NBA Free Agency 2018: The Re-Birth of an Old Rivalry - The LA Lakers & The Boston Celtics
With LeBron James, the four-time NBA MVP and three-time NBA Champion, deciding to join the LA Lakers in the free agency this summer on a four-year, $153.3 million and Kyrie Irving already in Boston, they can bring back the lost rivalry between the LA Lakers and the Boston Celtics.
A shocking news transpired last season when Kyrie Irving requested a trade from the Cleveland Cavaliers. He wanted to be the alpha male on a particular team which seemed impossible while playing alongside LeBron James with all the focus on him.
That is when things went south between them, a similar situation to Shaq and Kobe in 2004. The Lakers and the Celtics are the two most dominant teams in the NBA with thirty-three championships amid themselves. In the great history of rival sports teams, they are probably on top.
The earliest of rivalry started in the 60's after the Lakers relocated to the city of Los Angeles. With big guns like Bill Russell, John Havlicek from Boston and Elgin Baylor, Jerry West from the Lakers, marked the genesis of new dynasties in the NBA. The Celtics, however, managed to defeat them every time they faced in the finals. The rivalry got intense when the Lakers acquired Wilt Chamberlain which embarked the personal rivalry between the two dominant centers of Wilt and Bill Russell.
But the NBA analysts still debate today that prime rivalry between the Boston and the Lakers started because of Magic Johnson and Larry Bird in the 80's.
The 80's Lakers were known as the Showtime Lakers led by Magic and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar as they won five championships from the year 1980-90. Meanwhile, Larry Bird, Kevin McHale and Robert Parish led the Celtics to three NBA championships together.
They faced the Showtime Lakers three times in the Finals in 1984,1985 and 1987 with the Lakers winning in 1985 and 1987.
“When the new schedule would come out each year, I'd grab it and circle the Boston games. To me, it was The Two and the other 80.” -Magic Johnson.
“The first thing I would do every morning was look at the box scores to see what Magic did. I didn't care about anything else.” -Larry Bird.
We saw the end of the rivalry between them when they last faced each other in 1987.
The long drought between Celtics - Lakers rivalry was then kept alive by Kobe Bryant along with head coach Phil Jackson of the Lakers in 2008. They fought for the Larry O'Brien Championship Trophy against the Boston's trio of Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen. The Celtics won the title defeating the Lakers 4-2. They met each other again in 2010 but this time the Lakers emerged victorious winning the series 4-3. Kobe won the Finals MVP Trophy this time.
The NBA loved their rivalry because it was historic and included all legendary names like Bill Russell, Magic, Kareem, Bird, Kobe etc. All Hall of Fame inductees or future Hall of Famer's.
Media coverage, ratings and spectators would increase big-time when both the teams played each other. This was one of the reasons why LeBron James preferred the great Lakers legacy and wanted to be a sole part of it. With young talents like Brandon Ingram, Kyle Kuzma it will fun to watch the Lakers again this coming season.
And the Celtics young core comprising Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum already showing flashes of how great they were in the Eastern Conference Finals, we are gearing to witness an epic rivalry between them.
Can't wait for the 2018-19 NBA season to begin.