It’s perfectly fine if professional athletes irritate and get under the skin of their opponents. After all, competition is all about mentally dismantling those on the other side.
But when a player causes more division in his own locker room than the opposing side, he immediately loses all value, regardless of how talented he may be. Terrible teammates are a cancer to any team, professional or amatuer.
Here’s our list of quite possibly the absolute worst teammates in sports history.
Allen Iverson (NBA)
While Philadelphia 76ers star point guard Allen Iverson absolutely mesmerized fans and players on the court, his terrible attitude was the cause of his demise. You wanted him on the court but out of the locker room. Unfortunately, a team can’t have it both ways.
Iverson had a serious drinking and gambling problem. He’s been banned from multiple casinos and was forced to pay $260,000 to a victim he encountered during a bar fight.
While his off-the-court antics were reckless, Iverson’s “me-first” mentality destroyed teams. He was described as a ball-hog who only cared about his individual stats.
In Denver, he and Carmelo Anthony couldn’t figure out how to work together and he often got in verbal altercations with Richard Hamilton in Detroit. His stay in Memphis was cut short because he refused to come off the bench.
Terrell Owens (NFL)
NFL wide receiver Terrell Owns did incredible things on the field. From playing with a broken leg in the Super Bowl to incredible touchdown catches, Owens was one of the greatest wideouts of his generation. His talent on the field, however, wouldn’t be what defined him.
Aside from the “posing on the Dallas star” controversy, Owens caused endless trouble in the Philadelphia Eagles’ locker room. He publicly called out Donovan McNabb for a lackluster performance in the Super Bowl loss to the Patriots.
He criticized both the team and management for not acknowledging or celebrating his 100th touchdown reception. He also got into a locker room fight with a teammate and was suspended for nine games. During the off-season, he signed with the Dallas Cowboys.
Steve Smith Sr. (NFL)
Former Carolina Panthers wide receiver Steve Smith Sr. was one of the league’s biggest trash talkers despite being one of the smallest players in the NFL. Heck, even a few punters and kickers had bigger cleat sizes. While he made plenty of enemies on the other side of the ball, he also made a few on his own sideline.
During the 2002 season, Smith Sr. broke the noses of two teammates. He attacked rookie receiver Guilian Gary and later got into a physical altercation with practice squad player Anthony Bright.
Smith would eventually score the fisticuffs hat trick when he got into a fight with teammate Ken Lucas. The two traded blows during an on-field practice that spilled to the sidelines. Smith broke Lucas’ nose and bruised his eye.
After joining the Baltimore Ravens, Smith Sr. was still sparing with those in his own locker room. During one of the practices of his first season with the team, he got into a fight with cornerback Lardarius Webb.