What is NBA Rivals Week? Explanation & History

Phoenix Suns v Dallas Mavericks
Phoenix Suns v Dallas Mavericks / Richard Rodriguez/GettyImages

There's not much better in sports than a good rivalry. For the second straight year the NBA is focusing on some of the best rivalries in the league. From young stars to classic geographical intrigue, there will be 11 nationally televised matchups played over five nights in late January that focus on some of the best rivalries in the NBA. Five of those games will be rivalries renewed from the league's first theme week last season.

TNT will kick things off on Tuesday, January 23 with the most basic rivalries the NBA has. The New York Knicks and Brooklyn Nets will battle for the soul of New York City and then the Lakers and Clippers will see who truly runs LA. And that's just the start.

Wednesday, January 24 ESPN will feature two teams featuring young superstars. Everyone's eyes will be on Victor Wembanyama and Chet Holmgren as the two players most likely to end up on a giraffe basketball team, but Shai Gilgeous-Alexander will be there too. After that Devin Booker and Luka Doncic will renew their blood feud.

Games return to TNT on Thursday as the Miami Heat and Boston Celtics theoretically battle for one of the top spots in the Eastern Conference. These teams have met in the playoffs in three of the last four seasons. That's followed by a newer rivalry as the Sacramento Kings try to get revenge for their most recent playoff loss to the Golden State Warriors.

Trae Young and Luka Doncic have put together similar resumes and will be forever linked because of a draft night trade, which is why they'll meet on NBA TV on Friday. Then Wemby returns to take on the second pick in the 2023 NBA Draft, Scoot Henderson.

Finally, on January 27, ABC will feature three of the most serious rivalries. First, the Miami Heat will face the New York Knicks while clips of Jeff Van Gundy grabbing Alonzo Mourning's leg play in the background. Then the Philadelphia 76ers will take on Nikola Jokic and the defending champion Denver Nuggets. Joel Embiid stole Jokic's latest MVP. Does Jokic care? We may never know. Then, it's LeBron James versus Stephen Curry and the Warriors, the rivalry that defined the NBA for the better part of the last decade.