Teammates Who Were Actually Bitter Enemies In Real Life

Darren - July 13, 2023

Teammates Who Were Actually Bitter Enemies In Real Life

Darren - July 13, 2023

There’s nothing more exciting than a passionate sports rivalry. Usually, we associate rivalries with a player or team’s most hated opponents. but this isn’t always the case. Many teammates resent and even hate each other and became bitter enemies in real life. Sometimes, they gave each other the cold shoulder but remained professional during games.

However, it also can have a demoralizing impact on locker rooms and ruin a team’s prospects. Athletes take sides and this division can cause chaos. So today, we’ll look at some of the most notorious examples of teammates who became bitter enemies. There are some crazy stories including violent assaults and verbal abuse here, so be forewarned.


Shaq and Kobe Bryant

O’Neal and Bryant were two of the greatest Lakers players, but they were bitter enemies behind the scenes. ‘Shaq’ was the top dog when Bryant arrived on the scene as a youngster straight from high school. But it quickly became apparent that Bryant was a special talent and this threatened O’Neal’s position as the team’s leader (via Sportskeeda).


He resented the younger man for coming and stealing his thunder. They enjoyed NBA Championship success three times together but there was always tension between them. Finally, the aging O’Neal departed for the Miami Heat, and Bryant became the Laker’s sole franchise player. Later, the pair resolved their differences and admitted respect for each other.

Indianapolis Colts

Peyton Manning and Mike Vanderjagt

The hatred here went in one direction. Manning had no time for his former teammate, Vanderjagt, and infamously described him as ‘that idiot kicker.’ The quarterback said this in a public interview and knew everybody would pick up on his words.

The Herald-Times

Vanderjagt was a polarizing figure who sometimes said questionable things while drinking. He understandably didn’t appreciate Manning’s evaluation of his character and now the pair loath each other. Manning didn’t like Vanderjagt’s drinking and was vocal about that. It’s safe to say they won’t be sending Christmas cards to each other anytime soon (via The Sports Rush).

Entertainment Tonight

Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez

Jeter and Rodriguez are two of the best Yankees players in recent memory. However, the pair were allegedly bitter enemies because of A-Rod’s drama. He brought the sport into disrepute and his extracurricular activities didn’t help. Ironically, Jeter and Rodriguez were friends when they were younger.

Bleacher Report

Later, Jeter discussed their relationship and claimed he tried to be a professional. He said: “There were things that I kept private. My job, being the captain of the Yankees, was to limit distractions and to limit distractions, I know sometimes I didn’t create much controversy,” he explained. “I talked about things one time and that was the end of it (via US Magazine).”

Sky Sports

Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber

Sometimes Formula One Drivers and managers aren’t on the same page. Vettel and Webber were Red Bull teammates but they didn’t like each other. They both wanted to win races but Webber had an advantage in one race. The team ordered Vettel to help Webber’s position but he ignored them (via Planet F1).

DPA Images

Later, an enraged Webber ranted about his teammate’s brazen selfishness. However, Vettel didn’t care because he felt that he did the right thing. It’s not always easy to convince drivers to help somebody else because they want the glory. It wasn’t the first time it happened but they became bitter enemies after.

Sports Illustrated

Richie Incognito and Jonathan Martin

This is one of the worst stories on this list because Incognito was horrible to Martin. The offensive lineman bullied his former Miami teammate as he abused his position in the team. He made Martin’s life miserable as he relentlessly went after him. Martin never provoked anything and didn’t deserve this treatment.


Incognito made rude sexual slurs as he questioned Martin’s sexuality. He also made lewd comments about Martin’s sister as he crossed another line. In the end, Martin quit the Dolphins and only more season in the NFL. The Dolphins disciplined Incognito but he didn’t care about it (via Sportskeeda).

Philadelphia Inquirer

Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid

Simmons and Embiid played together for the Philadelphia 76ers. But the “City of Brotherly Love” didn’t live up to its moniker in the case of these two men. Embiid lost patience with his teammate after Simmons took a lengthy hiatus. He went head-to-head with the Sixers’ front office before forcing his exit.

CBS Sports

Later, Simmons explained his dynamic with Embiid. The Australian star said: “I don’t think there was a relationship there. Like in terms of friendship? You can try as hard as you want to try to be close to somebody, be their friend, whatever it is, but everyone is different as people, so for me, it’s never personal (via N.Y. Post).

Washington Post

Jay Cutler and J’Marcus Webb

Cutler had a terrible relationship with his former offensive lineman Webb. It came to a head one day against the Packers after Cutler took seven sacks. He chastised Webb in front of the cameras before shoving him out of the way. Later, he said he regretted the push but he didn’t regret yelling at him.

I care about this. This isn’t just a hobby for me. I’m not doing this for my health,” Cutler said (via USA Today Sports). “I’m trying to win football games, trying to get first downs. When we’re not doing the little things the right way consistently, I’m going to say something. If they want a quarterback that doesn’t care, they need to get somebody else.”

MMA Fighting

Colby Covington and Jorge Masvidal

Covington and Masvidal are two of the most controversial MMA fighters today. Once upon a time, the pair had a close friendship when they trained together at Florida’s American Top Team. But it all came crashing down when Covington allegedly failed to pay one of his coaches. He left the gym under a cloud and the duo became bitter enemies.


It made sense for the UFC to turn their rivalry into a fight. Finally, they faced each other in 2022 but Covington won a dominant decision. This didn’t heal their wounds because Masvidal punched his foe on the street. Next, there was a court case that didn’t do anything to rehabilitate their relationship (via MMA News).


Terrell Owens and Donovan McNabb

Owens was one of the greatest wide receivers in NFL history but he had a prickly personality. Opposing defenses hated the sight of him but so did his quarterbacks because he tormented them. Owens infamously annoyed Jeff Garcia and questioned his sexuality but they resolved their differences.


However, we don’t think his former Philly teammate, McNabb, will change his mind anytime soon. Owens enraged his QB when he said that he’d prefer if he had Brett Favre throwing passes to him. McNabb felt like this was a betrayal and the pair became bitter enemies but Owens didn’t care (via NBC Sports).


Geno Smith and IK Emenkepali

Everything was fine between these two men until Smith broke Emenkepali’s trust. The Jets linebacker invited Smith to attend one of his summer training camps. Smith agreed and Emenkepali paid for a $600 plane ticket. But the quarterback didn’t appear and this infuriated Emenkepali, who confronted Smith.

Bleacher Report

He demanded that Smith give him back the money for the ticket. Remember, it wasn’t a huge amount of money for an NFL player but it’s about the principle. Smith refused to repay him and Emenkepali saw red. He punched Smith in the face and broke his jaw. That’s not the best solution and the pair became bitter enemies (via USA Today Sports).

Icon Sport

Aminata Diallo and Kheira Hamraoui

This is one of the most insane stories we’ve ever seen. Diallo and Hamraoui were friends and even vacationed together in Dubai. But everything changed when PSG signed Hamraoui and reunited her with Diallo. Things immediately deteriorated because Hamraoui’s arrival threatened Diallo’s starting spot.


Diallo had one of the most irrational reactions ever. She allegedly hired two masked men to try and break Hamraoui’s legs with steel bars. They left the French international player with severe bruising and cuts but didn’t break her bones. In the end, police released Diallo without charge but PSG fired her from their roster (via Give Me Sport).


Mauro Icardi and Maxi Lopez

Icardi and Lopez appeared to be two Argentinian soccer players living the dream. The pair played for Sampdoria in Italy’s Serie A and also represented their national team. But the former friends became bitter enemies after Icardi had an affair with Lopez’s wife, Wanda Nara. It’s safe to say that would do it.

New York Post

Lopez and Nara divorced but then she married Icardi six months later. Things became even crazier when Icardi got tattoos of Lopez and Nara’s children’s names. Now Lopez refuses to acknowledge Icardi’s existence. Icardi faced a long absence from the Argentina squad because it divided the locker room (via Sport Bible).

San Francisco 49ers

Joe Montana and Steve Young

Amazingly, the Niners had the fortune to go from Montana to Young. The two men are Hall of Famers and up there with the greatest quarterbacks in NFL history. But they were bitter enemies during their football careers because Young took everything Montana worked for. Ultimately, San Francisco decided that Young was the future after Montana’s injury woes.

Sports Illustrated

However, Montana resented the Niners because he felt that they always wanted to replace him. He resented Young’s success and forced an exit to the Kansas City Chiefs. Later, Montana acknowledged that he doesn’t have bad feelings toward Young now. His replacement found himself between a rock and a hard place (via Sports Illustrated).

Sports Illustrated

Delonte West and LeBron James

It takes a lot to rattle James because he’s one of the most successful athletes in U.S. sports history. However, West succeeded and may have negatively influenced the Cavaliers star in the 2010 Eastern Conference semifinals. Bizarrely, James had one of the worst postseason displays of his career but there’s a good reason why.

Sports Illustrated

He had a serious problem with West, one of his Cavs teammates. Allegedly, West had an affair with James’s mother Gloria but the superstar didn’t know about it. Then the news emerged and humiliated him because everybody was talking about it. It was one of the lowest points of his career and they became bitter enemies (via Bleacher Report).

The Washington Post

Gilbert Arenas and Javaris Crittenton

This is one of the most infamous sporting rivalries because these men didn’t hold back. The Wizards teammates flew to a road game on a chartered flight where they played a card game and gambled. Arenas allegedly won but Crittenton refused to pay him. They threatened to shoot each other but nothing happened and their teammates thought it was over.

New York Post

However, that wasn’t the case because the bitter enemies pulled handguns on each other in the locker room. It almost escalated to a point they couldn’t return from. Luckily, teammates defused the situation but that wasn’t the end of the story. The NBA suspended both men while Crittenton is now serving time for manslaughter (via Sportskeeda).

NBC Sports

Bill Romanowski and Marcus Williams

Some teammates have passive-aggressive rivalries but others turn violent. That’s exactly what happened between these bitter enemies when they played for the Raiders. The pair argued on the practice field when Romanowski ripped off Williams’ helmet. Then he brutally punched him in the face.


Williams’ career came to a premature end after the incident because it was unsafe for him to continue. He successfully sued Romanowski for over $400,000 as he showed why violence doesn’t pay. Romanowski was one of the dirtiest players of his era but usually his opponents felt his wrath, not teammates (via USA Today Sports).


Tonya Harding and Nancy Kerrigan

Harding became an American darling after her unlikely rise to the top of figure skating. She came from a working-class background and nobody expected her to succeed at the highest level. But she set records and pulled off tricks that no woman completed before. However, in 1994, one of the most notorious sports scandals went down.


Assailants attacked Harding’s World Championship rival, Kerrigan. They smashed her on the leg with a baton and left her unable to compete. Later, it emerged that Jeff Gillooley, Harding’s ex-husband, orchestrated the attack. Later, it emerged that Harding was at least knowledgeable about the assault and it signaled the end of her career (via The Sun).

Sky Sports

Lee Bowyer and Kieron Dyer

This remains one of the most notorious incidents in Premier League history. These bitter enemies played for Newcastle United when things weren’t going well on the field. They traveled to Birmingham where they played Aston Villa but quickly fell behind. Then things got even worse for Boweyer, Dyer, and their team.

Chronicle Live

Allegedly, Bowyer made an aggressive comment when Dyer refused to pass him the ball. The next thing that everybody knew was that they were punching each other and ripping their shirts. In the end, the confused referee sent them from the field. It was a humiliating incident for both men but it became iconic (via The Mirror).


Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg

Hamilton and Rosberg drove for Mercedes in Formula One. Everybody thought that Hamilton was the team’s star but Rosberg had other ideas. The German driver won the Championship in 2016 after a tense battle between the two men. The pair attempted to put each other out of the race to the chagrin of their team.


These bitter enemies were fierce competitors and wanted to be the best. The final race of Rosberg’s title-winning season saw Hamilton try to force him down the field. A third-place finish would guarantee Rosberg the championship. Hamilton tried his best to steal the win against his team’s wishes (via Sky Sports).


Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers

These days Rodgers claims he loves Favre but that wasn’t true when they were teammates. They became bitter enemies because Rodgers replaced Favre as Green Bay’s starter. Favre became furious after the Packers opted to focus on the younger quarterback. It didn’t help that Favre kept teasing his own retirement and had injury problems.

Bleacher Report

Meanwhile, Rodgers didn’t appreciate the way Favre acted toward him. It disappointed him when the legend refused to teach him and left him without guidance. In the end, it didn’t matter because Rodgers developed into an all-time great. But these two men didn’t want to have anything to do with each other (via Zone Coverage).

Bleacher Report

Eli Manning and Tiki Barber

Manning and Barber starred together for the New York Giants. Initially, they had a good relationship but eventually, it turned sour. That’s because Barber began opening his mouth and complaining about the team to the media. He also lost Manning’s respect when he retired on short notice and left the Giants short.

New York Times

“It’s just one of those deals. I’m not going to lose any sleep about what Tiki has to say,” Manning said (via ESPN). “I guess I could have questioned his leadership skills last year by calling out the coach and having articles about him retiring in the middle of the season, and he’s lost the heart to play.”

Bleacher Report

Chris Paul and James Harden

“We don’t talk, communicate, or anything like that,” Paul said in 2023 after a reporter asked him about his relationship with Harden. The pair became bitter enemies during their time together in Houston. Their fans hoped that the two men would combine to bring home a title but that’s not what happened.

Bleacher Report

Instead, they increasingly lost patience with each other because of stylistic differences. Paul also didn’t appreciate that Harden was the main man in Houston. He felt like he should have been the team’s A-side but that wasn’t the case. In the end, it wasn’t right for them to remain on the roster together (via Bleacher Report).

MMA Fighting

Conor McGregor and Artem Lobov

There was a time not too long ago when McGregor and Lobov were inseparable. The pair became very close during their time as training partners at SBG Ireland. Lobov helped the Irishman to prepare for his biggest matches. Meanwhile, McGregor’s influence was key in helping Lobov earn a coveted spot on the UFC roster (via MMA Fighting).


In the end, money came between them as they fell out over McGregor’s whiskey brand. The Irishman sold his Proper 12 company for hundreds of millions of dollars. Lobov claimed that he gave McGregor the idea and sued him for a cut of the profits. However, the judge didn’t agree and in the end, they became bitter enemies for nothing.


Craig Bellamy and John Arne Riise

This is one of the craziest stories on this list because one teammate chased another with a golf club. Bellamy and Riise played for Liverpool in 2007. The team traveled to Portugal for a five-day training camp before their Champions League meeting with Barcelona. Bellamy played golf with Riise but he accused the Norwegian of cheating.

Sky Sports

Riise denied this but that incensed Bellamy further. The Welsh forward went to Riise’s room that night with a golf club and whacked him across the leg. In the Norwegian’s biography, he wrote that he feared Bellamy was about to end his career. Luckily, teammates separated them before they went too far (via The Mirror).


Ron Artest and Jermaine O’Neal

Artest and O’Neal played together for the Indiana Pacers. Artest, also known as Metta World Peace, was one of the most enigmatic players in the league. There’s no denying his quality but he was also incredibly volatile as we saw during the notorious ‘Malice at the Palace’ brawl. He received an unprecedented suspension but the team supported him throughout.

AP News

Finally, Artest’s ban came to an end and he returned to basketball. But he immediately demanded a trade and this infuriated his teammates. O’Neal didn’t speak to Artest for 14 years because he thought that he was incredibly selfish. Later, it emerged that Artest had mental health problems but nobody knew at the time (via Basketball Network).