With sports comes competition, and with competition occasionally comes conflict.
Rivalries have always existed in sports, such as the one between the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox or Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier. Rivalries have also existed in basketball too, the most famous one being between the Los Angeles Lakers and Boston Celtics. As the level of competition increases, the level of conflict does too.
And as a result, the so-called “rivalry” between the Golden State Warriors and the Los Angeles Clippers was born.
The Term “Rivalry”
Can the relationship between the Warriors and Clippers really be called a rivalry? Absolutely.
The term rival is defined by “a person who is competing for the same object or goal as another, or who tries to equal or outdo another”. Both teams certainly fit this bill. The Warriors and the Clippers are both part of the competitive Pacific Division, part of the Western Conference. Arguably the best two teams in the division, they are fighting for the top spot to secure a high seed for when the playoffs do come around. But this isn’t enough to label these two teams “rivals”, as by this definition, every set of teams in every division are “rivals”.
This simply isn’t strong enough. Rivals need more than competition. They need blood. Bad blood. If you look back at any Warriors-Clippers matchup from the previous season, there was tons of conflict — technical fouls, ejections, fights… You name it. The Warriors and Clippers are definitely the next emerging rivalry, if it hasn’t already arrived yet.
The Rivalry’s Future
Though the rivalry only really came to form this year, it would not be a surprise if it only grew stronger in the upcoming season. As both teams improve, both teams’ chances to reach that same goal become higher. And with higher stakes on the line and more competition, the rivalry should blossom and becoming one filled with more grit and hatred.
In a post-90s and post-malice era of the NBA, the physicality and the aggressiveness that once existed in the league has dwindled. The Warriors and Clippers feud may be a solution, providing basketball fans a more passionate and entertaining brand of basketball.