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The Rival / Sports

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  • The Wilt Chamberlain/Bill Russell rivalry
  • Nearly 30 tennis rivalries have their own pages on The Other Wiki. Just to name a few...
  • There is no love between the NBA's Paul Pierce (Boston Celtics) and LeBron James (Cleveland Cavaliers/Miami Heat/ LA Lakers), particularly due to the frequent on-court duels between the two. One even went to the full seven game series, with Pierce ultimately winning and getting a ring before James. LeBron's losses to the Celtics was one of the biggest reasons as to why he left to form a Big 3 with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh in Miami, to counter that of the Celtics' Big 3 of Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen. It got so bad that James exclusively referred the Celtics as "that team", and Pierce certainly doesn't bother with showing any sign of sportsmanship with James (e.g. no handshakes, no hugging, barely talks to James off the court and so forth).
    • It goes back even further than 2008. They got in a few verbal confrontations during LeBron's rookie season, and once nearly got into a fistfight in the locker room over a pre-season game prior to LeBron's sophomore year.
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  • For a long time, there was even less love between Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O'Neal—The Other Wiki has its own article on their relationship, or lack thereof. However, by the end of Shaq's career, things began to improve between them, and this trend continued in the final years of Kobe's career.
  • Hockey has a fair share.
    • Don Cherry and European players, though he's softened in recent years.
  • Many British football clubs have these.
    • Manchester United vs. Liverpool (Arguably the most famous one, since the two are widely accepted to be the most storied clubs in England)
      • Manchester United vs. Leeds United. Although this died down after Leeds' epic collapse in the 2000's.
      • Manchester United vs. Arsenal during the Turn of the Millennium
    • Manchester United vs. Manchester City
    • Liverpool vs. Everton
    • Celtic vs. Rangers
    • Arsenal vs. Tottenham
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    • Newcastle vs.Sunderland
    • Aston Villa vs. Birmingham City
    • Southampton vs. Portsmouth
    • Watford FC vs. Luton Town — Proving that it's not just the more well-known clubs who hate each other's guts.
    • West Brom vs. Wolverhampton Wanderers
    • Nottingham Forest vs. Notts County
    • Sheffield Wednesday to Sheffield United
    • Brighton and Hove Albion vs. Crystal Palace — Proving that you don't need to be neighbours to be rivals.
    • AFC Wimbledon vs. Milton Keynes Dons — A case where the rivals are even farther removed geographically than the above, but are indelibly linked by history. MK Dons are the same corporate entity as the former Wimbledon FC, but virtually everyone outside Milton Keynes itself (and quite possibly some within that community) considers AFCW, founded by Wimbledon fans in response to the move, as at least the Spiritual Successor to the original Wimbledon.
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  • This trope is probably played straightest in boxing, not surprisingly considering the 1-on-1 aspect of the sport. The most famous rivalry was between Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier, with Frazier still bitter long after their respective retirements. This was the classic form of rivalry, as they were completely opposed in the ring and out in terms of temperaments, attitudes, and persona.
  • Some sports rivalries, including 99% of all college sports, don't include the "respect" part. In the case of rivalries like Auburn-Alabama, Ohio State-Michigan, Duke-North Carolina, Cal-Stanford, UCLA-USC, or Arizona-Arizona State, there's nothing but pure hatred. "Sports rivalry" just has a better ring to it than "sports arch-enemyship".
  • Alexei Yagudin and Evgeni Plushenko, possibly the fiercest rivalry in the history of figure skating.
  • Soccer-wise, there's a well established rivalry between Brazil and Argentina. Others with large traction include Portugal-Spain, Netherlands-Germany, England-Argentina, Mexico–USA, and Japan-South Korea.
  • Regarding Brazil and soccer, the local teams have plenty. Most cities have 2 major teams that hate each other. Recife has 3. Rio and São Paulonote  each has 4!
  • The El Clásico: Barcelona and Real Madrid are THE most famous Arch-enemies in club football.
    • Lionel Messi vs. Cristiano Ronaldo is arguably the greatest individual rivalry in football right now.
  • National Football League rivalries
    • The NFL is littered with rivalries. Some date back to the league's early days while others are more recent, but they all share the same aspect of adding an extra layer of nastiness to an already physical and violent sport. Perhaps the most intense and bitter rivalries are between divisional opponents, such as: Green Bay Packers-Chicago Bears, Dallas Cowboys-Washington Redskins, New York Giants-Philadelphia Eagles, San Francisco 49ers-Seattle Seahawks, Oakland Raiders-Denver Broncos, and Pittsburgh Steelers-Baltimore Ravens.
      • Special mention goes to the NFC East division (Dallas Cowboys, New York Giants, Philadelphia Eagles, and Washington Redskins). Unlike other divisions, where each team might have one other team they specifically single out as their rival more so than the other teams in the division, all four teams' fanbases hate the other teams, to the point that the only proper answer to "Who would you root for between (two division rivals)?" is to want Bane to blow up the stadium.
      • The AFC West is this to a lesser degree.
    • Tom Brady versus Peyton Manning. You could really go either way on this one. As of October 5th 2013, their regular season passer ratings are virtually identical, as well as their significantly lower playoff passer ratings. Brady holds the edge in championships and win percentage, while Peyton has more MVPs and All-Pro nods. The consensus among people that examine their entire careers is that Brady usually has a better defense, but Peyton has a better offensive supporting cast (though on occasion neither has been true). The rivalry mostly exists between the two teams that have the other player; Brady and Manning themselves have a great deal of respect for each other.
    • NFL quarterbacks that come out of the same draft year, particularly if they were picked in the 1st Round, are usually compared as rivals. Especially later on in their careers when the stats start piling up. Examples: 2016 Draft was Jared Goff vs. Carson Wentz, 2015 Draft was Jameis Winston vs. Marcus Mariota, 2014 Draft was Blake Bortles vs. Johnny Manziel vs. Teddy Bridgewater vs. Derek Carr (2nd Round). The list goes on.
      • One particular noteworthy draft rivalry was the 1998 Draft between Ryan Leaf vs. Manning due to how lopsided both their careers went with Leaf completely falling apart, and Manning having a Hall of Fame career.
  • Major League Baseball rivalries:
    • New York Yankees vs. Boston Red Sox, the most famous (and possibly most terrifying) of them all. In terms of World Series titles, it's incredibly lopsided. The Red Sox were one of the top teams in the early days of baseball, having won 5 of the first 16 World Series played (to the Yankees' 0)...and then the Yankees managed to win 26 before the Red Sox got their 6th, which came in the 100th World Series played. (It now stands at 27-8.) Even with the lengthy drought, however, the Red Sox' 8 titles stands as the fourth-most. (The two are also both among the most successful at winning the World Series when they get there—the Yankees winning 67.5% of World Series they've been in, the Red Sox 66.67%. Only the Pittsburgh Pirates, who are 5-for-7, and a few expansion teams that have 100% success rates but only 1 or 2 appearances, are better.)
    • Los Angeles Dodgers vs. San Francisco Giants, the West Coast variant and arguably even more passionate and glorious. Both franchises used to be located in New York before both of them decided to move west in 1958. The two teams' rivalries with the San Diego Padres aren't far behind, either.
    • St. Louis Cardinals vs. Chicago Cubs, the Midwest version, which splits the state of Illinois, fanbase-wise. Another lopsided rivalry, where the Cardinals have 11 World Series titles (the most recent from 2011) and the Cubs have three (the most recent from 2016, with the previous two in 1907 and 1908 thanks to a vengeful goat owner). This one is a bit less vicious than the Yankees/Red Sox rivalry, even bordering Friendly Rival territory. It's mostly teasing, especially from Cardinal Nation's standpoint. As former Cardinals pitcher-turned-broadcaster Al Hrabosky once said, "Any team can have a bad century."
  • Larry Bird and Earvin "Magic" Johnson faced each other in the 1979 NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Championship game (still the highest-rated game in the history of televised college basketball). They both entered the NBA that year, each landing with one of the NBA's bell cow franchises (Bird with the Boston Celtics, Johnson with the Los Angeles Lakers). Between 1980 and 1991, eleven of the twelve championship finals featured Bird's Celtics' (three wins) or Magic's Lakers (five wins), meeting each other three times (the Lakers taking two of three). The Bird/Magic rivalry is often credited from saving the NBA (before Bird and Magic, the NBA finals were notorious for being shown on late-night tape delay). Ironically the two of them were friends off the court (having befriended each other filming a commercial that capitalized on their rivalry, no less), with Johnson attending Bird's retirement ceremony and Bird being the one to induct Johnson into the Hall of Fame.
    • Lakers-Celtics is a similar rivalry, as both are the most successful teams of the league - 17 championships for the Celtics, 16 for the Lakers, are located in opposite coasts (though it started locally, as the Lakers were in Minneapolis) and made a staggering 12 finals against each other (9-3 to the Celtics so far).
    • What sometimes gets forgotten in the Bird/Magic mythologizing is the rivalry that both teams had in the early Eighties with Dr. J and the Philadelphia 76ers, which was arguably greater than their rivalry with each other. The Lakers and Celtics didn't play each other in the NBA Finals until 1984, but all three times the Lakers made the Finals in 1980, '82, and '83 were against the Sixers, and the Eastern Conference championship was decided between the Sixers and the Celtics in 1980, '81, '82, and '85.
  • It used to be the Lakers and the Celtics. Now the biggest rivalry in the NBA is between Stephen Curry's (and Kevin Durant's) Golden State Warriors and LeBron James' Cleveland Cavaliers. Helps that the past four Finals matchups were between these two teams, and that the Warriors are more team-oriented (particularly with 4 (!) superstars) compared to the isolation-heavy, LeBron-dependent Cavaliers.
    • The Warriors also have a fierce rival in their own division in the form of the Los Angeles Clippers. Games between them in recent years have been characterized by heavy animosity, more similar to a college rivalry than to most pro rivalries. It remains to be seen if the other LA team will also become a major rival to Golden State now that the aforementioned LeBron has left Cleveland to join the Lakers.
  • Given the straight rivalry between Sydney and Melbourne (see the Real Life subpage), it seems surprising that their Australian Rules Football teams averts this trope. This is due to several factors: a) Melbourne Demons only representing the square-mile downtown area of Melbourne, while Sydney Swans represents the eastern half of the Sydney metropolitan area; b) Sydney Swans were formerly South Melbourne Swans; and c) the fanbase for both teams aren't as substantial as some other teams. note 
  • In Filipino College sports, we have Ateneo vs. LaSalle. Both of them are private sectarian colleges well-known for their high standards of education, both of them are powerhouses in college athletics (particularly in basketball), and they both really hate each other. Some consider the rivalry a bigger one than Cal-Stanford or Alabama-Auburn.
  • In the Philippine Basketball Association, the flagship rivalry is the derby between Ginebra and Purefoods (aka. The Manila Clasico), which are the two most popular pro teams in the Philippines.
    • Another rivalry has sprouted between Alaska and San Miguel, due to their status as the PBA's most successful active franchises.
    • To a lesser extent, we have the rivalry between San Miguel (currently the winningest team in terms of PBA titles) and the ever-popular Ginebra, mostly sparked by the two being in the same ownership group. Also adding fuel to the fire is the fact that the two teams currently have the two tallest players in the PBA: San Miguel has 6'11" Philippine National Team star JuneMar "The Kraken" Fajardo, while Ginebra has 7-footer Ateneo alumnus Greg "Greg-Zilla" Slaughter.


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