Larry Bird and Magic Johnson are known as the two who reignited the NBA with their epic showdowns in the Finals. However they aren’t the first, or last, to be rivals on the court doing whatever it took to will their team to win while maintaining a friendship and bond that would go on to last after the final buzzer went off. Here is a look at some of the great rivals in the NBA that also enjoyed the friendship of one another.
Bill Russell and Wilt Chamberlain
These two towers of terror battled it out each time they took the floor against each other. Wilt being the flashy, points piling scorer and absolute freak of nature wowed audiences as he did what he pleased. Bill Russell on the other hand was a hard nosed defender, a teammate first and cared solely about winning. Russell bested Chamberlain well more than Wilt did him, the fiery passion each one had was unexplainable in that they were also the best of friends off the court. They would often train together knowing how they would each push each other to be great.
LeBron James and Kevin Durant
How can this be? In today’s day in age it would be absurd to train with the one who bested you in the finals, the one you were constantly compared to. Well that’s just how it is. Durant and James became instant friends once realizing they each shared the same desire for greatness. Constantly working out and competing against each other in a self nicknamed week long training camp “Hell Week” the two superstars pushed each other, each one motivated by what they didn’t have yet. When you want to be the best you train with the best, whether that is your rival, a friendship and respect for each other can form.