It’s hard to imagine an athlete playing for their arch rival. In the world of sports, loyalty is right up there with natural talent, a passion to win, and desirable assets. However, nothing is more disloyal than bailing out to suit up for your former team’s bitter rival. Re ember the time when LeBron James left Cleveland to take his talents to South Beach? That was rough.
There have been a few circumstances that make the whole bailing-out thing more understandable, like getting cut or being released by your team. Outside of that, fans will never give love to players who join a rival for the sake of winning a championship or the belief that management never gave them true appreciation.
Dennis The Menace
Dennis Rodman was among the baddest of the Bad Boys during his time with the Detroit Pistons. Winning back-to-back titles with the team in 1989 and 1990, the Pistons held off Michal Jordan’s Bulls for years, and oftentimes it resorted to tactics that were known as “The Jordan Rules”.
After a brief stint in San Antonio, Rodman found his way to Chicago. It was really awkward, and despite enjoying success with the Bulls, he never made friends in the Windy City. His tantrums and antics would be tough to handle in Chicago, but they won some more championships regardless.
From Seattle To The Bay
When the Seattle Seahawks drafted him in the fifth round of the 2011 NFL Draft, Richard Sherman made a name for himself. He had the most interceptions and defended passes of any active player. Sherman, one of the most recognizable members of the Seahawks “Legion of Boom”, dominated in the secondary and won Super Bowl XLVIII.
It was reported that Sherman did not expect to return to the Seahawks following the 2017 season. He was released by the team and he spent the day prior telling his teammates goodbye. Just a day after being released, Sherman signed a three-year deal with the Seahawks rival, the San Francisco 49ers.
Selling The Soul Of The Bambino
As the story goes, Babe Ruth was sold to the New York Yankees for $125,000. The fact that he was sold was the beginning of the end for the Red Sox. Basically, Ruth playing for New York ruined almost a century of baseball for Boston fans.
In his 15 years with the Yankees, Ruth helped the team win seven American League championships and four World Series titles. Meanwhile, the Red Sox had to wait until 2004 to finally break “The Curse of The Bambino”. If the sale never happened, the curse might not have existed.
See Ya Later, Sol
North London is the home to annual clashes between Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal. Both clubs play in the Premier League, and Sol Campbell was one of the select few who played on both sides. Campbell’s transfer became headline news more than two decades ago.
Campbell started his career with the Spurs in 1992, making more than 250 appearances for the club. After being frustrated that they couldn’t get the ball past him to score, Arsenal thought it would be easier just to sign him. They did just that in 2001, on a free transfer. Campbell would go on to win two Premier League winners medals.
Marian Hossa had quite the roller coaster of a career for three seasons. In 2008, the final year of his contract, the Atlanta Thrashers traded the Slovak winger to the Pittsburgh Penguins. That same season, Hossa and the Penguins faced the Detroit Red Wings in the Stanley Cup Finals and lost.
Following the defeat, Hossa inked a one-year deal with the Red Wings. They played the Penguins in the Cup Final once again, losing out on the holy grail, again. Karma was a factor, but the hockey gods rewarded Hossa when he signed with the Chicago Blackhawks, where he won three Cups in six seasons.
Despite struggling when he was called up to the majors, Luis Tiant became one of the greatest and most beloved pitchers in Red Sox history. Known as El Tiante, he gained a solid form and won 20 or more games from 1973-1975.
At the end of the 1979 season, Tiant signed as a free agent with the Yankees. He would compile a 21-17 record in New York over two seasons in 1979-1980. The Cuban hurler would never win a World Series, but he was a three-time All-Star and a two-time AL ERA leader.
Different Colors, Same Celebration
The NFC North is as nasty as it gets. Leaving for a team that’s in the same division is a big no-no, but that didn’t stop Jared Allen from dropping the Viking purple for Bear blue. It was a larger market than Minnesota, and he signed a four-year deal with Chicago in 2014.
His time with the Bears was short lived. Allen only played two and a half seasons before being traded to the Carolina Panthers in 2015. That would be the only time when Allen made it to the Super Bowl, losing out to Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos.
A Miner, An Eagle, And A Cowboy Walk Into A Bar
Before the call to the Pro Football Hall of Fame, Terrell Owens wasn’t known to keep bridges intact during his infamous career. Owens had gotten into an argument with front office members of the San Francisco 49ers and they traded him to Philadelphia after growing frustrated with his attitude.
After two seasons with the Eagles, Owens clashed with executives once again, and was released after the 2005 season. He would sign with the Dallas Cowboys just so he could play the Eagles twice each season (sound familiar?) His trip to Dallas scratched off both of his former teams, who are rivals with the Cowboys.
The Chicken Man Did It Too
Wade Boggs did the unthinkable. In 1992, the man who ate chicken before every game joined the Yankees. Before landing in New York, the left-handed hitter won five batting titles in 1983 then again from 1985-1988. Boggs also had six seasons with 200 or more hits.
When he came to New York, Boggs’ batting average slumped a little bit. He chose the Yankees when they added a third year to the contract that the Los Angeles Dodgers wouldn’t offer. Boggs went on to be awarded three straight All-Star appearances, collecting two Gold Glove Awards and a World Series title in 1996.
Leaving The Family Name
Most of Dale Earnhardt Jr’s popularity comes from the legacy of his father, who was one of the most successful racers in NASCAR history. When Jr. got his start, he was racing with this father’s team- Dale Earnhardt Inc., driving the popular number eight car.
In 2007, Hendrick Motorsports came calling. Jr. announced that he was leaving his father’s DEI legacy for Hendrick. The team was able to offer a better car to give him a shot at winning a title. However, his stepmother wouldn’t allow him to take the number eight car with him. Jr. switched to the 88 car, but never won a championship.
If You Can’t Beat Them, Join Them
The Oklahoma City Thunder and Golden State Warriors blossomed into one of the NBA’S most popular rivalries. From 2007 to 2016, Kevin Durant was a member of the Thunder, winning the league MVP award in 2014 with six All-Star appearances. Once the Warriors became dominant, Durant and the Thunder couldn’t get past them.
Following the 2016 season, Durant became a free agent, but nobody thought he would sign with the Warriors. The Washington native signed a two-year deal with the Warriors. Fans accused him of taking the easy way out, but Durant would get the last laugh as the Warriors won the 2017 NBA Finals and he won the Finals MVP.
The Rocket From Fenway To The Bronx
After bouncing from Boston in 1996, Roger Clemens had a career renaissance with the Toronto Blue Jays. He re-established himself as an ace, winning two Cy Young Awards. The Rocket would then be traded to the Yankees, which didn’t go over well for fans in Boston.
Clemens picked up two World Series titles while the Red Sox were still looking to break the Bambino curse. He would make a brief return to the Bronx in 2007, but the beef continues today after Clemens neglected to thank Red Sox in his retirement speech.
Original Six Reality
The Chicago Blackhawks and Detroit Red Wings have faced each other more than 800 times. These two Original Six teams had some heated battles and common players suited up for both teams, including Hall of Famer, and Chicago native, Chris Chelios. Though Chelios played for the Montreal Canadiens from 1984 to 1990, the defenseman was a Blackhawk from 1990 to 1999.
However, he was traded to the Red Wings and before that, Chelios had said he hated the Red Wings and wouldn’t play for them —though he did waive his no-trade clause when Detroit came calling. Chelios embraced his time in Detroit, winning two Stanley Cups in 2002 and in 2008.
#4 Just Can’t Retire
The most iconic player in Green Bay Packer history had a hard time dealing with life after football. Despite being old and out of his prime, Brett Favre planned for a return to the NFL. The Packers traded #4 to the New York Jets, where he played one season for them.
After some offseason speculation, Favre signed with the Minnesota Vikings, becoming the first quarterback in NFL history to defeat ever one of the league’s 32 teams. The following season would be his last after failing to pass the NFL mandated post-concussion tests.
Full Beard To Clean Shave
Johnny Damon signed a four-year contract with the Boston Red Sox in 2001, and he was embraced by the fans with some clutch performances. Eventually, that propelled the team to win the 2004 World Series, breaking the Bambino’s Curse. During that time, the Yankees-Red Sox rivalry was at an all-time high.
Before the 2006 season, the Red Sox offered Damon a three-year deal to stay with the team. While the Yankees were one of the teams courting him, Damon stated that he wouldn’t join them. Red Sox fans would be stunned to learn a few days before Christmas that Damon signed with the Yankees to a four-year $52 million contract.
Jet Green To Patriot Blue
After the New York Jets drafted Darrelle Revis 14th overall in 2007, the cornerback spent six seasons before being traded to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2012. Revis had a solid season as a Buc, but was released due to a change in defensive schemes. Revis would hit the open market in 2014, and decided to take the highest offer out there.
As it turned out, the offer came from the Jets’ biggest rival, the New England Patriots, who came with a one-year deal worth $12 million. Some fans took to Revis being Benedict Arnold, but after winning Super Bowl XLIX, Revis returned to the Jets for two more seasons.
No Love For Carlos
Carlos Tevez was no stranger to bouncing around different clubs early in his football career. Tevez spent a brief time with West Ham United before being transferred on a loan to Manchester United in 2007. Two years after his debut with Manchester, Tevez became upset.
He didn’t receive a permanent contract by the Red Devils and once an offer came up, Tevez announced he wouldn’t be signing. On the other side of town, Manchester City was willing to give Tevez a contract, which he did sign. Tevez signed a five-year deal and became very unpopular with Manchester United fans.
Pulling A Damon
Having taken a page from Johnny Damon’s playbook, Jacoby Ellsbury went south to the Bronx as well. Ellsbury won two World Series titles with the Red Sox, but that didn’t stop the outfielder from signing a seven-year $153 million contract.
The contract was signed after Ellsbury got his second World Series ring. He’s made the postseason just twice during his time in the pinstripes, but he continues to be a liability for a rejuvenated Bronx Bombers squad. I’m not a fan of either team, but this whole leaving Boston for New York thing has to stop.
La La Land
The Los Angeles Clippers weren’t anything special back in the day, but that’s where Lamar Odom’s NBA career started. Odom would leave for the Miami Heat after a few seasons, but he would return to Los Angeles, but only after he signed with the Lakers.
Despite showing some inconsistency, Odom would go on to win two NBA titles with the Lakers. After a stint with the Dallas Mavericks, Odom would eventually be traded back to the Clippers in 2012. He continued his career with one season in the Spanish League, then a short return to the NBA with the New York Knicks.
When it comes to college football, any betrayal is likely to occur from coaches since transferring is very restricted. So when Nick Saban left LSU to coach the Miami Dolphins, there wasn’t much in the way of any hard feelings when Saban left.
When things weren’t going well for Saban in the NFL, he went running back to college football. He had his choice of teams, but of course, Saban ultimately picked LSU biggest rival, Alabama. LSU certainly hates him, but Saban won five more National Championships.