In Los Angeles Rings Talk, Hype walks.

Updated: October 27, 2013
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I moved to Los Angeles from New York City at the beginning of the 2012-2013 NBA season, and I noticed an eerily similar phenomenon out west to what had been taking place back home all summer. In both basketball epicenters, there was an unfounded notion of a new sheriff in town. The New York Knickerbockers and Los Angeles Lakers, two of the most heralded franchises in all of professional sports and steadfast fixtures in their respective cities, were all of a sudden sharing the spotlight. After luring the likes of Deron Williams and Joe Johnson to Brooklyn, undergoing a total image renovation, and aligning themselves with Brooklyn’s beloved Jay-Z – the Brooklyn Nets quickly became a fixation to the casual basketball spectator in the tri-state area.

Meanwhile out west, Los Angeles born rapper Tyga changed his smash hit “Rack City” to a renamed song called “Lob City” as a Clippers promotional campaign. The “Lob City” version of the song went viral and was an ode to the Clippers’ high volume of alley-oop dunks highlighted by power forward Blake Griffin. Inhabitants of Laker Nation were moving to Lob City with the excitement surrounding Chris Paul, the high flying Blake Griffin, and anyone lucky enough to be at the end of a pass above the rim from CP3. Ultimately, in both cases – novelty was challenging royalty.

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This past NBA off-season both of the aforementioned “novel” franchises made acquisitions that further solidified themselves as contenders (ironically, both as a result of the Celtics rebuilding process). Brooklyn was able to acquire future Hall-of-Famers Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett, along with Jason Terry – while the Clippers enlisted the prolific Doc Rivers as their new head coach. Both acquisitions even further amplified the new sheriff in town sentiments of the previous summer. I am all for some healthy inter-city competition, and avidly believe in competition breeding excellence, however in the NBA, tradition is sacred.

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This leads me to the recent events taking place in the Staples Center in Los Angeles, the home that both the Clippers and the Lakers share. Doc Rivers’ decision to apply a touch of interior re-decoration to the Staples’ Center rafters for the Clippers’ exhibition home opener last Friday certainly raised a clamor in the City of Angels. The familiar banners commemorating the Los Angeles Lakers’ championships, and all of the legends that helped them garner such success were no longer visible. Instead, draped over the retired jerseys and championship pennants were banners of current Clipper players. I understand Doc attempting to instill a winning atmosphere within the Clippers’ organization and all, but masquerading the success of your cross-town rival is not the way to change the glaring Clipper reputation for futility. The Clippers have won only two playoff series since moving to Los Angeles in the 1985-86 season. Two playoff series, in almost thirty years…instead of trying to level the historical playing field of the two franchises by concealing the illustriousness of the Lakers, perhaps Doc should focus his efforts on ensuring the Clippers do not grossly underachieve in the playoffs once again this season.

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In sports championships are what matter, those trophies and banners are the measuring stick. Hype, personnel changes, image makeovers are all just white noise. NBA fans equate the Staples’ Center with the Lakers, not the Clippers, for the simple reason that the Lakers have dominated opponents there since the arena’s unveiling. In my humble opinion, the Clippers need to win, and win when it matters in order to be able to even think about claiming the right to do something like this. Those championship banners and retired jerseys are special. Magic, Shaq, Kareem and the rest of the legendary Lakers players in the arena’s rafters have earned the right to have their name and number seen anytime the Staples’ Center opens for business. Until the Clippers have something to show for their twenty-eight years in Los Angeles, they should bow down and kiss the rings…all sixteen of them. 

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  1. Max

    October 30, 2013 at 8:28 AM

    Los Angeles Lakers 116 Los Angeles Clippers 103 … “bow down” clips

    • Frantz Paul

      October 30, 2013 at 9:02 AM

      I was very surprised by last night’s win. The Lakers came to play and the Clippers thought it was going to be a walk in the park. Awesome showing by the Lakers last night and their fans should be proud of that effort. That first win already eased a lot of pressure of D’antoni in my book lol

  2. David

    October 29, 2013 at 10:29 PM

    Great writing! Keep it coming! Wish there were more rings in NYC for the nets to kiss though.

  3. Brian

    October 29, 2013 at 12:43 AM

    I love the Knicks guys don’t get me wrong…having that been said…I really don’t see them going anywhere until they are able to add a much better PG to their roster. Basketball is a pretty simple game of passing, shooting, rebounding to allow for easy lay-ups and playing defense. You do those things and you win games. The Bulls do these things well and that’s why they win a lot of games. Last year’s Knicks team was a bit of an oddity. They really only did one of these things well, shooting, and overcame their deficiencies by playing a lot of Melo iso ball. I think their deficiences in the fundamentals will catch up with them this year. The Knicks need a solid PG that can get in the lane and create easy buckets. Keep in mind that the Knicks ranked 30th in assists last season. A new PG isn’t coming until the summer of 2015.

    • Frantz Paul

      October 29, 2013 at 1:20 AM

      Almost dead last in rebounding too. Fundamentals are key.

    • Max

      October 29, 2013 at 10:14 AM

      I do not disagree with anyone who points out that possessing fundamentals is a key to success in the NBA. I must admit I am a little confused regarding your point that the “Bulls do these things well and that’s why they win a lot of games” when they went 45-37 winning 9 less games than the Knicks who went 54-28 last year. Especially, when your focus is on the benefit of PG play and the Bulls were without D-Rose last year. The Knicks may not have CP3 or a top 5 PG in the league, but Felton, Prigioni, Udrih, and JR if needed does not jump off the page to me as a glaring weakness. I look forward to the Knicks continuing to win games during the regular season and make a run in the 13/14 playoffs.

    • Max

      October 29, 2013 at 2:01 PM

      As I had never considered the strong relationship you implied between a teams APG and winning a ring, I decided to research it further. In an effort to conserve time, I looked into the last 10 teams to win the NBA Finals and discovered the following. Only 3 out of the last 10 NBA Finals Champions were in the top 10 in the league in APG. I would appreciate it if you could elaborate on and provide any evidence in support of the connection between PG play / APG to winning championships in the NBA?

      • Frantz Paul

        October 29, 2013 at 2:17 PM

        This is why your argument is sound and it’s great that you did research on what Brian said but your views are sorely misguided. You automatically correlate APG with winning a championship as per Brian’s comment. I will ask you this, when was the last time a team with the reigning scoring champion won a title? It’s been about 14 years. You have the best scorer on your team and it will be all for nought because without passing there is no team work, without that cohesion you have your current embodiment of your Knicks, give the ball to Melo and hope he scores. So it’s great you pointed out that assist per games doesn’t necessarily garner rings, but the last 14 years have proven it’s better to pass than not. And you know who passes often, point guards.

  4. Frantz Paul

    October 28, 2013 at 2:07 PM

    I think Seth killed this story as well but let’s have some perspective on the Knicks and Nets. The Knicks have not won a championship in about 40 years now. Think about all that has happened in 40 years and that will show you that the Knicks have done nothing to warrant this basketball royalty status as of late. The Nets when they were in New Jersey went to back to back Finals while the Knicks spent more than a decade steeped in mediocrity. So they do play in MSG great, but the last team to lift a banner in the Garden were the Rangers in ’94, not the Knicks. Melo is great but Artest is a nut case, JR would rather party with Rihanna in the playoffs than focus and Bargnani has played about 60 games in two seasons.

    • Max

      October 28, 2013 at 4:50 PM

      The Knicks have been long overdue for a banner, and if I am being honest, I like their chances in 2013/14 despite the extremely competitive top half of the eastern conference. Additionally, the Knicks had their most talented and deap rosters during the Jordan era which made getting to the finals nearly impossible for any team in the east without MJ (not excusing the last 40 years, but it is something to consider). Despite Ron Artest’s clear mental issues from “baby teeth” to “i’m too sexy for my cat” you can not take anything away from his defensive prowess and toughness. He has also worked significantly on his 3 point shooting and rarly takes il advised shots. Having Artest and a healthy Shumpert gives the knicks the 1 and 2 best perimiter defenders in the NBA. As for JR, people are quick to forget JRs numbers last year, which earned him 6th man of the year honors, and the fact that his poor playoff performance was not due to a lack of ‘clutchness’ but a tendon injury which required surgery. Add a hungry and efficient Amare to the knicks already deap team and the sky is the limit.

  5. Max

    October 28, 2013 at 1:35 PM

    Great article … monster shout out to St.Ives Mr. East Coast / West Coast. Could not agree more that the Clippers were out of line and need to accept their place. I think the same applies to the Nets in the East. MSG is the mecca of basketball and an icon for greatness throughout the history of the NBA. The Nets have made waves in headlines, but in my opinion are greatly overrated and will disapoint this season. KG and Paul Pierce are over the hill and I would be surprised if the Nets win more than one playoff series depending on seeding. I also believe people are forgetting the Knicks were the #2 seed in the East last season and have only gotten better. Bargnani running the pick and pop with Melo could be fatal, plus the addition of one of the toughest defenders ever to play in Ron Artest. I would not want to play the Knicks in a best of 7 period.

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