2010 NBA Finals: The Next Chapter of the Greatest Rivalry in Sports

Dan SmithCorrespondent IJune 2, 2010

The Boston Celtics hold a 9-2 edge in the NBA Finals over the Los Angeles Lakers. These two franchises have won 32 of the 63 NBA championships.

But what does it all mean?

1. These two teams have met 11 times with a world title on the line and their meeting in 2010 makes it an even dozen.

1 (sub-A). They have the greatest rivalry in sports because when they meet, it is for all of the marbles. The other great rivalries (Yankees/Red Sox, the NFC East) are all regular season rivalries.

2. There is no parity in the NBA and there has not been any in the 63 years that the league has crowned a king.

2 (sub-A). If the Bulls' six titles are added, then three teams have won 38 of the 63 NBA championships and it will be up to 39 in 64 if the NBA playoffs ever come to an end.

The debate can be made that the rivalry did lie dormant for over two decades since the teams last met in the short shorts era. Of course, the counterpoint to that argument is that the rivalry is back now, so the gap from 1987 to 2008 was merely a long intermission for the greatest rivalry in sports.

With the hyperbole concluded, we can now look at the road to the 2010 NBA Finals.

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This has been a brutal playoff run for the NBA. The gaps between games have been too long, the games have been disappointing, and the one series that went seven games (Bucks/Hawks) was utterly unwatchable.

The deer running into the bar in Milwaukee was more interesting than anything the Bucks and Hawks put onto the court.

The Lakers beat great young talents in Kevin Durant and Deron Williams then beat a crafty, old vet in Steve Nash. The Celtics ran the gauntlet in the East, beating Dwyane Wade, LeBron James, and Dwight Howard.

When the Lakers lost to the Celtics in 2008, Andrew Bynum was out with a knee injury. In 2010, Bynum is limited with a knee injury.

In 2008, Rajon Rondo was the weak link that the Big Three had to carry to the title. In 2010, it is now Rondo's team.

So, what does it all mean?

The easy pick is to go with Boston to beat up on the Lakers, even with the addition of tough guy Ron Artest, and take the series in Game Six in LA. It is easy because although the Celtics are two years older, and the miles have shown since their title run in 2008, they are still tougher in mind than the "soft" Lakers.

The easy pick is for suckers.

I'm going to go with Kobe Bryant. The man is two rings behind Michael Jordan. The man has had to listen to the "soft" rap since they didn't show up for Game Six in the 2008 NBA Finals.

Most importantly, all of you Kobe-haters out there, the man is the man.

Kobe Bryant is not a guy I would like to have a beer with, but if he is buying...

The point is I don't like Kobe. I am not picking him to lead the Lakers to win the series in six games because I am a fan of his or the Lakers. I am picking him, because unlike LeBron James who can only talk about a legacy, Kobe is on the cusp of etching his name on an epic one.

Jerry West never beat the Celtics and he still won't wear green to this day. Kobe Bryant sees the writing on the wall and he does not want to go 0-2 against the Celtics in the NBA Finals. 

He wants to have a win in the greatest sports rivalry.

He will get it in what I hope are six great games. As fans of the NBA, we deserve to have a few good games to end this marathon postseason.

It would be nice if the greatest rivalry in sports can take our minds off of July 1 for a few weeks.

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