In what may signify that a coverup always remains worse than the crime, Lakers guard Nick Young considered it “disrespectful” Clippers coach Doc Rivers instructed the organization to feature banners of his players draped over the Lakers’ championship banners and retired jerseys anytime they have a home game at Staples Center.
“We got to talk to Doc,” Young said Sunday at the Lakers’ practice facility in El Segundo. “He can’t have that. We have to do something about that.”
The Clippers began that practice in their home game Friday against the Portland Trail Blazers at Staples Center, the same venue the Lakers share. Banners of Jamal Crawford, Blake Griffin, J.J. Redick, DeAndre Jordan, Jared Dudley, Chris Paul and Matt Barnes are featured on the same side where the Lakers’ banners usually are featured.
The Lakers have 12 championship banners, including Minneapolis’ five titles on one of them. They also have 10 retired jerseys, including Magic Johnson (No. 32), Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (33), Jerry West (44), Elgin Baylor (22) Wilt Chamberlain (13), Gail Goodrich (25), James Worthy (42), Jamaal Wilkes (52) Shaquille O’Neal (34) and one featuring a microphone to honor the late Lakers’ announcer Chick Hearn.
“That’s a lot of pull ya’ll are giving Doc,” Young said. “He shouldn’t come and have that much pull. He should come and earn his keep.”
Rivers did win an NBA title in 2008, though with the Boston Celtics against the Lakers.
“But he didn’t win no title in L.A,” said Young, whose six-year NBA career also included a stint with the Clippers. “That’s where it’s at. Look at all these banners in here. You can’t shadow those up.”
Hardly anyone else on the Lakers publicly shared as much outrage.
“If you were on the Clippers organization, you’d probably want to do that too,” Lakers guard Steve Nash said. “It’s their arena on those nights. I would try to make it feel like home.”
“I can understand why he wants to do that,” Lakers coach Mike D”Antoni said. “That’s cool. There’s nothing wrong with that. It’s their court at that time. I probably wouldn’t have Lakers stuff around if it was my court. I don’t blame him. That’s just the way it is.”
In other words, don’t expect D’Antoni to highlight the Clippers’ gesture as bulletin board material.
“We already have so much fuel to add,” D’Antoni said. “We have our own things to worry about.”
Such as perhaps beating the Clippers in the team’s season opener Oct. 29 at Staples Center, considered a designated home game for the Lakers. The Lakers won’t actually personally see their banners covered up until Jan. 10 when they play at Staples Center in a designated road game against the Clippers.
Rivers told reporters he’s just trying to create a stronger home atmosphere for Clippers games, perhaps one of the many moves the newly hired coach will do to solidify the team’s winning culture.
“I understand they can’t be overshadowed too much by what’s happened in the past in the history of our franchise,” Lakers forward Pau Gasol said. “They have to worry about their own. They have a good group of players and have high expectations for the season. They have to worry about their business. Maybe that’s distracting to them so that’s fine as long as they stay there where they belong.”
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