By Daniel Guerrero
In the sports world, a rivalry between two teams or even athletes affects the participants in the sport, the management, and the fans. Often, the fans themselves add more to the rivalry than the actual athletes on the team. Rivalries can make watching the game more entertaining, allowing fans to further build up excitement and competitiveness between the teams as the game approaches the final quarter or half.
This is not limited to professional sports however. Rivalries exist on high school and college campuses as well. For instance, our Highlanders have a longstanding rivalry with the Kennedy High School Cougars. On campus, you hear the rivalry between UCLA and USC in both student and staff conversations. However, these rivalry teams are not nearly as noticeable as the rivalry between the Lakers and the Clippers.
After moving to Los Angeles from San Diego in 1984, when the Clippers first played the Los Angeles Lakers at what was then the Forum, the two teams pulled in 14,991 fans, more than enough people to create a rivalry between the two teams.
In the beginning, the Clippers struggling to beat the Lakers whenever they played each other. The Lakers went on a winning streak from 2000-2002, where they won three NBA championships in a row. During that time, the Clippers had the worst winning percentage in the NBA (.349), whereas the Lakers had the best (.659). This did not stop Clippers fans from supporting their team over the Lakers, however.
However, during the 2010’s, the Lakers lost their domination of the sport and began to lose more of their games. Their fandom slowly deflated after a lot of players retired such as MVP Kobe Bryan. There were also frequent and unpopular coach changes. However, the opposite was true for the Clippers who received players such as Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan.
This helped the Clippers get back on track and even come close to competing in the NBA Championships. They also competed and beat recent NBA champions, the Golden State Warriors, during the semifinals, but were unable to move on to the next round after losing to Oklahoma City.
In total, through changes in players and coaches and changing winning and losing streaks, the rivalry has stayed strong between Lakers and Clippers fans.
“The Lakers are way better than the Clippers because they have Lebron James and can score a lot of points for the team,” sophomore Isaac Calva said.
“I like the Clippers because their players have a lot of endurance and stamina, which helps them play better and makes the games more interesting,” junior Denise Luna said.
Currently, the Lakers have received new players, like Lebron James, which has made the competition more intense for fans to watch. This season, the Clippers have won 16 games and lost 6, whereas the Lakers have won 22 games and lost 5. Based on this, both teams have the potential of competing in the playoffs and the championships, which has never happened before in NBA history.