Special thanks to MPLaker for submitting his take to the Lakers Nation and giving us the rights to post it on the blog. Once again, if you have your own take and want to see it on TLN, feel free to e-mail it to us at Articles@theLakersNation.com.
Hollywood has turned to comic book heroes and old television shows to help satisfy the audiences’ demands for entertainment. Movies like Spiderman and Transformers are now some of the biggest moneymaking movies of all time because these movies provide heroes and stories that a majority of adults grew up with. These paying adults collected comic books and ran home after school to watch cartoons about robots from a planet called Cybertron and are more than giddy to revisit their childhood.
Thanks to Hollywood, new generations have been introduced to old favorites and Peter Parker and Optimus Prime are as fascinating now as they were back then. In following this trend, it shouldn’t be a surprise to anybody that the Lakers and Celtics rivalry has returned and piqued the interest of many sports fans world wide.
Not just basketball fans, mind you, but football heads, baseball idols, and soccer players are looking up and taking notice of what is shaking up the NBA courts. Members of the New York Giants, who upset Boston’s beloved Patriots, showed up at several Knicks and New Jersey Nets games, Manny Ramirez was a towel waver at a Celtics game earlier in the season, and David Beckham’s mug is shown more at a Laker game than when he’s playing for his own squad, the L.A. Galaxy.
Ratings have been given a jump from the heartless and doldrum performances of the last two NBA Playoffs. The city of Miami and San Antonio, home of the last two basketball champions, might disagree but let’s face it… Miami is filled with old people enjoying the scenery before they bite the big one and San Antonio’s population of thirty, all working as tourist guides at the Alamo, didn’t bode well for the NBA’s television payoff.
On the other hand, the return of Hollywood versus “Blue-collar Bean-town” is the league’s basketball version of a wet dream except, now it is a reality.
The Lakers against the Celtics bring back memories of not basketball games, but basketball wars. Clothes-lining someone’s head (Kurt Rambis courtesy of Kevin Mchale), jersey-grabbing (Dennis Johnson on Magic Johnson), and incredible last minute steals (John Havlicek) are just a small fraction of the numerous legendary personnel and highlights that these two warring factions share. Many reputations and legacies were built around their battles and it remains the same today.
Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen, and Paul Pierce are chasing their first championship ring and Kobe Bryant and Phil Jackson are hunting for their first since Shaq turned traitor and jumped ship. In addition, Coach Jackson is looking to get his tenth and last finger fitted, which would break his tie with Red Auerbach, the coach that built the Boston Garden.
If Kobe were to win, he would come closer to establishing his place among the greats of-all time. Shaq-less, Kobe would be unequivocally recognized as the catalyst for the Lakers’ success. The cult-like chants of “Beat L.A., Beat L.A.” have returned, while Angelinos are again preparing to take up arms and march down Figueroa Street.
As a kid growing up in L.A., I wholeheartedly bought into the rivalry and I was sure that if I ever saw Larry Bird on the streets, I would have asked for his autograph and then kicked him in the shins, hoping to break a bone or two.
I read my Spiderman comics, watched Transformers, and idolized my Lakers. As I grew up, I put down the comics for college textbooks, and Transformers was canceled, but I never stopped supporting or watching the guys in Purple and Gold.
That being said, I was shocked to see Paul Pierce, a local from Inglewood, California, which is the location of the old Lakers’ Great Western Forum, leading the cheers to “Beat L.A., Beat L.A.”. Pierce, to many Lakers fans including myself, is now the new Green Goblin and Megatron all rolled into one. He is the face of an old evil come back to life for all Lakers followers everywhere.
Just like Hollywood has welcomed back old heroes and idols and introduced them to a whole new generation, the Lakers versus Celtics rivalry is an event that has been missed and longed for.
Welcome back… welcome back.