10 First-Ballot Selections into the Worst Teammate Hall of Fame
There are no rules that say teammates have to like each other. As long as everyone does their job on the field a lot of things are overlooked.
However, there are unwritten rules about acceptable behavior when it comes to teammates. Violate these rules and the offending athlete could face serious repercussions from the team.
On nyDailynews.com Wednesday, an article by Manish Mehta quoted various anonymous NY Jets players trashing Mark Sanchez. They questioned his work ethic, his leadership and his ability. Worse of all, they openly suggested that the Jets should pursue Peyton Manning.
They might as well have donned Tom Brady masks and literally thrown Mark Sanchez under a New York City bus.
This should come as no surprise. All year the Jets have been running their mouths. The only difference is that this time they weren't running for the camera as well. They decided to keep their identities secret.
How courageous of them. Is it any surprise this team is an utter failure?
The dysfunctional actions of this group of teammates made me think of how sports teams are no different than families. Some families are healthy and support one another. Others are filled with jealousy and will stab each other in the back the first chance they get.
In sports, losing tends to bring out these qualities. The more losing, the more dysfunction, such as with the Jets. When they are making AFC title games, then everything is dandy. When they are missing the playoffs it's every man for himself.
Throughout recent sports history, there are a select few athletes who—regardless of wins or losses— have repeatedly demonstrated a dysfunctional quality that is unmatched.
Regardless of the reason for their behaviors, one thing is for sure. These are not the kind of teammates you want to go to war with.
These are the worst teammates in sports history.
And no, Santonio Holmes and Plaxico Burress aren't even on this list.
10. Delonte West
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It seems like wherever Delonte West goes, trouble follows. The best way to sum him up is this: a distraction.
He's played with four different teams—including two stints with Boston—during his eight NBA seasons. Everywhere he's gone he's been in the newspapers.
Unfortunately, he's been in them for the wrong reasons.
There was his arrest in 2009 for carrying (while riding his motorcycle) two handguns and a shotgun.
Then there was his altercation with teammate Von Wafer in 2010.
There was the rumored "relationship" with a certain superstar teammate's family member. That is all I'll say. I still find it hard to believe this one is true.
Recently, it was his White House banning and resulting Twitter rants that brought him into the media spotlight.
It is a well known fact that West suffers from bipolar disorder and I suppose his struggles with mental illness play a part in the turmoil of his life. I am not trying to make light of this.
But I think it is possible to be empathic to his struggles with the illness, while also expecting more from him as a teammate.
He has the potential to be a pretty good NBA player.
But his inconsistency on the court and off, and the circus side-show he brings with him, make him a very bad teammate.
9. JaMarcus Russell
Russell did not attack a teammate nor did he fool around with a teammate's significant other. In fact, he might have been a nice guy.
He is on this list more for his inaction then any one action.
Russell set the Oakland Raiders back years after holding out of camp his rookie year. He finally signed for a horrendous amount of money and preceded to ride the pine.
Let's just say he was the NFL's version of the Hubble Telescope. A lot of money was invested in something that really didn't work that well.
He gained weight and fell asleep in meetings. He didn't work hard and he didn't seem to care.
This was the ultimate stab in the back to teammates that were working their tails off week after week. Russell sat back and drank his purple drank and collected his checks.
His teammates were left to languish on horrible teams that never stood a chance. The Raiders wasted a No. 1 pick on him and his attitude infected the locker room.
The Raiders were too invested in Russell to cut ties when they should have. As a result, they are only now starting to recover from the Russell years.
8. Allen Iverson
Is it possible for the most fearless and tenacious NBA player in history to also be one of the worst teammates in all of sports?
I say yes, and here is why.
Throughout most of his career Iverson had so much talent that it outweighed all the attitude and trouble he brought along with it.
His teams were always able to survive despite his selfish diva-like behaviors, his refusal to practice and his off the court issues.
However, as he got older and his talents eroded, the scales started to tip the other way. No longer did people want to put up with his shenanigans. He ended his career being traded around to three different teams in three years.
Iverson failed to realize the reality of his situation. Instead of making sacrifices to help his team—by coming off the bench—Iverson stubbornly clung to his own vanity. If he couldn't start, he would give up.
He couldn't believe the Detroit Pistons would disrespect him by asking him to come off the bench. Funny thing was that Memphis did the same thing the next year.
Iverson could have really helped those teams. He could have been a mentor to younger players like Rodney Stuckey with Detroit. Instead, he became an adversary.
Throughout Iverson's career it was all about him. Why should we have expected the end of his career to be any different?
7. Manny Ramirez
The term "Manny being Manny" does not refer to Ramirez's ability to hit home runs.
It refers to the bizarre, head scratching and down-right frustrating behavior that he's demonstrated over the years.
His laziness, attitude and indifference got him shipped out of Boston, a place where he could have been a god if he gave a darn.
He got into altercations with teammates, pushed down an elderly traveling secretary and worst of all tanked an entire season because he was unhappy about his contract.
That was just Manny being Manny!
Luckily for him, there always seemed to be professional sports teams willing to throw money away. The Los Angeles Dodgers signed him to a ridiculous contract and he repaid them by getting suspended for 50 games for violating the league's steroid policy.
When he returned to the Dodgers, he gave them nothing.
Since then, he gave the White Sox and the Rays the same: nothing. His retirement was the equivalent of putting a wounded horse out of its misery.
Personally, I find the way his career ended to be a nice bit of karma. He never respected the game of baseball. Now, baseball will never respect him.
He's since apologized for his behaviors. Too little, too late, Manny!
6. Terrell Owens
Owens was the Stephon Marbury of the NFL. When he was happy, he was one of the best. But when things weren't going his way, he could destroy a team...and a quarterback.
Just ask Donovan McNabb and Jeff Garcia.
Despite his talent, Owens was well traveled in the NFL. This is largely because of his attitude and the drama that seemed to unfold everywhere he went.
Not only did he perfect the diva wide receiver routine, he started it. His touchdown celebrations were bad enough, but not what made him a bad teammate.
No, Owens was a bad teammate because he had a nasty habit of throwing players under the bus, while not being accountable for his own mistakes.
Owens was a great player but he was not perfect. He had a role in all those playoff losses, too. He didn't see it that way. It was always someone else's fault.
He often made the mistake of taking his complaints to the media, instead of addressing them man-to- man. This is seen as an act of betrayal by most players.
Owens is now feeling the repercussions of his actions. He still has a lot of value, but no team will touch him with a 10-yard marker.
Can you blame them?
5. Carlos Zambrano
Every professional athlete is expected to have a meltdown at least once. No problem right? It doesn't make them a bad teammate.
But when an athlete has more tantrums than a two-year-old with rampant diaper rash, then we have a problem.
Zambrano is that two-year-old. His tantrums have lost games for the Cubs, ruined team chemistry and impacted the Cubs' ability to improve their team. They couldn't trade him to save their soul, until they pawned him off on Florida this offseason.
Good luck Ozzie!
Not only was Zambrano a crybaby with an anger management problem, he had a nasty habit of calling out teammates in the media. Like many athletes today, Zambrano had no accountability. Everything was always someone else's fault.
With Zambrano joining the Marlins, maybe the close proximity of Zambrano and his coach Ozzie Guillen will cause them both to spontaneously combust.
You just can't have that much firepower together in one place. All it takes is a spark.
4. Tonya Harding
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We can't talk about dysfunctional teammates without mentioning Harding. In 1994 she was involved in the attack on her U.S. figure skating teammate Nancy Kerrigan.
Can you imagine if Shaq would have taken a lead pipe to the leg of Kobe during their feud?
What if Jeff Kent would have hired someone to do the same to Barry Bonds when they were with the Giants?
There have been teammates that got into physical altercations before. That is going to happen every now and then when highly competitive people are involved.
Harding's actions were in a different category. The premeditation and viciousness of it all was simply astounding.
I should note that Harding always insisted that she knew nothing about the attack. It was her ex-husband and body guard who supposedly dreamt up the whole thing.
The fact that Harding was the only one that stood to gain from Kerrigan not being able to compete, made her about as believable as this guy.
3. Stephon Marbury
Marbury could be the poster boy for the selfish me-first athlete that we've all gotten accustomed to. He could also be the poster boy for athletes who've single handedly brought down a franchise.
Marbury did it to the Knicks during the five years he played there. Sure, Isiah Thomas had a role, but it was Marbury who was signed to be the team's leader and major star.
He responded by being a locker room cancer and trying to fight and blackmail Thomas.
In the end, Marbury was exiled and put on the inactive list, rather than have him continue to infect the team.
If you doubt he was a bad teammate, all you need to know is this. To a man, everyone of his Knicks teammates turned their back on him.
Have you ever heard of this before? Every other trouble-making star always had at least one or two guys that took his side, or at least maintained an air of support.
Not in his case. In a sports world of unending second chances, Marbury used all his up.
2. Bill Romanowski
The media has made a big deal this year about Ndamukong Suh's transgressions on the field. How soon we forget.
Romanowski made Suh look like Mother Teresa. Not to mention that Suh's teammates love him.
The same cannot be said for Romanowski. His teammates respected him about as much as a bad case of athlete's foot.
Sure he was a tiger on the field, but steroid rage will tend to bring that out of you. It also brings out a strong desire to rip the head off anyone in your vicinity.
In his career, Romanowski had at least six violent altercations with opponents or teammates. Here's the quick version.
He kicked someone in the head, broke Kerry Collins' jaw, spat in the face of J.J. Stokes, tried his best to end Tony Gonzalez's career, threw a football at Bryan Cox's groin area and worst of all crushed a teammate's eye socket.
The last one is the most egregious. Not only did he cause serious injury, but he ended the career of this player, Marcus Williams, a back-up tight end with the Raiders.
He took the away the livelihood of this man and negatively impacted his life. For that he deserves selection into the bad teammate Hall of Fame.
1. Barry Bonds
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Selfish, egotistical, disrespectful, childish and arrogant. That pretty much sums up Barry Bonds.
Oh yeah, he's also the biggest cheater in professional sports history, but let's ignore all that nasty steroid stuff for now.
We really don't need to consider it when it comes to ranking Barry Bonds the worst teammate of all time.
At some point in his career, Bonds decided that he was the center of the universe. Everyone else was there to simply annoy him or prevent him from reaching his goals. This is the way he treated people.
Unless he needed something from you. Then, he was the nicest guy in the world.
He had no one's back—except his own—and therefore no one had his. Except for the usual yes-men and coattail riders.
The man broke the most heralded record in sports history. Were any of his teammates waiting at home plate to congratulate him? Nope.
With a lot of athletes on this list there were specific incidents that demonstrate the type of teammates they were. With Bonds there were too many to mention. That was because Bonds' entire persona made him a terrible teammate. Every day brought new lows.
Those around him either learned to adapt—they knew Bonds was the golden calf because of his home runs—or they moved on.
Is it any wonder that once Bonds was out of that clubhouse, the Giants soared and won a World Series? This was in large part due to their one-for-all mentality and improved team chemistry.
I hope Barry Bonds realized the karmic significance of that. Probably not though.