With the passing of the New Year, many newspapers have presented their top sports moments of 2002. For my column I decided to tell you about one memorable sporting event that sticks out in my mind from 2002.
The Sacramento Kings and the Los Angeles Lakers are no doubt the newest and best rivalry in the NBA.
The Kings and the Lakers battled it out in the 2002 Western Conference Finals; the series was packed with physical play, emotion and trash talking.
The Lakers came out victorious in seven games, but according to the Kings and many of their fans the referees aided the Lakers cause.
(By the way, I'm a Kings' fan and Chris Webber has been one of my favorite players since his Fab (or not so fabulous) days at Michigan.)
The feud continued throughout the off-season. At the Lakers championship rally, NBA super-star Shaquille O'Neal encouraged Laker fans to tell their children that the capital of California had been moved from Sacramento to Los Angeles.
When the Kings and the Lakers finally met in the pre-season, sparks flew. Rick Fox and Doug Christie fought on the court causing both of them to be ejected.
Upon the ejections the confrontation continued as Fox raced to the Kings tunnel causing the Kings' bench to clear and take part in the brawl.
The Kings started the regular season with a bundle of injuries, including the loss of starting point guard Mike Bibby and key off-season addition Keon Clark.
After a slow start by the Shaq-less Lakers, things were beginning to get back on track leading up to a Christmas day showdown.
I'm not the only one loving this new rivalry. It's also great for the NBA. Fans are beginning to return to the game after past strikes and players complaining about their contracts, and this rivalry is one of the reasons why.
It's great to see two teams who really hate each other go at it on and off the basketball court.