Rivers makes banner statement to Lakers
by Sam Amick, USA TODAY Sports
You knew it wouldn’t take long, that the always-compelling Los Angeles Lakers would find a way to stay in the headlines even if Kobe Bryant was still walking like one of those zombies from The Walking Dead as he recovers from his April Achilles tendon tear.
But here’s the part we didn’t see coming: The Los Angeles Clippers put them there.
New Clippers coach Doc Rivers has earned his first “W” even before the official start of the regular season, leading this charge to have the Lakers’ championship banners and retired jerseys covered with pictures of Clippers players during home games inside the Staples Center that they share. Some Lakers fans cried foul on the move, deeming it disrespectful that Rivers & Co. would hide all that history that has hung so heavy over them through all these decades served as the redheaded stepchild in town.
It’s nothing of the sort, of course, but no one can blame Laker Nation for being a bit salty these days, considering the two best offseason additions had an adverse effect on their territory (with Dwight Howard, heading to Houston being the other). It’s a team executing its right to have full ownership of a building during those two-plus hours when the stage is theirs — just as the New York Jets and New York Giants do when they share the MetLife Stadium that both teams own, and just as the Grammys folks and various musicians do during their Staples Center productions when the Lakers’ paraphernalia is covered by large black drapes.
“The culture is changing and we want to be a winner,” Rivers told news reporters. “And to do that, I think we have to make changes. (The change) at Staples Center is one that I thought we needed to make. We don’t leave a Lakers (playing) floor down, do we? And they don’t play on the Clippers floor. They take it up. That’s all we’re saying. It’s no disrespect and all that stuff. I have an amazing amount of respect for the Lakers. Having said that, I work for the Clippers. When we play it … [For more on Clippers' Doc Rivers makes banner statement to Lakers, click here.]