Doc Rivers will talk about how it’s just professional pride for his team. He’ll talk about it not being meant as a sign of disrespect. But it’s hard not to see the decision which was first enacted on Friday night at Staples Center as having dual purposes: furthering a Clippers rivalry now hat he’s the head coach, and sticking it to a team he’s feuded with over the past six years.
On Friday night before the Clippers’ preseason game vs. the Blazers, Rivers had the Lakers‘ banners covered up with Clippers posters. From SI.com:
“Well, I didn’t look at it as the banner thing,” Rivers maintained. “I just look at it as putting our guys up.”
The Kings‘ championship banner was still up on the opposite side of the arena.
Rivers was asked why he didn’t put up his banners on the same side as the Kings’ banner.
“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.”
Jordan has been with the Clippers for five seasons and he always wondered why the Lakers had their banners at the forefront.
“You’ve got to give those [Lakers] guys credit. They won championships so they have the right to put them up,” Jordan said. “But at the same time, it doesn’t say Lakers Arena outside. It says Staples.”
Personally, I think this is great. You shouldn’t have to play in anyone’s shadow, just because you split an arena with them. The Clippers are the hot ticket in town now, they’re the team with championship aspirations they’re the team with maybe the best player in Los Angeles. This is their house now, until the Lakers reload or the Clips fall apart again, as they have so often in their history.
And I think the jabs are good. The Clippers are treated as second-class basketball citizens in LA, behind the perception that the Lakers have accomplished so much that the Clippers can never catch up. Part of remedying that is standing up for yourselves. It’s making it clear that when you’re the home team, it’s your house.
And if you can do it while downplaying the history of the other organization, why not?