The Clippers are in the odd and historically unfortunate situation of sharing an arena with the storied Los Angeles Lakers franchise.
It makes for an awkward game night when the Clippers are the home team, considering one of the walls of the arena is covered with large banners representing all of the Lakers’ 16 NBA championships, as well as several retired jerseys of greats who have represented the purple and gold in years past.
L.A.’s historically junior franchise is finally doing something about it, some 14 years after living under these untenable conditions.
Doc Rivers was apparently the one behind the makeover, and said it was about establishing a homecourt feel for his team more than it was trying to disparage the Lakers.
“Well, I didn’t look at it as the banner thing,” Rivers maintained. “I just look at it as putting our guys up.”
“Listen, I think this is our arena when we play,” Rivers said. “So I just thought it would be good that we show our guys. No disrespect to them. But when we play, it’s the Clippers’ arena as far as I know.”
Honestly, it’s about time.
No two franchises have been further apart on the NBA spectrum of success than the Clippers and the Lakers over the years, and the irony of playing in the same building hasn’t gone unnoticed.
The question of whether or not the Clippers should hang a Pacific Division banner just to get something of their own on the walls came up near the end of last season, and Blake Griffin was among those taking the high road while saying he’d prefer not to do it, because the team has bigger goals in mind.
Covering the Lakers’ constant reminders of achievement with their own team artwork is a nice compromise for the Clippers, and a positive step for a team that, for the moment, is the superior one in Los Angeles.