Lakers vs. Celtics and the 10 Best Rivalries in Sports

Soven Bery@@realsovenberySenior Analyst IMarch 11, 2012

Lakers vs. Celtics and the 10 Best Rivalries in Sports

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    I’m no historian, but the first rivalry was probably created right after the inception of sports. Rivalries and sports go together like Charlie Sheen and anything illegal. 

    Rivalries have started for many different reasons, but they all have one thing in common. 

    Every rivalry game is special. Every rivalry game is marked on a calendar with red ink. 

    When two teams that just hate each other go head-to-head, fans are in for a treat. Rivalries have spawned many different fields. Just think Biggie and Tupac, or the Montagues and Capulets. 

    But sports rivalries are the best. The pure desire to beat the opponent always means that both sides are going to work extra hard.

    This is heaven for a sports fan. One does not simply miss a rivalry match. 

    Here are the 10 best. 

10. Auburn vs. Alabama

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    The Iron Bowl. This game is a true death-match that separates a state. In Alabama, you either are a Tiger or scream “Roll Tide!” 

    There is no middle ground. This series is so hard fought and is a treat for any sports fan to watch. Both teams have achieved national prominence in recent years and this is a rivalry that looks to grow even bigger, if that’s possible. 

    The series has belonged to Alabama so far, who leads with 41 wins and only 34 losses. 

    These are two teams who hate each other and always make for exciting football.

9. Dodgers vs. Giants

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    Whether it is in New York or California, these two teams have always hated each other. 

    Today this rivalry might not be the greatest, but the history between these baseball clubs is storied. It dates back as far as the Yankees and Red Sox. 

    In the 1940s and 1950s, both cities were at the top of the baseball world and were constantly fighting each other for the NL Pennant. 

    The hate is tremendous and the series is so close, with the Giants leading it, 1,096-1,079.

8. USC vs. Notre Dame

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    Sure, these two teams have had some down years recently, but it would be incredibly hard to say that this isn’t a great rivalry and keep a straight face while doing so. 

    These are two of the most storied programs in college football history and each game is a little blessing from the football gods. 

    Both schools have won 11 national championships and seven Heisman Trophies. Notre Dame and USC games count for five of the 10-most watched college football games in television history. 

    The hype surrounding each game is incredible and these young men put on a worthy show every year. 

    USC is the current champion, but Notre Dame leads 43 to 34.


7. Army vs. Navy

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    In real life, every player on both sides plays for the same team. But in the world of sports, both schools come out and give this game everything they have.

    Army and Navy might not have the best programs in the world or the most recognizable faces, but in every college football season, this annual match is a must watch.

    These athletes will fight for our country, but first they must fight for their school.

    Every year it is always a good game between fierce opponents, and we thank them both for their wonderful service to our country.


6. India vs. Pakistan

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    Now I know that most Americans don’t know about Cricket, but hear me out. This is the fiercest rivalry bar none. 

    Indians hate Pakistanis and vice versa. The pitch is another battlefield as each arch rival uses this matchup as a reason of superiority over the other nation. 

    The hate is so evident that the matches have recently had to be played at neutral venues such as Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, England or South Africa, because of the high volume of death threats.

    Each match is basically considered an extension of war, which makes for a riveting match.


5. Real Madrid vs. Barcelona

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    These two clubs are the two best teams in one of the top soccer leagues in the world. 

    Every match between them is not only a national event, but also a global phenomenon. El Clásico has been played in the regular season, but these two teams usually duke it out in major Cup games. 

    The level of play just increases when Barcelona marches into town or Real Madrid storms into Camp Nou. 

    The best players in the world are routinely featured in this grudge match and every single outing is just awesome "futbol."


4. Duke vs. North Carolina

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    It is easy to hate a team who is routinely ranked in the Top 10, who you have to beat to achieve national dominance. It is even easier to hate a program that is located just eight miles away from your own school. 

    Such is the case with Duke and North Carolina. Both teams are always at the top of the college basketball world. Every time they face, it is an instant classic—shown this February when Duke guard Austin Rivers drained the game-winning three-pointer as time expired.

3. Ohio State vs. Michigan

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    I’m an Ohio State fan in a family of Michigan lovers. How that happened, I have no idea, but I have a lot of experience with this rivalry, which is one of the best in college football. 

    Michigan leads the storied rivalry 58–43. These two teams have been the face of college football for quite a while and always have the last game of the year circled and re-circled and circled again. 

    From the “10-Year War” to “One vs. Two,” this series has seen it all.

    With Urban Meyer becoming the new head coach in Columbus and Brady Hoke having a BCS bowl season in his first year in Ann Arbor, it will be interesting to see what direction the rivalry will go next as a new chapter unfolds. 


2. Lakers vs. Celtics

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    The drama, the fanfare, the excitement. It must only be Lakers vs. Celtics.

    This is hands down the greatest rivalry in basketball and is truly exciting.

    During the first decade of the NBA in the 1950s, the Minneapolis Lakers had the first NBA dynasty. Then in 1959, Bob Cousy and his Celtics swept the Lakers in the NBA Championship and became the new dynasty.

    In the 1960s, Bill Russell and Boston would rule over Jerry West and Los Angeles. But in the 1980s, this rivalry hit its prime. Magic Johnson and Larry Bird carried their personal rivalry from college over to the NBA and helped make the Lakers and the Celtics dominate. 

    There was a lull until Kobe Bryant and the Big Three rejuvenated the rivalry recently.

    The history is present every time these two teams tip off.


1. Yankees vs. Red Sox

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    Really? Was there ever any doubt? I feel stupid even having to explain why I choose this for No.1, but here it goes. 

    Yankees fans hate the Red Sox. Red Sox fans hate the Yankees. But somewhere there is an ounce of respect between the two storied clubs. Every single year these two teams battle for the AL East crown. 

    The stories between these teams are almost as many as the great players that have suited up for Boston or New York. 

    From The Curse of the Bambino to Big Papi and Derek Jeter, this rivalry has transcended generations and nabs the No. 1 spot in this definitive list. 

    Thanks for reading! I know that there is always different views whenever a list like this is published so comment with your opinion and I will be sure to reply.