A Rivalry Ready to Explode | Magic Basketball

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Jul 12

A Rivalry Ready to Explode

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Photo by Doug Benc/Getty Images

Via Brian Schmitz of the Orlando Sentinel:

One of the league’s most popular players, [Dwight] Howard has been the driving force behind the [Orlando] Magic‘s comeback as a franchise and their 68-consecutive sell-out streak (including playoffs). He’s helped them to an NBA Finals appearance two years ago and to back-to-back 59-win seasons.

A two-time MVP, James sent South Florida into a frenzy with his free-agent announcement. People honked horns and cheered in bars, and the Heat quickly sold all their season tickets for the coming season.

Never has pro basketball looked so enticing and intriguing — even when Shaq played for both the Heat and Magic.

“We’ve never seen anything like this in the NBA or anywhere else in sports, really,” Magic vice president Pat Williams, a 40-year veteran of the NBA. “It’s unprecedented. It’s taken basketball in the state to its highest level.”

With the Miami Heat re-signing Dwyane Wade and bringing LeBron James and Chris Bosh aboard, and the Orlando Magic opening the Amway Center in October, we might be entering a golden age of NBA basketball in the state of Florida with two high-profile teams. The Magic have been an elite team in the league the past two years, and now the Heat will join them in the same rank. This has been mentioned before, but Orlando and Miami have never competed for titles at the same time … until now. A rivalry that has been brewing below the surface, for far too long, is ready to explode.

It’s fun to think about, actually.

Magic fans are understandably concerned about the ramifications of James, Wade, and Bosh uniting under one banner and what it means on the court. But off the floor, the Heat’s re-emergence to the national spotlight, not only in the NBA but in sports in general, will only serve to boost the Magic’s profile. Orlando’s true rival is Miami, and the storylines are oozing with sub-plots that will capture people’s attention — the “Three Kings” vs. Superman, teacher (Stan Van Gundy) vs. apprentice (Erik Spoelstra) with their mentor looming in the background (Pat Riley), and more. And the star power will be absurd, with Dwight Howard headlining the Magic’s side with the help of Jameer Nelson, Rashard Lewis, and Vince Carter. The Heat, of course, have their trio. That’s three of the best players in the league right now, coupled with numerous All-Stars.

Basketball will be played on a micro level, yes, but it’ll be neat to see Orlando and Miami battle for division titles, conference championships, and the Larry O’Brien Trophy on a macro level. Great teams in the NBA are remembered in the history books, but the same can be said about intense rivalries. After their prologue in the 1997 NBA Playoffs, the Magic and the Heat might potentially write a book to an amazing rivalry that is long overdue.

Savor it, because it should be a joy to watch.

4 comments
Ruel Zyndrex Abila
Ruel Zyndrex Abila

I'm not so bothered about the desperate trio. The Magic can still torch them with the 1-in 4-out. As long as they can't find an answer to Dwight, we still have a very big chance.

Eddy Rivera
Eddy Rivera

@hulKK

It won't be predictable, that's the thing. That's the fun part.

@just passing

Some good thoughts, my friend. We shall see. The Magic have no choice but to improve as a team, given that the Heat upped the ante not only in the Eastern Conference but in the Southeast Division. I expect the rivalry to blossom, now that Orlando and Miami are playing for the same thing at the same time in the same conference AND division -- a championship.

just passing
just passing

Don't write stuff like that Eddy, the regular season is too far away and you'll get us too excited. Already can't wait to see what the triple headed monster will look like. Even if I'm not a big LeBron fan and I do belive that this team might hurt the league, it's exciting times for all basketball fans whether you consider that team "heroes" or "villains". Those who think that the Heat will have chemistry problems better think again. This team wasn't brought together by some "millionaire", those guys want to be together. That said, I expect the Magic to have a better season than last year, Stan is probably already seeing plays in his sleep and the players look forward to the challenge. Good thing Miami can't defend Dwight who will have to get more "Superman" than ever on them and the team defense will need to reach new levels. Finally, as you point out the benefits of this for the state of Florida will be enormous.

hulKK
hulKK

This isn't going to be a joy to watch. This is going to be the most predictable next 3-4yrs EVER in NBA history. There's going to be good/great teams but in the end for the next 3-4yrs its going to be L.A. Vs. Miami. There's nothing fun about that. I'd rather not waste my time and money to support a team that I KNOW isn't going to win it all. I'm not a Magic fan of little faith, I'm just being realistic as we all should. There's no way the MAGIC, Celts or Bulls are going to beat Miami in a 7 game series. The NBA just became VERY predictable. Hoping, cheering and wanting Orlando to beat a great team like L.A. was OK because I honestly knew they had a chance but there will be such a slim chance of Orlando beating Miami that it's not even worth watching. Let's just be honest with ourselves. Did we really just forget what Lebron and D. Wade are capable of doing by themselves????? Let me help you. Wade/James/Bosh is like Jordan/Drexler/Karl Malone ALL in their prime!!!............Just wait, you'll see.