You can make an argument that all the greats have had rivals or an enemy, if you will, in any sport, show, or type of modern media.
In the world of basketball, rivalries between megastars are never personal, yet are always the most intense.
Michael Jordan was the greatest of all time, therefore it's only right to say that everyone that he stripped a ring from was Michael Jordan's enemy on the court. If it wasn't for Jordan, a lot of hall of fame caliber players would have NBA rings right now. But that's a whole other article.
Tim Duncan's rival arguably would be Shaq and vice versa. You could make an argument that with Shaq on his quest to get another ring, that it's more to do with Kobe Bryant, than it is for the future hall of famer himself.
Last season, the NBA and all of its fans swore that it was going to be the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Los Angeles Lakers in the finals. Even Nike invested millions of dollars on the hilarious puppet versions of Kobe and LeBron, displaying what conversations might be like for the two megastars of the NBA.
Kobe Bryant will likely retire in another five years, and LeBron James will be turning 30, the age that Kobe Bryant is now.
People and the media have tried to make it seem that LeBron James and Kobe Bryant are rivals in the NBA. And while that may be true, when Kobe Bryant retires, it will officially be LeBron's NBA. And with great power, comes great responsibility.
LeBron James' new rival in five years will be Kevin Durant, and it's obvious that in all seriousness, if Kevin Durant keeps progressing, he's a future hall of famer. But that's a whole other article.
I don't dwell on stats when it comes to predictions far down the line, and I only go off of what I see.
As rookies, LeBron and Durant both won rookie of the year in their own respective ways. LeBron used his blazing quickness and strength to get to the basket, and Durant displayed an all around game that was topped of with a great shooting ability.
Even though LeBron is a few years ahead of Durant, Durant adds new tactics to his game every season as well as LeBron. LeBron is probably laying off the post game for Shaq for now, and Durant is probably working on getting his teammates involved with the new young studded roster.
The two will battle in the same fashion of the Boston Celtics/Chicago Bulls 2009 first round series. Each game will be highly intense due to the complexities of their game, the mere size of both of them, and the will to win it all.
I've made comparisons to Kobe Bryant saying that he's "the NBA's Michael Jordan right now."
I'm not saying that he's as good as Jordan whatsoever, but that he's the most popular player, who sells the most tickets wherever he goes, because he's always going to deliver, which makes him a consummate professional. It has nothing to do with the skill level compared to Michael Jordan. But that's a whole other article.
When Kobe leaves, it will more than likely be LeBron's NBA, and Kevin Durant will be his rival. They are going to guard each other, score on each other, and the only reason it hasn't hit the media yet would probably be that Kobe's still playing. And Kevin Durant hasn't had a historic game against LeBron...yet.
Age won't be a factor, because if you consider it appropriate to call Kobe's rival LeBron James, who has a six year age difference, then you have to call it for Durant, who's only 21 years old.