If You Have Not Seen ESPN Film Celtics/Lakers: Best of Enemies, You Should
Is finally here. "Best of Enemies" documentary premiered Tuesday night showing the momentous rivalry between the NBA's Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers and how it was one of the most contentious bouts in professional sports history
Tracing the acrimonious origin story back to the early 1980s, the latest installment in the popular ESPN documentary series enabled filmmaker, Jim Podhoretz, to follow the festering disdain between the two regional teams.
The battle eventually crystallizes into the well-known form of their respective leaders; Larry Bird and Magic Johnson.
As poster children of one of the most hotly-contested rivalries in the NBA's history, Bird and Johnson served as the faces of that which the film powerfully observes as racial undertones inherent in the 1980s-American paradigm. That, which, on the surface, was a series of competitive stretches played out on the court, revealed an underlying racial and cultural struggle, which pit Hollywood's glamorous against America's working-class.
Broken up into a three-part series, the film mainly sheds light on the rivalry's polarizing effect on sports and fanbase culture at large. In an interview with Sports Illustrated, executive producer on the film and recurring 30-for-30 documentarian, Jonathan Hock, stated "The idea is that everybody chose a side between the Lakers and Celtics."
If the recently concluded NBA finals left you slightly unsatisfied, then I encourage you to watch the entire ESPN series. If anything, the film captures the thrilling sensation of watching two talented teams battle it out absent of the post-Internet, highlight-hungry filler and oozing with the allure of battle-of-wills competition, which seems to have been lost in professional basketball's recent years.