In sports, success is always measured by the ultimate goal: winning championships. When you think of achievements in Major League Baseball, the pinstripes of the New York Yankees immediately comes to mind. Hockey fans residing north of the border will be quick to point out the dynasties forged in frozen rinks of Montreal. And what local sports fan does not marvel at the decade of dominance that emerged in college basketball during the Wooden-Era at UCLA (this is props coming from a die-hard Trojans fans!) When we turn our attention to the NBA and the imminent duel between the last two NBA champions, not only do we have the best rivalry in all of sports, we have a match up that pits the two most successful teams in the league. The winner of the 2010 Finals will not only determine who’s the better team this year, but it will have a considerable impact towards settling once and for all, which team will eventually be considered the greatest franchise in NBA history.
While the Celtics won the majority of their titles in the 1960s, the Lakers have been steadily narrowing the gap by amassing 9 titles since 1980s, including 4 in the past decade. In comparison, Boston has won just 4 championships over the last three decades, with only one of those titles coming this millennium, which happened to be at the expense of the Lakers two years ago. Nonetheless, the fact remains that the Celtics are still 9-2 against the Lakers in the situations that matter most.
During his illustrious career, former tennis great Andre Agassi, perennially the second-ranked player in the world was once quoted as saying, “Being number two sucks.” In terms of championships, that’s where the Lakers stand today. Although the Lakers boast the most wins, highest winning percentage, and most NBA Final appearances, they are still ranked second in titles. The Celtics have 17 championship banners hanging from the rafters, while the Lakers trail their arch nemesis by 2, with 15. After this series, the gap will either be reduced to just one or the disparity will continue to grow. Until the Lakers are able to surpass the Celtics in the only category of consequence, Laker fans such as myself will continue to see green with envy.