Rivers Says Clippers Mean No Disrespect By Covering Up Lakers' Championship Banners
Clippers coach and Senior VP/Basketball Operations Doc Rivers yesterday said that the team “meant no disrespect to its in-arena rivals by deciding to cover up the Lakers' championship banners and retired jerseys with seven giant banners of Clippers players during Clippers games,” according to Arash Markazi of ESPN L.A. Rivers said, “The culture is changing, and we want to be a winner. To do that, we have to make changes, and the one at Staples Center is one that I thought we needed to make. We don't leave the Lakers floor down, do we? And they don't play on the Clippers floor; they take it up. That's all. … When we play, it should be the Clippers’ arena” (ESPNLA.com, 10/21). USA TODAY's Sam Amick writes the move is an example of 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 NFL Jets and 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 "erasing of the Lakers during Clippers games was years in the making, not to mention long overdue, but it's clear Rivers' presence provided the sort of high-profile punch to the situation that helped finally get it done" (USA TODAY, 10/22).
LONG TIME COMING: The Boston Globe's Bob Ryan said the issue of the Clippers covering up the Lakers banners "should have been negotiated" when the Clippers moved into the Staples Center. Ryan: "This could have been taken care of 14 years ago when they opened up this building. ... This is a management issue that should have been taken care of." ESPN's Michael Wilbon: "What they're saying is, 'It's our home game.' It's a Clipper home game and so if they want to walk around the building as somebody did and say, 'You know what, cover anything up that says Lakers.' They are tenants" ("PTI," ESPN, 10/21). ESPN's George Karl said, "I love covering up the Lakers' banners. That is fantastic and … that should have been done years ago" ("ESPN The Magazine NBA Preview Show," ESPN2, 10/21). CBSSN’s Allie LaForce: “I like that Doc is trying to transform the image of the Clippers. ... Any rival would not want to just stare at the other team’s success at their home court” (“Lead Off,” CBSSN, 10/21).