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Ray Allen : Why Celtics-Heat Just Became The NBA’s Hottest Rivalry


BOSTON — Thanks to Ray Allen, the bitter grudge match between the Boston Celtics and the Miami Heat became the hottest rivalry in the NBA.

For all of their storied history, the Celtics have many historical rivalries—most notably with the Los Angeles Lakers, New York Knicks and Philadelphia 76ers.

Thanks to Allen’s Judas-like defection to the hated Heat, it may be time to add Miami to the list.

To the modern-day NBA fan, Boston and Miami does not have the same allure of Lakers-Celtics, due to the classic battles between Magic Johnson and Larry Bird in the 80’s.

After their seven-game classic between the two teams in the NBA Eastern Conference finals, coupled with Allen signing with the Heat, the proverbial fuse may have been lit in what will be a tense—and vocal—blood feud.

Allen’s decision to bolt for South Beach for less money—and join the team that defeated your old team in the East finals no less—has justifiably raised the ire of every Boston fan from Worchester to Cape Cod.

Allen was offered a two-year deal for $12 million, while Miami offered him the mid-level exemption of three million. Any player that spurns his current team for a arch-rival—in the same conference, no less—smacks of disrespect on so many levels.

While Allen may never be vilified throughout the NBA like James, but after his decision to join forces with LeBron—and perennial arch-nemesis, Pat Riley—he might as well be.

As if Boston and Miami don’t already have a recent history of bad blood between the two, there is also the rumors of discontent with point guard Rajon Rondo, and his unhappiness with his decreased role in Boston.

The decision for Allen to leave Boston, may have been easier than meets the eye.

The two cities could not be more different from each other, one is old-money academia, the other is new-money flash. One is the NBA equivalent of John Rockefeller, the other is Pablo Escobar.

Boston has 17 NBA championship banners and its fabled parquet hardwood floor that was once graced by the most legendary coach in NBA history in Red Auerbach.

The other is a barely 20-year old neophyte expansion franchise that once held the longest consecutive losing streak in NBA history and a mere two NBA banners.

Boston would popularize the modern-day concept of the “Big Three”—twice—first with Larry Bird, Kevin McHale and Robert Parrish in the 1980’s, and again with Allen, Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett in 2008.

Miami would take that concept and change it forever with a flashy, rock-star assembling of James, Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade in 2010.

They say that rivalries aren’t born, they are made, and thanks to Allen, the Heat and Celtics promises to be a Aaron Sorkin-worthy drama filled with endless storylines, physical play and last-second heroics.

If there is any solace for Celtic’s fans, is that at the very least, he did not join the Lakers.

Robert D. Cobb is the NBA Network Manager for Rant Media Network, Featured Writer of the Cleveland Cavaliers, and Featured Columnist for the Cleveland Browns and Arsenal Gunners.

In addition to covering the NBA, I also cover MLB, NFL, NHL and Champions League soccer news, rumors and opinions, please follow me on Twitter at @RobertCobb_76