(3) Shaq vs. Dwight Howard
First Round Analysis: Going up against Chris Webber and Jalen Rose DURING March Madness was a monstrous task for Shaq and Dwight. That was our closest round one matchup by far, and since we can’t afford to/aren’t smart enough to perform a recount, this beef powers through after winning 50.2 percent of the votes! Seriously, with over 2,000 votes casted, they won by just 9 votes. If you disagree with that result, make your voice count.
Beef Breakdown: There are lots of similarities between the personal arcs of Shaquille O’Neal and Dwight Howard. There are also lots and lots of differences, from their team accomplishments to their styles of play to their personalities. Weirdly, both the ways in which Dwight and Shaq are the same and the ways in which they aren’t have helped fuel a very weird, very long, very dumb beef.
Best Known For: Superman. Or, Supermen? They both love the man of steel but this common interest turned into fuel for their feud.
(7) Larry Bird vs. Bill Laimbeer
First Round Analysis: From our closest matchup to our biggest blowout, Bird and Laimbeer cruised against Kobe and Ray Allen. I’m not surprised they pulled off the upset, but I am shocked how easily they dismantled one of the biggest names in NBA history, plus some guy from He Got Game. Then again, Bird and Laimbeer’s beef packs an immediate punch… or, an immediate ball thrown at the head. Same thing.
Beef Breakdown: Larry Bird and Bill Laimbeer stood in the middle of an intense Celtics-Pistons rivalry spanning the late 1980s and early 1990s. But the individual feud between those two wasn’t just a battle within that war. It was personal. This beef might never end, so in this episode, we learn about what built it.
Best Known For: These guys started a full-on brawl during the playoffs in 1987, which included Bird throwing the basketball at Laimbeer’s head.
Matchup Prediction: I bet this will be more like the Shaq-Dwight round one than Bird-Laimbeer’s. These are a couple of heavy hitters that should be exhausted entering the next round, but if based on Beef alone I still lean Shaq-Dwight. I’m second-guessing that solely based on Bird and Laimbeer dismantling their first opponent, so preparing to be wrong, but nothing unusual there.
Relive each episode and let us know below which beef is best. Voting is open through April 4, then the Elite Eight will begin on April 5.
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Which beef is best?
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Shaq vs. Dwight Howard
Larry Bird vs. Bill Laimbeer
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