Rivalries are some of the greatest fuel for sports fans to
fuel their passion. The NBA is littered with tremendous rivalries. Team
rivalries like Celtics and Lakers, Bulls and Pistons, Celtics and Pistons, Heat
and Knicks, Knicks and Pacers, Celtics and 76ers are some of the greatest in
all of sports. Even now the residual hatred from this rivalry still has me
hating Philly despite their recent struggles. Great one on one rivalries like
Russell and Chamberlain, Jordan against Magic or Bird, Bird and Dr. J, Bird and
Magic only made these team rivalries that much more intense. The best part was
these teams hated each other. It is well documented that early on Bird and
Magic were not friendly. They wanted to destroy each other. Chamberlain losing
to Russell ate at him to the point he hated him until he finally beat Russell.
Anyone looking for proof for the Dr. J and Bird rivalry was fueled with intense
hate on the court only needs to look at the famous shot of Bird and Dr. J
strangling each other. John Starks once head butted Reggie Miller in a playoff
game. How many times did a Celtic punch Bill Laimbeer?
The hatred for each other made
those games special for not only the players, but the fans. Passionate fans
mark the date on their calendar to see their favorite rivals come to town to shower
them with hatred. These tickets become the hottest in the cities for a reason.
The problem is these rivalries are dying.
The NBA is changing. No longer are
the players truly holding hate for the others around the league. The latest
incident that proves this is the Friday night get together of Ray Allen, Paul
Pierce, LeBron James, Dwayne Wade, and Carmelo Anthony in New York after the
labor meetings. They partied the night away together. No longer does a guy like LeBron hate all things green because
of the Celtics preventing him on more than one occasion the opportunity for a
ring. No longer do guys like Pierce and Allen hold hate for a team that knocked
them out last season. Melo holding court with his division rivals should drive
a hard core Knicks fan nuts. Where is the passion to the point that these guys
are the enemy? I could never imagine even now Jordan hanging out with Isaiah
Thomas. Bird never spoke to Magic until after 84 and his victory over his fierce
rival. Teams were tight knit and were a special bond. Now, it seems like there
are social groups among players instead of hard core teammates on teams. This is
why even Celtics and Heat this season did not have that same kind of hate
fueling it. These guys respected each other as NBA brothers and the hate was
not there. If any Laker or Piston had ever injured Denis Johnson like Wade hurt
Rondo, The benches would have cleared and a brawl would have ensued. Now, not even retribution for a dirty act.
hate rivalry is kind of depressing for a fan. I wish that these guys would be
more team first and less NBA fraternity. However, free agency and trades have I
guess fostered this new environment. I hope the new CBA keeps teams together
longer and the rivalries form again. I miss the passion. The closet thing I got
now is my intense dislike for LeBum James and much like his title quests, this
is just coming up short in stimulating my passion like these great rivalries
used to. Remember Go Green Or Go Home!!!!!!!!!!!