The topic of chemistry off the court for a basketball team has always been a heavily debated subject. Some pundits believe that all teammates should get along and have close relationships to get the best of their potential as a team. Others think that it doesn’t matter as long as everyone is professional on the court. There have been countless friendships to occur on basketball teams when people meet each other and start to get along off the court. However, not all of these friendships will last forever.
We'll look at some of the friendships in basketball that didn’t last the test of time. Different reasons such as one player leaving for another team, a hostile ending or two people just growing to dislike each other through the years will take a toll on the bond. The relationships to be examined here all feature guys that seemed to get along and enjoy each other when on the same squad. All of them ended with the two former teammates now disliking each other to this very day. It will be up to you to figure out which party is the wrong one. Let’s take a look at all of the instances with fifteen pairs of former NBA teammates that now hate each other.
15 Reggie Jackson and Russell Westbrook
The rise of Reggie Jackson helped the Oklahoma City Thunder feel confident in their depth. Jackson came off the bench and provided a strong second unit when Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook were on the bench. However, this was not the situation that Jackson wanted as his value started to reach new heights. Jackson essentially forced the Thunder’s hand into trading him to the Detroit Pistons.
Westbrook especially seemed peeved at how Jackson ended his time in Oklahoma City. A few comments back and forth proved the two point guards clearly no longer liked each other. Westbrook has been more vocal about his dislike towards Jackson. The two former teammates seemed tight when on the same roster. Jackson wanting his own team away from Westbrook caused the two to become enemies.
14 LeBron James and Kyrie Irving
The most recent high profile instance of two close teammates souring on each other features the story of Kyrie Irving demanding a trade away from the Cleveland Cavaliers. Irving no longer wanted to play in the shadow of LeBron James after the two started to have tension behind the scenes. This was a huge shock as both players appeared to be as close as brothers back during the 2016 NBA Championship win.
Irving reportedly grew tired of small things that made him feel less respected by James. Issues between Irving’s family and James’ entourage also became a lingering issue. Irving wanted to get traded away from Cleveland to a team where he would be the face of the franchise. The Boston Celtics have acquired him and done just that. A few shots exchanged between the two shows they're no longer buddies at all.
13 Kevin Garnett and Stephon Marbury
Many NBA personalities expected the combination of Kevin Garnett and Stephon Marbury to lead the Minnesota Timberwolves to contention in the late 90s. There was excitement from the team and fanbase that two talented young players were on the same roster. Unfortunately, they couldn’t create chemistry and Marbury welcomed a trade to the New Jersey Nets.
Garnett and Marbury were never close after the trade as Garnett seemed to take it personally. A few interviews in recent years have seen Garnett throw shade at Marbury by not even including him as the best players he has played with or superstar combinations he has been a part of. Marbury would have more issues failing to fit in with NBA teams and ended up moving to China to play professionally overseas. Garnett had the better overall career as an NBA legend.
12 Carmelo Anthony and Tim Hardaway Jr.
The NBA career of Tim Hardaway Jr. has been rather confusing. Hardaway was drafted by the New York Knicks where he played alongside Carmelo Anthony. They worked well together to start off, and Hardaway looked like he could be the sidekick Anthony was searching for at the time. However, a few incidents between the two convinced the Knicks to trade Hardaway to the Atlanta Hawks.
Hardaway had a breakout stint with the Hawks becoming a highly impressive scorer and brought consistency to his game. The Knicks offered him a massive contract in the recent offseason to bring him back to the team. Anthony was involved in trade talks all summer, but he did not get moved until September. There has been speculation that Anthony was going to no-show training camp if he wasn’t traded. Hardaway being on his team again was one of the reasons he had no desire to play for NY again.
11 Rajon Rondo and Dwyane Wade
The Chicago Bulls experimented with a big three of Jimmy Butler, Dwyane Wade and Rajon Rondo last season hoping to contend in the Eastern Conference. Wade and Rondo teaming together seemed like a bad idea given both guys had similar weaknesses. There was also the past history of the two genuinely disliking each other during the intense Miami Heat versus Boston Celtics rivalry.
Wade and Rondo failed to get along as seen with how poorly the season went. The Bulls barely made the playoffs as the eighth seed. Wade and Butler made some comments calling out the younger members of the Bulls failing to step up. Rondo took offense to his teammates being thrown under the bus and criticized the leadership of Wade by stating his Celtics veterans wouldn’t be that disrespectful. It's no surprise that they're no longer teammates.
10 Chris Paul and Austin Rivers
Chris Paul shocked the NBA world when he made the decision to request a sign and trade to the Houston Rockets in the recent offseason. Houston appears to be the biggest threat to the Golden State Warriors this season as they look rather impressive. The Los Angeles Clippers are falling apart without Paul and will most likely miss the playoffs unless they shock the world.
One of the rumored reasons for Paul wanting to get away from the Clippers was coach Doc Rivers giving special treatment to his son Austin Rivers. Paul apparently liked Austin and helped him improve as a better all-around basketball player. However, he didn’t like how things were changing and wanted out. Austin stated that he had the first game against Paul circled on his calendar.
9 Dion Waiters and Kyrie Irving
The Cleveland Cavaliers have seen a lot of turmoil over the past decade. There was the four year time period when LeBron James left them for the Miami Heat before returning. Cleveland did get to draft a handful of top prospects in the time frame. Both Kyrie Irving and Dion Waiters were drafted high to become the Cavaliers back court of the future.
Irving clearly became the better player and was able to step up with James returned to the roster to contend for an NBA Championship. Waiters struggled and would spend his time on the bench before getting traded. Hostility grew between Waiters and Irving following the trade. The comments from Waiters saw him accuse Irving and Tristan Thompson of keeping the ball away from him.
8 Kevin Garnett and Wally Szczerbiak
This is the second time Kevin Garnett will make the list for a partnership gone wrong on the Minnesota Timberwolves. Garnett’s intense personality certainly created an interesting dynamic for anyone on his team. Wally Szczerbiak became the second best player on the Timberwolves for a few seasons as a very good offensive weapon. Both men had nothing but kind words to say about each other while teaming.
However, it has come out in the past few years that Garnett and Szczerbiak don’t seem to like each other one bit. Szczerbiak called out Garnett for not having the clutch gene out of the blue back in 2012. It was viewed as a negative comment Szczerbiak has been waiting to say for years. A story also broke about KG and Wally having heated moments in practice as teammates. All of this hostility was finally unleashed years after their time together.
7 LeBron James and Mario Chalmers
Mario Chalmers is not a name most fans remember when thinking of why the Miami Heat won back to back NBA Championships in 2012 and 2013. LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Both were the big three to carry the team with Ray Allen coming in late with some clutch shooting. Chalmers however contributed as a starter that made timely shots in the right moments.
LeBron often treated Chalmers like a little brother. There were quite a few times where James yelled at Chalmers on the court in front of national television cameras for his mistakes. Chalmers lost his filter when James left the Heat for the Cleveland Cavaliers. A comment from Chalmers saw him refuse to reference LeBron by name and showed a strong desire to defeat him. Chalmers has become a forgotten man in the NBA and James is still the King as they’ve lost touch through the years.
6 James Harden and Dwight Howard
The Houston Rockets thought the combination of James Harden and Dwight Howard would lead them into contention. Howard signed with Houston after seeing Harden was a budding Superstar. Harden continued to improve in becoming the best shooting guard in the league while Howard regressed dramatically. Their chemistry was a huge issue as they couldn’t get on the same page despite seeming to like each other.
Things fell apart at the end when Howard left the team in free agency. Harden took his game to another level by having the best season of his career without Howard. Houston has not looked back and Harden made a snarky comment last season saying it was the best chemistry the team has had since he got there. Howard leaving was the biggest change to the roster and Harden clearly has no love for the big man these days.
5 Michael Jordan and Clyde Drexler
Michael Jordan and Clyde Drexler did not play together on any NBA teams, but they were both members of the legendary Dream Team roster. Jordan and Drexler contributed to the iconic squad of legends winning gold in the 1992 Olympics. Everyone on the Dream Team seemed to be buddies having the time of their lives. Instead of competing against each other, they could have fun and enjoy each other.
Drexler has had some comments about Jordan through the years to try to undercut all Jordan has accomplished. Charles Barkley came out and said that Drexler always had a jealousy problem regarding Jordan that still haunts him. Jordan never viewed Drexler as being on his level when it came to competition as being the best in the league. This is one pair of Dream Team pals that no longer like each other.
4 Robert Horry and Manu Ginobili
A random beef to occur between two former teammates pit Robert Horry against Manu Ginobili. Both guys played together during Horry’s late career as a reserve for the San Antonio Spurs. Horry has started doing more media appearances and shared some hot takes earlier this year. Most of his controversial comments came regarding his time with the Spurs.
Horry took shots at Tim Duncan and Gregg Popovich, but his most hostile comments seemed to be towards Ginobili. According to Horry, he would have more NBA Championships to his name if Ginobili stepped up and played like a Superstar. The intent was definitely personal as he believes Manu failed to live up his end of the bargain for San Antonio. Most Spurs fans would strongly disagree with this rude statement.
3 Rajon Rondo and Ray Allen
The Boston Celtics 2008 NBA Championship seemed to have one of the closest groups of friends all contributing to the overall goal. Ray Allen was traded to the team and proved he could be a major contributor to a contender. Point guard Rajon Rondo was relatively unknown but stepped up to the occasion as the point guard making sure Allen, Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce all were dominating.
Allen chose to leave the Celtics for a role on the rival Miami Heat. It made the other members of the Celtics to turn on him and view him as an enemy to this very day. Rondo was biggest critic of Allen insulting the legend when he retired. The comments of Rondo saw him state that he thought Allen had already retired since he’s done very little in his final season. Rondo was happy about Allen not getting an invite to the Celtics reunion event last season.
2 Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook
One of the biggest stories in recent NBA years featured the friendship between Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook falling apart. Both Superstars grew up together on the Oklahoma City Thunder as the best duo for quite some time. Durant shocked the NBA landscape when he ditched the Thunder to join the Golden State Warriors coming off a 73 win season that saw them eliminate him.
Westbrook lost all respect for Durant choosing to get an easier route to a ring and not even informing his teammate. Durant tried to make it seem like they were still fine and there was no issues between them. Westbrook however has consistently thrown little jabs at Durant with things coming to ahead this season. Oklahoma City destroyed Golden State in a regular season game as Westbrook and Durant went face to face cursing each other out. There’s no bigger rivalry in the NBA right now than Durant versus Westbrook.
1 Brent Barry and Tony Parker
The situation between Brent Barry and Tony Parker goes down as one of the most bizarre falling outs in NBA history. Both guys were close friends during their time on the San Antonio Spurs as teammates. Parker was dating stunning celebrity actress Eva Longoria at the time when he was caught exchanging dirty text messages with Brent’s wife.
Longoria discovered hundreds of text messages between Parker and Barry’s wife. Both couples ended at this discovery and the friendship between Barry and Parker ended. It is the kind of story you would only expect to see in a movie or book, but the Spurs teammates clearly had their own form of drama come to life. Barry has the most valid excuse for hating a former friend compared to the others on the list. It is hard to envision them becoming friends again.