Fans of the Boston Celtics and the Los Angeles Lakers will never come to a consensus concerning who the NBA's all time top franchise is, but by most measures, the Lakers already own that crown, and it's sealed in hate.
The Celtics do have more overall NBA championships, but that is trivial when you compare the respective relevancy of each franchise through the decades.
The majority of Boston's titles were won before most people reading this article were born, and the Celtics' NBA championship pedigree can not excuse all the seasons in which they served as the Eastern Conference doormats.
Not to spread salt in the wound, but after Larry Bird retired from Boston, the Celtics have not really had much to discuss until GM Danny Ainge managed to acquire Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen in the following the 2006-07 season.
Before 2008 the Celtics were forced to endure numerous forgettable seasons; during one stretch from 1995 through 2001, the storied Celtics franchise missed the postseason six years straight.
Those six seasons of consecutive postseason frustration for Boston is magnified when you consider the Lakers have only missed the playoffs five times since 1949.
But the numbers don't stop there, because when you compare the two franchises in a historical context, it's really no contest at all.
The Lakers have won more regular season games, postseason contests and appeared in more NBA Finals than the Celtics, and they arguably have three of the top 10 players in NBA history in Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Magic Johnson and Kobe Bryant.
All of those numbers form a pretty good case for the Lakers as the NBA's greatest franchise, but it doesn't take a statistical breakdown to prove who rules the NBA.
Just measure the hate.
The Lakers currently reside in a space that is reserved for the most despicable of all sports teams, which means they usually set the standard for excellence.
The Lakers can be compared to other NBA teams but they are much more like the Dallas Cowboys and the New York Yankees than any other team on the hardwood, especially when it comes to winning and pissing opponents off.
Success breeds contempt. And who has been more successful in the NBA than the Lakers?
The Celtics can argue that their championships make them the superior franchise, but the public's regard doesn't support the claim.
Eastern Conference foes may have cultivated an environment of hostility towards the Celtics, but that's not the same as hate.
I have heard plenty of people say they dislike the Celtics, but when it comes to the Lakers, the gloves come off.
There is no middle ground. Either you really love the Purple and Gold, or you hate it.
Even Laker fans find room in their hearts to respect the Celtics and their historical accomplishments, but the praise is not reciprocated to the Lakers.
Some wise person once said that a person could really tell when they have come up in the world by the number of people that are constantly trying to hold them down.
I'm not sure if that wise person was talking about the Lakers franchise, but his words certainly contain relevance.
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