Shaquille O'Neal's new autobiography, in which he reveals he once threatened to kill Kobe Bryant, reminds us that feuds are common in the NBA. We're not talking rivalries based on mutual respect. We're talking ugly relationships based on mutual disgust, jealousy, hatred or, in some cases, stupidity. Here are 10 of the nastiest.
Gilbert Arenas vs. Javaris Crittenton
In an idiotic response to a disagreement over a gambling debt, both Washington Wizards teammates brought guns to the team's locker room on Christmas Eve of 2009. Maybe it was more of a joke (as Arenas claimed) than a feud, but nothing funny has happened since. First, the NBA suspended both players for the rest of the season. Then Arenas was sentenced to a month in a halfway house and was traded to Orlando, where he was a bust. More tragically, Crittenton was arrested in August for the shooting death of a 22-year-old woman in Atlanta.
Michael Jordan vs. Jerry Krause
Even though Krause helped acquire supporting parts such as Scottie Pippen and Dennis Rodman for Chicago's six championship runs, Jordan always expressed contempt for the portly general manager. Krause, meanwhile, insisted that "organizations win championships," not individuals. Of course, the Bulls haven't won a title since MJ left town, and Jordan let him know about it during his Hall of Fame induction speech in 2009. "The organization didn't play with the flu in Utah," he said.
Mark Cuban vs. NBA refs
Before last season, the Dallas Mavericks owner may have been best known for his disgust at NBA officiating, which he expressed loudly and often during games, to the media and to the league, helping him earn nearly $2 million in fines. Did refs hate him back? Well, there were some funny calls in the Mavs' loss to Miami in the 2006 Finals. It wasn't till Cuban shut up and stopped antagonizing officials that Dallas won its first title this summer.
LeBron James vs. DeShawn Stevenson
Given the stature of the two players, it seemed a little silly when Stevenson belittled James before a 2008 playoff series, calling the Cavaliers star "overrated." LeBron said responding to Stevenson "would be like Jay-Z saying something bad about Soulja Boy." Which led to Stevenson inviting Soulja Boy to perform at the next game in DC, while Jay-Z recorded a diss song about Stevenson. (Seriously.) James won that series but Stevenson, now a Dallas Maverick, got a measure of revenge in this year's Finals.
Red Auerbach vs. Phil Jackson
When Jackson was on the verge of tying Auerbach's record of nine championships as an NBA head coach in 2002, Red grumbled about the legitimacy of Phil's achievement, saying Jackson never had to build a team and teach fundamentals. Plus, he said, "three titles in a row don't constitute a dynasty." Jackson's reported response? "I just hope when I get to be his age, someone will pull a cigar from my mouth and insert an oxygen tube to allow me to breathe and think clearly." After Auerbach died in 2006, Jackson got the upper hand with his 10th and 11th titles.
NBA owners vs. NBA players
When Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert trashed LeBron James following "The Decision" last summer, we got some sense of what owners really think of the league's stars when the players don't do their bidding. The harsh words and mutual distrust have only increased in the ongoing labor dispute and lockout, a feud that could lead to the cancellation of the 2011-12 season.
Stephon Marbury vs. Mike D'Antoni
Players and coaches often don't get along. It happens. But rarely to the extent that the Knicks point guard and new head coach butted heads at the start of the 2008-09 season. D'Antoni quickly soured on Marbury and kept him on the bench for the first three weeks. When D'Antoni decided to give him playing time after trading several guards, Marbury refused to take the court. Eventually, the Knicks just told Marbury, making $20.8 million that season, to go away before trading him to the Celtics.
Jimmy Jackson vs. Jason Kidd
Why did the two young stars for the Dallas Mavericks stop getting along in 1996? Maybe it was simply that Kidd thought Jackson was too selfish on the court. But the story that's been told ever since, but never confirmed, is that they fought over singer Toni Braxton. Supposedly, Kidd was dating Braxton before Jackson stole her away. Before long, both players were in new NBA cities. Kidd eventually returned to Dallas and won the 2011 title without Jackson or Braxton.
Latrell Sprewell vs. PJ Carlesimo
What did we say about coaches and players not getting along? It's only news when their feuds result in a benching, angry words or, in this case, the player's hands wrapped around the coach's neck. Sprewell's infamous choking of Carlesimo at a Warriors practice in 1997 got him suspended for the rest of the season and later traded to New York, where he somehow managed never to throttle Jeff Van Gundy.
Kobe vs. Shaq
Their pairing in LA was so right, so successful, that it resulted in three straight titles for the Lakers. Then it went so wrong, and got so nasty, that now the Kobe-Shaq feud has its own Wikipedia page. You can read all about the jealousy, resentment and bad blood there. Or you can buy Shaq's book. Or wait for Kobe's. Or just try to forget all about it.