As many have heard, the Clippers recently covered up the Lakers’ championship banners and retired numbers at Staples Center, something that will be done for Clippers home games this season.
I have no problem with the Clippers trying to make their home games feel more “Clipper-ish”. What I do have a problem with are the steps they are taking to do so.
Covering up championship banners is one thing, but covering up retired numbers of Lakers’ legends, including that of the great late Chick Hearn is ridiculous. I don’t even want to start with the fact that the jerseys are covered with a picture of guard Jamal Crawford.
The decision, which was reportedly that of Doc Rivers, raises some questions as to the thought process behind it. Considering he was the head coach of the Boston Celtics, the move makes sense since he was associated with the Lakers’ rivals, but one has to believe he would not be okay with the move if another NBA team played at TD Garden and covered up the Celtics’ championship banners for their home games.
A rivalry with the Lakers is nothing new for Rivers, who coached the Celtics in the 2008 and 2010 Finals, prevailing in 2008.
“Listen, I think this is our arena when we play,” Rivers told the Los Angeles Times. “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.” – Sports Illustrated article
Let’s face it, the banners being covered up is not just to make the arena feel more like a Clippers’ game. It is clearly an attempt to step out of the shadow of the Lakers’ storied history and try to create a new identity for themselves.
Although, there are other alternatives to accomplish that, such as hanging a banner of your own, which is usually something that get’s you noticed. Or even moving out out of Staples Center to Anaheim or back to San Diego is another option. As long as the Clippers stay in Los Angeles, they will be known as the other basketball team in LA.
Yes, Staples Center belongs to the Clippers too. It also belongs to the Sparks (WNBA) and Kings (NHL) as well. Stop and think how people would react if those franchises decided to start covering up other team’s banners to make their game feel more like a home game. It is silly to even think about.
Unfortunately for the Clippers, this move is irrelevant. You can’t cover up the reputation of the purple and gold. Covering up banners only puts more emphasis on the fact that the Lakers have won 16 NBA titles and that the Clippers have to hang glorified Fathead posters in an attempt to make people forget about the Lakers at their home games.
Fans of the Clippers that I have spoken to have all surprisingly been against the covering of the banners, even to the point where they called it childish. All fans will have different opinions on it, but I’m sure that their fan base would be more than happy with not bringing any attention to the Lakers, which is what this has resulted in.
The Clippers will be one of the top teams in the league this season. They have the talent and coaching to do so, it’s just unfortunate that this move can be seen as something Donald Sterling would have done years ago when they were down and out.
Let’s just hope that statues aren’t the next thing to be covered up or that Doc Rivers forces the Team LA store to not sell any Lakers gear during home games.