Woj and Shams Credit: Complex via The Vertical

Like any league, the NBA is built on its rivalries.

The Lakers vs. the Celtics.

LeBron vs. Steph.

Woj vs. Shams.

On Tuesday, we got the latest installment of the latter, with ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski’s overnight report that the Los Angeles Clippers had acquired James Harden in a blockbuster trade with the Philadelphia 76ers. Woj’s initial report came at 2:01 a.m. ET — a whopping 39 minutes before The Athletic’s Shams Charania posted his own report.

As has become customary since the Woj-Shams rivalry first began following Wojnarowski’s departure from Yahoo — where he worked alongside Charania — in 2017, many on social media were quick to question how Wojnarowski managed to beat his former pupil to the story by nearly a full 40 minutes.


Obviously, all of this is ridiculous (although the memes inspired by Charania’s flirtatious relationship with Kay Adams are admittedly pretty funny).

While there’s certainly value in establishing yourself as a news breaker, it’s safe to say that both Wojnarowski and Charania are well past that point. Even if some have taken issue with the ways in which they each obtain and disseminate their news, it’s rare that an NBA-related story is broken by someone other than one of them, usually within minutes (if not seconds) of the other having his own report.

If not for the memorable memes, nobody would remember in two weeks, let alone two years, whether Wojnarowski or Shams broke this particular story. Save for a few exceptions — like LeBron James announcing his free agency decision on national television or in an essay in Sports Illustrated — hardly anyone remembers who’s broken which NBA story over the years.

Had Charania actually been sleeping — which is doubtful — when Wojnarowski broke the news of the Harden trade, it would have been totally OK. In a weird way, it’s actually a credit to him that people were ready to send a search party after Wojnarowski beat him to the Harden trade by a matter of minutes.

[Adrian Wojnarowski on X]

About Ben Axelrod

Ben Axelrod is a veteran of the sports media landscape, having most recently worked for NBC's Cleveland affiliate, WKYC. Prior to his time in Cleveland, he covered Ohio State football and the Big Ten for outlets including Cox Media Group, Bleacher Report, Scout and Rivals.