The Los Angeles Lakers and L.A. Clippers have an ongoing competition to win over the hearts of the city. And based on how things have shaped up in recent years, it doesn’t appear the battle will come to an end anytime soon.
Per Sports Team History, the Lakers started off as a team in Minneapolis. After being sold to businessman Bob Short, they relocated to the city of L.A. in 1960, making it the first NBA team on the West Coast. On May 15th, 1984 the San Diego Clippers decided to move north and relocate to Los Angeles. The team changed its name to the Los Angeles Clippers and created a rivalry that is still going on today.
The Clippers are considered to be underdogs as they were the second team to move into L.A. and they have not been successful in winning any NBA Championships. The Lakers, on the other hand, made L.A. their home first and have won 16 NBA Championships.
On Wednesday night, Clippers star Paul George posted a video as part of his partnership with AT&T and made the bold statement that the Clippers are the best team in the city. He said, “we get to embody being the underdog in a big city. We’re the best team in L.A.”
Paul George’s Time With the Clippers
The Clippers acquired George in a blockbuster trade deal with the Oklahoma City Thunder that resulted in the team pairing him up with free-agent signing Kawhi Leonard. The duo wanted to team up, and the Clippers found a way to make it work for all parties and instantly set themselves up as title contenders.
PG-13 sat out for the first 11 games of the season as he was in recovery from two shoulder surgeries. In his first two games back he set two franchise records being the first to score 30-plus points in his two first games back and his 37 points in 20 minutes against the Atlanta Hawks was a franchise record for a home debut, according to CBS Sports.
On Monday night, in his third game back, George hit a go-ahead three to edge the Clippers over Thunder by a score of 90-88. According to Clippers Nation, with that bucket, George accumulated four go-ahead 3-pointers in the final 30 seconds which is twice as many as the next-closest NBA player. So far this season, PG is averaging 28.3 points, 6.3 rebounds and 4.8 assists per game.
The Battle of Los Angeles
The battle of Los Angeles between the Clippers and Lakers dates all the way back to 1984. Actor and long-time Lakers fan Jack Nicholson bought Clippers season tickets to sit courtside at every home game when the Clippers relocated to L.A. while still holding his Lakers tickets. The tickets were half the price of the Lakers, as the team marketed themselves as a low-cost alternative, calling themselves the People’s Team, according to Sports Illustrated. Nicholson made comments about having two teams in the city.
“When you have two clubs, one’s always going to suffer at the hands of the other,” he said. “L.A. doesn’t support anything but a winner,” said Nicholson.
Since the Clippers debut in 1984, there have only been four seasons where both the Lakers and Clippers finished with winning records. Now, L.A. has a serious battle on their hands as both teams are legitimate title contenders with star players in LeBron James, Anthony Davis, Paul George and Kawhi Leonard all playing in the city. The Lakers now boast a 12-2 record, the league’s best and the Clippers sit at 10-5 on the year. The next time both teams play against each other is on Christmas Day at 5 p.m. PT.