The NBA is one of the most popular sports leagues in the entire world, and a major reason is that it is extremely competitive. Fanbases support their teams with extreme dedication and bias and show up every night to watch the world's greatest athletes play the game. This also means that some fan bases develop animosity towards particular players, either due to the fact that they win often in their building or simply because disrespect was shown one way or the other.
On the court, players also form their opinions about each other. Based on what we have seen throughout NBA history, on-court beef can sometimes translate off the court as well. This season, specifically, we have seen some battles between current stars on the court that show their true feelings about each other. In the current landscape of the NBA, players are joining up and trying to play with one another more than before. But the hate is still real between active players, and we have collected 15 pairs of players that are not fond of each other.
Paul George vs. Seth Curry
To kick things off, Paul George and Seth Curry do not like each other. Paul George seems to have issues with quite a few players because he will appear on this list more than one time. But he has an issue with Seth Curry, the younger brother of all-time great 3-point shooter Stephen Curry. The issue might have something to do with Seth Curry being married to Callie Rivers, Doc Rivers’ daughter who George previously dated. Not to mention, Seth had an on-court moment when he insulted George via an NSFW comment.
Paul George vs. Devin Booker
George and Booker are mainly enemies on the court because both All-Star players always seem to compete on a high level against each other. The Clippers and Suns famously met in the Western Conference Finals last year, with Booker’s side getting the last laugh. But the most famous part of Booker and Geroge’s beef came during the 2020 Bubble when Booker called Geroge “soft” before nailing a game-winner over him.
Paul George vs. Joe Ingles
Once again, Paul George seems to have an issue with a player on the court. Joe Ingles, a valued member of the Utah Jazz, explained how the beef between him and George actually started. It dates back to the 2018 playoff series between the Oklahoma City Thunder and Utah Jazz, where George and Ingles jawed at each other non-stop. Of course, George did not do himself any favors when he called himself “Playoff P” which made the Thunder star a target man by Utah Jazz fans and players.
Kyle Lowry vs. Aaron Gordon
Another beef that started in the Bubble, Lowry and Gordon simply do not like each other. During a game in the Bubble, Kyle Lowry commits a hard foul on Aaron Gordon that would send the Orlando Magic forward to the locker room with a hamstring injury.
Fast forwarding to a game in February 2021, Lowry seemingly hurt Gordon’s leg by boxing out.
It seemed Gordon had enough because he completely bodies Lowry with a hard screen shortly after.
It seems this feud will not end anytime soon because it has gotten quite physical in recent years.
Chris Paul vs. Rajon Rondo
A beef that has become legendary in the meme world, it actually started way before you might think. Paul and Rondo have been jawing at each other for a long time since Rondo was an up-and-coming star with the Boston Celtics. Of course, there was also the “spitting” incident in 2018 when Rondo disrespected Paul during a game that would see Paul and Rondo share a combined 5-game suspension.
Nikola Jokic vs. Markieff Morris
One of the most prominent beefs this season, Nikola Jokic and Markieff Morris had an on-court scuffle for the ages. After Morris committed a dirty play on the reigning MVP, Jokic ran and full speed and tackled the Miami heat forward to the ground.
Of course, Morris’ teammates came to his defense (mainly Jimmy Butler) and made it clear that the fight was not over. That led to the social media emergence of Nikola Jokic’s brothers, guys who most NBA players probably do not want to mess with.
With some more social media jawing from both parties, the Jokic camp and Miami Heat camp made it clear that they will be ready if anything does go down. It will be very interesting to see if this beef will ever reignite again because it certainly broke headlines this season.
Dillon Brooks vs. Andre Iguodala
Even if this beef did not translate fully on the court, the off-court drama was certainly interesting to follow. Andre Iguodala was traded to the Memphis Grizzlies, a team that the 2015 Finals MVP did not want to play for. He probably felt that Memphis was a rebuilding team and not a title contender and that a player of his experience belonged on a contender such as the Lakers or Clippers.
Of course, Dillon Brooks took offense to Iggy’s lack of desire to play for the Grizzlies and made his feelings felt to reporters.
Dillon stated "It's not a distraction at all. I laugh at that type of stuff. A guy that's on our team that doesn't want to be on our team, I can't wait till we find a way to trade him so we can play him and show him really what Memphis is about." Yikes.
Luka Doncic vs. Terance Mann
Luka Doncic and Terance Mann are another pair of players that simply do not like each other. While Doncic is a superstar player and the future face of the NBA, he can get razzled by players who are not quite as talented as he is. One of those is Terance Mann, a high-energy role player for the Los Angeles Clippers. The most recent example started when Luka scored on Mann, proceeding to call the Clippers swingman “too small”. Of course, it just escalated from there.
LeBron James vs. Enes Freedom
This rivalry does not have to do with pure basketball reasons, because Enes Freedom (formerly Enes Kanter) has been extremely critical of LeBron's opinions and lack of understanding of world freedom. While The King is always willing to speak about what he believes, Enes Freedom does not agree at all. Of course, there was also the incident when Freedom and James jawed at each other on the court.
LeBron James vs. Jae Crowder
LeBron James and Jae Crowder were former teammates as members of the Cleveland Cavaliers, even though the latter was traded after The King felt the team needed to make changes. But these two powerful forwards do not like each other, starting from Game 1 of the NBA Finals in the 2020 season.
The beef did not end there, as both players got into it yet again during Game 4 of last year’s playoffs. When James drove to the basket, Crowder committed a flagrant foul to stop The King from scoring at the rim. Of course, NSFW comments were shared between players and it does not seem this beef will end anytime soon.
LeBron James vs. Isaiah Stewart
Other than the Jokic-Morris incident, the most highlighted scuffle of the season came between LeBron James and Isaiah Stewart. Not many fans will know too much about Stewart, a 2nd-year center who is only 20 years old. The big man from Rochester, New York went ballistic during a Lakers-Pistons game that occurred earlier on in the season. Stewart was nailed with an unintentional cheap shot by The King, which prompted the center to go after The King.
With LeBron trying to calm things down, Stewart was seeing red (literally with a bloody face) as he went after the most legendary player in the league. Needless to say, both James and Stewart deserved the suspensions they got.
Joel Embiid vs. Russell Westbrook
Joel Embiid and Russell Westbrook simply do not like each other, and it cannot get more simple than that. Westbrook is a high-energy guard who brings a ton of aggression to the court, so it is only natural for him to have enemies on the court. As affable as Embiid is off the court, he is also a competitor on the court and has his fair share of enemies. It might have started when Westbrook waved Embiid “goodbye” after an Oklahoma City Thunder victory, but it went to another level after Embiid fouled Russ hard.
Of course, Westbrook confirmed straightforwardly that he and Embiid are “not cool”.
DeMarcus Cousins vs. Chris Paul
The trash talk between DeMarcus Cousins and Chris Paul got very ugly. The most iconic moment came during last season’s playoff moment between the Suns and Clippers, and Paul had some very strong NSFW comments directed at the center. But the beef between them started many years ago, to which Cousins confirmed that he does not like Chris Paul at all. It is often strange for such a gigantic man to beef with a smaller point guard, but CP3 has a gift for rubbing people the wrong way. He is competitive, talented, and uses any trick in the book to help his team win games. Meanwhile, Cousins is often known as an emotional guy who wears his heart on his sleeve even if fans get annoyed by it.
Giannis Antetokounmpo vs. James Harden
One of the most interesting beefs comes between 2-time MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo and 2018 MVP James Harden. Purely down to competitive purposes, neither player truly respects what the other brings to the court. Harden finished runner-up to Giannis in the MVP Race, fueling the fire of their feud. Of course, Giannis had a couple of iffy moments on the court such as nailing Harden in the head with a bullet pass and also hitting Harden in the head again during an All-Star Game.
But the most iconic moments came when Harden brushed aside Giannis’ dominance because he’s a 7-footer who just dunks.
Giannis seems to dislike Harden’s ball-dominant style of play, and The Beard thinks Giannis lacks skill due to his incredible size. Needless to say, this beef is one of the most interesting ones.
Paul George vs. Damian Lillard
The beef between Paul George and Damian Lillard all started in one of the most iconic moments in NBA playoffs history, when a long-range bomb from Lillard sent George home.
After the game, PG13 claimed that the game-winner was a “bad shot”.
Things did not get better from there, as social media fueled some insults between each other.
The most recent fuel to the fire came when George claimed he wants to be a “Clipper for life”, to which Dame responded “Al Capone”.
Clearly, Lillard dislikes George for constantly moving teams and PG13 has resentment for getting sent home thanks to one of the greatest game-winners in NBA history.
Patrick Beverley vs. Russell Westbrook
Perhaps no beef is more exciting than the one between famed irritant Patrick Beverely and aggressive star Russell Westbrook. The scrappy role player went for a steal against Westbrook, targeting the star’s injured knee.
Beverley went at it again, diving at Westbrook and essentially injuring the Oklahoma City man.
During the 2020 season, Westbrook slammed Beverley for not actually being a good defender and has a knack for just “running around”.
Clearly, Westbrook thinks Beverley is a dirty player and is an overrated defensive player. Meanwhile, Pat Bev loves to hustle against better players and Westbrook just happens to be his target.