Rivalries have been a huge part of NBA history. And why not? Rivalries make games more interesting and, most of all, rivalries sell. Boston Celtics vs. Los Angeles Lakers alone carried the league through multiple generations, starting when Red Auerbach was lighting victory cigars and the Lakers were based in Minneapolis, running all the way up through Paul Pierce and Kobe Bryant battling it out. Celtics-Lakers isn’t much of a rivalry right now, but give it time.
As great as the Michael Jordan era was for both fans and the league as a whole, it was a time strangely bereft of rivalries. Once Jordan and his Bulls did away with the Pistons via a four-game sweep in 1991, the next decade was mostly Jordan coldly dispatching everyone. Was there a Knicks vs. Bulls rivalry? Sure, in New York for Knicks fans.
But in recent years, rivalries have returned. Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Golden State Warriors, and their four-straight NBA Finals showdowns, is the most obvious one. But there are plenty more, pitting team against team, city against city, and in some cases, player against player. Before we hit the NBA Playoffs, here are the best rivalries in the Association for the 2018-19 season.