Here is what famed Boston sports yahoo and pop culture enthusiast Bill Simmons has to say about the L.A. – Boston basketball rivalry in the most recent edition of ESPN the Magazine:
Boston beat L.A. for the title eight straight times before falling in 1985. If that’s a long-standing rivalry, so is Tom vs. Jerry, Andy vs. The Sistas and hammer vs. nail. Isn’t it more of a “recent rivalry that was once a relentless butt-whupping”?
Here’s what Globe columnist Bob Ryan has to say that about that on his blog at Boston.com:
There is a younger writer of great renown who loves the Boston Celtics, which is fine. He commands an enormous national audience, who have come to regard him as The Authority on all things Celtic. And he has an exhaustive knowledge of the current team. No problem there.
I’d tend to forgive him on the basis of him not being there, but that would mean that history requires that you had to be there. I wasn’t present for the Gettysburg Address or the Bobby Thomson home run, but that doesn’t mean I can’t have a good idea of what it must have been like to be there. That’s what being an historian entails. You do your homework.
And if this pundit had done his due diligence on the Celtics and Lakers of the ’60s he would known that it was very much a rivalry. The Celtics might have won all six meetings, but it didn’t always feel like it, not with Elgin Baylor and Jerry West around.
I don’t particularly care who wins this argument, as long as it ends soon.
I do care to point out Ryan’s refusal to name the object of his derision or, God forbid, link to the offending article. It seems that Ryan is falling into the trap of playing by print rules on Web turf. I don’t advocate using the Web as a platform for slander or ad hominem attacks on other writers — I’m arguing that where print venues once conferred upon columnists the ability to call down the thunder from on high with thinly veiled insults, the Internet requires greater frankness. If you hadn’t read Simmons’ column already, you may have no idea who Ryan is talking about. Even if you could guess who he was referencing, you’d still have to click multiple times to find it — only to be disappointed that you waded all the way over there for what amounts to a minor schoolyard dust-up.