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Doc Rivers explains decision to cover up Lakers’ championship banners

Oct 24, 2013, 9:53 PM EDT

clippers banners Getty Images

The Clippers made some news over the past week or so when they decided to make some interior design decisions that affected (tangentially) their Staples Center roommates.

The Lakers and Clippers both play their home games in L.A.’s downtown arena, and the Lakers have a history of achievement that is proudly displayed on one of the walls there in the form of several championship banners and retired jersey numbers.

But the Clippers have no good reason to be forced to be reminded of their historical inadequacy, and Doc Rivers, in his first season as Clippers head coach, explained recently why he decided to do something about it.

From Melissa Rohlin of the Los Angeles Times:

“Last year when the Clippers were blowing us out, obviously I was sitting there with Eddie Lacerte, our trainer in Boston, and he taps me on the leg and says, ‘Look at that,’ ” Rivers said before Wednesday’s preseason game against the Utah Jazz.

“I didn’t want to look at anything at that point, we were down by 30 points, and I look up and you see all the banners. He said, ‘Man, I would never have that.’ This is what Eddie said. And I thought ‘Well, he’s right.’ Again, the Lakers can blame a Boston guy.”

This has nothing to do with taking a shot at the Lakers from a former Celtic, although it is worth noting that one of the most painful moments of Rivers’ career came at the hands of the Lakers in Game 7 of the 2010 NBA Finals.

As we’ve said more than once, this is about the Clippers establishing an identity for themselves in a city and within a building that has been the home of a far more successful and storied franchise for the past several years.

The Clippers should have done this a long time ago; credit Rivers for being the one to put this plan into motion.

  1. kingwithringz - Oct 24, 2013 at 10:00 PM

    Doc could motivate any bench or role player. This is no different to the schemes he uses. Love it.

    • redbaronx - Oct 24, 2013 at 10:32 PM

      @kingwithringz – I don’t think this is a motivational ploy from Doc. I think this is about establishing Clipper identity and saying to Clipper fans “we’re not the doormats to the Lakers. This is our arena too.” I think this is for Clipper fans and players. Clipper fans have been a lot to deal with being in the same building as the Lakers, and they really need to establish “Clipper identity”. Players need to feel at home, and not like the road team.

      This is an all around smart kind of decision for the Clippers, and Doc got that one right.

      • kingwithringz - Oct 24, 2013 at 10:40 PM

        I totally agree dude. Go Heat.

    • kwhyh8strm - Oct 25, 2013 at 2:41 PM

      As a Clipper fan, this is a great move. When its our home game it should be all about US!
      It’s bad enough that at a lot of home game vs Lakers there seems to be a lot of Laker fans in
      the bldg.

    • moseskkim - Oct 25, 2013 at 5:58 PM

      i see it as lakers and clippers are separate businesses. they use the same venue called staples center. when its a laker home game, the lakers decorate however they please to attract customers/show prestige etc. when its a clippers home game, the clippers should decorate how they want without damaging other clients’ property to make it appealing for their customers. simple as that. i dont like it but surely agree with it and they should do that if they want regardless of how well the lakers business and clippers business has done.

  2. chargerdillon - Oct 24, 2013 at 10:10 PM

    You can hide them up as much as you want. The history doesn’t change and neither does the Clippers history. Which is why you’re busy hiding banners rather than displaying them.

    • redbaronx - Oct 24, 2013 at 10:55 PM

      @chargerdillon – This isn’t about “hiding banners” or dissing the Lakers. The Clippers deserve to make their team and their fans feel at home. No need to get angry at them for doing what any team would/should do. If the Knicks and Nets played in the same building, do you think the Knicks would like the Nets to display their ABA banners or their Conference Champion banners from 02/03? Even though the Knicks have won a title? Hell no! They’d take it down in a New York minute.

      Plus there’s precedent for this. Professional teams have played in the same building before and done similar kinds of stuff. If I remember correctly, the Raiders and Rams both played at the Coliseum several seasons.

      • asimonetti88 - Oct 25, 2013 at 1:31 AM

        “The Clippers deserve to make their team and their fans feel at home.”

        Then they should build their own home.

      • redbaronx - Oct 27, 2013 at 11:07 AM

        @asimonetti88 – OK, so you believe everyone should own their home. So that means the Lakers should build their own home too since the building isn’t owned by the Lakers either….that cuts both ways. And since I already know what your argument is, I’ll destroy it ahead of time. Just because a percentage of the Lakers is owned by the company that owns the building, doesn’t make that a “Lakers” owned building.

      • Anoesis - Oct 25, 2013 at 10:14 AM

        The Rams moved to Anaheim Stadium in 1980. The Raiders moved into the Coliseum in 1982. They never shared a stadium.

      • redbaronx - Oct 27, 2013 at 11:10 AM

        @anoesis – Good catch. I can’t remember back that far.

      • paleihe - Oct 25, 2013 at 2:35 PM

        …the Lakers should build their own home too. They’re leasing.

      • richardleefine - Oct 25, 2013 at 2:48 PM

        No they didn’t…

      • redbaronx - Oct 29, 2013 at 3:12 PM

        Explain yourself….

    • kwhyh8strm - Oct 25, 2013 at 2:44 PM

      It’s not about changing history, its about living “in the here and now”

  3. johngalt1783 - Oct 24, 2013 at 11:06 PM

    Covering up the Lakers banners is one thing, assuming it is allowed in the Clippers lease. However, covering them up with current Clippers play makes a mockery of the greatness of every Laker covered up.

    For shame for shame. It’s one thing to cover them up. It is another to cover them up with players who have never done anything historical in the NBA. Coming from Doc this doesn’t surprise me.

    • Kurt Helin - Oct 29, 2013 at 7:33 AM

      Why should the Clippers honor the Lakers at Clippers home games again? Laker history? You need to do better.

  4. abchome - Oct 24, 2013 at 11:46 PM

    Does the Lakers’ lease include exclusive usage right of Staples’ interior? Why is this matter at all?

    Honestly I think colorful posters are looking much better than unicolor banners/jerseys.

    • Anoesis - Oct 25, 2013 at 10:05 AM

      “Exclusive signage right” Pretty funny, but it’s a default setting since the Clippers have nothing to put up that can compete with Lakers’ (and Kings’) championship banners.

  5. brotherlove2012 - Oct 25, 2013 at 12:55 AM

    Lakers fans remind me of Montreal Canadiens fans in the NHL, they feel entitled for their past successes. Stop thinking the NBA revolves around the Lakers. It’s annoying as hell. The Clippers are paying to play in that building, they have the right to feel at home and not have the other team’s banners in their view all the time. This should have been done a long time ago.

  6. katra2logic - Oct 25, 2013 at 7:23 AM

    The banners are in their heads now anyway, does not matter if you cover them up :-) That said, I hope to see some exciting ball from the Clips this year, like the roster, love the coach. Cheers :-)

  7. dynamicninja - Oct 25, 2013 at 7:39 AM

    Doc just pissed about 2010, and i don’t blame him, man i know that hurt! That was a monumental win in game 7. GO LAKERS!

    As far as the clippers, they can try all they want to hide the lakers history, but all they’ve done is highlight it.

    Prior to this, the banners just kind of got lost in the background, I imagine clipper fans didn’t even think about the banners and jerseys being there, didn’t even look up there. That’s why the lakers history had not been covered. It took a disgruntled celtic to make a change.

    Everyone knows what’s behind those “player banners”. Every time you look at them, you’ll think, “oh yeah, those stupid banners were put up to attempt to erase history”.

    All they had to do was put up the pacific division title banner.

    hey doc, 2010 happened, get over it.

    • wkl21 - Oct 25, 2013 at 10:17 AM

      they weren’t put there to “erase history”. Lakers going to suck for awhile, get over it. moron.

      • dynamicninja - Oct 26, 2013 at 7:00 AM

        excuse me if i don’t agree with you on lakers sucking for awhile. The lakers go to the finals and win chips, that’s what they do, i mean if not, you wouldn’t have a team to love to hate, nice guy.

  8. Anoesis - Oct 25, 2013 at 10:08 AM

    I suppose that after more than a decade of stinking up the joint, when you finally assemble a team that doesn’t suck hind titty every night, you want to puff up your chest a little. The Kings never felt the need to mask another team’s championship banners, but then again they have one of their own.

  9. wkl21 - Oct 25, 2013 at 10:13 AM

    funny how Laker fans never said anything about the Clippers until they became a threat (right now a much better team). hope they kick the @%&* out of the Lakers on tuesday.

    • Anoesis - Oct 25, 2013 at 10:19 AM

      Lakers fans have said plenty about the Clippers for decades, none of it positive since there was never anything to compliment. A couple of decent seasons for a change and suddenly the Clippers and their fans think they’re all that. Covering up another team’s banners won’t erase the simple fact you have none.

    • richardleefine - Oct 25, 2013 at 2:54 PM

      Funny how Clipper fans used to hide their fandom from laker and league fans in general. what a shameful thing it was to root the clipper franchise. Now that the clippers are a powerhouse who had the best year in franchise history last year, and then crapped out first round with 1 more post season win than the antique lakers you all have turned in to clipper darrels. better hope you guys can hoist a banner fast or you’ll be back in the dark ages faster than you can say black mamba…

  10. thejav21 - Oct 25, 2013 at 10:19 AM

    Staples Center wasn’t built because of all the prestige of the Clippers, it was because of the Lakers,that’s a fact. If the Clippers want to have their own identity and be their own team then get your own arena or move back to San Diego. I don’t think that Danny Manning statue is going up anytime soon in front of Staples. The Clippers are always gonna play second fiddle to the Lakers.

    • Kurt Helin - Oct 29, 2013 at 7:26 AM

      Staples Center was built and is still owned and operated by the Kings owners (AEG, they have a minority stake in the Lakers) as an anchor to LA Live and the residential that has since popped up. The Lakers (and Clippers) are renters.

      Why Lakers fans think the Clippers need to honor Laker tradition at Clippers home games is beyond me.

  11. strlngsilver - Oct 25, 2013 at 10:53 AM

    First off the Laker fans are feeling like the ugly stepchild that the Clippers once were.. So they are making a big deal out of covering the banners.. Its not a big deal.. Look at the New York Giants and Jets.. They boths share a stadium and for each teams home game the others identity is completely gone. You dont see ANYTHING regarding the Jets when the Giants are playing and vice versa. Doc is trying to get a new vibe for the lakers and if the laker fans are getting this mad because of banners, i expect riots whem/if the Clippers beat them.

    • dynamicninja - Oct 26, 2013 at 7:02 AM

      giants and jets have been that way since stadium opened a few years ago.

      would u care to explain why it took 14 years for the clips?

  12. deavn - Oct 25, 2013 at 10:59 AM

    I’m neutral.

  13. kwhyh8strm - Oct 25, 2013 at 2:55 PM

    As a Clipper fan let me be the first to applaud Doc for this move. When we have home games, it should be all about US! The fact that we share the same building is unfortunate, but thats the way it is.
    This is not to denegrate the Lakers. We all know that this is a Laker town and always will be, but we have to live in the “here and now” and we are trying to establish and present our identity in real time.
    Its all about “what have you done for me lately?”

  14. dynamicninja - Oct 30, 2013 at 1:26 AM

    the banners were beautiful TONIGHT!!!!!!! GO LAKERS!!!!!!

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