|I hate you like a brother|
By Jeff Merron
Page 2 staff
Shaq vs. Kobe. They say their feud's over, but we've heard that before, and we know it's not. Probably won't be until one exits the L.A. stage. It's a "great" feud, in terms of providing entertainment value for the viewing, listening, and reading public. So how does the Shaq-Kobe dance stand up against the most memorable teammate grudges?
1. Don Sutton vs. Steve Garvey
This irked Garvey, who confronted Sutton, asking if the quotes were accurate. Sutton said they were. Then, according to wire reports, "Suddenly Sutton leaped at Garvey and flung him against a row of lockers along the opposite wall. The two players went down heavily and were clawing at one another, trying ineffectively to land punches."
When the two were finally separated, Garvey, cut and scratched on the face, was dazed. Sutton had a bruised cheek.
Garvey wasn't well-liked by many Dodgers, and apparently Sutton had some clubhouse foes, too. According to Tommy John, during the brawl someone yelled, "Stop the fight, they'll kill each other!" Catcher Joe Ferguson's response: "Good."
2. Joe Tinker vs. Johnny Evers
Through the magic of poetry, Tinker, the Cubs' shortstop, and Evers, the second baseman, are linked together forever in one of baseball's enduring rhymes. But the double-play combo, teammates from 1902-1913, didn't talk to each for 33 years beginning in 1905 after the two argued over a cab fare and later fought on the field.
Tinker set up the rules of enragement the day following the incident: "Don't talk to me and I won't talk to you," he said to Evers. "You play your position and I'll play mine, and let it go at that."
3. Tonya Harding vs. Nancy Kerrigan
4. Barry Bonds vs. Jeff Kent
"Just add that to the half a dozen times we've done it before. It's no big deal," Kent said.
No big deal. In the brawl's immediate aftermath, Kent reportedly said to Baker, "I want off this team."
Kent signed with the Astros as a free agent after the 2002 season ended.
5. Jason Kidd vs. Jim Jackson
But saucier things happened (or didn't happen) off the court. The story goes that singer Toni Braxton stopped by the Mavs' hotel in Atlanta to pick up her date for the evening -- Kidd -- but left with Jackson instead. And then milked the ensuing publicity for all it was worth, telling a reporter who asked about the situation, "I've at least heard of them [but] as far as dating, whether it's true or not, I can never kiss and tell."
Kidd demanded a trade -- either him or Jackson -- and the Mavs dealt him to the Suns. Jackson exited just a few months later . But both denied Braxton caused the rift. "I don't know how many times we have to say it," Jackson said. "He says it, I say it, it's never happened. It's ridiculous."
"I've never met her," Kidd said long after. "But those type of things hurt a young team. We didn't know how to handle it."
6. Darryl Strawberry vs. Keith Hernandez
Strawberry to Harrelson: "I only want to sit next to my real friends."
Strawberry to Hernandez: "Why you got to be saying those things about me?"
Hernandez: "Grow up, you crybaby."
Strawberry: "---- you, ---- ."
Hernandez, "--- you."
Then Strawberry punched Hernandez (little damage done) and other players rushed in to hold the two apart.
Strawberry to Hernandez: "I've been tired of you for years!"
Gary Carter enters the scene.
Strawberry to Carter: "You're next!"
Strawberry's fuse had blown because he had threatened to walk out of camp over a contract dispute, and neither supported his side.
7. Michael Jordan vs. Kwame Brown
Although Brown, the promising center who the Wizards picked first in the 2001 NBA draft, wasn't the only target of Jordan's DC disses, he may have been Jordan's worst victim. Sports Illustrated reported that "Jordan ritually reduced Brown to tears in front of the team."
By most reports, Kwame wasn't the only one who breathed a heavy sigh of relief when Jordan announced his third or fourth retirement last season. If you didn't play hoops MJ's way, it was the bench -- or the trading block -- for you.
8. Larry Johnson vs. Alonzo Mourning
And though the two top draft picks were supposed to bring greatness to the Hornets franchise, nothing of the sort happened, as their relationship deteriorated. Just before the 1995-96 season, Mourning demanded $13 million a year from the Hornets. They countered with $11.2 million. Mourning said no go, got traded to Miami, and Johnson thought that Mourning's selfishness cost the team.
The rivalry continued when they opposed each other in coming years, culminating in a fistfight during a Knicks-Heat playoff game in 1998. But when a kidney disease struck Mourning, Johnson made up, first asking Mourning, before a game, if he was OK, then going over and shaking his hand. He clearly missed the rivalry. Upon learning of Mourning's condition in the preseason, Johnson said, "I want him out there so I can whoop him. I don't want him to be sick. When we play Miami I'd rather have him out there."
9. Michael Westbrook vs. Stephen Davis
The bizarre blitz baffled both team members and the press, who for a while couldn't figure out why Westbrook lashed out. Apparently, Davis had called Westbrook a pejorative synonym for "homosexual."
The Redskins fined Westbrook $50,000, and he apologized to both Davis and teammates. Stephen Zucker, Westbrook's agent, eventually explained what happened: "There has been words between the two of them for the last two seasons. Michael had always walked away from it in the past. This time, he didn't walk away. It's unfortunate. Michael is really sorry about it. He plans on apologizing to everyone."
10. Marcus Williams vs. Bill Romanowski
"It was a drill, and we got into it," Williams said. "He yells ... 'Don't push me' ... then I feel my helmet come off, then I got hit right after."
Within a day, Williams was on injured reserve, with a fractured left orbital bone. Two weeks after the incident, he still complained of dizziness, headaches, and blurred vision. Recently, the Raiders waived Williams, and Romanowski is out with multiple concussions.
But the battle may have just barely begun. Williams has filed a lawsuit against Romanowski in Alameda County Court. Romanowski apologized after the fight, saying, without a hint of irony, "I hold myself accountable." That was good enough for the Raiders, who suspended Romanowski for a single practice. Meanwhile, Williams, a marginal player, was deemed healthy enough to play when the Raiders waived him off injured reserve.
His agent, Lee Kolligian, demurred."I know Marcus' eye is still very tender, and he's still experiencing blurred vision. At this point, it's hard to believe that a guy with a sensitive eye and a broken orbital bone would be fit to play."
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