- Arash Markazi, ESPN Staff Writer
- 0 Shares
LOS ANGELES -- Despite outrage from Los Angeles Lakers fans and at least one player, Los Angeles Clippers coach Doc Rivers said the team meant no disrespect to its in-arena rivals by deciding to cover up the Lakers' championship banners and retired jerseys with seven giant banners of Clippers players during Clippers games.
"The culture is changing, and we want to be a winner," Rivers said Monday. "To do that, we have to make changes, and the one at Staples Center is one that I thought we needed to make. We don't leave the Lakers floor down, do we? And they don't play on the Clippers floor; they take it up. That's all.
"It's no disrespect. I have an amazing amount of respect for the Lakers. Having said that, I work for the Clippers, and when we play, it should be the Clippers' arena. I would say they probably feel the same way when they play. That's all it is."
First-year Lakers guard Nick Young, who played with the Clippers two years ago, took exception to the move when asked about it Sunday.
"He can do that?" Young said. "For real? That's disrespectful. We got to talk to Doc. He can't have that. We got to do something about that."
Rivers, who made the decision, is the Clippers' head coach and the team's senior vice president of basketball operations. Instead of looking up at the Lakers' championship banners and retired jerseys during Clippers home games, players and fans now will look up at oversized banners of Jamal Crawford, Blake Griffin, J.J. Redick, DeAndre Jordan, Jared Dudley, Chris Paul and Matt Barnes.
Those banners made their debut during the team's preseason game against the Portland Trail Blazers on Friday and will be up for every Clippers home game moving forward.
"It's nothing against the Lakers," Griffin said Monday. "It's nothing to disrespect what they've done because those banners can never be removed or anything like that. It's just that it's our home arena when we're there. That's what that's about. I thought it was a cool thing that [Doc] did."
4dEthan Sherwood Strauss
5dMatt Walks, ESPN.com