Sports rivalries make for some of the most compelling stories, but these rivalries usually stem from rival teams looking to vanquish their opponent each year. The Yankees hate the Red Sox, the Lakers despise the Celtics, and everybody hates the Patriots. Some of these rivalries go back several decades, and fan bases have been known to duke it out at ballparks across the country. Sports can make a person mad, especially when that person has the audacity to wear a Tom Brady jersey. But, the sports world is littered with athletes who cannot stomach each other, and these bitter feuds between athletes are far more interesting than team feuds. After all, the athletes are the ones out there competing, and they're forced to spend time with people that they hate.
The 15 selections on our list span several different sports, but they all share one thing in common—the athletes' absolute hatred of one another. Whether they're on competing teams or are forced to share a locker room, the people on this list will never come to the other's house for Christmas dinner anytime soon. Personally, we think that teammates having a bitter feud is the most interesting story on this list, but we wanted to make it diverse enough for fans of various sports out there. Some of these names might surprise you, while others are people who you'll be seeing throwing hands at each other in no time. Sports make for great entertainment, and these bitter enemies take these sports up another notch.
15 Odell Beckham Jr. Vs Josh Norman
These two gentlemen are two of the best players in the NFL at their respective positions, and their rivalry on the field has been insane to watch. Because they play on teams in the same division, Beckham and Norman lock horns twice a year, much to the delight of media outlets looking for a juicy story to cover. The war on the field between the two men has been palpable, with both men looking to take the other's head off. Beckham, in particular, has targeted Norman, and seeing the highlights of this has been disturbing, to say the least. Football is a dangerous sport, and the clip of Beckham throwing himself into Norman’s unsuspecting head was one of the lower points in Beckham’s career.
Both men are known to have fiery tempers, and when two top athletes with a highly competitive nature are thrust together, fireworks are bound to go off. The 2017 season is still young, and we cannot wait to see what happens between these two this year.
14 Conor McGregor Vs. Nate Diaz
UFC fighters are paid to punch each other in the face, so it should come as no surprise to learn that some of these guys don’t get along. Whether they train at rival camps or have had heated exchanges behind the scenes, there are some intense rivalries in the UFC, although perhaps none are as personal as the feud between Conor McGregor and Nate Diaz. After running roughshod through the UFC, McGregor has managed to piss off just about everyone on the UFC roster, including Nate Diaz. Diaz had publicly called out McGregor, and when the opportunity arose, Diaz took the fight while on vacation in Mexico. Despite it being short notice, Diaz stopped McGregor in their bout and shocked the world. This led to a rematch, in which McGregor got his revenge.
Instead of burying the hatchet, the two men still hate each other, and a 3rd fight appears to be on the horizon. Because this is the rubber match, eternal bragging rights will be on the line for these two bitter enemies.
13 Jay Cutler Vs. Philip Rivers
Usually, two players who compete directly against each other will be the ones engaging in a feud, which makes sense. The person that you're competing against from whistle to whistle is trying to stop you from reaching your goal, and in the NFL, this can lead to emotional outbursts and fights. So, it should go without saying that seeing two quarterbacks becoming bitter rivals is an oddity in and of itself, but such is the case for Jay Cutler and Philip Rivers. These two men were starting quarterbacks for rival AFC West teams, and they shared heated words while competing against each other. Rivers, in particular, is known for having a temper while competing, and seeing him screaming at Jay Cutler, quite frankly, was absolutely hilarious.
Cutler usually has a laid-back demeanor, and he's been accused of not caring about what's going on during the game, which is ridiculous. Rivers said that there were no issues between the two, but you watch the tape, and decide for yourself.
12 LeBron James Vs. Joakim Noah
LeBron James could very well be the greatest basketball player of all time, and this has led to plenty of blowback from fans. After all, people love to try and take down someone who's been at the top for so long, but their attempts have proven futile. LeBron has been the face of the NBA for over a decade, and he seems to have plenty of fuel in the tank to win another NBA Championship or 3. Joakim Noah, while a good player, is nowhere in the same league as LeBron. But being on a rival team, Noah has seen LeBron dominate firsthand, and he hasn’t minced words about his feelings for King James. The men have had words on and off the court, with Noah claiming that LeBron is arrogant.
LeBron has won several titles in his career, while Noah has yet to achieve this feat. Now that he's on the Knicks, Noah will have to spend the next few years losing, while LeBron will continue dominating the Eastern Conference.
11 Roman Reigns Vs. Enzo Amore
In the current landscape of the WWE, Roman Reigns is being pushed as the face of the company. While you may disagree with this decision by the company, there's no denying that Reigns has the ability to show up big when it matters most. All signs point to Reigns claiming the Universal Title at next year’s WrestleMania, effectively making him the top guy in the company. Enzo Amore, on the other hand, is nowhere near the level of Reigns, and he's recently been demoted to 205 Live. Amore was part of an immensely popular tag team, although most would argue that he's a lame Road Dogg parody. Enzo’s personality got him over with fans, but it apparently got him nowhere in the locker room.
As the story goes, Reigns had grown tired of Amore’s personality and arrogance, and he booted him off of a WWE bus. Roman is the big dog in the company, and he's someone who you don't want to hate you. Amore’s career has spiraled downward since the encounter.
10 Percy Harvin Vs. Golden Tate
As the 22nd draft pick back in 2009, expectations were high for receiver Percy Harvin coming out of college. While you could argue that his career has been a disappointment, Harvin has provided depth and special team help to teams throughout his career. Golden Tate was drafted the following year and has since put up better statistical numbers than Harvin. The duo played for the Seattle Seahawks together, and they apparently hated each other. Tate did little to make Harvin feel like an important member of the team, and Harvin took exception to this slight.
The duo eventually came to blows when cameras weren’t rolling, and this isn’t the only time that Harvin has fought a teammate. Harvin's also gotten into a slugfest with another Seattle receiver, Doug Baldwin. It goes without saying that Baldwin is no longer in Seattle, but then again, neither are the other two. Team chemistry is important, and hearing stories like this is very unsettling.
9 LeBron James Vs. Kyrie Irving
The 2017 NBA off-season was one of the craziest in recent memory, and the beef between LeBron and Kyrie Irving was the story of the summer. The duo led the Cleveland Cavaliers to the NBA Finals, ultimately losing to the insanely loaded Golden State Warriors. The off-season was meant to add pieces to Cleveland in order to compete with the Warriors, but things seemed to unravel for the two from out of nowhere. Kyrie wanted out of Cleveland, as he was tired of playing second fiddle to Lebron, and when the news broke, the media had a field day with the story. The pair didn’t seem to have any major issues while playing together, but alas, Kyrie wanted out.
Eventually, Irving found himself traded to the Boston Celtics, which gave Lebron some new teammates to help take down the Warriors this upcoming season. There's a massive amount of tension between the two former friends, and their bitter rivalry will fuel this NBA season.
8 Barry Bonds Vs. Jeff Kent
The San Francisco Giants have had their share of ups and downs over the last 25 years, and the team has boasted some of baseball’s best players during that time. Before they exited the league, Barry Bonds and Jeff Kent were incredible players who were looking to bring the Giants their first title since leaving New York in the 1950's. Controversy aside, Barry Bonds owns the MLB record for home runs in a single season and owns the all-time home run record as well. He was a 14-time All-Star and a 7-time NL MVP. Had it not been for the steroid scandal, Bonds would be considered one of, if not the greatest, player of all time. Kent, was a 5-time All-Star and a 1-time NL MVP, and when they two played together, they were a lethal combination.
As it were, they also hated each other, and the relationship between the two had a negative effect on the team. Bonds and Kent even got into a fight during a game, and the minor tussle can be found on YouTube.
7 Derek Fisher Vs. Matt Barnes
Talk about getting personal. Derek Fisher may not play in the NBA anymore, but that hasn’t prevented him from getting himself into a nasty confrontation with a current player. Fisher was a 5-time NBA champion during his career with the Los Angeles Lakers, and he was instrumental in the team’s success for those title wins. He retired after the 2014 season, and he eventually became the head coach of the New York Knicks. Matt Barnes currently plays for the Golden State Warriors, and his career has taken him all over the NBA. Barnes is known for having a temper, so it should come as no surprise that someone sleeping with his ex-wife would be in for a world of problems.
The former teammates came to a head when Barnes tracked Fisher down to assault him for dating his ex-wife. It was one of the most bizarre stories in recent memory, and there's no love lost between the two men.
6 Ryback Vs. Simon Grimm
While neither of these two men is in the WWE, their odd but entertaining feud stems from their time in the company. Ryback, as you may remember, was supposed to be the next big man to take over the WWE, but this never happened. His gimmick was far too similar to other big men who preceded him, and he wasn’t nearly as popular as he should've been. Throw in a call-out from a former superstar and Ryback being no stranger to having some heat, and you have yourself a conflict. Simon Grimm, formerly Simon Gotch, was known for his time in the tag team The Vaudevillains, and the duo’s unique entrance and gimmick were popular while they were in NXT. This popularity would quickly wane in the WWE, and the pair failed to make a dent in the company.
Ryback has publicly come out and said that Gotch was disliked backstage by most superstars, and he was happy to see him leaving the WWE. He had also mentioned that Gotch was rude to him, which Gotch denied. They aren’t major players in wrestling, and their feud is an odd one, to say the least.
5 Kobe Bryant Vs. Dwight Howard
Kobe Bryant is considered by some to be the second greatest basketball player who has ever lived, and looking at his accolades, it's easy to see why. Kobe has also been notoriously hard to work with, and he's been involved in feuds with several teammates, including Dwight Howard. When the Lakers acquired Howard, many felt that the team was on the cusp of returning to greatness. After all, Howard was a dominant force in his prime, and his inclusion on the team couldn’t have hurt, right? Well, this wasn't the case, and the ill-fated Lakers squad that the duo competed on were a massive disappointment. Tension between the two was made public, and things got ugly quickly.
Once Dwight left the Lakers, their feud was discussed publicly, and the two had some heated words for each other while competing the following year. Kobe is now retired, and Howard is currently playing for the Charlotte Hornets.
4 Anderson Silva Vs. Chael Sonnen
During his prime in the UFC, Anderson Silva ruled the Middleweight division with an iron fist, dispatching all of those who came into his crosshairs. His brutality while in competition was poetry in motion, and he existed on a plane no fighter could reach. His lone weakness, however, was his suspect wrestling, and Chael Sonnen nearly did the impossible. Sonnen had a top-notch wrestling pedigree, and when the two clashed, Sonnen pushed Silva to the brink. He was soundly beating the champion until he was submitted in the 5th round. The rematch between the two was sure to be the most anticipated fight in the company’s history, and Sonnen did his best to crank up the heat on his opponent. He attacked Silva in the media on a regular basis, sparking a nasty rivalry.
At the weigh-in for the fight, Silva drove his shoulder into Sonnen’s jaw, and the two were quickly separated. Silva went on to win the second bout, although the duo still hasn’t fully patched things up since their fights.
3 J.J. Watt Vs. Zach Mettenberger
J.J. Watt is the wrong guy to irritate in the NFL, as he's the most dominant defensive player of his era. He can single-handedly change the course of a game from his side of the field, and his ticket to the Hall of Fame is all but guaranteed in what has been an incredible career. Zach Mettenberger, however, hasn't found the same type of success that J.J. Watt has. In fact, after only 3 years, Mettenberger is no longer in the NFL. Despite not being on the same level, Watt and Mettenberger had an incredibly odd feud that stemmed from a 1970's mustache that Mettenberger had been sporting. The quarterback had posted a selfie of himself shortly before their game against each other, and Watt took exception to this.
Watt reeled off two sacks against him, and he imitated taking a selfie after the second one. This sparked a war of words between the two athletes. Needless to say, Watt got the last laugh, and he continues dominating to this very day.
2 Geno Smith Vs. Ik Enemkpali
Fights between teammates, while frowned upon, are nothing new in sports. You're surrounded by testosterone-riddled individuals who can be overly emotional when it comes to sports, and this combination can be a dangerous one. Geno Smith and Ik Enemkpali were both players on the New York Jets when their brawl occurred. As the story goes, Enemkpali had lent Smith money for a plane ticket, and Smith wasn’t keen on paying him back. Despite the amounts of money being slung around the locker room, paying a person back is a matter of respect, and when Geno brushed the situation off, Enemkpali took matters into his own hands.
Smith was made to eat a stiff haymaker to his face, and the punch wound up breaking his jaw. Enemkpali was seriously reprimanded for his actions, and Smith missed time due to the severity of the injury. We cannot imagine these two hanging out anytime soon.
1 Kyrie Irving Vs. Dion Waiters
As you may remember, Kyrie Irving has already appeared on this list due to his current feud with living legend LeBron James. Kyrie and Dion Waiters were teammates in Cleveland once upon a time, and their pairing together wasn’t a smooth process. Both players can dominate their respective clubs, and they don’t enjoy sharing the limelight with someone else. The pair couldn’t make things work while they were together, and Waiters eventually made his way to the Miami Heat, where he's since flourished. Kyrie, as we mentioned, will now play for the Boston Celtics after being traded this off-season due to his feud with Lebron.
Before heading to Boston, rumors were surfacing that Kyrie could be on his way to Miami for a reunion with Waiters. When asked about this, Waiters mentioned that the team had an alpha and that he could work with Kyrie if this was kept in mind. Not exactly a glowing endorsement now, is it?
Sources: NBA, NFL, ESPN, Bleacherreport, UFC, MLB