Top 6 Teammate Beefs in NBA History

min read
The Los Angeles Clippers' bench during a game against the Washington Wizards at the Verizon Center in Washington, DC on Dec. 14, 2013.
(Wikimedia Commons/Keith Allison)
Anatoly Pimentel @AnatolyPimentel Aug 03, 2023, 6:35 PM
  • Here’s a list of the top teammate beefs in NBA history.
  • This includes a few controversies.

Much like any other team sport, basketball needs a collective effort to succeed. But this collective effort can sometimes be too intense, which produces animosity between teammates. The competitive drive of specific players is too much to handle for his colleague, which causes beef among them and a big blow to their NBA championship odds.

Winning the ultimate prize of an NBA title sometimes requires some sort of sacrifice that even teammate relationships are compromised. We have seen this kind of drama in the NBA where teammates hated each other for various reasons, either through competitiveness, gambling issues, or heated confrontations.

Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal

Despite forming one of the most dominant duos of all time in the NBA during the early part of the 2000s en route to a three-peat in 2000-2002, Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal never got along as teammates. Their major difference in work ethic bolstered by their egos has forced the franchise to split the relationship in 2005. O’Neal went on to win his fourth title in Miami in 2006, while Bryant ultimately won two more championships in 2009 and 2010.

Nick Young and D’Angelo Russell

A leaked video of Nick Young admitting he cheated on then-fiancee Izzy Azalea started all the chaos inside the Los Angeles Lakers locker room in March 2016 as rookie D’Angelo Russell recorded that video. This incident was part of the team’s year-long prank wars. Although it is still a mystery how the footage got out to the internet, the aftermath left the Lakers to trade away their 2015 NBA Draft pick to the Nets in the offseason.

Gilbert Arenas and Javaris Crittenton

A dispute in gambling sparked the hatred of Gilbert Arenas and Javaris Crittenton in December 2009, as the Wizards team had a card game in a plane. This incident also produced the infamous gun incident of Arenas wherein he brought firearms in the Washington locker room. The incident was also responsible for Javaris Crittenton never appearing in an NBA game and Arenas’ career decline.

James Harden and Dwight Howard

When Dwight Howard never got along with Kobe Bryant in the 2012-13 season, the big man signed with the Houston Rockets to create a good tandem with James Harden. They were successful in the first two seasons and even got to the Western Conference Finals. But the third season arrived, the two superstars were barely talking to each other, and as a result, they only got the 8th seed in the playoffs. They were dominated by the Golden State Warriors in the first round, thus prompting Howard to decline his player option and sign elsewhere.


O.J. Mayo and Tony Allen

The ‘’Grit and Grind’’ branding of the Memphis Grizzlies was once displayed within the roster as Tony Allen punched O.J. Mayo multiple times over a debt in a card game they played in January 2011. The incident escalated when Mayo refused to pay Allen and went off on him by trash-talking the hard-nosed defender for about 15 minutes. Then Allen had enough of his words and landed a few punches on Mayo, leaving him with a black eye.

Chris Paul and Blake Griffin

Finding out the true leader of the Clippers team during their time in Los Angeles was the main reason Chris Paul and Blake Griffin had hatred among them. When Paul arrived in the team, he assumed leadership as the team’s primary playmaker. However, Griffin also wanted that role, holding the bragging rights as the franchise’s number one overall pick in the 2009 NBA Draft. The partnership of the two produced countless highlights and perennial title contenders but essentially failed to deliver a title.

NBA Odds at BetMGM

BetMGM is the premier best online sportsbook for NBA betting throughout the year.

From offseason NBA championship futures to spreads, parlays, and player props during the championship series, there are a variety of NBA Finals odds to pick from.

If you’re new to the online sportsbook, register today with a sportsbook welcome offer. And check out sportsbook promos each time you log in.

BetMGM First Bet Offer $1,500
About the Author

Anatoly Pimentel

Read More @AnatolyPimentel

Anatoly Pimentel is an NBA and MMA writer previously featured in ASEAN Sports, Asian Persuasion MMA, and Overtime Heroics MMA. He graduated from Adamson University with a B.A in Communication and is a Web Content Writer for BetMGM.

Anatoly Pimentel is an NBA and MMA writer previously featured in ASEAN Sports, Asian Persuasion MMA, and Overtime Heroics MMA. He graduated from Adamson University with a B.A in Communication and is a Web Content Writer for BetMGM.