Celtics/Lakers: Best of Enemies

Directed by Jim Podhoretz

There are rivalries, and then there is the Celtics vs. the Lakers. The two-part film not only gets to the heart of the greatest tug-of-war in NBA history, but also shows how their three riveting Finals in four years in the 1980s fueled the popularity of the NBA. More »
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Celtics/Lakers: Best of Enemies

Film Summary

Parts One and Two of the film not only trace the history, but also present a fabulous cast of characters who would change the NBA and open America's collective mind. At the center of it all in the 1980s was a pair of brilliant basketball talents - Larry Bird and Magic Johnson. Bird's Celtics and Magic's Lakers circled each other for four years until they faced off in an epic NBA Finals in 1984.Part Three picks up the story right after the thrilling 1984 NBA Finals and then explores the saga from 1985 to 1987 as the teams' disdain for each other gradually turns to respect. The Celtics and Lakers - Bird and Magic in particular - transformed the fans' view of the game from simple black-and-white to full-blown Technicolor. By the end of their last battle of that era in 1987, while there was still animosity, they had also developed a hard-earned respect for each other. In the final analysis, it was a rivalry that forced America to no longer view the league in black and white.

Director's Take

Best of Enemies. I vividly remember that on June 12th, 1984, I sat down to watch game 7 of the Lakers Celtics series and immediately felt a real sense of anxiety about the outcome. As a Knick fan, I seemingly had no allegiances. But suddenly I really cared who won... and I found out that that I wasn't alone. The Lakers and Celtics did that to fans. They made you choose sides. And that begs the question "Why?" Was it the players? Was it their style of play? Was it the color of their skin? The answer is complicated and probably different for each person. This documentary will not only take you through the Celtic Laker Rivalry from the 60's to the 80's but explore the reasons why we loved or hated them.   What I love about the rivalry is there are so many aspects to it. You have legendary figures like Magic and Bird and Bill Russell and Jerry West. You have sublime basketball that is both unselfish and spectacular. And you have epic athletic conflicts. But what I've come to cherish in making the film are the personalities and passions of the players involved. The joy and the anguish and all of the other emotions that they express in telling their story are what bring the documentary to life. Their enthusiasm and recall for the rivalry was inspiring and we hope to capture that and take the viewers for a compelling and insightful ride.

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Jim Podhoretz

Jim Podhoretz is a four-time Emmy-award winning independent filmmaker who thoroughly enjoys storytelling.

In 2013, Podhoretz produced and edited the Emmy-award winning ESPN 30 for 30 film, "Survive and Advance" for Hock Films. He also helped produce and edit the Emmy-award winning documentary, "The Doctor" for NBA TV. In 2014, he helped produce the series, "Inside the U.S. Men's National Team" for ESPN and directed the film "Dwight Howard, In the Moment" for Epix.

Previous to that, Podhoretz produced and edited the documentary, "The Last Gladiators," which debuted at the Toronto International Film Festival. He also produced and edited the documentary, "Off the Rez" (The Learning Channel), and the Emmy-nominated film, "The Streak" (ESPN), for Hock Films. Both of those productions premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival.

Before he became an independent filmmaker, Podhoretz worked at NBA Entertainment as the senior director of production. During his tenure there, he won Emmys for directing and producing the documentaries "Whatever Happened to Micheal Ray" and "NBA@50." Both of those films aired on TNT. Podhoretz also had the good fortune to work with Jonathan Hock at NBA Entertainment. Jonathan, the founder of Hock Films, has remained a friend and mentor for many years and "The Gospel According to Mac" is a Hock Films production.

Podhoretz is proud to say that he was the 12th man for the Eastchester High School basketball team that was coached by the legendary Ron Rothstein (the architect of the fearsome Detroit Pistons Bad Boys defense). So if you play against Podhoretz in a pick-up game, beware, for Jim allows no easy lay ups. Jim, his wife Jane Ostacher, and their kids Jack and Sally, live in Maplewood, NJ.