INDIANAPOLIS – So what is the best rivalry in the NBA? LeBron James says there is none.
"It's just the truth," the Miami Heat forward said. "I've thought about it. There is no real rivalries. It's the truth. No rivalries. Cowboys-Redskins is a rivalry. Ohio State-Michigan is a rivalry. Duke-Carolina is a rivalry. Bears-Packers is a rivalry.
"I don't know why, but there is no [NBA] rivalry. You see someone year, year, year and year after year and you guys battle it out, that's when it becomes a rivalry."
James made his comments Tuesday night before a game against the Heat's supposed new Eastern Conference rivals, the Indiana Pacers. The reigning NBA champions knocked off the Pacers in seven games in the Eastern Conference Finals last season. The Pacers and Heat have the East's top two records and will likely compete for the conference's top playoff seed.
Despite last season's series, James scoffed at the talk of the Pacers being rivals.
"We've faced these guys two straight years in the playoffs, and you guys already make it a rivalry?" James said. "There's no rivalry. There is no real rivalry in the NBA these days.
"You don't see the [elite] competition enough or play [that] competition a lot. It's two really, really good teams striving to win a championship. But rivalries? There are no more rivalries."
James said the closest thing he has had to a rivalry was facing the Boston Celtics when he was playing for the Cleveland Cavaliers. James, however, does appreciate the rivalries of the NBA's past.
"What is a rivalry these days?" James asked. "A rivalry is Celtics-Lakers when they [met in the NBA Finals]. Bulls-Pistons. Those are rivalries, man."