Spurs historic rivalries ranked from least to most impactful

The San Antonio Spurs have some of the NBA's most storied rivalries.
San Antonio Spurs v Oklahoma City Thunder
San Antonio Spurs v Oklahoma City Thunder / Joshua Gateley/GettyImages
5 of 5
Next Slide

1. Los Angeles Lakers

Postseason heroics, superstars and legendary coaches explain what the Spurs and Los Angeles Lakers rivalry was. While it has been a quiet rivalry over the last five years, the history and greatness of this matchup were at an all-time high from the early 2000s to the mid-2010s.

It all started in the late 1990s, when the late Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O'Neal were developing steam as a duo, trying to reignite the Lakers dynasty. Meanwhile, in San Antonio, the "Twin Towers" of Duncan and David Robinson were in full effect. At the start of this bitter rivalry, you could make the case that each team had some of the top players in the entire sport, only amplifying the competition.

At its peak, it was the Twin Towers against O'Neal and Bryant, with the Lakers getting the best of the Spurs for the first few post-season meetings. Then, in 2001, after each team had recently won a title, this rivalry intensified.

After joining the team, names like Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker began making waves for the Spurs, bringing reinforcements against a team with Derek Fisher and Rick Fox benefiting the Lakers. From 1999 to 2005, these two teams met in the playoffs four times, each winning two rounds.

From a gameplay standpoint, these matchups were top-tier, displaying Duncan's fundamentals and O'Neal's brute physicality. During this era, Bryant's superstardom began to show, and he made things much harder for San Antonio as they did everything they could to slow Bryant down. For the Spurs, Ginobili, Parker, and other role players started to flourish, giving San Antonio the edge in this matchup for years.

Furthermore, during all of this, each team was individually dominant, and the best two teams in the league. In fact, from 1999 to 2010, either Los Angeles or the Spurs were in the NBA Finals, except for one season (2006), when the Mavericks lost to the Dwyane Wade-led Miami Heat.

These battles would continue through Pau Gasol and Lamar Odom's time with the Lakers, with each game being just as competitive as they once were. By the numbers, the Lakers lead the all-time regular season head-to-head series narrowly, 95 to 93, while holding an 8-4 lead in the playoffs.

While this rivalry has been dead for quite some time, San Antonio's future and Los Angeles's status as a big-market franchise ensures that it's destined to get competitive again. Regardless of how long that takes, you must always respect the glory days of the Spurs and Lakers rivalry. It made an enormous impact on the NBA and thus deserved the top spot on this list.