Los Angeles Clippers head coach Doc Rivers has had his issues with the championship banners that hang in Staples Center courtesy of the Los Angeles Lakers.
One of Rivers’ first moves when he joined the Clippers was to have them covered during Clippers home games and his recent comments ruffled some feathers as well.
Rivers spoke about the team’s 16 championships, noting how they count the ones while in Minneapolis and whether that is fair. The Lakers, of course, moved from Minneapolis to Los Angeles in 1960 and have won 11 championships since moving, but still acknowledge the five won in Minneapolis as part of their history.
Prior to the Lakers and Clippers meeting in the 2019-20 NBA season opener, Rivers slightly altered his stance, at least as far as wanting the Minneapolis banners removed.
“No, I don’t,” Rivers said prior to their 112-102 win. “What I was saying and obviously I was not understood when people say we’ve won them here, no you haven’t. You’ve won this many here. It’s still the same organization. They deserve all their banners, but that’s the point I was trying to make. It was just taken and run away with, but I’m fine with that, too.”
What Rivers is saying makes some sense, but all teams take credit for championships won, regardless of what city they were actually won in. The Lakers surely would never remove any banners because an opposing head coach took issues with it.
Of course, there is still one banner that haunts Rivers to this day.
“I would like them to take the 2010 banner down. That would be nice. I don’t like looking at that, I can tell you that,” Rivers said.
That back-and-forth 2010 NBA Finals between the Lakers and Boston Celtics was one of the most intense, emotional series in league history. Rivers, who was the head coach of those Celtics, clearly still remembers that season and wishes the outcome had been different.
This is simply more proof of the rivalry between the Lakers and Clippers heating up to heights unseen.
Rivers is doing his best to bring the Clippers on equal ground, but the Lakers’ championship history simply won’t allow that to happen.
The rivalry continues to grow, but until the Clippers have banners of their own, they will have to continue looking up at the historical greatness of the Lakers.