Team chemistry is, in some instances, just as important as talent regarding the overall play of a squad. Players must know where their teammates are going to be on the court, on the pitch or on the field, and a lack of communication can lead to unexpected breakdowns that result in the loss of games. While coaches cannot be asked to be babysitters for grown men who are professional athletes, they are required to step in from time to time and bring players together for the overall improvement of the club. Such a meetings can make or break a season for a team.
There are, however, instances when nothing can be done outside of the athletes involved taking matters into their own hands. Players on the same team fight all the time. It is hardly a new tale. Competitors who are making good money and who want to be the alpha-male inside of a locker room feel, from time to time, as if they have to aggressively approach a teammate, and things can crumble apart if that teammates responds in kind. Such shoving matches that come to blows can lead to personal feuds that live on for years.
Some of the biggest names in all of sports have, over the decades, been disliked and even hated by teammates with whom they shared meals, victories and championships. That includes the man widely regarded as the greatest athlete to ever play in the National Basketball Association, a disgraced Major League Baseball figure who was, for a time, the most-feared hitter in all of the game, and also two World Wrestling Entertainment performers, one of whom is no longer with us. That last one is a real shame for diehard WWE fans, as we will now never get an on-screen Super Powers reunion.
15. Hulk Hogan vs. Randy Savage
Everybody loves pro wrestling – admit it, you either used to or you still do – so it makes sense to start out with the on-screen teammates who feuded in the World Wrestling Federation, World Championship Wrestling and behind the scenes. The real-life war involving the two titans of sports entertainment has been well-documented, perhaps most notably in that famous rap song in which Savage called Hogan out for a legitimate fight. Savage has since tragically passed away, and Hogan has publicly stated that the two old friends patched things up before Savage’s untimely passing.
14. Kyrie Irving vs. Dion Waiters
The rumor, while never truly confirmed by either party, was that the two young and talented basketball stars were in the middle of a personal feud while with the Cleveland Cavaliers, so much so that there rumors in 2013 that the two came to blows during a scuffle that occurred at a team practice. Basketball fans in northeast Ohio had hoped that any such beef involving the two had been squashed with LeBron James announcing his return to the Cavs in the summer of July 2014. The new Cleveland basketball experiment did not last long, however, as unnamed general manager LeBron (allegedly) had Waiters shipped out of town for the betterment of the team.
13. Percy Harvin vs. Golden Tate/Other Seattle Players
Percy Harvin is an electric play-maker who can take the football to the house from anywhere on the field. He is also known, in some circles, as a cancer inside of the locker room, which is why it was not shocking to everybody in the NFL world that the Seattle Seahawks shipped Harvin to the New York Jets during the 2014 regular season. Reputable individuals who cover football claimed at the time that Harvin’s anger issues could not be controlled by the Seahawks, so much so that the speedy wide receiver gave teammate Golden Tate a black eye during a confrontation involving the two.
12. Mike Vanderjagt vs. Peyton Manning
One is a quarterback who will one day be enshrined in the Hall of Fame. The other was a placekicker who dared call out his head coach and his team’s starting quarterback following a postseason defeat. Manning, who has always had a reputation for being respectful on and off of the field, was fed up, and he cut what is, to date, his most famous WWE-style promo on the man who was a teammate at the time. Manning referred to Vanderjagt as “our idiot kicker who got liquored up and ran his mouth off.” Even an all-time great such as Manning has his breaking points.
11. Johnny Manziel vs. Anonymous Browns “Sources”
Young Cleveland Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel has plenty of friends within the Browns who have come to his defense throughout his first year in the NFL. Not everybody within the organization has, however, had glowing praise for the one-time Heisman Trophy winner known as “Johnny Football.” One of his then-teammates, when speaking with ESPN reporters after the 2014 NFL regular season, referred to Manziel as “a 100 percent joke.” Others questioned Manziel’s dedication to the cause and also went so far as to say that they did not believe Manziel could physically handle being an NFL quarterback.
10. Larry Sanders vs. Gary Neal
Sanders had, in recent memory, been a disappointment for the Milwaukee Bucks. Gary Neal, who has since moved on to the Minnesota Timberwolves, was fed up with Sanders in January 2014, as the two got into a confrontation following a game. Neal dropped the mic on Sanders before all was said and done, yelling the following toward his teammate: “I earn my money. You should try it sometime.” Sanders, who has had troubles both on and off of the basketball court, chose to take a leave from the NBA in February 2015, a decision that he wrote about for The Players’ Tribune.
9. Riley Cooper vs. Cary Williams
Cooper found himself in the headlines during the 2013 NFL offseason when, while at a concert, he dropped the N-word as he was being recorded. He was fined by the Philadelphia Eagles for that one remark, a punishment that Williams clearly thought could have been a bit more harsh. The two Philadelphia teammates came to blows during a practice session before the fight was broken up by none other than quarterback Michael Vick. Cooper has, to his credit, become a solid contributor for the Eagles, but only those two know if they have patched things up and moved on.
8. P.K. Subban vs. Tomas Plekanec
It is understandable that frustrations can lead to physical altercations among teammates, especially when things aren’t going well for the club during a long season. That was the case back in 2012 when Subban and Plekanec came to blows during a Montreal Canadiens practice, a fight that had to be broken up by multiple teammates. It was nothing new for Subban, who is known to be hot-headed and not at all shy about running his mouth whether he is speaking with opposing players or those on his own team. Plekanec, who doesn’t have a reputation for losing his temper, obviously had enough of Subban’s antics on that day.
7. Barry Bonds vs. Jeff Kent
What happens when you put two individuals with massive egos who are not all that likeable inside of the same Major League Baseball clubhouse? You get enough ammo for multiple breakdowns, as was the case for the San Francisco Giants when the two were with the club. Bonds and Kent came to blows inside of the dugout back in 2002, and it was later reported that the two had to be separated several times over the years. Their talents aside, Bonds and Kent were real-life cases of oil and water, a combination not meant to be on any team.
6. Robert Griffin III vs. Redskins locker room
Griffin has, outside of what was largely a fantastic rookie season, failed to live up to the hype as a NFL quarterback and also remain healthy enough to play on Sundays. Those realities, along with the fact that RG3 is featured in multiple national advertising campaigns, led to a report from ESPN’s Brett McHenry that Griffin had “alienated himself” from at least some teammates inside of the Washington locker room. There have, since the end of the season, been rumors that the Redskins would be willing to trade Griffin just to get him out of town, but all indications now are that he will get one final chance to cement himself as the team’s starting quarterback.
5. Chicago Bulls teammates vs. Michael Jordan
You can be sure that Jordan‘s former Chicago teammates respected “His Airness” and the fact that arguably the greatest basketball player of all time helped make them tons of money and helped them win championships. Jordan was, however, not always the best teammate during his prime, and that truth has been highlighted in multiple stories that have leaked over the years. Not sure what I am referring to? Go to the Internet search engine of your choice and look up “Michael Jordan punched.” You will find more than one instance of Jordan allegedly taking a swing at his teammates.
4. John Terry vs. Wayne Bridge
It is perhaps the most famous feud in the history of the Premier League, one that still, so many years later, has more questions than confirmed answers. The rumor at the time was that England captain John Terry had an affair with the girlfriend of teammate Wayne Bridge, and multiple reports claimed that Terry had gotten the woman involved pregnant. While different versions of the story have emerged over the years, there was definitely no love lost between the two, as Bridge refused to shake Terry’s hand during pre-match rituals on multiple occasions.
3. Shaquille O’Neal vs. Kobe Bryant
You know things are bad when the feud that features two pro athletes has its own Wikipedia page. Outside of allegations of the two butting heads while inside of the locker room of the Los Angeles Lakers, both O’Neal and Bryant accused the other of “buying love” in one way or another. The two would, after O’Neal parted ways with the Lakers, go on to face off on the court eleven total times. While it was O’Neal who “won” that team series, Bryant outscored his counterpart in each of those games. The two probably don’t exchange Christmas cards every December even now, but it is believed that they do have a mutual respect for each other.
2. William Gallas vs. Chelsea
The French defender had quite the reputation for being a rather miserable human being during his professional career. His most memorable off-the-pitch moment came when Gallas was reportedly planning on making a switch from Chelsea to Arsenal back in 2006. As the story goes, Gallas was so keen on leaving the Blues that he threatened to score own goals against Chelsea were he picked to play for the club versus Manchester City. Gallas has denied those rumors over the years, but the perception will forever be that the guy was a lousy teammate for multiple clubs.
1. Mario Balotelli and…everybody?
Balotelli‘s physical gifts and his ability to deposit beautiful and memorable goals into the back of the net cannot be denied, but neither can the fact that Balotelli has failed to make friends at the club and international levels time and time again. Balotelli has seemingly gone out of his way to get himself transferred from club to club and even from country to country over his professional career, annoying teammates and also managers in the process. Things recently got so bad during his first stint at Liverpool that it was widely rumored that the club was contemplating giving up on Balotelli less than half of a year into his tenure at the Premier League outfit.
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