Rivalries happen in sports because athletes possess an inner drive to compete and succeed. They want to be the best possible version of themselves. It’s common for them to hold grudges for a long time. But one of the most destructive forms of rivalries are teammate feuds.
The fact that they’re relatively rare makes them more dramatic. Some simmer beneath the surface for years, with both athletes maintaining a cold distance. Others erupt into sudden outbursts of violence that stunned the world. The wildly popular ‘The Last Dance’ documentary brought to light one such feud involving Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen. We recently looked back at the best Air Jordan sneakers, but this feud was a more insidious aspect of the 1990s Bulls.
So today, we’re going to take a look at 35 of the most bitter teammate-to-teammate feuds from all sports via The Sportster. Check out the list below:
35. Kevin Garnett and Wally Szczerbiak
Garnett was the Minnesota Timberwolves’ most important player during his time with the franchise. He was also incredibly serious about his defense. This immediately created tension between him and Szczerbiak. The latter was effectively the opposite of Garnett in terms of attitude and mentality toward basketball. In the end, this teammate feud almost resulted in physical blows.
During a practice in 2000, Szczerbiak became irritated with Garnett for not calling out a screen. The latter didn’t take kindly to his teammate’s words and told him to play some defense. Then it all escalated and the rest of the T-Wolves had to pull the two men apart before they did something that they probably wouldn’t have regretted much. However, their competitiveness must be respected.
The Dallas Mavericks struggled for much of the mid-’90s, but there was hope when they signed Kidd and Jackson. Unfortunately, this proved to be a false dawn because neither man delivered upon their promise. In fact, they spent more time feuding with each other than providing an effective threat on the basketball court. It didn’t help that they were allegedly in a love triangle.
Super-rich basketball players attract the most beautiful women in the world. So it seems dumb when they feud over a single person. Kidd invited singer Toni Braxton on a date in an Atlanta hotel, but she left with Kidd instead. Meanwhile, apart from this salacious incident, they generally didn’t like each other. It’s impossible to like every teammate, but they barely kept it civil.
Barkley and Pippen were NBA greats who didn’t like each other at all. Their teammate rivalry occurred in Houston when they joined up as washed-up members of the Rockets. Neither of the embittered pair was anywhere close to their best. This was the strike-shortened season and Pippen entered into talks with the Lakers. However, Barkley didn’t like this move at all.
He went so far as to label Pippen a ‘traitor.’ Pippen responded with typical ferocity and said that Barkley had a ‘fat butt.” It was petty from both men. Nobody blamed Pippen for milking every opportunity to make money after that ridiculous contract with the Chicago Bulls. But Barkley didn’t see it this way at all. Nonetheless, Pippen left soon after and Barkley retired from basketball.
Alonso and Hamilton began their teammate rivalry as drivers for McLaren in 2007. This was before the former emerged as one of the best ever to sit in the cockpit of a Formula 1 car. Meanwhile, Alonso had won two Driver’s Championships with Renault and had an ego. It didn’t take long for the two men to butt heads as they clashed on and off the race track. They became each other’s main rivals for the season.
Things became so toxic between them that they stopped speaking to each other. However, it was Hamilton who got the upper hand over his teammate because he went on to win the Constructer’s Cup that season. In the end, Alonso departed McLaren at the end of the year because his relationship with the racing team and Hamilton was unworkable. Then, the younger man began his quest to become the best.
The Toronto Argonauts are the most successful franchise in Canadian sports with more championships than any other team up North. Many fans sneer at the CFL because they believe it is full of NFL castoffs. However, it relies on smaller players and is much faster than its U.S. counterpart. Furthermore, the teams carry just as much passion as any other professional league.
In 2005, the Argonauts played the Calgary Stampers when an opponent spat in Baker’s face. Enraged, he was set to rampage before his coach dragged him off of the field. Then the Argonauts’ kicker got in his teammate’s face for some reason. Baker’s reaction was to punch his teammate in the face. Toronto suspended Baker for their next game, but it’s easy to empathize with him.
Neymar became the most expensive soccer player on the planet when Paris Saint-Germain signed him in for an astounding $240 million. The Brazilian is the most marketable player on the planet and one of the most exciting attackers in the sport. But Edinson Cavani was the main man in the French capital before Neymar arrived and the pair had a tense relationship.
Cavani scored almost 50 goals in the season before Neymar arrived. As such, he didn’t think much of the Brazilian’s desire to rule the roost. It all head in one game when PSG won a penalty and Cavani stepped forward to take it. However, Neymar wanted to take the shot and demanded the ball. Cavani refused and duly scored the penalty. Then, immediately after the game, Neymar demanded that the PSG hierarchy sell his Uruguayan teammate.
West was always a temperamental individual and that’s putting it nicely. During his time with the Boston Celtics, he developed an idiotic teammate rivalry with Wafer. This is one of the most stupid segments on this list because West’s behavior was so dumb and unnecessary. In a 2010 three-on-three practice game, he came up against Wafer. But for some reason, he kept fouling his teammate.
Naturally, this infuriated Wafer, who left the practice mid-game and took an early shower. Then, West followed him into the locker room and sucker-punched him. The pair fought until their teammates finally separated them. This was the first time that West had a discipline issue in Boston but it was the most dramatic. Later, in 2012, the Dallas Mavericks suspended him indefinitely for sticking a finger in Gordon Hayward’s ear.
Covington and Masvidal are the two of the best UFC welterweight fighters on the planet. Both of them have brash personalities. The former is infamous because there is nobody he won’t insult. Meanwhile, Masvidal had an insane 2019 as he won the BMF title and built up a cult of personality around them. This teammate rivalry began at American Top Team in Florida.
Masvidal claimed that Covington failed to pay one of his coaches. This instigated a massive feud and escalated when ‘Gamebred’ called Covington ‘fake.’ To be fair, he was absolutely correct because the latter created a MAGA-loving persona that wasn’t totally real. The most likely outcome of this rivalry is that the pair will fight. They are no longer teammates because Covington moved to MMA Masters in Miami.
One of the strangest inclusions on this list, the Icardi-Lopez teammate rivalry was like no other. The Argentine pair played together for Sampdoria in Serie A, although since then, Icardi enjoyed a very prestigious career. The pair were friends when they played together but then the news emerged of Icardi’s relationship with Lopez’s partner, Wanda Nara. However, things became even wilder.
Icardi had zero remorse for his actions. He married Nara and even has Lopez and Naras’ children’s names tattooed on his arm. That is just weird but he didn’t seem to think so. Then, in 2014, the pair met as Sampdoria played Icardi’s Inter Milan. The media nicknamed this game the ‘Wanda Derby’ after the pair’s love triangle. It was a crazy story, but Icardi and Nara remain married until this day.
Teammate pranks are a part of lockerroom culture. When a group of young men spends time in close proximity to each other, then things will become silly occasionally. However, sometimes these jokes go badly wrong and create massive rifts. That’s exactly what happened in the case of Russell and Young, with the former executing one of the dumbest pranks of all-time.
He recorded Young as the latter admitted to cheating on singer Iggy Azalea. However, Young had no idea what was happening as he divulged this sensitive information. The rest of the team was disgusted with the young man and forced him to sit alone for his meals the next day. It had a severe impact on team morale and created divisions within the franchise. Also, in 2016, the Lakers were garbage anyway.
Both Patterson and Randolph had dark pasts. Patterson was a former juvenile delinquent, while Randolph was a convicted domestic abuser. For some reason, the Trail Blazers decided that having a lengthy criminal record should be a requirement to play. Unsurprisingly, things didn’t go well.
Randolph sucker-punched Patterson in the face when the latter got into an argument with fellow ‘Jail Blazer’ teammate Qyntel Woods. Then Randolph received a $100,000 fine and was suspended for two games. Needless to say, this feud simmered beneath the surface for a long time.
It’s unclear exactly when these Russian NHL stars first began to hate each other because they were actually friends. In 2008, they were top scorers in the league and even roommates during the Olympics. Their relationship was close until it wasn’t. Soon they were the worst enemies.
Ovechkin allegedly punched Malkin’s agent in a Moscow nightclub, igniting the feud. From then on, practically every time they faced off against each other, there was some kind of violence. Both men played their part in this messy feud. It also interfered with their international form.
Zlatan is an immensely talented soccer player, but he’s also one of the biggest divas in the game. Several teammates have experienced his fury. First of all, he threatened to break Rafael Van Der Vaart’s legs at Ajax. Then he punched Jonathan Zebina in the face at Juventus. In sum, ‘Ibra’ just didn’t care.
But the former LA Galaxy superstar’s most notorious incident was with his fellow former AC Milan teammate Onyewu. He headbutted him during practice, prompting a furious fight. The pair were on the ground landing knees, punching, and kicking each other. After, Ibrahimovic said they wanted to kill each other.
Hockey’s most notorious hazing incident is still shocking to read about, even to this day. Downie and Aliu played for the Windsor Spitfires in the Ontario Hockey League. First of all, Aliu’s senior teammates allegedly ordered him to strip naked and stuff himself into a bus bathroom during initiation.
He refused to the fury of his teammates. Weeks later, captain Downie cross-checked new teammate Aliu in the mouth during practice and left the ice. He then came back and started a fight with the youngster. In the end, the Spitfires suspended Downie for five games and ordered him to take anger management class.
Jeter was the Yankee’s main man when Rodriguez arrived in 2004. As the latter’s popularity flared, Jeter became increasingly jealous. In fact, Rodriguez even admired and respected ‘The Captain.’ He wanted to be as popular with his new teammates but this resulted in a massive dent in their relationship.
Once good friends, things deteriorated as Jeter’s envy grew. While they never had a major flashpoint like others on this list, it was more of a cold war. They effectively agreed to remain teammates and coexist without any other personal relationship. In sum, they did what they had to do.
The Bulls’ season was terrible in 2017 and tensions were mounting. Portis and Mirotic didn’t get along at all and continuously trash-talked each other in practice. But suddenly things escalated in a stunning outburst of violence. Ironically, Mirotic started it but came off much worse in the end.
The two young forwards got in a scuffle that left Mirotic with a fractured face and a concussion and Portis with an eight-game suspension. Mirotic charged at Portis twice before Portis threw a punch and connected with Mirotic’s face. It’s probably the worst beef in recent NBA history.
Owens really wasn’t the best teammate on the Eagles roster. As well as McNabb, he also fell out with Hugh Douglas. Later when he moved on, he had feuds with 49ers teammate Jeff Garcia and Tony Romo in Dallas. Owens really didn’t like quarterbacks that much and tried to deflect his own flaws onto them.
McNabb and Owens played together for just two seasons. The first ended with a trip to the Super Bowl but the second was disastrous. McNabb was furious after Owens condemned his conditioning and leadership. Needless to say, they didn’t play together for much longer.
Formula One has served up some outstanding rivalries and this is one of the best in recent history. The UK’s Hamilton and Germany’s Rosberg were both driving for Mercedes but that didn’t stop them from wanting to beat each other. Hamilton won two championships and Rosberg one during their time together.
But this rivalry was fiery. The final season, when Rosberg won, saw them crash out of races together and infuriate their bosses who threatened them with team orders. In the final race, Hamilton tried to let rival drivers overtake him and Rosberg so that he would finish with more points. They just never saw eye-to-eye.
Somebody needs to stop NBA players from gambling because it seems like card games are the number source of feuds between players. Enter Mayo and Allen, who were seemingly no exceptions. Their entry into the teammate feuds list happened back in 2011 when the pair were teammates with the Memphis Grizzlies.
Mayo allegedly refused to pay a $7,500 gambling debt he owed Allen. Then he continued to run his mouth, criticizing Allen’s game and basically saying that he was a better player. After about 15 minutes, Allen punched him in the face several times. Mayo brought it upon himself.
When he’s not beating Tom Brady at golf, Manning is also a legendary quarterback. Despite this, he didn’t get along with everybody on the Indianapolis Colts’ roster. In fact, he labeled Vanderjagt as the Colts’ ‘idiot kicker,’ a nickname the latter couldn’t shake for the rest of his time with the team.
It all came about because Vanderjagt called out Manning and head coach Tony Dungy after the New York Jets crushed the Colts 41-0 in the playoffs. In short, he accused them of being weak leaders. Four years later, Manning led the Colts to Super Bowl glory. Meanwhile, Vanderjagt left for good.
2007 was a horrible year for the Cubs and tensions were boiling over. After they lost four straight and 10 of 14, nobody was happy. In the fifth inning of a matchup with Atlanta, starter Zambrano gave up five runs on five hits, while catcher Barrett allowed a passed ball and made a throwing error on the same play.
Suddenly, Zambrano decided to confront Barrett. He went over to him in the dugout and shouted in his face. Barrett responded and the next thing was the two of them were scrapping. Finally, teammates forced them apart. However, it was an inglorious moment for both men.
Dabo hates Barton for this and no wonder because it’s one of the most brutal beatdowns on this list. Currently managing the lower-league soccer side Fleetwood Town, Barton had a terrible reputation as a player for his crazy behavior. The FA and police have banned and arrested him multiple times.
Barton squared up with Dabo on the Manchester City training field. He sucker-punched Dabo, sending him to the ground. Then he followed up with ground-and-pound. A court gave him a four-month suspended prison sentence while the league banned him for 12 games with six suspended.
1986 was a terrific year for the New York Mets as they won the World Series. However, behind closed doors, all was not well. Strawberry and Hernandez both had chips on their shoulder. In sum, Strawberry believed he was the most important player for the team, and his rivalry with Hernandez increased.
Things got worse over the next three years. In 1989, Strawberry had a tantrum because he wanted to sit near his friends during a team photoshoot. Hernandez went on to call Strawberry a “crybaby” because of both how he handled that situation and a contract dispute.
The antics of Incognito didn’t help the Miami Dolphins during a tumultuous 2014 season. The troubled offensive lineman had a terrible relationship with Martin. He bullied the younger man to the point that Martin got fed up and walked away from the NFL.
Incognito tried to pass off his actions as leadership but that didn’t stop the Dolphins from suspending him. After losing both players, the Dolphins went on to an 8-8 season. There really isn’t anything good to say about Incognito from all of this. It was an ugly situation with no real winner.
This one was a bit of a surprise. In one sentence, James just had no patience for Irving. After returning to the Cavaliers in 2014, he clashed with his teammate because of Irving’s attitude. When you’re totally focused on winning it’s difficult to respect somebody who doesn’t take the sport as seriously as you.
He felt that Irving was more concerned about his own statistics than those of the overall team. Eventually, Irving matured. But his relationship with James was nonexistent and he wanted out of Cleveland. Finally, he demanded a move and ended up moving to be the ‘man’ with the Boston Celtics.
One of the most discussed sports beefs as of late comes from two of the greatest teammates in the history of the NBA. It happened after Jordan’s biographical documentary series ‘The Last Dance.’ They’re not technically teammates now, but their names were synonymous with each other during the Bulls’ heyday.
To sum up, Pippen took a major issue with his portrayal in the show. Jordan called him selfish because he chose to have surgery during the regular season instead of the offseason. There were multiple reasons why and several other former teammates have called Jordan out after a very subjective representation in the documentary.
It’s difficult to remember when things were actually good for the Redskins but this is one of the most ridiculous incidents from the beleaguered franchise. According to Westbrook’s camp, Davis was a thorn in his side for a couple of seasons. He alleged constant abuse from Davis, including homophobic slurs.
However, this doesn’t justify Westbook assaulting Davis. The pair clashed during a 2007 training camp with Westbrook starting the fight. The Redskins fined him $50,000. Westbrook retired from the NFL shortly after. Then he went on to pursue a short career in MMA that didn’t end very well for him.
About halfway through the 2018/19 season, Durant announced he was leaving the Golden State Warriors. Nobody expected the on-court feud that erupted between him and Green in a game against the LA Clippers. Green came off worse because his team suspended him for his actions.
He confronted Durant after losing the ball and questioned him over his free agency. Green also called Durant a b**ch several times and the argument simmered over into the locker room. To rub salt into their wounds, Golden State lost to the Clippers in overtime. Durant ultimately signed with the Brooklyn Nets.
Like all the best feuds, this one was over a woman. Terry was England’s star defender and captain of Chelsea. Meanwhile, Bridge was his England and former Chelsea teammate. The latter was in a relationship with Veronica Perroncel for five years before this scandal rocked the soccer world.
It emerged that Terry had secretly visited her house multiple times, violating Bridge’s trust as well as his own wife’s. It led to a massive scandal, which culminated with Bridge refusing to shake Terry’s hand when they faced off on the field. Finally, Bridge retired from international soccer.
One of the most notorious feuds in baseball history, Bonds and Kent were part of a loaded Giants offense. In 2002, they combined for 83 home runs and 219 RBIs in 2002. However, behind the scenes, all was not well. They had feuded all season but suddenly, it erupted as their cold war turned hot.
It all spilled over when the pair of them started fighting in the dugout in the middle of a game. They tried to brush it off but their relationship was beyond repair. Finally, the Houston Astros came for Kent and he was able to get out of San Francisco. In sum, they weren’t on each other’s Christmas card lists.
In 2015, the Nationals looked very strong coming into the new season. Instead, they hovered around .500 and didn’t make the playoffs with one of baseball’s most talented rosters. This led to a boiling point with Papelbon taking it out on his younger superstar teammate Harper in one of the dumbest feuds on this list.
As Harper walked out to the dugout, Papelbon grabbed his throat and shoved him against the wall. The Nationals suspended Papelbon for the rest of the season because it was out of order. Furthermore, his former team, the Phillies, annihilated them in that game. Nats fans on Twitter offered to donate $100 each to a charity of the Nats’ choosing if it got rid of Papelbon.
One of the longest-running teammate feuds in sports, this was a battle of egos. Looking back, Shaq is the one who comes out of it worse because he definitely felt threatened by the rapid rise of the Black Mamba. Both extremely competitive, it probably worked in the Lakers’ favor during the early 2000s.
However, the older Shaq’s body eventually started to break down and he went into decline. O’Neal’s abilities faded but his ego was as large as ever. In short, Bryant resented this more than ever as his importance stood out. Eventually, Shaq left LA on bad terms as he wanted Phil Jackson to return.
One of the most iconic teammate feuds from soccer history was between these two men. They were playing for Newcastle United in the Premier League back in 2005. In short, Bowyer was furious with Dyer because he wouldn’t pass the ball to him. He squared up to his teammate which ended as well as you’d expect.
The next thing they were throwing punches at each other. It was a wild clash with both men taking shots to the face and Bowyer’s shirt ripped. The referee sent off both players. Then manager Graeme Souness made them sit next to each other and apologize in a press conference.
This feud comes from their days in Washington. First of all, their rivalry intensified because of a high-stakes card came on a flight back from Phoenix. However, nobody could have expected it to escalate the way it did. Two days later, Crittenton brought a gun to practice and pointed it at Arenas.
The latter had threatened Crittenton with gun violence but nobody expected this kind of reaction. The NBA suspended both players for the rest of the season following the incident, while the Wizards released Crittenton, who hadn’t played a minute for them before this. Definitely not the best signing they’d ever made.
Probably the most vicious and one-sided incident on this list, Romanowski’s actions in this feud were despicable. In 2003, the former Raiders linebacker ended Williams’ career with one punch. He attacked the tight end during a scrimmage, ripping off his helmet and breaking his eye socket with a punch.
In 2005, a court awarded Williams 10 percent of the $3.4 million in damages he sought in a lawsuit against Romanowski. Williams claims that Romanowski was suffering from ‘roid rage’ and just erupted. Ever the charmer, Romanowski has had numerous run-ins with opponents and even been accused of racism.