Yesterday it came out that the Clippers are trying to make Staples Center cover up the Lakers’ banners during Clippers home games. My response to the Clippers (in particular Doc Rivers) is, “Who the hell do you think you are?” For 10 years the Clippers were nothing more then a punch line. Now they are a decent team who makes it to the playoffs but have no real chance of winning a championship. They have a lot of good players, including two all stars, but lack the chemistry to face adversity. The organization hopes that Doc Rivers will put them in line, and he probably will make them significantly better, but as we learned from the Shaq and Kobe days, you cannot make players like each other.
Now that I have mentioned the lack of Clippers accomplishments, why don’t I list just a few of the Lakers accomplishments. The Lakers have 16 championships, a former player who is literally the logo of the NBA, a former player who is the highest scorer of all time, and 21 Hall of Famers. Therefore I reiterate, “Who the hell do the Clippers think they are to make such demands?”
The Clippers should feel honored that they get to play in a stadium that houses such greatness. I will stipulate that the Clippers have been a better team then the Lakers the last couple of years. However, the Clippers have not been great. They were eliminated in the second and then the first round. Lakers fans will agree that isn’t greatness, and we would know since we have faced two swift first round play off exists the last two years.
This movement is being spearheaded by Doc Rivers. As a Lakers fan, I both loath and respect the man. It is nice to see that just because he traded in his Celtic green for the Clippers red doesn’t mean he lost an ounce of his hatred. However, I disagree with his approach. Honestly, what is a better way to inspire a team then to have them look up and see all of big brother’s accomplishments? Doc should make his players stare at those banners every time they lose to remind them that until they start winning championships they are nothing in LA. Not only would I have them stare at the Lakers banners, I would also have them stare at the Kings’ and Sparks’ banners. I would remind them that they are the only team in that stadium who has not won a championship or even a Western Conference Final.
This point leads to my next question: Do the Clippers want all the banners covered, or just the Lakers? I honestly believe there is no good answer. If they want just the Lakers’ banners covered then they will show they are petty, and are trying to replace the Lakers any way they can, since they obviously can’t do it with any substantial accomplishments. If they have all the banners covered, then they are just showing their inferiority complex, and teams will not respect them.
I have another question for Doc: Why stop at the banners? Why don’t you cover up all the retired jerseys? It must be tough to see how many great players have played for the Lakers, especially since the Clippers are known for getting good players and then losing them to the Lakers.
Doc should just return to his old tricks and hide a Clippers jersey in the Lakers’ ceiling. We all know he loves doing that.
This movement brings up a running, and yet disturbing trend in the league: players and teams wanting accolades before they actually accomplish anything. The Heat held a parade just for signing the big three. They had to face the critics since it took them 2 years to bring in their first championship. Recently, both LeBron and Dwight have expressed their desire to have their former teams retire their jerseys. I am particularly amused by this request for the same reason. Neither player brought their team a championship and only made it to the finals once. If the Lakers retired a player’s jersey for doing that, well it is easy to say that they would have no numbers left. I have no doubt that LeBron will end up in the Hall of Fame, or that the Heat will retire his number, but I would not be surprised if the Cavs decided he was not worth it. Dwight on the other hand may not make the Hall of Fame. He was a very good player, but he is a shell of his former self and has proved that he cannot be the number 1 option. That type of player isn’t worth retiring a number, just like making it to the playoffs twice does not give you the right to ask a stadium to cover another team’s accomplishments.
I am amused that Doc is becoming an LA style diva and is making demands, but he clearly has not learned from the stars. The stars who make demands have to be star worthy. The Lakers are the big kahuna in LA, even if the Clippers are on the rise. Until the Clipps reach the same level they should be careful. Careers have been ruined in LA because they have been seen as too difficult to work with or make too many demands, just ask Katherine Heigl.