Los Angeles Lakers and Boston Celtics: Great Rivalry but Not the Best in Sports

When the Los Angeles Lakers and Boston Celtics meet in the NBA Finals for the 12th time it will be a reprisal of what some consider the best rivalry in all of sports.

However, I am not among those numbers.

Don't get me wrong, Lakers-Celtics is definitely the best rivalry in the NBA, but it lacks certain elements that prevent it from being THE best rivalry in all of sports.

Some of the most important factors to consider when dissecting a rivalry are fanbase, sustained success between the rival teams, proximity, competitive balance in head-to-head matchups, and the number of championships won.

The Lakers and Celtics meet most of my criteria and certainly constitute a legitimate rivalry, but sustained success between the teams and competitive balance are the areas in which this rivalry falters.

Prior to 2008, Boston had only qualified for the postseason three times since the 1992-1993 seasons, while the Lakers have only missed the playoffs twice in the entire history of their franchise.

The Celtics have a slight edge in championships won with 17 compared to the Lakers' 15, but when the two teams have squared off in the NBA Finals series Boston has prevailed in nine out of 11 meetings.

That type of margin doesn't speak too well for competitive balance, and to be honest, most of the glamour associated with the series only dates back to the 1980s when Magic Johnson and Larry Bird were the game's most dominant images.

Those years were the only time the rivalry was even competitive before 2008, and even though the regular season games hold a degree of interest, it's hard to get pumped up about two games sandwiched among 80 others.

The only other professional rivalry I feel is comparable to Lakers-Celtics is the rivalry between the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox in Major League Baseball.

It may also be the most lopsided rivalry in all of sports because...

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