16 Athletes Who Hate Their Former Teams
Someone once said that breaking up is hard to do, and for anyone who has ever had to live through one, they can certainly agree.
As difficult as it might be for you or I to bid farewell to an ex who we dated for awhile, just imagine the emotions of an athlete when they feel disrespected by a team that doesn't want them back, either trading the player away or refusing to sign them.
Sure, athletes have a lot of pull these days. But when they get caught off guard by an organization, they use it as fuel to prove to that team just how much they'll regret getting rid of them—and these are some of the players who have the most hate for their former teams.
Former Team: New York Giants
One has to feel for former New York Giants running back Tiki Barber.
Not only did the guy pour his sweat, blood and soul into the franchise for 10 years, finishing as the all-time leading rusher in club history, but he was just one season too early on calling it quits from the league, as the team won a Super Bowl the year after he hung it up.
Maybe that bitterness is what led Barber to lash out on his former mates, particularly attacking quarterback Eli Manning?
Who knows the real reason, but even after briefly flirting with a comeback, the team wasn't about to give the guy a chance.
Former Team: Philadelphia Flyers
Future Team: New York Rangers
I know that former All-Star and one-time Hart Trophy winner Eric Lindros played in the Philadelphia Flyers alumni game a few years back, but don't be fooled, because this guy had quite the breakup from the organization.
After suffering through a number of injuries with Philly during the 2000 season, Lindros—and his parents—became involved in a feud with then-Flyers GM Bobby Clarke, who traded Big E to the New York Rangers in 2001 after allegations of the team trying to force the player to play without medical clearance.
Of course, things were patched up after over a decade of silence between the two at the alumni game, but that doesn't discount the hard feelings preceding the event.
Former Team: Oklahoma City Thunder
Future Team: Houston Rockets
I know that current Houston Rockets All-Star James Harden might still be all buddy-buddy with former Oklahoma Thunder teammates Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook, but don't be fooled, Harden still has some hard feelings toward the franchise.
After agreeing to a reduced role his first couple seasons and excelling as a sixth man for OKC, Harden was rewarded by being shipped to the Rockets before the 2012 season—where he's flourished since.
And with each team finding themselves towards the top of the standings, it's understandable that there are some heated confrontations whenever they get together—as shown the other night.
It might not be at full boil yet, but Harden's sarcastic comments following the game earlier this week shows that he pumps it up a gear whenever he sees his former team.
Former Team: Montreal Canadiens
Future Team: Colorado Avalanche
One would think that a team would treat a player who led them to two Stanley Cup titles a lot better than the Montreal Canadiens did Patrick Roy.
In other words, they played him dirty.
Sure, Roy was brash and spoke his mind, but for a decade with the team, he was the best goalie in the league.
After giving up a shocking nine goals in a game in 1995, Roy was pulled, turning to team president Ronald Corey and saying, "This is my last game for Montreal." Not exactly a polite goodbye.
The two continued to argue in the locker room, with the team shipping the goalie to the Colorado Avalanche a few days later, where Roy would go on to win another Stanley Cup.
Needless to say, Roy loves sticking it to his old team anytime he can, not even talking with his former coach since the trade.
Former Team: San Francisco 49ers
Future Team: Kansas City Chiefs
Hall of Fame quarterback Joe Montana is one of the best passers to ever play in the NFL, but the San Francisco 49ers had a future Hall of Fame signal-caller in Steve Young that they wanted over Joe Cool.
That was the predicament in 1993, when the Niners chose Young over Montana moving forward, trading away the incumbent, four-time Super Bowl winner to the Kansas City Chiefs.
Former Team: Boston Celtics
Future Team: Miami Heat
Note to all future athletes—when deciding what team to play for next, never, under any circumstance, sign with a rival club.
Unfortunately for future Hall of Fame guard Ray Allen, he found that out the very hard way, leaving the Boston Celtics for the Miami Heat before the 2012-13 season after a supposed rift formed between he and his former Boston brass and teammates—most-notably Rajon Rondo.
Needless to say, whenever he returns to Boston, fans don't welcome him with open arms.
Former Team: Green Bay Packers
Future Team: New York Jets
It's quite clear that former NFL quarterback Brett Favre is somewhat of a egomaniac.
So when he (finally) got pushed out the door after waffling between retirement and returning all those years with the Green Bay Packers, Favre didn't take it too well.
Former Team: L.A. Lakers
Future Team: Miami Heat
It might be a bit surprising to see former L.A. Lakers great Shaquille O'Neal as a part owner of the Sacramento Kings, but don't be fooled into thinking there isn't more to the story than just an opportunity.
Put simply, as long as the Lakers have Mitch Kupchak as their GM, O'Neal will probably do whatever he can to avoid Lakerland, because the big man isn't too fond of how he was treated in his last days in L.A.
Look no further than the book Shaq put out a few years ago, detailing how he felt disrespected and lied to to understand Shaq's beef with his former bosses.
Former Teams: San Francisco 49ers, Philadelphia Eagles, Dallas Cowboys, Buffalo Bills
Future Teams: Philadelphia Eagles, Dallas Cowboys, Buffalo Bills, Cincinnati Bengals
Where do I even start with Terrell Owens?
I could go into detail about all the bridges he burned once he left nearly every team he ever played for, but it'd be silly outlining all the examples.
Instead, just know that Owens spread rumors about his former quarterbacks in San Francisco—claiming that Jeff Garcia was gay—Philadelphia—saying Donovan McNabb wilted under pressure—and Dallas—where he blasted Tony Romo.
For these reasons, T.O. is often talked about as one of the worst teammates ever.
Former Teams: Orlando Magic, L.A. Lakers
Future Teams: L.A. Lakers, Houston Rockets
There are plenty of reasons why I've listed current Houston Rockets center Dwight Howard as one of the most whiny crybabies in sports—because, until recently, he hasn't proved me wrong.
Howard's situation with both the Orlando Magic and L.A. Lakers over the past few years have been well-documented, as he never seemed content in either place.
But after leaving the Magic specifically, Dwight revved things up a bit, calling out his former mates as, "people who nobody wanted."
Talk about a good teammate, right?
Former Team: Texas Rangers
Future Team: Detroit Tigers
I'm not sure one can blame current Detroit Tigers second baseman Ian Kinsler for his comments about his former team, the Texas Rangers, a few weeks ago.
After making three All-Star trips in his eight years with the club, he probably should have been treated better than he was when the team traded him to Detroit this offseason.
I'd expect a lot of boos from Rangers fans, Ian.
Former Team: New England Patriots
Future Team: Denver Broncos
Just as the aforementioned Ian Kinsler had reason to gripe about the Texas Rangers, current Denver Broncos wide receiver Wes Welker had the same right after leaving the New England Patriots last offseason.
Although it was Welker's own decision to sign elsewhere, he openly chatted about the reason he left Foxborough for the Mile High City, stating that he felt disrespected by head coach Bill Belichick.
Former Team: L.A. Raiders
Future Team: Kansas City Chiefs
A Southern California kid who starred for the USC Trojans in the late-70s, Hall of Fame running back Marcus Allen had always thought that he would call L.A. home.
His former L.A. Raiders boss, Al Davis, tossed a wrench in those plans, though.
After a contract dispute in the early-90s, Allen fell off of Davis' ship, believing the owner was out to ruin the runner's chances of making the Hall of Fame, and that Al told him he was out to get him.
Traded to the Kansas City Chiefs in 1993, Allen remained a decent runner for a few years and seemed to push the beef aside—even taking the high road by thanking Davis in his Hall of Fame speech.
Former Team: Cleveland Cavaliers
Future Team: Miami Heat
As a Cleveland sports fan, I'd like to maintain the positivity of Dumb and Dumber's Lloyd Christmas in thinking LeBron James will come back to the Cavs this offseason—should he opt out of his deal with the Miami Heat.
There's just one problem—the same owner who verbally attacked James following his departure in 2010 still runs the team.
That's a major problem, and a reason why LeBron can't seriously be considering a return to Cleveland until Dan Gilbert isn't attached to the organization.
Sure, James doesn't openly say anything bad about his former club—because he's remarkable at playing the PR game—but I don't think that he minds seeing the Cavs continue to gather ping-pong balls as he gets fitted for championship rings.
Former Team: Carolina Panthers
Future Team: Unknown
I'm not sure if recently released Carolina Panthers wideout Steve Smith either knew or saw that I was writing this piece and wanted part of the action or not, but he honestly gave me gold with the comments he had for his former team.
After spending his first 13 seasons in Carolina and holding nearly every franchise receiving record, the team let Smith go—and he didn't take it too well.
Saying people should expect blood and guts everywhere if and when he's ever on the other side against the Panthers, Smith has proven he has it out for his old squad.
Former Team: Texas Rangers
Future Team: Los Angeles Angels
What's with guys bashing the Texas Rangers when they leave the team?
As mentioned earlier with Ian Kinsler, his former teammate in Arlington, Josh Hamilton, felt inclined to lay into the team and its fans after signing with the L.A. Angels prior to last season.
Seeing a former league MVP go to another town in the same division is always reason to boo. But when he—and his wife—bad-mouth a city, it adds fuel to the fire.