When thinking about the Los Angeles Lakers’ biggest rivals in their franchise history, the Boston Celtics, San Antonio Spurs and Sacramento Kings always come to mind due to the numerous playoff battles.
Lakers owner Jeanie Buss has seen many of those contests up close and personal, and now there seems to be a new rival emerging. The L.A. Clippers are viewed as Western Conference favorites along with the Lakers this year and the games between these two teams have been some of the most intense regular season contests seen in years.
Anticipation for a playoff matchup between the two is huge and would go a long way towards building up a rivalry that some don’t believe even exists at this point. Buss is one of those people who don’t view the Clippers as a rival of the Lakers.
During an appearance on the “Daddy Issues Podcast” with Joe Buck and Oliver Hudson, Buss explained that she views the Clippers just like most other teams in the league:
“The Clippers are one of the 29 teams that’s trying to beat us. They’re a competitor and I want to beat all of the other teams, including Michael Jordan’s team in Charlotte, our friends in Boston and in Milwaukee.
“You can’t build a rivalry until there is a rivalry. I mean that in terms of we’ve never played them in the playoffs. Whereas with Boston, we can go back and go, ‘Remember when this happened? Remember when that happened?’ All of our playoff experience against Boston, that’s a rivalry because you have a history. We just haven’t had a history with the Clippers in the playoffs.”
While that may change in the near future, it is certainly the case at this point in time. The Lakers are one of the most successful franchises in all of American sports while the Clippers traditionally have been one of the worst.
Over the last few years that flip-flopped as the Clippers were playoff regulars while the Lakers struggled through their worst stretch in franchise history. Either way, the teams just haven’t crossed paths where it matters most, in the postseason.
As Jeanie noted, that playoff history is what really makes a rivalry. Those intense battles on the way to winning a championship are what truly take things over the top so until the Lakers and Clippers do that, the ‘Battle of LA’ is just a tagline more than anything else.