By Zach Haines
The Philadelphia 76ers and the Los Angeles Lakers have one of the most historic and intense rivalries in professional basketball. Some of the NBA’s most iconic moments have come in the NBA Finals when the two franchises have met. Examples of this can be seen when you look back at the 1980’s when Julius Erving and Moses Malone took on Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, or most recently when Allen Iverson battled the juggernaut duo of Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant in 2001. Since then, the franchises have had their ups and downs causing the rivalry to cool down a bit. However, with recent events being taken into consideration, it’s safe to say the fire of that rivalry has been sparked once more.
It all goes back to the 2017 NBA Draft late last month, where Markelle Fultz was taken number-one overall by the Sixers only for Lonzo Ball to be taken second by the Lakers. Immediately following the pick, LaVar Ball (Lonzo’s father) declared the his son would lead the Lakers to the playoffs in his rookie season, and be far above every other rookie in his class. This statement caught the attention around the league, but none more than Philadelphia’s Ben Simmons.
Simmons, who will be entering his rookie season this year, tweeted the following after Ball made his remarks:
Simmons’ teammate, superstar center and social media genius Joel Embiid, quoted the tweet soon after stating:
This sparked a lot of controversy and animosity between Simmons/Embiid and LaVar Ball. TMZ Sports caught up with LaVar Ball earlier last week where he said:
The Sixers and Lakers met (technically) for the first time last night in an NBA Summer League game, and it proved to be the best Summer League game in a very, very long time. The Sixers fell to the Lakers following a very impressive outing from Lonzo Ball (36 points, 11 assists, 8 rebounds, 5 steals, 2 blocks). However, to assume the Lakers will overcome the Sixers when the regular season based off his performance last night would be foolish since the best player on the court for Philadelphia was Timothe Luwawu-Cabarot. When each unti faces each other this season, we’ll all see who the top dog is.
With the Sixers being greatky imrpoved from seasons past, it is exciting to see one of their oldest rivalries rising to the surface once more. As a fan, new chaptors of history and basketball lure being written right before us is incredible, and that’s exactly what’s happening.