NBA insiders Adrian Wojnarowski and Shams Charania have a contentious relationship similar to the Star Wars father-son combo Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker, according to a report from the Washington Post.
On Wednesday, the article was published stating the two respected sports journalists have a relationship that many NBA analysts have called the only "real rivalry" in the league. Both men are the go-to guys when it comes to breaking NBA news, and it doesn't seem anyone else is close to reaching their status, given how immersed they are in the league.
Shams gets his news from players and agents, while Woj's information mostly comes from the owners and front office. Both have millions of followers on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter, and their Rolodex of sources would have any sports journalist foaming at the mouth. But how did their relationship turn so competitive?
While Woj was building up his brand over at Yahoo Sports, Shams joined his team as a protégé, learning the ropes and becoming a figure as prominent as his mentor. The energy between the two turned into a competitive rivalry in that both parties would break NBA news before anyone else, making them the two most essential insiders in the game.
"Shams was openly acknowledged as his apostle, and Woj didn't discourage that," a source told the Washington Post. "He encouraged you to think of him that way."
However, things began going left, especially when a 2016 profile Complex did on Shams was published, which Woj felt was unnecessary and served as a distraction from the actual work that was being put in. Their relationship got even more interesting when Woj got hired by ESPN in 2017 and was able to bring his team with him, which included Shams.
Shams decided to stay with Yahoo since he was under contract before jumping over to The Athletic in 2018, where he officially became Woj's competition. Years later, things between Woj and Shams have reached the point that neither one will make public references about the other, and it's even trickled into their workspaces. Because of that, several NBA reporters and officials compared their relationship to Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker.
According to the Washington Post, an editor stated Shams doesn't like seeing Woj's tweets in The Athletic's Slack channel, and ESPN reporters are told not to mention stories from The Athletic or even invite their reporters on various ESPN programming. Their respective agents won't even speak on the matter to the point that they won't reveal any details about the other.