5 NBA Player Rivalries We Want to See Fire Up in 2015-16

November 20th, 2015 by Josh Martin Leave a reply »
Russell vs. Wilt. Magic vs. Bird. MJ vs. Zeke. The Dream vs. The Admiral. KG vs. Duncan.

What do these and other great NBA player rivalries have in common? Quite a bit, actually.

For one, they all involve transcendent talents who were, more or less, contemporaries. In the case of Magic Johnson and Larry Bird, they came into and rose to prominence within the league at the exact same time.

Proximity, of both general geography and on-court position, plays a pivotal part in stoking flames between foes. Bill Russell and Wilt Chamberlain both manned the middle for their respective squads in the '50s and '60s, as did Hakeem Olajuwon and David Robinson in the '90s.

And if their teams played in the same division, as Michael Jordan's Chicago Bulls and Isiah Thomas' Detroit Pistons did, or in the same conference, as Kevin Garnett's Minnesota Timberwolves and Tim Duncan's San Antonio Spurs did, there were that many more opportunities for the chief combatants to come to blows, be it in the slog of the regular season or the hothouse of the playoffs.

The very best battles were those fought on level playing fields, with teams trading wins ...

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