Ranking the 10 Biggest Bromances in NBA History

Brett David RobertsCorrespondent IMarch 17, 2013

Ranking the 10 Biggest Bromances in NBA History

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    Bromances have become a part of professional sports. It's to be expected that when you spend the majority of your life traveling, living and playing the sport you love with others that deep and profound friendships will form.

    It's hard to really put any kind of arbitrary set criteria to rank what constitutes a great bromance, but in ranking these it seemed appropriate to not only give weight to the most high profile players but also to consider some of the less monumental pairings that have developed over the years.

    Let's try to rank some of the great bromances of today's league, while also dropping a few all-time bromances in the mix.

10. Chris Paul and Blake Griffin

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    Chris Paul and Blake Griffin have popularized "Lob City" and helped make the L.A. Clippers true contenders for the first time in franchise history. That feat alone substantiates the bromance, but the highlights Paul and Griffin produce only further do that.

    Their pairing has made CP3 happy enough that most expect him to remain in Lob City to thrive with Griffin as they grow together and enter their primes (notwithstanding that Paul is already in his).

    Chris Paul is the perfect bromance partner for any NBA big man, and Griffin thanks his lucky stars every time he steps on the court that he's playing with one of the most crafty passers ever.

9. Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili

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    Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili have come together as a multiple-title-winning tandem in San Antonio. They love playing together, and both have helped one another join the annals of the best international players to grace the court.

    Parker is quite a rapper, but there's no word on whether or not he plans to make a song about his bromance with Manu.

    Then again, since I don't speak French, there's a good chance this "Premier Love" song by Parker is just that. The video depicts Parker romancing a beautiful French model, but it could just as well be his Argentine backcourt mate.

    The greatest thing about this bromance is that on the wrong team Parker and Ginobili could have just gone on to be very good players. However, playing together (along with that Timmy Duncan fella) has propelled them to the realm of legends—both internationally and in San Antonio Spurs history.

8. Ricky Rubio and Kevin Love

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    ESPN reported that Ricky Rubio and Kevin Love have taken their bromance online to display for the entire world. Rubio and Love have engaged in discussions about fashion, lessons for Rubio in English, art history appreciation and more.

    The duo is making the Minnesota Timberwolves relevant again, and Rubio is bringing some Spanish flair to this bromance, while Kevin Love appears to be the lumberjack that makes this duo the first good thing going in the Twin Cities since Kevin Garnett.

    And KG knows a thing or two about bromances himself, despite his tough guy persona and aura (more on this later!).

7. Chauncey Billups and Rip Hamilton

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    Chauncey Billups and Rip Hamilton composed a great backcourt for the Detroit Pistons, and they developed great chemistry on and off the court.

    Unfortunately for them, their respective careers declined not just because of age, but also because they had grown dependent upon one another and their teammates.

    Unlike another backcourt bromance (Rank 2), Billups and Hamilton were not lucky enough to be traded together when they moved on to their next teams.

6. Steve Nash and Dirk Nowitzki

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    Steve Nash and Dirk Nowitzki were teammates for the Dallas Mavericks, but since parting ways the pair has continued its strong friendship. The duo lived together while they played with one another, and they've both gone on to have legendary NBA careers.

    It would have been nice to see the buddies play together in their respective primes, though, as Nash was still developing as a player during his time in Dallas.

    A prime Nash to Nowitzki combo may have been enough to propel Nash to a couple titles, while Dirk celebrated his first in 2011. Nash, of course, is one of the best active players who has yet to (and may never) win a ring.

5. Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol

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    Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol are a special case. Z-Bo had long been thought of as a team cancer and coach's headache of a nightmare, but when he got to Memphis this suddenly stopped.

    Explanations as to why were abundant, but the only reason that really made any sense was the one espoused by Eric Weiss of The Wages and Wins Journal.

    Weiss said the bromance Gasol formed with the troubled Randolph helped him shed his bad boy image, while expanding and growing as a person.

    Gasol took Randolph across the pond with him to tour Europe, and the experience of having a true friend may be what really calmed Randolph and helped him maximize his potential as a person and a player.

4. LeBron James and Dwyane Wade

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    LeBron James and Dwyane Wade have started to make history as one of the best tandems in the history of the Association. King James and Flash have gelled both on and off the court, and the Miami Heat are in the midst of what could be a multiple title run after the Heat won the championship in 2011-12.

    They both are lauding praise on one another constantly, and who can blame them? The last time two players of this caliber played together was the Lakers of the early '00s with Shaquille O'Neal and Kobe Bryant.

    But those two weren't exactly known for being best buds. Wade and James genuinely have strong affection for one another, and they've made it work in South Beach.

3. Rashad McCants and Kevin Garnett

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    North Carolina product Rashad McCants may not be as high a profile player as the other 19 players in this bromance piece, but he upped the ante for bromances by using his poetic skills to craft perhaps the most touching poem on friendship in the history of the English language.

    OK, so that's a stretch, but typically we associate poetry with people wooing lovers. McCants only wanted to tell Kevin Garnett he greatly appreciated his mentorship.

    Via Dime Magazine, feast your heart and soul upon the poetic opening lines of Mr. McCants, who played with KG in Minnesota before fading into obscurity as a lottery pick bust:  

    He came to me with open arms, like a hawk embracing his young,
and he fed me food out his mouth but I was starving for knowledge.
the type of knowledge that can't be fed by hand or voice, but by heart.
so when he spoke he touched my soul, and my soul would smack me if I didn't listen the words he spoke weren't for the ears to hear.

2. Steve Francis and Cuttino Mobley

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    Steve Francis and Cuttino Mobley were a brilliant and underrated backcourt whose bromance began to develop when they were playing together for the Houston Rockets. An unlikely pairing, Francis was a high lottery pick, while Mobley was selected deep in the second round.

    But that wouldn't stop "Cat" Mobley from becoming a great lefty gunner and Francis from being one of the more athletic point guards in league history.

    They were lucky enough to be packaged together and dealt to the Orlando Magic during the summer of 2005 in exchange for Tracy McGrady, but things went sour down in central Florida. The Magic weren't really enamored with the idea of keeping Mobley, and they did the unthinkable and traded Francis' best bud.

    Francis was devastated, and none of that "This is a business" talk could soothe his wounds. Francis told ESPN, "Him not being here is going to be tough for me. I don't know what I'm going to wake up for."

    That's the stuff of true heartache.

1. Isiah Thomas and Magic Johnson

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    Isiah Thomas and Magic Johnson were the greatest bromance in the history of bromances, not just the NBA. The pair never got to play together like most in this slideshow, but their rivalry was one enriched by hugging and kissing embraces before games.

    They popularized the idea that rivals could be best friends before and after games, while being bitter enemies for 48 minutes. Zeke and Magic are both Hall of Famers and in the elite class of NBA point guards.

    Their bromance all but died following Magic Johnson's forced retirement due to insensitive remarks about Magic's circumstances, but they rekindled their friendship this year, and both seemed genuinely excited to have each other back.  

     

    I had a great private convo with @iamisiahthomas. Glad we can be friends again.

    — Earvin Magic Johnson (@MagicJohnson) January 14, 2013