The NBA has long been defined and dominated by rivalries. There have been rivalries of all sorts in the NBA; some have been fuelled by history and trophies like the Los Angeles Lakers and the Boston Celtics. Some rivalries are built on urban identity like the New York Knicks and the Indiana Pacers. There have also been rivalries between players like NBA legends Wilt Chamberlain and Bill Russell or emblematic stars Larry Bird and Magic Johnson. These rivalries weave the rich tapestry that is the history of the NBA. Yet in a modern context one rivalry seems to go relatively unnoticed because it lacks the star power of LeBron James and Kobe Bryant; that rivalry is Bruce Bowen V. Tracy McGrady.
They represented opposing metaphysical, ideological, and philosophical views of basketball: defense versus offense, physicality versus finesse, fundamental basketball versus flashy athleticism, motivational speaking versus shoe endorsements, calm demeanour versus superstar personality, Bowen versus McGrady. Bowen had the trophies to dominate their personal balance of power. In one of the greatest comebacks in NBA history T-Mac, as he is commonly known, swung the balance of power on December 9th, 2004 when he scored 13 points in 35 seconds to seize victory from the jaws of defeat. Bowen was defending him but he couldn’t stop him.