New Era Of Lakers-Clippers Rivalry Launches With Opener Tonight
Tonight's Lakers-Clippers game will tip off a "season unlike any other since the franchises began occupying the same city" in '84, as both teams have "never at the same time" been considered championship contenders, according to Andrew Greif of the L.A. TIMES (10/22). In L.A., Goon & Swanson ask, "Who runs L.A.?" For much of the Lakers' and Clippers' cohabitation, there "hasn't been much substance to the question." But starting tonight, that will "become one of the most interesting storylines of the season." If ever there was an "opening for the Clippers to finally try to punch upward, this is it" (L.A. DAILY NEWS, 10/22). In California, Jim Alexander asks, "Is L.A. the basketball capital of the world, or at least of the NBA?" (Riverside PRESS-ENTERPRISE, 10/22). THE UNDEFEATED's Marc Spears wrote for 60 years, L.A. has been a "Lakers town." Clippers coach Doc Rivers said, "It is a Lakers town. I'm good with that. I have no issues with that. They have how many titles that they've won here? You know, they claim them all, but they only won a certain amount here. ... Having said that, that's generations of loyalty." But Rivers added, "I look at us as, we're creating our own movement" (THEUNDEFEATED.com, 10/21).
REACHING OUT: In an SI cover story, Michael McKnight examines the Clippers' philanthropic efforts, with team President of Business Operations Gillian Zucker noting the Clippers gave a backpack to "every child in the Riverside County school system." By Christmas, a million backpacks will be "distributed all over the region." The franchise also has worked with public basketball facilities in L.A., as there are now "around 150 courts throughout greater L.A. that have new rims, new flooring and an interlocked LAC in the center circle." By the end of '20, there will be 348. The Clippers also have "bankrolled a mobile optometry shop that shows up at local schools to test kids' vision and fit them with glasses." That program "started with five schools in Watts, then the entire Inglewood school system (12,000 students), then Long Beach (71,000)." Then the mobile eyewear shops "began serving the 670,000 students of L.A. Unified School District." Clippers G Patrick Beverley "leaped on another opportunity that will be unveiled this season." In partnership with L.A.-based tech company Honey, the team will "set aside 50 to 200 tickets before each home game, price them at $10 each and sell them to red-and-blue-clad fans outside Staples" (SI, 10/21 issue).