The Los Angeles Lakers and the Denver Nuggets gave birth to a fierce rivalry last season. Apparently, the new NBA champions from the state of Colorado got their revenge over the LA side in the last Western Conference Finals. Since then, the Nuggets fans have called the coach Michael Malone “The Lakers Daddy.” And the coach seems to enjoy the new nickname. Moreover, since the title victory, Michael Malone frequently trolled the Lakers and LeBron James. Albeit, Malone never really directly pointed toward the Lakers. The King and Malone go way back to the Cleveland Cavaliers days when Malone was their assistant coach.
It seems Michael Malone and LeBron James never really liked each other. Hence, LBJ hit back at Malone, saying, “Enjoy the light now, but remember I’m the Sun.” Moreover, other LA players have reacted to the trolling from the Nuggets. Anthony Davis mentioned on Monday’s Media Day that the Lakers can’t wait to meet them again. The 17-time champions will meet the Nuggets on October 24 for the season opener. However, Michael Malone hits back at the LA side, suggesting there is no rivalry between the Nuggets and the Lakers.
Coach Malone Says, “There’s No Rivalry Between Nuggets And The LA Side”
According to the Nuggets coach, rivalry should be like Lakers-Celtics and Knicks-Heat. As per ESPN’s Ohm Youngmisuk, Malone added that playing in two conference finals in the last three years doesn’t mean they have a rivalry. Moreover, the Nuggets coach might be applying the gaslighting approach towards the Lakers. Recently, after the Nuggets practice, he acted as if he didn’t know what the 17-time champion team’s players and coach were talking about. Moreover, Darvin Ham responded to the “Lakers Daddy” nickname of Michael Malone, saying, “This s**t ain’t over.”
Asked Michael Malone about Lakers talking about Denver. He reiterates respect for LA + Darvin Ham and said: "Oh, they're talking about us? That was what, 4 months ago?… if they're still worried about us, that's on them… if we're on their minds, then I guess that's on them."— Ohm Youngmisuk (@NotoriousOHM) October 4, 2023
On the contrary, Michael Malone added that the Nuggets have tremendous respect for the LA franchise. Moreover, Malone said if the Lakers are worried about the Nuggets, then “It’s on them.” As if the Nuggets have forgotten about it since it has been four months already. This back-and-forth banter and trolling makes it quite interesting and exciting for the neutral fans. A new Western Conference rivalry is about to take a whole new form next season.
How Did The Rivalry Between The Nuggets And Lakers Begin?
Three years back, in the 2020 bubble championship, the LA side won their 17th title, beating the Miami Heat in the NBA Finals. Moreover, the amazing duo of LeBron James and Anthony Davis helped their team beat the pair of Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray of the Nuggets in the conference finals of 2020. However, the Nuggets had a pretty good 2019-20 season that came to an end because of the LA side. It was a pretty identical situation in 2023 when the Lakers met the Nuggets again in the Western Conference Finals.
Moreover, on both occasions, the Miami Heat was waiting for either of those two sides in the NBA Finals. In 2020, the Heat lost to the LA franchise, and in 2023, they lost to the Nuggets. But before the Nuggets reached their first-ever NBA Finals, they humiliated the LA side with a thumping victory over them. The Nuggets swept the series 4-0. Hence, it was a revenge well-served for the Denver Nuggets.