Celtics/Lakers: Best of Rivals

Directed by Jim Podhorest

Part of the great documentaries series 30 for 30 from ESPN, I stumbled upon this three-part documentary of the Celtics and Lakers rivalry that began in the 1969’s and re-heated in the ’80s. In the ’80s Larry and Magic saved the NBA they made it fun and brought a larger audience, Jordan just elevated higher. I am a Bulls fan and Jordan is my favorite player, but still, I have to respect the greatness of Bird and Magic. 

The documentary begins taking a look at a young league when Bill Russell led Boston to 11 championships and the Lakers had Jerry West and Wilt Chamberlain. The documentary goes deep into three decades 60’s, 70’s and 80’s and not only takes a look at the basketball side of the story, but it also looks at the country. 

I loved it, hearing from the players themselves and seeing the game footage was like living through those great games again or for me for the first time. How exciting was the NBA especially from the time Larry and Bird played up until the 2000s. I look at these documentaries and feel sad at how different the league is today and the players of today. This was a time where players wanted to compete not to get together and win easy championships. And even teams that had a lot of great players were not easy winners, they had to play, unlike teams like the Heat of Wade and LeBron and the Warriors with KD. I hate the league today, and I know if kids took time and see old games they would understand why players of today no matter the stats just can’t be considered better than Magic, Bird or Michael. 

But I got off-topic, I think ESPN did a great story of telling the story. It was great to have two narrating the story, from Boston Donnie Wahlberg and from L.A. Ice Cube. That gave the viewers both side’s perspective of the games and the rivalry and the cities they lived in. The only thing I felt let down that after going into detail they left the 2008 and 2010 times where the Celtics and Lakers played again, where the Celtics won the first time and the Lakers the second time. 

If a fan of this era, this is a great documentary.  

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