It is unquestionably the best rivalry in all of American sports. You can miss me with the myopic turf war of Yankees-Red Sox and the over-hyped history of Cowboys-Redskins. No two teams dominate the history of their sport like the Lakers and Celtics, a rivalry forged in championship tradition.
It’s also a rivalry that was largely dormant for more than a decade and could be headed back down that same road.
Last night’s Game 7 loss to the Miami Heat all but ended the Boston Three Party. The futures of Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen and Paul Pierce are all in doubt as far as their Celtic days go. Same goes for Pau Gasol and every other Laker not named Kobe Bryant.
For two years running the C’s and Lakers have lost out in the playoffs to the eventual champion of their respective conferences. That fact alone illustrates how these mighty rivals have fallen. They’re good enough to be invited to the big dance yet don’t have the legs to be the last standing when the music stops.
The reality is both franchises face some tough decisions in the coming months. Are they going to rebuild or retool? There are no easy answers.
Will the Celtics build around Rajon Rondo, a guard they were looking to deal before the season began? Will the Lakers make Andrew Bynum the foundation of their future, an immature and inconsistent performer?
Only time will reveal what the future holds. For now let’s just enjoy the rebirth of a rivalry that has spanned generations while hoping we’ll get more of the same sooner than later.