This is what a rivalry looks like, remember?


When one thinks of the Celtics and the Lakers, images of a still youthful Robert Parish and Kareem Abdul Jabbar talking trash in the paint. Though no memory of the Lakers Vs. The Celtics can ever be quite complete without what was one of the greatest rivalries in sport in Larry Bird vs. Magic Johnson.

An old friend at ESPN.COM once told me that the sign of a rivalry of epic proportions in the world of sport divides millions of fans, not mere thousands. Bird and Johnson had plenty of dividing features too for its time, words like black, white, east and west are a few that come to mind.

The sad truth is that while some of us might be able to re-live the good ol’ days having watched the Lakers and Celtics rivalry at its peak, this generation is somewhat understandably disappointed with whatever little the match up brings to the table in this day and age.

The problem is, Micheal Jordan spoilt us with those two three peats. It’s really that simple. After MJ retired, there has been a somewhat serious loss of interest and gloss off of what was once one of the biggest draws in sports. Now that he is gone, the same excitement cannot possibly be derived from the prospect of Kobe Bryant winning a second or the Celtics winning, just to send a message that there won’t be any dynasties being made in Los Angeles this generation.

The sad truth is that this series actually has a lot to offer. Firstly its no secret that the Celtics play an incredibly physical game, testament to their choice of acquisition in Rasheed Wallace, who is somehow dwarfed in the grinding it out school of thought by his team mate Kevin Garnett. Then we have Kobe, a man the whole of Chicago and most of the east coast don’t want to accept is probably the best player to ever play the game, even better than MJ. Names like Gasol, Pierce, Rondo and a few others probably come to mind but honestly they are nothing but a mere sideshow in this showdown.

One thing is for certain in this particular series, the longer it goes on the more people will start to reminisce about the good ol’ days, the Larry Bird behind the board shot, why magic deserved the nickname with those passes and everything else that made this rivalry great. In which case, lets hope it goes to seven and captivates the interest of a new generation of young basketball fans, instead of doing what the finals do best these days. Disappoint.

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