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Wednesday, September 15, 2010
Can bitter competitors be profound friends?

By Henry Abbott



This is some video from the ESPN 30 for 30 documentary, "Unmatched," that first aired last night.

Even this short promo raises several meaningful, even life-changing questions. For instance:
Kidding aside, Martina Navratilova and Chris Evert were bitter rivals for nearly every second of their careers. Anyone who saw them play knows it to have been so. They played an amazing 80 times, finishing 43-37 against one another, each with 18 grand slam titles. Even now it's hard for one to credit the other with having been better at this or that on the court.

And yet, throughout, they were friends. They socialized together. They supported each other. They meant a lot to each other.

I'm not even going to go into why I'm bringing this up on an NBA blog. The whole topic is so loaded and angry and counter to the point and mood of this documentary. But as I'm sure you know, one of the NBA's summer memes, stoked by some big names, is that real competitors are not friendly with each other.

To which I'd say: Really?