Michael Jordan vs. Scottie Pippen: Five Worse Things That Broke Up Teammates
Predicting the next Jordan is a lot like predicting the rapture. You never know when it’s going to happen and you get ridiculed if you are incorrect.
The recent comments from Scottie Pippen regarding LeBron James unseating Michael Jordan as the greatest basketball player of all time demonstrate that prediction is a delicate and dangerous game.
But is what Scottie Pippen really said all that earth shattering? There have been far poorer prophecies about the second coming of Jordan (see Kwame Brown) and there is no reason to believe that Pippen has held a chip on his shoulder towards Jordan for over decade since they last played together.
The underlying storyline in ‘Bron-Gate’ is if Scottie Pippen really has sour grapes for Michael Jordan.
Regardless of Pippen and Jordan’s present feelings for one another, this feud is extremely petty compared to these things that ended friendships and brought dangerous new implications to the professional sports landscape.
Floyd Landis and Lance Armstrong: Drugs
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It is understandably difficult to live in the shadow of someone who beat cancer, cycled his way to the record books, and became America’s unofficial poster boy post-9/11. Landis has repeatedly stated that he and Armstrong both used performance-enhancing drugs.
Launching a vigorous anti-doping campaign and writing a tell-all book has not lifted Landis’ stature any higher.
Armstrong remains untouchable, but with doping allegations resurfacing, it does not look like these two will be making up any time soon.
Thurman Munson and Reggie Jackson: Ego
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Reggie Jackson’s move to the Bronx was initially hailed by Yankees captain Munson. However, after an interview where Jackson stated that he was “the straw that stirs the drink” more than a few members of the Yanks were irked.
The “heart and soul” of the team, Munson was incredibly offended, and took the grievance to his unfortunate death in 1979. Mr. October regained clout with Yankees fans the way any professional athlete does: on the field.
Stephon Marbury and Kevin Garnett: Money
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These two childhood friends were destined to lead Minnesota out of the basketball wilderness. As with most feuds, money was involved. When Garnett was offered a record $126 million contract, Marbury reportedly was jealous and demanded a trade.
The two superstars’ careers careened in polar opposite directions with Garnett eventually winning a title with Boston and Marbury releasing bizarre YouTube videos and playing ball as an ex-pat in China.
Garnett's monster deal was a catalyst to the 1999 NBA lockout ushered in an era of rapidly swelling professional sports contracts.
Donovan McNabb and Terrell Owens: Race
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Underlying Donovan McNabb's solid football career has been an uncomfortable racial storyline. Rush Limbaugh accused the NFL of favoring him because of his skin color.
Former teammate Terrell Owens called out McNabb saying that their Eagles team would have been better with Brett Favre at quarterback.
The local chapter president of the NAACP also called out McNabb for not being a "black enough" quarterback. The friction between the quarterback and receiver eventually led to Owens jetting to Dallas.
The Fab Five: Scandal
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Michigan's Fab Five represented the new wave of basketball in the early 1990's. They had style, swagger, and brought an attitude to the game that had never been seen before.
Unfortunately, the group was split by the Ed Martin scandal. Webber illegally accepted gifts and was indicted for obstruction of justice and lying to a grand jury.
This led to the University of Michigan removing all traces of Webber from their books.
Webber subsequently alienated himself from the group, and his absence was dutifully noted in ESPN's 2011 Fab Five documentary.