Despite nine seasons as the Boston Celtics’ head coach, Doc Rivers has been very complimentary of the Los Angeles Lakers since the Los Angeles Clippers acquired him for an unprotected 2015 NBA first round draft pick.
Earlier this week, Doc Rivers discussed the risk he’s taking by coaching a franchise that has only won two playoff series and declared the Lakers as the best franchise in sports history.
On Thursday, Rivers has quickly realized that no matter what happens with the Clippers this season, Los Angeles will always be a Lakers town via Arash Markazi of ESPNLosAngeles.com:
“It always will be (a Lakers town). We’re not going to try. We’re just going to fight for our fans. We don’t want to take away the Lakers fans. They’re great. They have forged their own history.”
Rivers says there’s no extra motivation to play in the Staples Center with all the Lakers’ championship banners and retired jerseys, but wants to establish home-court advantage:
“It’s motivational to be playing against the Lakers in our arena. There’s a rivalry, a natural one, with us and them, but it stops there.”
While some honestly believe Los Angeles will turn into a Clippers town if they win a championship this season, the Lakers’ loyal fan base won’t jump ship because of one successful season from the cross-town rival. The Lakers have decades of winning championships and Hall-of-Famers and that incomparable history won’t suddenly disappear.
As long as Kobe Bryant and company are competitive, Los Angeles will always be a Lakers town and it’s good that Rivers has quickly realized that in his short time in the city.