There have been intense player rivalries over the years, mostly because of the teams they play for. The Boston Celtics-Los Angeles Lakers rivalry is almost as old as the NBA.
Both teams have had the most success in league history, each having 17 championships and had to overcome each other in the NBA Finals. As a result, every Celtic player just knows they have to hate the Lakers and vice versa. It has continued like so for years and has also inspired some of the greatest player rivalries.
The Lakers held one of its annual events, Lakers All-Access where players and alumni hold a panel discussion with Lakers insiders to talk about basketball. Present at the even was Lakers president Jeanie Buss, former president of basketball operations Magic Johnson, and Lakers all-time great Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
Magic asked two kids to come to the stage and allowed them to ask him any questions they had in mind. The first question that was thrown at him was:
"Who is the best person you've faced against?"
Magic had a quick reply, saying:
"He look like you, I hate him too."
Anyone that watched Magic play knew the rivalry between him and Celtics legend Larry Bird. He directed the question to the audience, and everyone echoed "Larry Bird."
Their rivalry started in college after Magic led Michigan State to a victory over Bird's Indiana State in the 1979 NCAA Finals. It continued in the NBA, and Magic never saw the two games against the Celtics in the season as a regular-season game.
Despite their on-court rivalry, both players grew to become friends later in their careers. They co-authored a book with journalist Jackie MacMullan and had a documentary created by HBO. Between them, they won 8 NBA championships, 5 Finals MVP, 6 MVPs, and made 24 All-Star appearances. NBA analyst Charles Barkley also believes they are the most important players in NBA history.