Basketball is a sport that relies on both individual brilliance and incredible team coordination for a team to be successful. Often, when a team is really good, their impeccable team chemistry is cited as a reason why.
But, you won’t find many if any of these guys on a team with good chemistry, because these are some of the worst teammates in NBA history. Some of the guys wouldn’t pass the ball, some of these guys like to fight, and some of these guys just plain stink.
Take a stroll through this list and see what you think. Do you agree with the names listed here, or did we miss someone who deserves to be on the list?
30. Adam Morrison
As far as teammates go, none stink worse than Adam Morrison. That’s a literal fact, according to former teammate Jared Dudley who is quoted as saying, “He never took showers, he did the chewing tobacco that he spit all the time, and he wore the same three polos the whole year.”
Imagine being worth millions of dollars but dressing and acting like an actual hobo. Nobody wants to be around a guy that smells bad, especially a guy who smells bad and sweats for a living. That’s a bad teammate.
29. Kobe Bryant
“Mamba Mentality” doesn’t win you many teammate awards, and that’s probably just fine with Kobe Bryant as he sits at home polishing his NBA Championship rings. Kobe famously feuded with the best player he ever had as a teammate, and probably cost himself more rings when the two split for good.
Shaquille O’Neal famously called Bryant selfish and a ball-hog, and he’s right. That’s exactly what Kobe was. He would rather shoot a contested or low-quality shot than find an open teammate. But again, Mamba Mentality.
28. Ron Artest
Everyone knows about the “Malice at the Palace” and what an awful scene that was. Yet even without that troubling incident, Ron Artest had plenty that made him a terrible teammate.
Meta World Peace has admitted to drinking Hennessy during halftime of games while playing with the Lakers, and sometimes doing drugs right before games. Imagine coming in for the halftime talk from the coach; everyone is focused and ready to take the second half by storm and Ron’s over there sipping Henny out of a paper bag. Come on man.
27. Ricky Davis
Ricky Davis is a player so selfish that once, while he was playing with the Cleveland Cavaliers, he intentionally missed a shot on his own backboard just so he could grab the rebound that would give him a triple-double.
Now, of course, that doesn’t count as a rebound, and Davis didn’t get his stat. But that’s the kind of guy we’re talking about here. He only focused on himself, and his own accomplishments. In other words, a bad teammate.
26. Rasheed Wallace
Rasheed Wallace is one of the most passionate professional basketball players the league has ever seen. Unfortunately, when you’re that passionate you have to have some self-control to go along with that or you’re going to get yourself in trouble.
And ‘Sheed often did get himself in trouble. In the 00-01 season, Wallace set an NBA record for most technical fouls in a season. Every time he was “T’d up,” that cost his team points and the ball.
25. Michael Jordan
Hard to imagine that the GOAT could make this list of worst teammates; after all, he is the greatest basketball player to ever play the game. But that was part of the problem. He would rage against his teammates for not playing up to his level, and never understood why they couldn’t.
Hey MJ, maybe it’s because no one ever has played at the level you did. Occasionally, Jordan would get so angry that punches would get thrown and full-on fights would break out at Bulls practice. The guy won a ton of rings though.
24. DeShawn Stevenson
DeShawn Stevenson is a name you might not remember, as it’s been a few years since he was in the league. His biggest moment of being a bad teammate came before a playoff series against LeBron James and the Cavaliers, when he came out publicly before the series started and stated that he thought LeBron was overrated.
Well if you know anything about LeBron, you know that statement would only fuel and drive him to crush Stevenson and his team… which is exactly what he did. Come on man, don’t poke the bear if the rest of your team isn’t in a position to back it up.
23. Allen Iverson
“Practice? We’re talking about practice, man.” Yeah, that pretty much says it all about Allen Iverson’s ability to be a teammate. Where do you build rapport with teammates? Practice. Where do you build chemistry with teammates? Practice. Where do you work on the game-plan for the upcoming game? Practice.
A.I. didn’t care about all of that, because in his mind all he needed to worry about was when he had the ball in his hands. In his defense, he was incredible with the ball in his hands, just a really bad teammate.
22. Delonte West
Off the court, Delonte West got himself in some trouble that cost his team a valuable player. We won’t go into too much detail about that but let’s just say he had more firearms on his three-wheeled motorcycle than a person would reasonably need… unless you’re Batman.
What some would say is being a worse teammate than being arrested is spending quality time with a teammate’s mother, which is exactly the rumor about him and LeBron James’ mother. That’s not cool Delonte; not cool.
21. Jim Jackson
Are you ready for a steamy love triangle straight out of the mid-90s? How about Jim Jackson, Jason Kidd, and singer Toni Braxton. Well, it wasn’t supposed to be a love triangle, but rather just a date with Jason Kidd. Only that date never happened and one with Jackson happened instead.
Combine that incident with the fact that Jim Jackson played on 12 different teams during his 14 NBA seasons, and you get the idea that he wore out his welcome in the locker room pretty quickly.
20. O.J. Mayo
O.J. May was a player who showed tremendous promise early in his career but never quite made it. Maybe that’s because his focus wasn’t all on basketball. Tony Allen would agree as the two of them got in an altercation over a gambling debt. To make matters worse, it was on an airplane. Only so much room for separation at 30,000 feet.
Later in his career, Mayo was suspended for testing positive for performance-enhancing substances, blaming the failed test on several factors but never taking full responsibility. Having worn out his welcome in the NBA, Mayo is now playing Taiwan.
19. Nate Robinson
Nate Robinson gives credence to the theory about short men being unreasonably angry about things. Despite being an athletic marvel, and probably the NBA’s best-ever player at his size, Robinson was constantly looking for a fight.
In his first season in the league, he was suspended for 10 games by coach Larry Brown for fighting with teammates on multiple occasions. And, when he wasn’t fighting with teammates, he was likely fighting with members of the opposing teams.
18. DeMarcus Cousins
DeMarcus Cousins entered the league as a high lottery pick poised for a terrific career. Despite all his promise, Cousins seemed to want everything right away. Just a few weeks into the season Cousins was already voicing complaints about the organization, his coaches and teammates.
Now coming off multiple injuries and trades, Cousins has humbled a bit and is looking to rebuild his career. Some of that humility earlier in his career would have done him some good.
17. Rafer Alston
Late in his career, Rafer Alston signed a deal with the Miami Heat. This was supposed to provide veteran leadership to a young group of Heat players. That backfired after about 25 games.
When Alston learned that he was set to be benched after his performances were unimpressive in those starts, he sent text messages to the team saying he wasn’t going to be able to make it for one of the team’s upcoming games. Apparently, he meant all the games as he never returned to the team, and they ended up suspending him for the rest of the season.
16. Jimmy Butler
Everybody knows Jimmy Butler’s biggest issue with teammates is that he outworks all of them, and he can’t understand why. He’s a player who has always been undervalued and doesn’t have the natural talent of others, so he has had to work harder than anyone else to get where he is.
This came to a boil in Minnesota with young teammates Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins. The working relationship got so sour that in one famous practice session Butler challenged both players 1-on-1, dominated both, and then yelled “They ain’t s—t” and “They’re soft.”
15. Matt Barnes
When he was in the league, Matt Barnes was one of the most disliked players in the game. He was a pest and an instigator. During his career, he was fined and suspended multiple times for incidents both on and off the court.
One of the most famous Matt Barnes incidents is when he drove 90 miles to beat up Derek Fisher. Just to clarify, at the time Fisher and Barnes were not teammates and Fisher was the head coach of another NBA team.
14. Nick Young
Nick “Swaggy P” Young doesn’t care about you, and he doesn’t care about me. He certainly doesn’t care about his teammates. Wherever he is playing, the ball stops when it gets to Young.
Apparently, his time spent with Kobe and the Lakers rubbed off on him and he picked up some of Kobe’s famous “Mamba Mentality.” That’s great if you’ve got Hall of Fame quality game like Kobe Bryant, but not if you’ve got Nick Young’s game.
13. Joe Johnson
Joe Johnson knows one way to play basketball: give him the ball and clear out of the way. That worked for him for a while, and it earned him some massive contracts, but he never won a championship in part because of his inability to play a team game.
He seems like a good guy and played in the league for a long time. Yet, when you throw the ball to Johnson, you might as well pick up a magazine or talk to the fans in the front row, because you aren’t getting that ball back.
12. Lance Stephenson
There’s another Stephenson in this list who made the list, in part because he poked the bear that is LeBron James, and his teammates had to deal with it. Well, Lance Stephenson took that to the next level when he blew in the ear of James in a playoff series with the Pacers.
Come on man, why would you want to antagonize the best player on the planet? Because that’s just who Stephenson is, and it doesn’t end with LeBron or even opposing players. He’s clashed multiple times with his teammates and seems to constantly be switching teams. Wonder why that could be?
11. Dwight Howard
No one likes Dwight Howard. Teammates don’t like him, coaches don’t like him. And now that his body is breaking down and he is no longer productive, fans don’t like him. He is a prime example of the “locker room cancer” moniker that follows some players.
Whether he’s complaining about coaching decisions or not getting the ball enough, he tears locker rooms apart. When he was at the top of his game his behavior could be excused somewhat, but now that he’s on a decline no one has much patience for it.
10. Dion Waiters
Dion Waiters once said he’d rather shoot 0-30 than 0-9. While that logic may make sense to Waiters, it just shows how little he cares about the team or anyone on it. The follow-up question to that statement should have been, ‘But what about the team?” The answer would have been interesting.
Recently Waiters had an incident on a team plane where he ate too many edibles and had a panic attack. Come on man, nobody wants you freaking out on a plane. That’s a fragile ecosystem up there at 30,000 feet. What a jerk.
9. J.R. Smith
Two things about J.R. Smith are obvious to everyone who knows anything about him: J.R. loves to shoot, and J.R. hates to wear shirts. While the latter fact is not important to his ability to be a good teammate, the former is.
Once, while in a playoff game with the Denver Nuggets, head coach George Karl drew up a play that was designed to end up with the ball in the hands of Allen Iverson or Carmelo Anthony. Instead, J.R. held the ball, took the shot, and the Nuggets lost.
8. Carmelo Anthony
Carmelo Anthony is one of the greatest scorers of his generation. Unfortunately for anyone that’s ever played with him or been a fan of a team he was on, that’s all he is. He shoots and shoots, and gets his 30 points for the night. If the team wins, great. If not, oh well.
Now in the twilight of his career, Anthony is stunned that he struggled to find a job. Imagine that; no one wants a player in his late 30s who take 20 mid-range jump shots a game and is a liability on defense.
7. Rajon Rondo
Rajon Rondo was fine when he was a young star in Boston because he was surrounded by veteran leaders like Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce, whom he knew better than to mouth off to. As he got older and bounced from team to team he began to show his true colors.
Rondo has worn out his welcome at every stop of his career due to his propensity to stir up drama in the locker room and with the front office. Once, while in Sacramento, he even called an NBA referee a homophobic slur. Not a guy you’d want to have around your team.
6. Kwame Brown
It’s not Kwame Brown’s fault he was the number 1 overall pick, that blame falls with the Washington Wizards front office. We can’t fault the guy for that, but we can fault the guy for stinking up the gym and feuding with his coaches and teammates.
When you’re new to the league, it’s probably not the greatest idea to pick fights with your head coach and the team’s All-Star point guard, Gilbert Arenas. It’s even worse when you are considered one of the league’s biggest busts.
5. Gilbert Arenas/ Javaris Crittenton
These two were involved in an incident so ugly that they get to share a spot on this list together. Certainly, you remember the story of they pulled firearms on each other in the locker room? Here’s the quick version to remind you.
Crittenton wanted Arenas to settle-up on a gambling debt he owed him, but Gilbert refused. Arenas and Crittenton then proceeded to turn the Wizards locker room into the OK Corral by pulling guns on each other. Thankfully no shots were fired, but that was the beginning of the end for both men in Washington.
4. Stephon Marbury
Stephon Marbury had a bad relationship with coach Larry Brown, publicly feuded with him, and got the coach fired. Then Isiah Thomas, the man who fired Brown, began coaching the Knicks. Of course, Marbury ended up feuding with him too.
It got so bad that the two had a physical altercation while on the team plan. During the altercation, Marbury threatened to blackmail Thomas because he had benched Marbury. Eventually, Marbury ended up getting banned by the team from attending any Knick games or practices.
3. D’Angelo Russell
Not only is Russell a bad teammate, but he’s a really bad friend. While with the Los Angeles Lakers, he put Nick Young’s personal life on social media and outed him for cheating on his girlfriend. To make matters worse, Russell had secretly recorded the conversation he had with Young about the matter, and that’s what Russell posted.
Now, Swaggy P is no saint, but no one expects their teammate, and a guy they go to work with every day, to rat them out to the world. D’Angelo Russell had some growing up to do after that incident.
2. Derek Fisher
In another entry on this list we highlighted Matt Barnes, and the time he drove 90 miles to take Derek Fisher behind the woodshed. Well, Fisher wasn’t innocent in that scenario.
The two were teammates from 2010-2012, but Derek Fisher wanted to be more than friends with Barnes’ wife. Barnes found out about this while on a FaceTime call with his son. This prompted the trip and the altercation. Not cool Derek, not cool.
1. Latrell Sprewell
The Latrell Sprewell bad teammate rap sheet begins with “Choked his head coach.” Not that the list needs to go on but it does anyway. Sprewell threatened teammates with a two-by-four and other weapons, and then actually fought a teammate. These are just the list of offenses that occurred while at practice.
Sprewell also claimed $21 million was not enough for his family to live on and then promptly retired when the contract was not improved. Apparently, no money is better than $21 million. Obviously, he was never offered another NBA contract after that.