Clippers to raise banner commemorating win over Lakers in 9th game of season
by Mark Potter
on Jan 21, 2012
Eager to shake the little brother stigma that comes with sharing a building with 16-time NBA champions, the Clippers front office has made public their intention to add a splash of blue and red to the Staples Center rafters.
“Yes, we intend to raise a banner,” said Clippers GM Neil Olshey. “It’s about changing the culture. We believe championships begin with banners. Right now we have an exciting, competitive, likable team for the first time since, well, ever, and we feel it’s necessary to take advantage of whatever momentum we’ve generated thus far.”
The banner will be the first of any kind for the embattled franchise, and will commemorate the Clippers’ 102-94 victory over the Lakers on January 14, 2012. After watching their 14-point 3rd quarter lead cut to just two, Chris Paul’s 10-point 4th quarter propelled the Clippers to victory, improving their record to 6-3.
“The Lakers were playing their fifth game in seven days, and still gave us all we could handle for three and half quarters,” said Paul. “Frankly I think hanging a banner is a little bit weird.”
Head coach Vinny Del Negro, on the other hand, is strongly in favor of the banner raising.
“You look up and see nothing but yellow,” said Del Negro. “You’ve got the Lakers’ 16 championship banners and seven retired numbers. Next to that the Sparks have two WNBA championship banners and two more retired numbers. I get it, Lisa Leslie is probably the best female basketball player of all time, but come on, Penny Toler gets a banner for scoring the first basket in WNBA history? I would have averaged 50 points a night in the WNBA! If she gets a banner, we get a banner.”
Ever the lightning rod for controversy, owner Donald Sterling’s office released the following statement regarding the banner: “How much does it cost? And what color is it? I definitely don’t want one that smells and attracts vermin.”
Since moving to Los Angeles in 1984, the Clippers have ended up on the losing end of the crosstown rivalry. The Lakers currently lead the head-to-head series 95-29. However, an invigorated Olshey senses a turning of the tide.
“Who knows?” asked a defiant Olshey. “Maybe we go on a 66-game winning streak. There was a stretch in the late 90s where the Lakers beat us 16 times in a row. If we can duplicate that, and then win another 50 in a row, you know, who’s the little brother then?”