What is NBA Rivals Week? Explaining the history and games

NBA Rivals Week returns for its second season, highlighting rivalries between players like LeBron James and Steph Curry, and cities such as the Los Angeles Lakers and Boston Celtics.

Los Angeles Lakers v Golden State Warriors - Game One
Los Angeles Lakers v Golden State Warriors - Game One / Ezra Shaw/GettyImages

Sports are all about rivalries. Whether there's animosity between players, a deep-rooted hatred among fans, a rich history of back-and-forth battles for supremacy, or hypothetical matchups between all-time greats, rivalries breathe life into sports.

With the release of the 2022-23 NBA schedule, the league announced the debut of NBA Rivals Week, where classic and budding rivalries between teams and players would take center stage. Over the span of five days, some of the league's most decorated rivalries in the sport were put in front of a national audience with 11 nationally televised matchups.

NBA Rivals Week makes its return during the 2023-24 season on Tuesday, January 23. There are several intriguing games on the docket, five of which will be rivalries renewed from the league's inaugural Rivals Week.

NBA Rivals Week honors rivalries between cities, teams and players

The games will tip off on Tuesday, January 23 with the New York Knicks and Brooklyn Nets battling for the pride of New York City. Then, the Los Angeles Lakers and Los Angeles Clippers will duel for sunny Los Angeles.

After the city rivalries, the Oklahoma City Thunder will face the San Antonio Spurs, which predicts a budding rivalry between Victor Wembanyama and Chet Holmgren, two of the league's most promising rookies. That's followed by a more seasoned clash with veteran rivals Devin Booker and Luka Doncic.

The Miami Heat and Boston Celtics have had many memorable playoff matchups, and have met in the playoffs in three of the last four seasons. The Sacramento Kings will follow up that act by trying to avenge their playoff loss to the Golden State Warriors.

Wembanyama and Doncic will be under the bright lights for a second time as the NBA honors rivalries birthed from the NBA Draft. Wembanyama will take on Scoot Henderson, the second-overall pick of the 2023 NBA Draft, while Doncic will face Trae Young due to a draft night trade.

On the last day of Rivals Week, the Heat will face the Knicks due to Jeff Van Gundy grabbing Alonzo Mourning's leg. Then Nikola Jokic will get a chance to prove that he was deserving of the MVP trophy over Joel Embiid.

And, of course, it wouldn't be a week of rivalries without the last game on the schedule: Lebron James versus Steph Curry.

Check out the full schedule below.

2023-24 NBA Rivals Week, full schedule

Tuesday, January 23:

  • New York Knicks at Brooklyn Nets, 7:30 p.m. ET on TNT
  • Los Angeles Lakers at Los Angeles Clippers, 10 p.m. ET on TNT

Wednesday, January 24: 

  • Oklahoma City Thunder at San Antonio Spurs, 7:30 p.m. ET on ESPN
  • Phoenix Suns at Dallas Mavericks, 10 p.m. ET on ESPN

Thursday, January 25: 

  • Boston Celtics at Miami Heat, 7:30 p.m. ET on TNT
  • Sacramento Kings at Golden State Warriors, 10 p.m. ET on TNT

Friday, January 26:

  • Dallas Mavericks at Atlanta Hawks, 7 p.m. ET on NBA TV
  • Portland Trail Blazers at San Antonio Spurs, 9:30 p.m. ET on NBA TV

Saturday, January 27:

  • Miami Heat at New York Knicks, 3 p.m. ET on ABC
  • Philadelphia Sixers at Denver Nuggets, 5:30 p.m. ET on ABC
  • Los Angeles Lakers at Golden State Warriors, 8:30 p.m. ET on ABC

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