The Golden State Warriors and the Cleveland Cavaliers have played each other in two consecutive NBA Finals, with each team coming away with a title. They each have multiple All-Stars, All-NBA players, and the last five MVPs. The two teams are looking like they’re going to face off again for a third time.
The two teams have been locked in some all-time battles, including a historic Game 7. Beyond what happens on the court, the Warriors and the Cavs don’t seem to like each other very much. There’s a genuine animosity there.
Great competition? Check. Meetings on the biggest stage? Check. Star power? Check. Animosity? Check.
Rivalry? Not so fast, according to James. The Cleveland superstar said he doesn’t see the Warriors as a rival. He told reporters after practice that he doesn’t think the Cavaliers have a rival today.
The one thing that separates this LeBron James from the one that dominated in Miami is the psychological aspect. This version uses words just as much as his jab step to create advantages. He uses his influence to intimidate the NBA and the officials and he uses his inhuman abilities to strike fear into opponents.
James is trying to get in the Warriors’ heads. He’s beaten Golden State four times in a row now. By suggesting they aren’t worth being called a rival, he’s trying to get in their heads.
I’ve written this before, but I have no issue with the mental games and pettiness. James put out a historic performance while he brought his team back from a 3-1 deficit. He deserves to talk trash.
The problem with James’ antics is that he doesn’t own up to them. He wants to “take the high road,” but then take shot after shot at Steph Curry and the Warriors. Now, he’s just spreading lies.
The Warriors and the Cavaliers are the only worthwhile rivalry in the NBA. What James and Curry have built over the last few years rivals Magic Johnson and Larry Bird. It is a new-age version of Bill Russell and Wilt Chamberlain. The two stars’ legacies are constantly being written and re-written.
The two teams have a rivalry, regardless of what James says. This isn’t just a media fabrication or the league trying to hype up the games. The two sides have been throwing verbal jabs at each other over the last few seasons. The players are doing this.
Golden State and Cleveland have a genuine rivalry and that will continue for as long as their stars keep them elite. It’s a new chapter tonight on MLK Day, but these teams are looking to June.