Here are some of the league's hottest feuds, rated according to
three temperature ranges.
Phil Jackson vs. Jerry Krause. The heat was really turned up
last season when Bulls general manager Krause publicly fawned
over Iowa State's Tim Floyd, his desired successor to Jackson as
Chicago's coach. Sources in the Windy City say the dislike runs
so deep, Jackson wants Krause banned from practices. Of course,
when Krause held workouts for potential draftees last spring, he
banned Jackson, who was without a new contract, from sitting in.
John Calipari vs. Dan Garcia. Nets coach Calipari committed a
big gaffe last season when he called Garcia, a Newark
Star-Ledger beat writer who had been critical of the Nets, a
"f------ Mexican idiot." Calipari and Nets president Michael
Rowe each issued a formal apology. Nevertheless, Garcia sued
Calipari and the Nets for emotional distress. The case has yet
to be resolved, and Garcia has left the NBA beat.
Larry Bird vs. the Boston Celtics. Pacers coach Bird, who played
his entire 13-season career in Boston and was a member of the
Celtics front office for five years, grew disenchanted after
ownership and management ignored his suggestions on trades,
hiring and draft picks. When training camp opened, Bird blasted
Boston guard (and former teammate) Dee Brown, predicting he
would get hurt and claiming he wasn't worth his $3.5 million
salary. The Celtics, particularly team patriarch Red Auerbach,
Penny Hardaway vs. Dennis Scott. There were several reasons that
Scott, now with the Mavericks, wanted out of Orlando this
summer, but Hardaway was a big factor. Scott had aligned himself
with Shaquille O'Neal before Shaq left the Magic for the Lakers
in July 1996, while Hardaway and Nick Anderson formed another
faction. Scott has described Penny to friends as a baby and a
Dale Ellis vs. Darrell Walker. The nastiness between the Sonics
swingman and the Raptors coach dates back to college, when Ellis
was at Tennessee and Walker at Arkansas. When the two met last
season, Ellis, then playing for the Nuggets, made snide comments
as he ran past the Toronto bench after every jumper he dropped.
In retaliation, Walker got personal with his remarks. The
referees warned them to knock it off.
Shaquille O'Neal vs. Alonzo Mourning. When Mourning was with the
Hornets and O'Neal with the Magic--they're now with the Lakers
and the Heat, respectively--they engaged in physical battles in
the pivot and came away with little or no respect for each
other. O'Neal's departure to the Western Conference cooled the
rivalry by limiting them to two meetings a season.
Jeff Van Gundy vs. Michael Jordan. Last season, when Van Gundy,
the Knicks' coach, suggested that Jordan was "a con artist"
because of the way he tries to soften and distract opponents,
Jordan declared war. Normally this feud would simply fade away,
but Jordan is in constant search of new ways to motivate
himself. You can be sure he'll resurrect this one when he needs