Biggest NBA Rivalries

The National Basketball Association, or the NBA as everyone in the world knows it, has been going since 1946. Its history is packed full of incredible rivalries between teams and individual players. The magic on the court has seen some moments of sporting excellence, individual bravery and the true spirit of playing in a team. Let’s take a look at the rivalries that inspired such acts of triumph and heartbreaking defeat.

Isiah Thomas vs Michael Jordan

It is virtually undisputed that Michael Jordan is a true legend in the game and there has been no one who can compete with him in terms of reputation, team wins and individual glory. However, this meant that he may have made some enemies along the way. In a rivalry that spanned his entire career, Jordan had a very poor start when he came up against Hall of Famer Isiah Thomas in 1985.

Jordan was just a rookie and he went to the All-Star Game to seriously show off his skills. Thomas pulled rank and got the other players to freeze him out and not give him the opportunities he needed to shine. Jordan found out about this plan, but would have to wait until 1992 to get his revenge. That year, Jordan used his sway to keep Thomas off the US Olympic team.

The rivalry reared its ugly head every time the two met on the court. Matches between the Chicago Bulls and the Detroit Pistons were always intense.

The Chicago Bulls vs The New York Knicks

When you have a player like Jordan on the team, it makes sense that most other teams will be gunning for you and see you as the team to beat. The Chicago Bulls have had a long list of teams wanting to take them down, but none more so than the New York Knicks. Between 1989 and 1996, the two teams faced off against each other in the playoffs a total of seven times. The only time the Knicks were able to beat the Bulls was in 1994. This was the year that Jordan was taking a break from the game and wasn’t on the court.

Magic Johnson vs Larry Bird

It truly was a magic time when these two stars were playing in the They first faced off against each other in the championship game for the 1979 NCAA. Magic Johnson was playing for the Spartans, who were victorious over the Sycamores – Larry Bird’s team. They next met up for a championship in the NBA in 1984. At that time, Johnson was now with the LA Lakers and Bird was with the Boston Celtics. This time around, Bird got the upper hand and his team took the win.

The following year it was the turn of the Lakers and Johnson to win. The two teams met again in 1987 in an epic championship battle that would see the Lakers take the prize. This match saw the two men rise to their full talent and neither one backed down from the fight, although they had become friends over the years.