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Edward Mass
Sep 14, 2011

*dubstep intensifies*


There are no good rivalries in the NBA.

This may come as a hot take, but it’s true. There are no good rivalries in the NBA, and there have not been any in over a decade. When the media mentions a rivalry in today’s NBA, it is nearly always hyperbole created to draw more viewers, which, given the teams involved in the so-called rivalries, is unnecessary.

In the other major North American sports leagues, there are rivalries. Real rivalries. Rivalries born from bad blood between two teams from proximity or history. If you ask a baseball fan about the best rivalries in baseball, chances are they’ll name the same rivalries as someone from 20 years ago. Same with football, same with hockey. Hell, even Major League Soccer has a rivalry that dates back to the 1970’s! This is where pro basketball fails: ever since Shaquille O’Neil was traded from the Lakers to the Heat, unofficially ending the Lakers-Spurs rivalry that captured imaginations around the turn of the millennium, the ‘rivalries’ that ESPN and TNT tout only hold water for as long as the teams involved produce wins.

Herein lies the problem: the NBA rivalries of today proclaimed by the media almost certainly have no historical value. I recently saw a segment on television asking if Celtics-Wizards was the best rivalry in the NBA. When did this happen? If you ask a Celtics fan their opinions on the Wizards, you’re not going to find a lot of fire. The same is true for the reverse, although there would be some resentment for Boston’s historic exposure compared to Washington. There is only one reason that such an idea of a rivalry is put forth – both teams are winning.

Every ‘rivalry’ that has been proclaimed has that one thing in common – the two teams are playing good basketball. That is not a rivalry. That is a high-quality match-up. Other sports are not immune to this, but it is decidedly pronounced in the NBA. Part of this is due to some traditional powers losing competitiveness, with the 76ers, Knicks, and Lakers giving some of the largest markets in America no reason to follow teams with notable traditional rivals.

What happened to rivalries in the NBA? I’ll give you a hint – he’s from Akron, Ohio.

When LeBron James entered the league in 2003, it marked the beginning of the end of hate in the NBA. James’ basketball abilities made him a star before he was even drafted, but there was a problem: the Cleveland Cavaliers had no historic rivalries, and played in a city that was allergic to winning championships. Essentially, the media erased the word ‘Cleveland’ from the basketball lexicon, and renamed the team LeBron James and his Cavaliers. The identity of the team apart from James was no longer important, and as such, one could not hate the Cavaliers in a way that was above hating James.

With that, the dichotomy of the NBA changed. No longer was the name on the front of the jersey important. Instead of hating teams, we’ve been conditioned to some sort of fantasy hate where individual players are more important than the cities they represent. Of course, the era of the free agency super-team has camouflaged that fact, but when 80% of the league is irrelevant you can’t have intense, consistent rivalries year after year.

Is there anything to be done? I’m afraid not anytime soon. The culture of “if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em” has gotten rid of “we don’t like them, and they don’t like us”. Being an All-Star means nothing if you don’t have a ring. As such, the media must declare any match-up involving two teams with winning records a rivalry. The Patriots have the Jets, the Red Sox have the Yankees, the Bruins have the Canadiens, and the Celtics have…the Wizards.

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Kibner
Oct 21, 2008

#1 Pelican Fan


New Orleans has Dallas. We really, really, really hate Dallas.

Shear Modulus
Jun 9, 2010





The Celtics' rivals are the Lakers.

Brolander
Oct 20, 2008

i am but a vessel

Celtics/Lakers?

E: yeah, what he said.

Ghost Dog
Aug 17, 2016



to be fair the nfl media wholesale invented a 49ers seahawks rivalry a few years ago and have now completely abandoned it since the 9ers are dogshit so its not just the nba doing things like this


e: also that weird rant about The Names On The Front!!!! is actually one of the best things about the nba, players rule who freaking cares about teams

Lockback
Sep 2, 2006

All days are nights to see till I see thee; and nights bright days when dreams do show me thee.


In the NBA the rivalries are between players, not teams. It's the nature of the sport. There are only a handful of guys playing and you see their faces and expressions. You don't need to identify with the jersey because you can see the person.

Henchman of Santa
Aug 21, 2010


2000s Pistons vs Pacers was a dope rivalry that ended in the most fitting possible fashion

Shear Modulus
Jun 9, 2010





Spurs and Suns had a great rivalry until the Suns weren't good any more.

Henchman of Santa posted:

2000s Pistons vs Pacers was a dope rivalry that ended in the most fitting possible fashion

hell yeah

Metapod
Mar 18, 2012
:shrek:

Let me tell you about the Russ Durant blood feud friend. Is it competitive? Not at the moment. Is it tense? Hell yeah it is a fight can spark at any moment between anyone

Henchman of Santa
Aug 21, 2010


Also very few pro sports rivalries can even touch your average college one imho

BWV
Feb 24, 2005




i think it has to do with the playoffs and the division structure. Rivalries are built by playing the same group over and over with stakes. Since half the league makes the playoffs anyway winning your division is not as important. And the schedule doesn't stack divisional games anyway for a host of reasons. Now this is the same in hockey, but hockey is an older sport and only had 6 teams for a while—so those rivalries, like Celtics/Lakers, were established real early.
Differently, baseball and football really reward division winners and so much of the season (50% in football, and seemingly every other series in MLB) is spent playing inter-divisionally.

BWV fucked around with this message at 04:02 on Mar 30, 2017

Dutchy
Jul 8, 2010


Ghost Dog posted:

to be fair the nfl media wholesale invented a 49ers seahawks rivalry a few years ago and have now completely abandoned it since the 9ers are dogshit so its not just the nba doing things like this

49ers-Seahawks wasn't invented but without decades of animosity in the tank it was hard to keep up the same level of testiness once Jed York started kneecapping his own team

Ghost Dog
Aug 17, 2016



they didnt have that animosity to keep it going cause it was entirely fabricated and no one loving cared about it before the nfl did a massive media push pretending it existed. they started running kaep/wilson side by side ads to promote the rivalry they just made up

Shear Modulus
Jun 9, 2010





Henchman of Santa posted:

Also very few pro sports rivalries can even touch your average college one imho

Yeah the only pro sports rivalries worth mentioning are Yankees-Red Sox and Giants-Dodgers and the second one is only because of the guy who got beaten a few years ago.

Blind Pineapple
Oct 27, 2010

For The Perfect Fruit 'n' Kaman

1 part gin
1 part pomegranate syrup
Fill with pineapple juice
Serve over crushed ice



College Slice

The low-variance nature of basketball as a game also has an impact. Even when you do get a "bad blood" type of rivalry like Pistons/Pacers, Lakers/Kings, or Knicks/Heat, the results are usually pretty one-sided, which diminishes a lot of the fun of a rivalry.

FuzzySkinner
May 23, 2012



Hey my hometown got referenced in the OP's post. Thanks for putting us on the map, LeBron.

Hmmm...rivalries, gonna list them in order of them developing.

I think the Wizards/Bullets have to be our first one, considering they were on the "other" side of the "Miracle at Richfield". This actually perked back up in the 2000's during LeBron's first go around with us. Can recall the likes of Deshawn Stevenson, Brendan Haywood and Gilbert Arena's acting like dicks. ("Agent Zero" was known as "Agent Moron" around the Cavs boards)

Bulls would be next. and that came of age during the 80's. "The Shot" was kinda seared into the memories of a lot Clevelanders. 2000's came and you had Joakim Noah dropping the "Who cares about Cleveland line"?. Not to mention the game winning shot that seemed to do the reverse of what was witnessed in 1989.

Pistons. Yep. 2006-2007 they were the one's standing in our way to playing in the Finals. Can recall hating 'Sheed, and a good number of players on that team. LeBron has a beastly game 5 in 07, and Boobie Gibson shoots the lights out in Game 6, and it's on to being swept in San Antonio.

Celtics? KG acted like a tough guy dick. Paul Pierce faking injuries. Could never quite vanquish them and in fact the Cavs losing to them was probably going to be LeBron's last memory related to us prior to that fateful July day in 2014.. Plus gently caress Boston is kind of a share sentiment by much of the country's sports fans, us included.

Warriors? I don't need to detail that. Kinda been established over the last two years.

I think that about covers it.

Bip Roberts
Mar 29, 2005



Henchman of Santa posted:

Also very few pro sports rivalries can even touch your average college one imho

NFC north, NFC east and AFC north divisions are real hate fests and can be close.

Dutchy
Jul 8, 2010


Ghost Dog posted:

they didnt have that animosity to keep it going cause it was entirely fabricated and no one loving cared about it before the nfl did a massive media push pretending it existed. they started running kaep/wilson side by side ads to promote the rivalry they just made up

As a 49er fan living in Washington, this is very incorrect.

FuzzySkinner
May 23, 2012



Bip Roberts posted:

NFC north, NFC east and AFC north divisions are real hate fests and can be close.

The NFL of today feels watered down considering what it was pre-expansion, post-1995 moves to be honest.

You had the Browns move in '95 (bias), and they came back as the NFL's punching bag since 1999 or so. You had the Oilers moved and replaced with the Texans, who let's face it are not as cool as the old school Oilers (Run and Shoot ftw). Not to mention the Rams moving back and forth from LA, the Raiders leaving LA (and Vegas)...and two expansion teams in the form of the Jags, Panthers in which only one has really developed a significant fanbase.

I mean I "hate" teams like the Ravens, Steelers...but the feeling for sure isn't mutual.

runoverbobby
Apr 21, 2007

Fighting like beavers.


Baseball and hockey have better rivalries because they tolerate fighting as a response to dirty play, throwing at the other pitcher's head, etc. The sports don't get their artificial bravado from the media; the players provide it. The stupidest sight in sport is two bullpens and their fat bullpen coaches hauling rear end to the batters box, so they can adopt threatening poses in their tight pants and fancy socks. It's more effective than any Hot Take a journalist can provide.

Paul Zuvella
Dec 7, 2011



Even classic rivalries like Yankees/Red Sox don't really amount to much more than people jokingly yelling "gently caress the *other team*" I think that people in the late 2000s collectively realized that rivalries are dumb as gently caress. I'd actually argue that the NBA has the best rivalries, but they are player vs. player every time russ plays Durant it is interestingly. Lebron/Curry? Lebron basically made it his official strategy to troll the poo poo out of curry in the finals last year and it shook him to his core.

Henchman of Santa
Aug 21, 2010


Bip Roberts posted:

NFC north, NFC east and AFC north divisions are real hate fests and can be close.

I am an NFC North team fan and it feels mostly like three teams impotently shaking their fists at the Packers all the time. Though Lions-Bears can get pretty chippy.

NickRoweFillea
Sep 27, 2012

doin thangs


Clippers/Grizzlies was an awesome blood feud a few years ago.

Kibner
Oct 21, 2008

#1 Pelican Fan


Bip Roberts posted:

NFC north, NFC east and AFC north divisions are real hate fests and can be close.

Saints vs Falcons. :mad:

Peanut President
Nov 5, 2008





Kibner posted:

Saints vs Falcons. :mad:

Can you have a rivalry for last place in conference?

Kibner
Oct 21, 2008

#1 Pelican Fan


Peanut President posted:

Can you have a rivalry for last place in conference?

Absolutely. The 28-3 game will be beloved nearly as much as the return to the Superdome after Katrina and the Superbowl win.

iospace
Jan 19, 2038




Here's my take on rivalries: There's a few types: natural and artificial, player and team. Natural rivalries are ones that fade in the national spotlight when they aren't really competitive, but the fans of both teams will always care about it (mostly because bragging rights). Usually they're based on nearby locations or historic bad blood. The NBA (take all my NBA takes with a huge loving grain of salt by the way) tends to have more player based rivalries because of the star power in the NBA vs the other three major leagues.

Artificial ones are where the media tends to build them up because OMG LOOK AT PAYTON VS TOM! They tend to be more player based, especially in the NFL because holy poo poo was everyone tired of hearing about Manning vs Brady for forever. Once one team falls apart (or in Manning's case, retires), the media immediately stops caring.

Also, don't get NHLAS started on "rivalry night".

Pron on VHS
Nov 14, 2005

Blood Clots
Sweat Dries
Bones Heal
Suck it Up and Keep Wrestling


Wizards-Celtics is a current rivalry because a lot of the players don't like each other

EvanTH
Apr 24, 2004

i like to express my inner pain by being really boring on the phone
or just when i'm kickin it
that's me though
i'm kind of oddddddd

My hot take:

Rivalries don't exist so much in professional basketball because rivalries aren't so much about the teams as they are about fanbase vs. fanbase, and basketball fans are the most mature of any of the sports viewers, tending to be friendly to everyone and glad to share their love of the sport.

Red Sox v. Yankees is a rivalry because fans of both teams are lifelong belligerent assholes. Same with Pats v. Jets. Same with every group of college fans vs. every other group of college fans. Basketball folks are more like "ahh heck these guys always beat us, but I love the way their bench power forward sees passing lines and I wish my team would play that well :( what is wrong with my team why do we always lose to the Bulls"

Instead of rivalries, basketball just has rear end in a top hat Fan Base Of The Moment that is mostly disliked by the other fans (over the last decade or so I believe this went something like Lakers, Heat, Warriors. Spurs fans have been unable to rise to the status of hatred because it is hard to rise to anything when you weigh over 300lbs).

There's a bunch of other stuff around that, frequent trades and the sorta incestuous nature of AAU means a ton of "rivals" on opposing teams are basically childhood friends so things don't get as heated during play as they might in sports with a larger player base, this final sentence is really an excuse to post the two MVP candidates going dick-to-dick after their recent FACE-OFF
https://streamable.com/ky19t

EvanTH
Apr 24, 2004

i like to express my inner pain by being really boring on the phone
or just when i'm kickin it
that's me though
i'm kind of oddddddd

NickRoweFillea posted:

Clippers/Grizzlies was an awesome blood feud a few years ago.

SHOAH NUFF posted:

Wizards-Celtics is a current rivalry because a lot of the players don't like each other

This sorta thing does happen tho' and it's usually good.

Warriors and Cavs didn't like each other much either

tadashi
Feb 20, 2006



Shear Modulus posted:

The Celtics' rivals are the Lakers.

Atlanta thinks the Celts are their rivals, though. Or Cleveland but I guess that's everybody in the East?

mike-
Jul 9, 2004

Phillipians 1:21


tadashi posted:

Atlanta thinks the Celts are their rivals, though. Or Cleveland but I guess that's everybody in the East?

Every team in the east thinks the celtics are their rivals and every team in the west thinks the lakers are their rival.

FuzzySkinner
May 23, 2012



EvanTH posted:

My hot take:

Rivalries don't exist so much in professional basketball because rivalries aren't so much about the teams as they are about fanbase vs. fanbase, and basketball fans are the most mature of any of the sports viewers, tending to be friendly to everyone and glad to share their love of the sport.

Red Sox v. Yankees is a rivalry because fans of both teams are lifelong belligerent assholes. Same with Pats v. Jets. Same with every group of college fans vs. every other group of college fans. Basketball folks are more like "ahh heck these guys always beat us, but I love the way their bench power forward sees passing lines and I wish my team would play that well :( what is wrong with my team why do we always lose to the Bulls"

Instead of rivalries, basketball just has rear end in a top hat Fan Base Of The Moment that is mostly disliked by the other fans (over the last decade or so I believe this went something like Lakers, Heat, Warriors. Spurs fans have been unable to rise to the status of hatred because it is hard to rise to anything when you weigh over 300lbs).

Yeah I really hate the warriors because I think the nickname "the dubs" is idiotic, and their fans are made up of silicon valley nerds rather than the "Rowdy" fanbase they used to have pre-Curry honestly.

I think college rivalries are much more fun. Even on the level of the MAC? It's fun to see Akron and Kent State fans hate each other in CBB.

Count Mippipopolous
Apr 10, 2008



NickRoweFillea posted:

Clippers/Grizzlies was an awesome blood feud a few years ago.

PremiumBlend
Jun 12, 2002

We did it little buddy...


I feel like the three Texas teams all have a good rivalry with each other, even if the Spurs have won most of the battles over the past couple of decades.

Metapod
Mar 18, 2012
:shrek:

EvanTH posted:

Spurs fans have been unable to rise to the status of hatred because it is hard to rise to anything when you weigh over 300lbs).

The Walrus
Jul 9, 2002

by Fluffdaddy


the response to my girlfriend walking around ocean city MD in a jays hat the day after the ALWC last year makes me thing Jays/Baltimore is a decent rivalry. Actually the jays have a couple decent ones now, between Bmore and Texas

The Walrus fucked around with this message at 15:05 on Mar 31, 2017

Shear Modulus
Jun 9, 2010





The Walrus posted:

the response to my girlfriend walking around ocean city MD in a jays hat the day after the ALWC last year makes me thing Jays/Baltimore is a decent rivalry. Actually the jays have a couple decent ones now, between Bmore and Texas

If Blue Jays-Rangers counts as a rivalry it's a good one because it gave us the gif of Odor punching Bautista and all his poo poo flying off like Sonic's rings.

Bird in a Blender
Nov 17, 2005

It's amazing what they can do with computers these days.



Well a good rivalry needs to be sustained over decades. It's easy to hate that team that knocked you out of the playoffs last year, but you're not going to really give a poo poo in a couple years.

For NBA, I feel like Bulls-Knicks is a decent rivalry. Started in the late 80s and through the 90s because the Knicks and Bulls faced each other in the playoffs a lot. You also had Ewing vs. Jordan. I still kind of hate the Knicks, but they've been so bad for a long time now it has faded slightly. Bulls-Cavs isn't bad either. Chicago seemed to always be the ones to knock Cleveland out of the playoffs in the Jordan era, and then Clevelanders really hated the Bulls when Noah talked poo poo about the city. I mean Cleveland really, really hated Noah. That and the Bulls somehow always seem to beat the Cavs in the regular season, although that doesn't translate to the playoffs much.

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3 DONG HORSE
May 21, 2008

I'd like to thank Satan for everything he's done for this organization



The only rivalry that matters is Kobe vs The World and Kobe won 5 times. Eat it, bitches.

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