Starting 5ive: Comrades to Competitors

The 2017 All-Star Weekend has come and gone. Everyone held their collective breath for the All-Star Game, largely due to a pair of former teammates that have become bitter rivals: Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook.

Here is a list of former teammates who won’t be liking each other’s Facebook posts for years to come:

 

LARRY JOHNSON AND ALONZO MOURNING

The Charlotte Hornets were very much like the Oklahoma City Thunder. They were a young team taking the league by storm. At the forefront were two young bucks that seemed destined to rule over the NBA for years to come: Larry Johnson and Alonzo Mourning. Unlike KD and Russ, these two never liked each other. LJ would constantly taunt Zo, and Zo was always jealous of LJ’s big paycheck.

Alonzo ended up in Miami while LJ went to NY, forging one of the fiercest rivalries in NBA history. The Knicks and Heat would face each other in four straight playoff series. Each game was brutal and eventually resulted to fisticuffs in 1998.

 

KEVIN GARNETT AND STEPHON MARBURY

KG and Starbury made the Timberwolves a force to be reckoned with. On the court, they were like a younger, more athletic version of Stockton and Malone. The duo would lead the team to the playoffs for the first time in franchise history. Off the court, they were like brothers. It seemed like a match made in heaven.

Then money happened.

The Timberwolves offered KG a six-year, $126 million deal. A deal of that size was unheard of at the time. Marbury thought he deserved the same kind of moolah. This forced Minnesota to ship him off to New Jersey, thus bringing the KG-Marbury teamup to an abrupt halt.

Stephon would eventually land in Phoenix where he would team up Amare Stoudemire, another dynamic forward that made the leap from high school to the pros. When reporters asked Marbury to compare KG and Stoudemire, it opened up a can of worms.

“It’s not even close,” Marbury said at the time. “He (KG) doesn’t even compare to Amare. It’s two different people. It’s like Michael Jordan and Mario Elie. It’s not even close.”

Garnett responded in typical Garnett fashion.

“This is bizarre. This is really kind of funny. Anybody who has followed Steph’s career knows that ever since he left Minnesota he’s been in envy of Kevin Garnett. It’s kind of fun though. Out of all his things, he’s got what, three kids, a wife, bills. But I’m on his mind every day. It’s kind of flattering.”

This leads us to another KG bitter breakup…

 

KEVIN GARNETT AND RAY ALLEN

Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen joined forces with Paul Pierce to form The New Big Three. Together, they ushered in the most successful period of basketball for Boston since the 80s. The trio would enjoy great success culminating in a title in 2008.

The Boston Three Party ended in 2012 with a Game 7 loss to The Heatles. Instead of resigning with Boston, Ray Allen would jump ship in free agency to join bitter their bitter rivals: THE MIAMI HEAT.

Sounds familiar?

Garnett and Allen’s relationship sank like the Titanic. KG just stopped talking to Jesus Shuttlesworth. He even claimed to have erased Allen’s number. You think he unfriended him on Facebook, too? Did he unfollow him on Instagram? When the Celtics and Heat met for the first time after Allen joined the dark side, KG refused to shake his hand before and after games.

KG is cold.

 

DEREK FISHER AND MATT BARNES

The whole Fisher-Barnes feud was a classic case of breaking the “Bro Code.” As teammates, you build a sort of brotherhood in the locker room. And once you go through a certain amount of battles with your teammates, a bond is built that transcends that game. Supposedly.

Derek Fisher, who is known to be a great teammate, ignored said bond and threw the Bro Code out the window when he started dating Barnes’ ex wife, Gloria Govan. This obviously did not sit well with Matt Barnes, who, by the way, isn’t exactly a Zen Master. He reportedly drove over 50 miles just to lay the smackdown on his former teammate and friend.

 

SHAQ AND KOBE

There’s no surprise that this duo is at the top of the list. Shaq and Kobe were the most dominant pairing in the NBA since Pippen and MJ. Shaq was an unstoppable big man while Kobe was a killer perimeter scorer. The two young guns would take jabs at each other and would feud openly but still went on to achieve great success. Shaq and Kobe won three championships together.

Unfortunately for Laker fans across the globe, Los Angeles wasn’t big enough for the both of them. Shaq bolted for Miami where he would promptly win a championship with DWade. O’Neal and Bryant would continue to trade jabs in the following years. So many, in fact, that we can probably write a whole article listing the most memorable jabs between the two. In a video that quickly went viral, Shaq jumped on stage and started to freestyle about Kobe.

In return, after he won his fifth championship, Kobe quipped, “I just got one more than Shaq.”

They officially squashed the beef after Kobe retired. They cleared the air when Kobe guested on Shaq’s podcast.

 
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[Photo from Getty; videos from YouTube]

About the author

Enzo Marcos

Enzo Marcos is a commercial director. He tried—in vain—to name his son Aragorn. He was a Laker fan even before he could fully understand the game of basketball. He thinks that Back to the Future is the pinnacle of modern cinema. Film, music and basketball take up most of his time. He is as good at basketball as Kobe Bryant is at rapping.

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