Being a fan of professional sports is all about having something to be passionate about. As fans we all know our love affair for players and teams isn’t really worth anything in the grand scheme of the world and whether our team wins or loses doesn’t really impact society all that much. That said, the relationships we forge with these players and teams are real to us, and that’s why when things go sour, we remember the pain as much as we did the joy. So it’s with that in mind that we reflect on 10 team/player Relationships That turned sour and ultimately led to the player's departure from said team. Of course we’ll only be highlighting actual teams, players and coaches in this list, but it is as much for the fans as it is for the factual information, because after all, we remember these people… some of us for the wrong reasons.
Before even going through the top 10, a few players instantly come to mind depending on what sport you enjoy the most. If you’re a big-time basketball fan, you remember LeBron James’ departure from Cleveland… and then his departure from Miami, which led him back to Cleveland. If you’re a hockey fan from the mid-90s, specifically in Montréal, you might remember the day that goaltender Patrick Roy was completely embarrassed to wear a Canadiens uniform, informing the team president that he'd never play for them again. He soon found his way to Colorado. We also might be heading for a major one in the NFL between Adrian Peterson and the Minnesota Vikings.
But no matter what specific instances you can recount where a player’s love affair with his team went south… the main point is that it mattered to you as a fan. Maybe it mattered because players seem like overpaid babies who lack loyalty… or maybe it matters because it seems like organizations throw away players for no reason these days. But regardless of which side of the coin you are on… just remember that everything happens for a reason and that relationships come and go… even if you’re just watching from the sidelines. Enjoy the list…
10 Josh Smith – Detroit Pistons
When forward Josh Smith signed a $54 million contract with the Detroit Pistons in the summer of 2013, he was supposed to help bring them back to the playoffs and make them a contender in the Eastern Conference. He was waived by the team just a few months ago and is now in a Houston Rockets uniform. He clearly didn’t fit into the team’s system and became disgruntled about his situation, as did the rest of the organization. To his credit however, Smith wasn’t vocal about it, but it was obvious nobody wanted him in Detroit anymore, particularly coach Stan Van Gundy who was a big reason Smith was released.
9 Tyler Seguin - Boston Bruins
In the summer of 2013, the Boston Bruins traded center Tyler Seguin to the Dallas Stars in a blockbuster deal. The former no.2 overall pick was a bonafide superstar in the making, but he was on a stacked team and it was clear Seguin needed a change of scenery. That wasn’t the only reason for his departure from Boston though. Seguin reportedly partied too much and would show up to the locker room on game days wearing the previous night’s clothing. He also got in trouble once upon a time for using a gay slur, which added to the team’s reasoning for the trade. Still, you have to think the Bruins are regretting cutting ties with Seguin so soon.
8 Percy Harvin – Seattle Seahawks
New York Jets wide receiver Percy Harvin is one of the most explosive and versatile players in the NFL today. He’s so good that it almost forces you to wonder if the Seattle Seahawks would have won the Super Bowl had he not been traded to New York in the middle of the 2014 season. Unfortunately for the Seahawks, they had no choice after it was reported that Harvin wasn’t getting along with teammates and he apparently never has. He allegedly got into a physical altercation with Golden Tate in 2013 that led to Tate being body-slammed. His character issues stem back to his days in Minnesota.
7 Dwight Howard - Orlando Magic, Los Angeles Lakers
Dwight Howard was traded to the Los Angeles Lakers back in 2012 in a deal that was supposed to create a super team and help Kobe Bryant get his sixth NBA title. Needless to say, things didn’t work out. Howard not only created a negative atmosphere with coach Stan Van Gundy while forcing his way out of Orlando, he didn’t get along with Kobe Bryant in L.A. either. Howard has finally settled down and is no longer whining in the media now that he has found a home with the Houston Rockets but he probably doesn’t get much love in Florida or California these days.
6 Vince Carter - Toronto Raptors
Although the Toronto Raptors have only been around for 20 years, former players are starting to be recognized for their contributions to the franchise in light of the team’s anniversary season. The team did honor Vince Carter this year when he visited with the Memphis Grizzlies and he was visibly emotional during the ceremony, but nobody in Toronto will ever forget when Vince was traded to the New Jersey Nets in 2004. There was a time when nobody thought his love affair with the team would come to an end, but a subpar start to the season and injury troubles eventually caused Carter to fall out of favor within the organization, all of which led to the day he was finally dealt.
5 Patrick Roy – Montreal Canadiens
Once upon a time way back in 1995, Montréal Canadiens goaltender Patrick Roy gave up nine goals in a game to the Detroit Red Wings. He was traded to the Colorado Avalanche just days later after he remarked that he would never play for Montréal again because he was so embarrassed. Roy won two Stanley Cups with both Montreal and Colorado, but the Canadiens haven’t been back to the Stanley Cup Final since he last led them there in 1993. This trade sent the franchise into a dark hole for several years, probably the lowest point in the franchise's storied history.
4 Kobe Bryant And Shaquille O’Neal – Los Angeles Lakers
Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal formed a formidable duel in the early 2000’s that led the team to three straight NBA titles. O’Neal dominated the paint while Kobe emerged as a future superstar and Hall of Famer, but apparently the wedding wasn’t enough to keep both players happy. They both demanded the ball a lot and because O’Neal was the older player, he eventually moved on to the Miami Heat, but to say the least after the glory years had passed them by, things were a bit hostile within the Lakers organization as to who should stay and who should go.
3 Terrell Owens – Philadelphia Eagles
It seemed Terrell Owens was never able to make a quiet exit. Whenever Terrell Owens left a team, it was a huge story, but particularly with the Eagles. Owens had a falling out with the team's quarterback Donovan McNabb, and the team chose their quarterback. He also couldn't reach an agreement with the team on a contract. After they deemed Owens as too much of a distraction, Philly eventually suspended, then released him. T.O. would sign with the hated rival Dallas Cowboys.
2 Ray Rice – Baltimore Ravens
When former Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice was caught on tape punching his now wife Janay in the face, it definitely changed the NFL forever when it comes to personal conduct policies and its severed Rice’s relationship with the team for good. It seemed for a while he was going to remain with the club, as he initially was suspended for just two games. The tape would change everything. Once that surfaced, it was obvious he was going to be cut by the team and any team would have done the same thing, but getting caught on tape for something like that is probably the quickest way to turn a relationship between a player and his team sour no matter what action steps a conduct policy presents.
1 LeBron James- Cleveland Cavaliers, Miami Heat
Everyone in the city of Cleveland was in a state of euphoria this past summer when LeBron James announced that he was returning home to the Cavaliers. Almost as soon as he announced his decision, murals of him wearing a Miami Heat uniform were defaced all over Florida. That of course pales in comparison to what happened in 2010, when LeBron joined Miami. Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert posted an open letter on the team’s website bashing LeBron for his choice and guaranteeing that the Cavs would win an NBA title before Miami. Of course now that LeBron is back in Cleveland after all, it’s all love again.