Los Angeles is set for a blockbuster NBA rivalry next season after Kawhi Leonard reportedly agree to sign on for the Clippers.

With Paul George also said to be joining from the Oklahoma City Thunder, an exciting Clippers team is set to go head-to-head against a Los Angeles Lakers franchise fronted by NBA icon LeBron James and Anthony Davis.

Leonard, who spearheaded the Toronto Raptors to a maiden championship last season, is a signing who can make the Clippers – who finished eighth in the Western Conference in 2018-19 – a real force to be reckoned with.

In July 2018, it was the Lakers making waves when they drafted in superstar James from the Cleveland Cavaliers.

There is now some real star power across both Los Angeles teams, and inspired by this, we have taken a look at times when cross-city rivalries sent the sporting world into a frenzy.

 

Manchester City v Manchester United

For a long time, Manchester City lived in Manchester United's shadow, suffering multiple relegations while their rivals won a treble and dominated the domestic game under Alex Ferguson's tutelage. Things changed in 2008, however, when City were bought by Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, owner of the Abu Dhabi United Group, and they have since gone on to become much more than the "noisy neighbours" that Ferguson dubbed them in 2009.

The pendulum did not swing fully in City's favour until the last day of the 2011-12, when they clinched their first Premier League title in the most dramatic of circumstances. Sergio Aguero's last-gasp goal in a 3-2 win against QPR is the thing of folklore, the Argentina striker scoring after Edin Dzeko had already levelled the scores in stoppage time. It denied Ferguson's United, who thought they had the job done having won at Sunderland until news of City's sensational finale filtered through.

United got their revenge the following season, but since Ferguson left, the Red Devils have hardly come close to keeping pace with City.

Rabbitohs v Roosters

The oldest and fiercest rivalry in the NRL is between the South Sydney Rabbitohs and the Sydney Roosters.

Their rivalry escalated in the 1990s when the increased financial standing of the Roosters came in stark contrast to the lack of funds available to the Rabbitohs, who broke a 10-year, 13-game losing streak against their nemesis in 2005.

In the last regular-season rounds of 2013 and 2014, the Roosters came out on top against their rivals to claim the Minor Premiership, though the Rabbitohs won in the preliminary final in the latter campaign to reach their first grand final in 43 years. Four years later, the Roosters defeated Souths 12-4 in the preliminary final at Allianz Stadium, in front of a record crowd.

Mets v Yankees 

In 2000, the New York Mets and New York Yankees met in the Major League Baseball World Series - the first time two teams from the Big Apple had met in the showpiece since 1956.

Referred to as the "Subway Series", it was the Yankees who came out on top with a dominant 4-1 series win, despite having lost 15 of their last 18 regular season games.

It was a third successive World Series triumph for the Yankees, who also made it to the same stage in 2001, but lost to the Arizona Diamondbacks. The rivals have not met in a World Series since, and it took the Mets another 15 years to make it back to the big stage.

UCLA v USC

One of the biggest college football rivalries comes in the form of the UCLA Bruins and USC Trojans.

The most famous encounter between the two universities came in 1967, in a match known as "the game of the century." It matched USC - with OJ Simpson - against a UCLA side including Gary Beban, with the Conference Championship on the line, while Simpson and Beban were competing for the Heisman Trophy.

It was USC who ran out victorious in a 21-20 victory and they went on to defeat Indiana in the Rose Bowl and win the National Championship. Beban claimed the Heisman Trophy, despite Simpson's notable performance in the encounter and 1,543 rushing yards over the season.

Boca Juniors v River Plate

One of the most famous and fierce local rivalries in football, or indeed any sport, the Superclasico is an incredible Buenos Aires derby between Argentina's two biggest clubs - Boca Juniors and River Plate.

In 2018, both sides progressed to the final of the Copa Libertadores, making it the first Superclasico final of an international competition. It was a two-legged encounter with one match to be played at each ground.

Tensions were high, and after a 2-2 draw in the first leg at Boca's home Estadio Alberto J. Armando, they boiled over in dramatic and violent fashion prior to the second leg at El Monumental, with the match eventually called off after the Boca coach was attacked en route to the stadium.

After much controversy, the second leg finally took place at Santiago Bernabeu in Madrid, with River winning 3-1 to secure a 5-2 aggregate victory and their fourth Copa Libertadores title.

Kawhi Leonard will reportedly spend next season with the Los Angeles Clippers.

The star has agreed to terms with the Clippers, according to ESPN, which cites unidentified league sources.

Leonard, 28, is fresh off a season in which he led the Toronto Raptors to the franchise's first NBA title and claimed Finals MVP honours. It appears as if he felt playing for the Clippers was his best option moving forward.

Incredibly, ESPN also report Oklahoma City Thunder star Paul George is joining Leonard at the Clippers, creating a blockbuster rivalry with the Los Angeles Lakers, who have LeBron James and Anthony Davis.

Leonard missed 22 games in 2018-19, as the Raptors chose to use load management as a way to monitor a quad injury he suffered in 2016-17 as a member of the Spurs, an injury that paved the way for his exit from San Antonio.

He still averaged 26.6 points and 7.3 rebounds per game in 60 appearances in the 2018-19 regular season – helping Toronto finish second in the Eastern Conference with a 58-24 record.

His numbers got even better in the postseason, as he averaged 30.5 points and 9.1 rebounds per game and led all players in minutes. Though he led the Raptors to their first title, his signature moment came in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference semi-finals with his buzzer-beater to eliminate the Philadelphia 76ers.

The two-time Defensive Player of the Year and three-time All-Star now has two Finals MVP awards under his belt after Toronto topped the Golden State Warriors in six games.

The Toronto Raptors won the NBA championship for the first time in their history after defeating the Golden State Warriors 114-110.

Toronto made history at Oracle Arena, where the Raptors sealed a 4-2 series victory over the two-time reigning champions in the NBA Finals on Thursday.

With less than 10 seconds remaining, the Warriors trailed 111-110 and had one chance to take the lead. But after a missed shot and a loose ball, Draymond Green picked up the ball and tried to call timeout.

The problem is the Warriors did not have a timeout, which gave the Raptors a free throw and possession in the Bay Area.

Kawhi Leonard made the free throw and the game was over. He also made two more free throws after the technical foul to extend the lead a touch more as the Raptors made history.

Fred VanVleet scored 22 points off the bench and made big shot after big shot down the stretch to lead the Raptors to an unforgettable win on the road.

But as inspiring as VanVleet's performance was and the crazy end to the game, the undeniable story on the night was what happened to Klay Thompson.

The Warriors' five-time All-Star – who scored 30 points – suffered a knee injury in the third quarter that saw him leave the arena on crutches.

It was a heartbreaking moment for a team that have had to deal with injury after injury in the playoffs. Kevin Durant ruptured his Achilles in Game 5 of the Finals, Kevon Looney fractured his collarbone and DeMarcus Cousins tore his quad during the playoffs.

Thompson had also already dealt with a hamstring injury in the Finals as Golden State's three-peat hopes were ended.

Kawhi Leonard's performances in the NBA playoffs this season, as well as the solid ones in the pre-season, have begged the question about whether or not he is the best player in the NBA. A certain Kevin Durant comes up for mention as well. The zone team looks at these two phenomenal basketball players.

The San Antonio Spurs have completed a trade to send disgruntled superstar Kawhi Leonard to the Toronto Raptors. 

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