Friday, April 5, 2013
Updated: April 6, 5:42 PM ET
Blake Griffin doesn't want banner up
By Arash Markazi
PLAYA VISTA, Calif. -- The Los Angeles Clippers don't have any championship banners up at Staples Center, and Blake Griffin wants to keep it that way until they win an NBA title.
The Clippers' franchise, dating to their inception as the Buffalo Braves in 1970, has never won a division title. But the team's next win, or a loss by the Golden State Warriors, will give the Clippers their first Pacific Division championship.
It's a moment Griffin is looking forward to, but he hopes the team doesn't hang a banner commemorating the occasion in the same rafters that hold the Los Angeles Lakers' 16 NBA championship banners.
"I kind of have bigger goals than that for the team," Griffin said. "I think the team has bigger goals than that. We expected to win the division. We didn't come into this season thinking, 'Oh, it would be great if we could win the division.' We expected it. It's something to be proud of and maybe there's a banner that goes up (in the training facility), but it's not something that needs to go up in Staples [Center], and we don't need to hang our hat on that."
Every NBA team hangs division championship banners except for the Lakers and Boston Celtics, winners of 33 NBA titles. The Los Angeles Kings, who won the Stanley Cup last season and share Staples Center with the Lakers and Clippers, hang division and conference title banners.
Griffin's opinion wasn't shared by teammate Caron Butler. Butler, who has played for the Lakers, believes the Clippers should commemorate their first division title and 50-win season with a banner.
"For the first time, yes," Butler said. "It will be a special moment in history. Winning over 50 games and winning the division. Acquiring guys like Chris Paul and Blake Griffin and having the roster that we have, the expectations have soared through the roof. We're trying to build some momentum for years to come."
Clippers coach Vinny Del Negro said he wouldn't have an issue with a banner being raised for a division title, but didn't have a strong opinion either way.
"I haven't thought a lot about it," Del Negro said. "Whenever you do something first, it's very important to try and start a tradition. You have to start somewhere. Let's start with 50 wins. That's not enough for us, we want more. Let's win the division. That's not enough for us, we want more. That's our mindset."