Kobe Bryant’s LA Lakers vs. Miami Heat: Return of the East-West Rivalry?

Pac vs. Biggie.  Death Row vs. Bad Boy.

Crowded, uptight New York vs. smoggy, lazy Los Angeles.  And now...

Sunny Los Angeles vs. Sunny South Beach?

The East Coast vs. West Coast (excuse me, the Least Coast vs. the Best Coast) rivalry is primarily one that was engendered by hip hop superstars Tupac Shakur and Christopher "Notorious B.I.G., a.k.a. Frank White, a.k.a. Biggie Smalls, a.k.a. Big Poppa" Wallace.

For those of you who don't follow hip hop, the rivalry began when Tupac Shakur was shot five times and robbed of his jewelry at a Manhattan recording studio in 1994.  Shakur claimed he saw the aforementioned Mr. Wallace following the shooting, and immediately fingered him and implicated others involved with Mr. Wallace, including record label Bad Boy Records. 

In his major label debut, Mr. Wallace released the track "Who Shot Ya?", perceivably implying that Wallace had been involved in the 1994 robbery. Shakur believed this to be a confirmation of his suspicions and released numerous tracks disrespecting the East Coast, and in particular, Bad Boy Records.

Then, like a huge wave of a young adult marketing madness, other West Coast artists came out dissing East Coast artists, and vice-versa.  The wave crested tragically with the death of Mr. Shakur in a Las Vegas shooting in 1996, and the shooting death six months later of Mr. Wallace in 1997.

What does this have to do with the NBA?  With Miami in the east, and Los Angeles in the west (ironically both ideal vacation locations), the Lakers and Heat, through their frenetic building in free agency, have re-established this "beef" between fans.

The road to the NBA Finals is paved for essentially two of the league's super-powers.  One of my readers from a previous article commented that it was a basketball "Cold War", and that this free agency was a figurative "arms race."

He's a...

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