Sports Q: Which player from a hated rival do you wish had played for your team?

Discuss your answer with Chad Finn and other Boston fans.

Larry Bird and Magic Johnson position for a rebound
Larry Bird waits for a rebound against Magic Johnson of the Los Angeles Lakers at The Great Western Forum on January 1, 1986 in Los Angeles, California. –Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE/Getty Images

Welcome to Boston.com’s Sports Q, our daily conversation, initiated by you and moderated by Chad Finn, about a compelling topic in Boston sports. Here’s how it works: You submit questions to Chad through TwitterFacebook, email, his Friday chat, and any other outlet you prefer. He’ll pick one each weekday to answer, then we’ll take the discussion to the comments. Chad will stop by several times per day to navigate. But you drive the conversation. 

I think we may have Sports Q’d this one before, but I’m pilfering it here because it’s a fun question with even better answers:

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My initial answer was Mariano Rivera, right up until Oct. 17, 2004. Don’t give me that Derek Jeter nonsense. He was smug, so sure he would conquer the Red Sox forever.

Rivera? Now that man was a respected opponent, even when he was tormenting your team ninth inning after ninth inning, year after year. And after the Red Sox finally did solve him in the 2004 ALCS, he remained extraordinarily gracious, his good humor upon being cheered during the Opening Day 2005 ring ceremony actually enhancing the moment.

Plus, imagine all the lousy closers we’d have been spared from watching through the years had he been on the Red Sox. When Rivera took over the Yankees closer role in 1997, the Red Sox’ closer was Heathcliff Slocumb. That’s just not fair.

The other easy answer? Magic Johnson. He would have made a heck of a sixth man for the ‘80s Celtics, don’t you think? Oh, right – seventh man when Bill Walton was healthy. In all seriousness, watching Magic and Larry Bird play together would have been a dream. But then, so was watching them as rivals.

What do you guys think? Which player from a hated rival do you wish had played for your team? I’ll hear you in the comments.

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