As the NBA regular season gets underway, new rivalries are blossoming while some rivalries of the past have become relevant once again.
Due to free agency and other forms of player movement, the NBA landscape is always changing. The constant change rewards the majority of markets with optimism at this time of the year, while setting up potential rivalries as we move into the regular season schedule.
The rivalries that endure the natural cycles of the sport are those that produce tough and ugly basketball at times. Physicality and hard play define ugly rivalries, as sometimes the play on the court looks more like a game of pick-up street ball than an NBA contest.
The fun thing about rivalries is that they can emerge between any two teams for virtually any reason. For example, match-ups between the Miami Heat and Cleveland Cavaliers will be considered a rivalry until LeBron James retires or moves on to a different team.
Prior to LeBron's decision, the Heat and the Cavs were not considered rivals in any sense of the word.
An example of a long time rivalry can be found between the Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers, as the two franchises have faced off with the NBA title on the line 12 times.
Rivalries are great for the NBA, as they tend to lead to higher ratings and a higher level of play.