Chris Broussard: Warriors-Cavs will be the NBA's greatest rivalry of all time
"Look, if Cavs-Warriors isn't a rivalry, then rivalries just don't exist."
Forget what LeBron James says about not having any rivals in the NBA; that statement above is the undeniable truth from FOX Sports NBA Insider Chris Broussard on this week's episode of the In The Zone NBA podcast.
In fact, there's one stat in particular that illustrates just how heated this matchup has become. As Broussard noted on Tuesday's episode of Undisputed on FS1, the Cavs and Warriors are on pace to make NBA history by becoming the first teams to meet in three consecutive NBA Finals.
The Celtics and Lakers in the '80s, meanwhile, squared off for a championship only three times in the entire decade — and the epic clash between Boston and Los Angeles is the measuring stick for sports rivalries. So by that measure alone, Cleveland and Golden State are already on the verge of matching Celtics-Lakers as the NBA's greatest rivalry — but that's not all.
Given their standing as the undisputed best teams in the NBA, the Cavaliers and Warriors are on pace to stage the greatest rivalry in all of professional sports history. Ever.
CHRIS: Not only did the Lakers and Celtics fail to [face each other in three straight Finals], but it's been nearly a century since two teams in any of America's three major sports did that. We like to romanticize the past and act as if the Lakers and Celtics were meeting every single year in the Finals. But in reality, Magic and Bird only met three times in the Finals over 12 years. Three times! That's it. And guess what? The Cavs and Warriors ain't stopping at three straight Finals.
Well on top of that, Magic and Bird each had other strong rivals besides one another. Magic's Lakers met Dr. J's Sixers three times in the Finals, then played Isiah Thomas' Pistons twice. And Bird's Celtics battled Houston twice for the title. So while the Lakers and Celtics ruled, there were other teams in the mix. [...]
The smart money is on these two clubs meeting four, five, maybe six straight times in the Finals. Now that's a rivalry for the ages.
Your initial instinct might be to scratch your head at the suggestion that something from today could be as great (or better) than the "Golden Age" of the NBA. That's understandable; nostalgia is a powerful force, after all. Yet the facts are on Broussard's side, and you simply can't argue with the facts.
Indeed, there's another layer to the Cavs-Warriors rivalry that takes the whole situation to a different level: the emergence of social media.
Every little thing that happens between Cleveland and Golden State trickles out to the masses in real time. When the Warriors hint that LeBron is being a baby, we know about it almost instantly — and the internet turns that bit of "news" into an unstoppable force of trash talk and analysis. More than ever before, what happens off the court is equally important as what happens on it.
And yes, that includes two superstars disagreeing about whether there's even a rivalry in the first place.
Check out the rest of the podcast to hear Broussard on what LeBron can possibly do to surpass Michael Jordan as the greatest of all time and what the Miami Heat should do with Goran Dragic ahead of the NBA trade deadline — then head on over to iTunes to subscribe, rate and review.