Despite what LeBron James says, that rivalry with Draymond Green seems alive and well, at least from Draymond’s perspective.
During last night’s 126-91 Golden State rout of Cleveland, Green had a run in with James at mid court resulting in just a little bit of acting on LeBron’s part. Unsurprisingly the Warriors forward wasn’t having any of it and proceeded to mock the Cavs star on his way back to the bench.
Draymond vs LeBron 👀 pic.twitter.com/Um9bzys8Gu
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) January 17, 2017
Ironically this all came on the heels of James not categorizing the Warriors and Cavs as a rivalry.
“I don’t think we have a rival in our game today,” James said after Cavs practice Sunday. “We’ve had two great Finals appearances the last two years, but I had the same with San Antonio when I was in Miami. We weren’t rivals. And I think I played those guys more, so I wouldn’t look at it as rivals.”
To some extent he has a point. Genuine rivalries are hard to develop especially when the two teams in question play on opposite ends of the country. Adding to that is the acknowledgement of the said rivalry by both parties. For instance I’m sure if you ask Larry Bird and Magic Johnson if the Lakers and Celtics had a rivalry both would probably agree.
Meanwhile, Green was quick to recognize the rivalry between the two teams.
“Yeah, I think this is a rivalry,” Green said quickly, not allowing a reporter to finish his question. “It’s definitely fun. A team that you beat, beat you, it’s definitely fun. If you look at the last two years and this year, we’ve been the top two teams in the league each year, and so I look at it as a rivalry, and it’s definitely a fun game to play in.
“But I don’t really care if anyone else sees the game the way I see it. I see how I see it, and they can see it how they see it.”
In the end however LeBron’s reluctance to call the Warriors/Cavs a rivalry may ultimately be the problem with today’s NBA and the stars that comprise it. Super teams and on the court friendships is never a long-term recipe for widespread success among the League which will kill any existing or future rivalries.