LeBron James not buying rivalry between L.A. and Warriors
LeBron James wasn’t quite ready to proclaim a rivalry between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Golden State Warriors. Despite his recent move to L.A. and the consequent showdown that awaits during the final two preseason games after facing the Warriors four straight times in the NBA Finals, The King won’t buy into the hoopla surrounding these two teams.
LeBron not really buying that Warriors-Lakers are a rivalry pic.twitter.com/ltAaECVbK6
— Mark Medina (@MarkG_Medina) October 10, 2018
The Warriors and Lakers simply don’t have the history to make this a rivalry yet, as Golden State missed a vast amount of the Lakers’ best years, when they were known staples in the postseason.
In fact, the two teams have not met in the playoffs since 1991, when Klay Thompson was a mere 1-year-old toddler. In those 27 years, the Lakers have played in 242 playoff games while the Warriors have only participated in 120 against 13 different franchises, fascinatingly never running into each other during a near three-decade run.
Rivalries are often made in the playoffs, giving teams a reason to hold a grudge for ending their season faster than they would have liked. Rivalries aren’t one-sided, a reason why Pistons-Bulls didn’t become one until Michael Jordan’s first series victory against them and why the Lakers and Celtics were such a heated one during the 60s and 80s.
While this could be an unavoidable one in the near future, it will take time for a Western Conference rivalry to mature, as James’ personal career obstacle doesn’t automatically make it a Lakers one.
Los Angeles still has plans to grow its youth and tap into the talent in this exploratory season, testing the waters of how deep a run they can make with James still in the prime of his game.