Westbrook vs. Durant ‘beef’ brings up memories of these other famous NBA feuds
This feud between the former teammates is nothing when you consider these past fights
When the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Golden State Warriors square off on Nov. 3, all eyes will be on former teammates Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant. And the two may have given bystanders and onlookers the perfect backdrop for some trash-talking.
What may not be a feud at all between the two could create on-court friction in a 48-minute Thunder-Warriors contest.
This week, Durant was asked about his decision to join the Golden State Warriors and he responded:
“I feel really grateful to play for a team like that and play with a bunch of players who are selfless and enjoy the game in its purest form,” Durant said. “They make it about the players, they make it about the environment, so it was really an easy choice.”
It’s a nice, simple answer. Or is it a secret dig at his former team in Oklahoma City?
According to ESPN’s Royce Young, the statement was read to Westbrook after shootaround Thursday and Westbrook replied, “That’s cute. Cute.
“But my job is to worry about what’s going on here,” Westbrook said. “We’re going to worry about all the selfish guys we have over here, apparently. So we’re going to figure that out.”
Westbrook’s teammates are keeping the fire going by echoing the comments on social media.
That's Cuteeee Fellas!!! #ThunderUp
— Enes Kanter (@Enes_Kanter) October 13, 2016
Durant’s new Warriors teammate Draymond Green has reportedly tried to defend him in the midst of all this madness and the critiques.
Draymond Green goes off on Paul Pierce and those still harping on Kevin Durant's decision pic.twitter.com/Fen6DOm8Uv
— Anthony Slater (@anthonyVslater) October 14, 2016
Durant has tried to put out said fire by explaining that just because he says something nice about Golden State … doesn’t mean he’s taking a shot at Oklahoma City.
“That book is closed. I’m looking forward now,” Durant said. “All I’m focused on is how we prepare here and how we have fun here every day. It’s not a knock on Oklahoma City. It’s not a knock on my past teammates. I’m looking forward. I’m not looking backward.”
Westbrook has acknowledged he has become weary of answering questions about his former teammate and is at a point where he doesn’t care, “it doesn’t matter.”
“My job is to worry about here,” Westbrook said. “Honestly, I’m really tired of talking about it. So, anytime anyone asks me another question, I’m just not going to answer.”
Feuds are nothing new to the NBA — or to sports in general. This latest “beef” is simply the most recent in a league with a long history of fights between former teammates. Here’s a look at some past famous NBA feuds:
1. Gilbert Arenas and Javaris Crittenton, Washington Wizards
Gilbert Arenas and Javaris Crittenton of the Washington Wizards decided to skip past the fistfight and move straight to bring their guns to the altercation. All of this over a card game in December 2009. Crittenton reportedly didn’t want to pay a debt, Arenas stepped in on the other party’s behalf, an exchange occurred about shooting each other and the next day both brought guns to the locker room. Both were suspended for the remainder of the season.
2. Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal, Los Angeles Lakers
Unlike Durant and Westbrook’s estrangement, Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal’s issues didn’t arise because one of them moved on to another team. As a matter of fact, things slightly improved after O’Neal was dealt to the Miami Heat. There were longer simmering problems between two larger-than-life personalities on the court and shots taken off the court that dissolved a union, which produced three straight Los Angeles Lakers titles from 2000-2002.
3. Jason Kidd, Jamal Mashburn and Jimmy Jackson, Dallas Mavericks
This young trio was supposed to energize the Dallas Mavericks and help the team become a contender in the Western Conference during the mid-1990s. Instead, immaturity, accusations of selfishness on the court and rumors of a schism happening over singer Toni Braxton put a quick end to the 2 1/2-year courtship.