The Clippers are having one of their best seasons in franchise history, but unless it ends in the team’s first NBA title, Blake Griffin is among those who aren’t interested in putting up any banners at the Staples Center to commemorate the accomplishment.
Having already reached the 50-win mark for the first time ever, the Clippers are in line to win their division as well, which would also be a first.
Plenty of teams around the league hang banners for division titles, but in an arena shared with one of the two most storied franchises in NBA history, that might not be a tradition the team wants to start.
[Winning the division is] a moment Griffin is looking forward to, but he hopes the team doesn’t hang a banner commemorating the occasion in the same rafters that hold the Los Angeles Lakers’ 16 NBA championship banners.
“I kind of have bigger goals than that for the team,” Griffin said. “I think the team has bigger goals than that. We expected to win the division. We didn’t come into this season thinking, ‘Oh, it would be great if we could win the division.’ We expected it. It’s something to be proud of and maybe there’s a banner that goes up (in the training facility), but it’s not something that needs to go up in Staples [Center], and we don’t need to hang our hat on that.”
While it’s easy to have a sense of pride and not want to celebrate mediocre accomplishments that are merely steps along the way to achieving every team’s ultimate goal, it’s easy to see the other side of Griffin’s position.
The Clippers have shared the Staples Center with the Lakers since the arena opened for the 1999-2000 season. The Lakers have plenty of championship banners and retired jerseys adorning one of the walls, but the Clippers don’t have a single reminder hanging anywhere in the building that they too have called it home for the last 14 years.
It is a little silly to drop division title banners inside the same arena that houses the league’s most glamorous franchise. But at the same time, you need to build a culture of winning at some point, right?
The Clippers need to use something as a catalyst. So, while anything they put up at Staples would pale in comparison to the Lakers’ achievements, for a franchise with no positive history whatsover to build upon, it has to start somewhere.