckham that his hair was too long. Beckham answered back aggressively and then, Ferguson, in his fury, kicked a cleat at his player and cut him right above the eye. Soon Beckham departed from Real Madrid. He later played for Los Angeles Galaxy in the MLS.
Now the Houston Rockets’ top man, it’s easy to forget that Harden played for the Oklahoma City Thunder. However, he had a massive rift with the team before he left it for Houston. The media documented it well at the time as Harden feuded with management.
He accepted a role as a sixth man for a couple of seasons before they unceremoniously dumped him. For several years after, there was an edge to every game he played against his former team. In sum, Harden has no love for the Thunder after the acrimonious manner in which he left.
Bad trades are often a reason why players resent their former teams. That’s exactly the situation that Kinsler was in because he was furious at the lack of respect that the Texas Rangers showed him. He openly feuded with his team and called them out over the decision to trade him to Detroit.
This included calling the team’s GM Jon Daniels a ‘sleazeball’. He also said that he hoped that the Rangers went winless all season in a profanity-riddled tirade. However, Kinsler did play in three All-Star games as a Ranger so his disgust was reasonable. After all, he gave them everything.
In 2004 Carter wanted to leave the Toronto Raptors. Toronto always struggled to lure players North. However, Carter wanted out because he felt the franchise didn’t show enough ambition. He feuded with President Richard Perrie and demanded a trade. However, the Raptors didn’t oblige him so he made them pay.
Carter openly admits that he put very little effort into his performances for the remainder of his time in Canada. Eventually, the Torontos gave in and traded him to the Nets in a ridiculously lopsided deal. The player got his way in a demonstration of power.
The Saipan incident is an infamous part of soccer history. Keane was the Republic of Ireland’s star player and also one of the best players in the world with Manchester United. The Irish qualified for the 2002 World Cup in South Korea and Japan but all was not well.
Keane had a massive fallout with the management over shoddy training camp conditions. He also feuded openly with the manager, Mick McCarthy, eviscerating him in a final rant. In the end, Keane stormed out of the camp, abandoning his country on the eve of the tournament. To this day, fans argue over the validity of his decision.
O’Neal silently feuded with Kobe Bryant for the majority of their time together as teammates with the LA Lakers. For the first few seasons, ‘Shaq’ was the undoubted star. However, slowly but surely, Bryant established himself as an NBA superstar. Their initial beef started with a fistfight in 1998, but simmered into something more toxic.
Then in 2003-04, O’Neal blamed Kobe for failing to pass the ball to him against the Detroit Pistons. In the end, the Lakers had to choose between O’Neal or Bryant. Of course, they went with the younger man and O’Neal moved to the Miami Heat. One of the most legendary feuds on this list.
For a period of 10 years, Roy was the best goaltender in the NHL. With this in mind, it was a major surprise when he departed in the most unceremonious manner. Roy won two Stanley Cups with the Montreal Canadiens, but that didn’t stop them unsentimentally cutting ties.
Things simmered beneath the surface but rose up when Roy let in nine goals in a 1995 game. He went on a rant after the match and spoke about the lowering of standards in the team. Finally, they accepted that neither party could get along and Roy left Montreal for the Colorado Avalanche.
Five-time Pro Bowl selection Smith was one of the Carolina Panthers’ best players for a decade. However, there’s no time for sentiment in football and in 2014 the team decided to cut ties with the veteran. Let’s just say that this didn’t impress Smith. After winning several individual awards and breaking franchise records, he expected better.
Smith was unwilling to allow bygones to be bygones. He feuded with the team and promised ‘blood and guts everywhere” if he played them. In the end, he got his revenge, starring for the Baltimore Ravens as his new team defeated the Panthers. It’s always good to get the last laugh.
It’s rare that sports are kind to older players. That’s the situation that Montana found himself in when the San Francisco 49ers elevated Steve Young to starter. However, if you’re dealing with an icon like Montana, then you should show some tact, clarity, and respect at the very least.
Instead, they abruptly traded him to the Kansas City Chiefs after a divide emerged in the locker room. A four-time Super Bowl winner, Montana is still scathing when it comes to talking about key individuals involved in his departure. Meanwhile, Young couldn’t escape from ‘Joe Cool’s’ shadow.
Allen famously feuded with his former coach Al Davis in the 1990s. Unfortunately for the running back, his time with the Los Angeles Raiders ended in unpleasant circumstances. He spent 11 years in LA but saw his game time reduced in later years. This led to a breakdown in their relationship and Davis moving to the Kansas City Chiefs.
The insults and accusations were dramatic and powerful. First of all, Allen accused Davis of trying to ruin his Hall of Fame chances. Then the coach called his player a ‘cancer.’ Hatred simmered beneath the surface until Davis died. However, Allen symbolically showed his reconciliation by lighting an eternal flame to honor the late coach.
Everybody expected James to sign a new contract with the Cleveland Cavaliers, but then the ‘Decision’ came. He stunned the world of NBA by leaving for the Miami Heat. Next, half of the Cavaliers’ fanbase burnt his shirt. That decision clearly hurt them and he didn’t show any love for the team after his departure.
Throughout the next season, James was a pariah and the Heat were villains. In the end, he had a meltdown in the playoffs, ending his hope of winning an NBA championship. However, the following season he did win his first ring and eventually came back to Cleveland. But it took a long time for those wounds to heal.