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Best Individual Sports Rivalries

Picture of Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O'Neal.
Kobe and Shaq
Photo of tennis star, Serena Williams.
Serena Williams

From Kobe vs. Shaq to Brady vs. Manning, check out this look at the best individual rivalries from the world of sports.

Sports Rivalries - Kobe vs. Shaq

Kobe vs. Shaq has been the NBA's best matchup ever since the pair of superstars went from being Laker teammates to bitter rivals. Kobe Bryant wanted to be the go-to guy for the purple and gold, so Shaq was shipped to the Miami Heat, triggering a feud that became nastier than two sisters fighting over a barbie doll. (Although, it's likely that it was less nastier than some of Kobe's recent arguments with his wife, Vanessa). Kobe claims the split was a result of Shaq's, "childlike selfishness and jealousy", while Shaq responded by calling his former teammate a "clown" and a "punk". Before their first game against each other on Christmas Day, 2004, Shaq stirred the pot by saying, "If you've got a Corvette that runs into a brick wall, you know what's gonna happen. He's a Corvette. I'm a brick wall. So you know what's gonna happen." Shaq hasn't exactly been a wall to the wheels of Kobe - but Shaq and the Heat have won three of the four matchups against Bryant. This rivalry has simmered down since the pair famously shook hands and hugged on Martin Luther King Day 2006 - but any matchup between the former teammates is still must-see TV.

Sports Rivalries - Kovalchuk vs. Crosby

The on-ice battles between young NHL superstars Ilya Kovalchuk of the Atlanta Thrashers and Sidney Crosby of the Pittsburgh Penguins have the makings of one of the NHL's best rivalries. During one of their first matchups against each other, Crosby took a pair of slashing penalties for taking his stick to Kovalchuk. While Crosby was sitting in the penalty box, Kovalchuk scored one of his three goals of the night and promptly pointed to Crosby in a taunting manner. The talented Russian further stoked the flames by saying, "He took those stupid penalties all the time and he's an 18-year-old kid and he can't play like this. He started yapping at his teammates. He should play really hard tonight and try to do his best." Stay tuned, this rivalry's just getting started.

Sports Rivalries - Serena vs. Venus

The biggest sibling rivalry in the sports world over the past decade has to be the on court matchups between tennis sisters, Serena and Venus Williams. According to older sister, Venus, "Off the court we're sisters again. If she were to twist her ankle on the court, of course I'd be concerned but I would still have to go out and hit the next shot, you know. That's the way it is." In head-to-head battles, Serena has won seven of 13 matches including their last five meetings at Grand Slam events. Give the edge to the younger sis.

Sports Rivalries - Brady vs. Manning

Peyton Manning of the Indianpolis Colts and Tom Brady of the New England Patriots are arguably the two best quarterbacks on two of the best teams the NFL. Manning's a two-time MVP who's rewritten the NFL record book and put up monsterous stats, while Brady's led his team to three Super Bowl victories and been named Super Bowl MVP twice. The pair haven't engaged in any heated trash talk, which always makes a good rivalry better - but they've had some great matchups on the field, including two playoff games. Despite great career numbers from Mr. Manning, Brady holds a 6-1 edge in games between the Pats and the Colts.

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    Best Sports Rivalry? Vote!

    • Kobe vs. Shaq.
    • Kovalchuck vs. Crosby.
    • Venus vs. Serena.
    • Manning vs. Brady.

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