Are the Warriors vs Cavaliers Truely A Rivalry?

By Danielle Arena

Posted on Wednesday, January 31, 2018 at 6:43 PM PDT

There is a lot of hype between the Warriors and Cavaliers, but can the hype be considered a rivalry?

Over the past three years, the Golden State Warriors and the Cleveland Cavaliers have been pitted against each other. ESPN called it  “a rivalry for the ages.” Can this rivalry, however, compare to other historic rivalries, such as the Los Angeles Lakers vs. the Boston Celtics in the 1980s or the Chicago Bulls vs. the Detroit Pistons in 1998-90?

While the Warriors and Cavaliers are both high performing teams, it would be premature to declare a historical rivalry between the two. When asked about his opinion of the rivalry, Warriors’ head coach Steve Kerr told Botkin, “We just want to kick each other’s ass...There’s no sort of love lost. That’s how it should be. We should be trying to beat each other.”

A large part of professional sports’ rivalries is the competitive attitude between the players. In past rivalry matchups, some players have been known to speak negatively about their opponents to the media or refuse to shake hands before the game. While neither the Warriors nor Cavaliers have shied away from the media, they are more civil and supportive to the other team’s members than previously seen.

After the Warriors 2017 Championship victory, it is usually customary for the winning team to visit the current president of the United States at the White House. While the teams are cordial with one another, the Warriors felt they had to decline an offer to visit the White House, a reflection of their views towards President Donald Trump. This decision prompted President Trump to tweet, “Going to the White House is considered a great honor for a championship team. Stephen Curry is hesitating, therefore invitation is withdrawn!" While the General Manager of the Warriors issued an official statement against Trump, it was Lebron James of the Cleveland Cavaliers who shut Trump down. Replying to Trump’s tweet, Lebron said, “U bum @StephenCurry30 already said he ain't going! So therefore ain't no invite. Going to White House was a great honor until you showed up!”

Comparing current NBA teams to past teams is nearly impossible due to the changes in the league, variations between players, and the differences in the culture of professional basketball. To claim the Warriors vs. Cavaliers is a better rivalry than others would be an unrealistic comparison, especially considering the amount of respect between the two teams. This rivalry may not be the most storied battle, but it is the best representation of the current NBA.