By Jovani Gama |Sports Editor|
The Lakers and Clippers have been fighting a lop-sided battle, with the Lakers dominating the Battle of Los Angeles for as long as anyone can remember.
Last season, Blake Griffin made a splash on the league with his highlight dunks, causing many people to question, not whether or not the Clippers were the better team in L.A., but whether or not they were the most exciting team.
Many undoubtedly believed they were. This season, things shifted heavily in the Clippers favor. After NBA Commissioner David Stern shocked the league by vetoing a trade in which star point guard Chris Paul would be sent to the Lakers, resulting in the Clippers making a trade of their own in order to acquire him.
This left many Lakers’ fans enraged, but brought new hope to a sudden emergence of Clippers fans.
Suddenly, the battle between the Lakers and Clippers became one that actually interested people. A Clippers victory would no longer be a shock to fans, but more of an expectation.
Clippers gear has sneakily made its way into sport shops’ window space which are usually reserved Laker banners, sweaters, and jerseys. Fans have made it a point to chant “MVP!” for Clippers’ star Blake Griffin while he shoots free throws, an act usually reserved for L.A. super star Kobe Bryant.
The question of which team runs the town has relevance now, as many find themselves struggling to answer it. I, however, feel that the answer is a simple one.
Who runs Los Angeles? The same team who has been running it since day, one of course.
While the Clippers have brought an excitement to the league, making plays that resemble those of the old “Showtime” Lakers, they have yet to earn the right to so much as be mentioned in the same breath as the Lakers.
Stepping into Staples Center, the very first thing you notice are 16 purple and gold championship banners hanging proudly above the rafters. People often shun the championship argument, but there really isn’t any argument worth mentioning.
What brings a city joy at the end of the season is not how many lobs your team converted into dunks, but the parade that takes place in downtown, signifying another championship. Los Angeles has been graced with 11 such parades (five championships were won in Minneapolis), all courtesy of the Lakers.
In addition to this, to say that the Clippers run L.A. would disgrace the names of the legendary players who have adorned Laker jerseys, both past and present. Think about names like George Mikan, Wilt Chamberlain, Elgin Baylor, Jerry West, Kareem Abdul-Jabaar, Magic Johnson, Shaquille O’Neal, and Kobe Bryant.
Let’s go ahead and list the Clipper greats…have you given up? I know I have. Here’s a better idea; let’s take the time to count the number of banners the Clippers have hoisted above Staples Center…Okay, okay how about this one; how many Pacific Division titles have the Clippers won? I think I’ve made my point.
While the Clippers may be one of the most exciting teams in the NBA, they will always just be L.A.’s second team. At least that’s the way it should be.