Staples Center was debuted in the 1999-00 NBA season, when Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal led the Los Angeles Lakers to an NBA Championship. The Lakers have shared the building with the Los Angeles Clippers among other sports teams, but apparently the Clippers are tired of living in the Lakers’ shadow.
When Doc Rivers joined the Clippers as head coach and General Manager he made it a point to try and make the arena look and feel more like a Clippers home arena. That included covering up the Lakers 16 championship banners with pictures of the Clippers stars.
However despite being better on the court the last couple of years, Staples Center has always felt more like home of the Lakers, and according to Kevin Arnovitz of ESPN, Clippers’ owner Steve Ballmer is considering relocating:
“Clippers owner Steve Ballmer has begun to explore potential sites for a new Clippers arena, multiple NBA sources said.”
One issue that has reportedly bothered the Clippers is the feeling of being the ‘third tenant’ and having less say than the Lakers and Los Angeles Kings:
Sources with knowledge of the Clippers’ lease agreement said that, in many regards, the team operates as Staples Center’s “third tenant,” a condition that’s becoming increasingly tiresome to the organization. The Clippers receives a smaller share of proceeds from suites and club seats than the Lakers and Kings, according to sources, and a lesser say in scheduling and the overall fan experience at the arena.
If that is the truly the case, it makes sense why the Clippers would want to find their own new home. Though with their lease at Staples Center running through 2024, it will still be a long time before a move would be made. Ballmer has been adamant that he would not move the Clippers out of Los Angeles, however.
The biggest moments in Staples Center history have come at the hands of the Lakers and Kings, and the Clippers remain the only tenant without a championship banner hanging. Maybe soon they will have their own arena to build up their own legacy.