The bickering continues in L.A.
The talk of the town all week in Los Angeles has been about new Clippers coach, Doc Rivers’ decision to cover up the Lakers banners during Clippers home games with seven banners of his players, featuring Chris Paul, Blake Griffin, DeAndre Jordan, Jamal Crawford, Matt Barnes, and newcomers, Jared Dudley, and J.J. Redick. The banners of the Clips will cover the Lakers 16 championship banners, along with the 10 banners displaying the numbers of players who have had their jersey numbers retired by the Lakers.
“The culture is changing and we want to be a winner,” Rivers told reporters. “And to do that, I think we have to make changes. (The change) at Staples Center is one that I thought we needed to make. We don’t leave a Lakers (playing) floor down, do we? And they don’t play on the Clippers floor. They take it up. That’s all we’re saying. It’s no disrespect and all that stuff. I have an amazing amount of respect for the Lakers. Having said that, I work for the Clippers. When we play it should be the Clippers’ arena.”
Nick Young, an L.A. native, a former Clipper, and now a Laker, was quite possibly the most displeased by Doc’s decision.
“He can do that?” Young said after Lakers practice on Sunday. “For real? That’s disrespectful. We got to talk to Doc. He can’t have that. We got to do something about that.”
“That’s a lot of pull y’all are giving Doc,” Young added. “I think he shouldn’t come in and have so much pull like that. He’s got to earn his keep.”
Apparently, one reported mocked Young, asking him if Rivers’ championship pedigree is not enough to earn a say like that. Young responded, “But he didn’t win no title in L.A. That’s where it’s at. Look at all these banners in here, you can’t shadow those up.”
The Clippers and Lakers have shared the Staples Center since the 1999-2000 season, and remain the only NBA teams to do such.
“I guess if you were in the Clippers’ organization you probably want to do that, too,” Lakers point guard Steve Nash said. “It’s their arena on their night, so I would try to make it feel like home.”
The Lakers and Clippers meet four times in the 2013-2014 regular season, including Opening Night, which will be televised live at 10:30 p.m. ET, on TNT.
Image via Evan Gole of NBAE/Getty Images