In the NBA, and perhaps in sports in general, there is no greater rivalry than the Los Angeles Lakers and Boston Celtics. The two iconic franchises have won 34 NBA championships between them, 17 apiece, but the latter has a chance to break the tie as they are currently up 1-0 in the 2022 Finals against the Golden State Warriors.
The Lakers and Celtics have been mortal enemies since the induction of the NBA, having met in the Finals 12 times with Boston owning a 9-3 edge. Los Angeles and Boston were able to revitalize the NBA’s standing during the 1980s as those teams were headlined by Magic Johnson and Larry Bird, though they each had their fair share of help.
Cedric Maxwell and James Worthy were both key pieces of championship teams, with each of them winning a Finals MVP in 1981 and 1988, respectively. Maxwell and Worthy embody the Celtics-Lakers rivalry, and the former could not help himself when it came to poking Worthy about where the Celtics are at compared to the Lakers, via Brian Windhorst of ESPN:
“It always means everything when you’re going up against the Lakers,” says Cedric Maxwell, who won two titles in Boston, including MVP of the 1981 Finals, and is known for tossing shots at Laker great James Worthy both in the media and in private.
“They’re supposedly tied with us,” he said. “People say they’re the standard-bearer of the NBA but the Celtics have been that since the start. And James Worthy, after we win this championship, I want you to smell our ass as we’re going by.”
Maxwell throwing barbs in Worthy’s direction speaks to how deep-rooted the rivalry is amongst former players, a feeling that is shared among the teams’ fanbases as well. In a recent poll, Lakers Nation voted overwhelmingly in favor of Golden State, a good sign that the Laker faithful know what the priority should be.
As broadcasters for their respective organizations, Worthy and Maxwell’s rivalry has been going on for a while now with the former mocking the latter after the Lakers beast the Celtics earlier this season.
Boston winning their 18th championship would be the worst-case scenario for Worthy and Los Angeles though after enduring a nightmarish season. Hopefully the Warriors climb out of the early series deficit and prevent the Celtics from taking home the title.
James Worthy criticizes Lakers win-now mentality
Worthy has never been shy when sharing his thoughts, and he had plenty of them when the Lakers turned in an embarrassing 2021-22 campaign. The Hall of Famer went in on the team, criticizing their reluctance to rebuild and cited several other teams who have found success patiently building out their rosters.
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