Rivalries fuel fan passion and create heated, intense rivalries in sports. The National Basketball Association (NBA) is no exception, having been the site of numerous rivalries that have left an indelible mark on the league's history.
Here's a look at the worst rivalries in NBA history. Boston Celtics vs. Los Angeles Lakers. This historic rivalry is probably the most famous in NBA history. The Celtics and the Lakers faced each other in 12 finals between 1959 and 2010, winning 9 and 5 titles respectively.
The rivalry between the two teams was fueled by great players like Larry Bird, Magic Johnson, Bill Russell and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, not to mention legendary coaches like Red Auerbach and Pat Riley. This rivalry not only involves the two teams, but also the cities of Boston and Los Angeles, resulting in a symbolic confrontation between the East and West coasts of the United States.
Chicago Bulls vs. Detroit Pistons. During the 1980s and 1990s, these two teams faced each other in several playoff series. The Pistons were known for their physical and aggressive style of play, while the Bulls were led by the legendary Michael Jordan.
The Pistons, nicknamed Bad Boys, did not spare the Bulls during these playoff series, trying to stop Jordan with harsh and often violent game tactics. Despite this, the Bulls ultimately prevailed over the years, helping to make this one of the hottest rivalries of the 1990s.
Los Angeles Lakers vs. Boston Celtics. This rivalry is one of the oldest in NBA history, dating back to the league's first decade. The two teams faced each other in seven finals in the 1960s, creating a rivalry that involved big names like Elgin Baylor, Jerry West and Bill Russell.
The Celtics had their best streak winning 9 titles during the 1960s. The confrontation between these two NBA powers was also revisited in the 1980s and 2000s, renewing the rivalry between Magic Johnson, Larry Bird and Kobe Bryant.
The toughest rivalries in NBA history
Los Angeles Lakers vs. Sacramento Kings. During the 2000s, these two teams faced off in one of the NBA's fiercest and toughest rivalries. The challenges between the Lakers of Shaquille O'Neal and Kobe Bryant and the Kings of Chris Webber, Peja Stojakovic and Mike Bibby have become legendary.
In 2002, the Kings seemed poised to win the NBA title, but the Lakers won a series of extremely questionable games, creating controversy and reigniting the rivalry between the two teams.
Detroit Pistons vs. Indiana Pacers. During the 2004 season, these two teams collided in a rivalry that escalated into one of the worst moments in NBA history.
During a playoff game, a violent brawl between players, coaches and fans broke out on the field. This event led to long-lasting suspensions and expulsions, and the rivalry acquired a very negative reputation for both teams and the league.
These rivalries have left an indelible mark on NBA history, and there is little doubt that they will continue to be remembered as some of the most heated and passionate moments in sports. Ultimately, these rivalries have helped make the NBA one of the most followed and loved sports in the world.