Celtics/Lakers: Best of Enemies

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Ice Cube
Donnie Wahlberg
Ice Cube and Donnie Wahlberg

Celtics/Lakers: Best of Enemies is a 2017 documentary film about the history of the National Basketball Association (NBA) rivalry between the Boston Celtics and the Los Angeles Lakers. The documentary specifically focuses on the teams' dominant performances during the 1980s, when the teams combined for eight titles and 13 NBA Finals appearances. This domination included three head-to-head meetings in the NBA Finals (Lakers won two in 1985 and 1987 and Celtics won one in 1984).

The film was directed by Jim Podhoretz and executive produced by Jonathan Hock. It premiered on June 13, 2017 on ESPN as part of its 30 for 30 series. Narration is provided by Donnie Wahlberg (born August 1969), who grew up a Celtics fan in the Dorchester section of Boston, and Ice Cube (born June 1969), who grew up a Lakers fan in South Central Los Angeles - both growing through their adolescence during their home teams' head-to-head excitement in the 1980s.[1] Director Podhoretz, in the documentary, points out that Hock realized that the challenge of finding a fair balance in the story was better served by, instead, having the two fans/narrators provide a clearly partisan perspective of this bi-coastal story.


Podhoretz's documentary is five hours in length, spread over three separate parts. The first and third parts are both two hours long, while the second is one hour long. Wahlberg and Ice Cube rotate speaking parts depending on which team is being focused on, with the former representing the Celtics and the latter representing the Lakers.

The documentary opens by covering the dominance of the same two teams in the 1950s and 1960s, including the two teams' seven meetings in the NBA Finals during those early years (Celtics won all seven) and the power of the Lakers following their move from Minneapolis (where they had already won five Championships) in 1960.

Lakers players featured included Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Jamaal Wilkes, Byron Scott, James Worthy, Kurt Rambis, and Bob McAdoo, along with the team's long time former general manager Jerry West and former coaches Paul Westhead and Pat Riley. The Celtics are represented by Bill Russell, Larry Bird, Kevin McHale, Danny Ainge, Cedric Maxwell, M.L. Carr, Quinn Buckner, and former coach K. C. Jones among others.[2]


  1. ^ Murray, Noel (June 13, 2017). "The epic Celtics-Lakers rivalry inspires one of the best 30 For 30s". The A.V. Club. Retrieved June 17, 2017.
  2. ^ Galanis, Sam (June 14, 2017). "Donnie Wahlberg Recalls Living Through Celtics-Lakers Rivalry In 1980s". NESN. Retrieved June 17, 2017.

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