Gee whiz, it sure is painful atop the NBA's Pacific Division.
Chris Paul's Los Angeles Clippers are coming off their first-ever division title and a franchise-best 56 wins, but the Los Angeles Lakers won't let them play on without a fight—or an overabundance of harsh words.
Chris Kaman and Nick Young, who both previously played for the Clippers, are doing their best to take their Staples Center adversary down a peg or six.
"I respect what they’re doing and what they’ve done, but still, they’re nothing like the Lakers,” Kaman said of the Clippers, per the Los Angeles Times' Mike Bresnahan. “You look up here at all the championships. They’re never going to have that. It’s never going to happen. I don’t see it."
Technically, the Clippers cannot see it either. Those championship banners, I mean. They've decided to cover up the Lakers' symbolic drapes when they play their home games, but you get the point.
The Clippers have covered all Lakers championship banners and retired Lakers jerseys, per Doc Rivers— Brad Turner (@BA_Turner) October 19, 2013
Kaman, who spent eight seasons with the Clippers, did commend them for their recent resurgence, though he wasn't too kind to owner Donald Sterling in the process.
"Before, the owner, Donald Sterling, didn’t care about winning,” Kaman said, via Bresnahan. “He cared about sharing that luxury money."
Few people would disagree, especially after learning from Yahoo Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski that Sterling nearly vetoed the trade for J.J. Redick over the summer.
Young doesn't exactly share Kaman's feelings of discontent, but he's been quick to put the Clippers in what he feels is their rightful place—below the Lakers.
"It was fun. I’m not going to lie. I enjoyed it," Young said, per the Los Angeles Daily News' Mark Medina. "But the feeling of being a Laker is much different. The atmosphere is crazy and the fans are better. The Clippers are like our little brothers."
Upon learning that the Clippers would also be hiding the Lakers' championship banners at Staples Center home games, Young is on the record as calling it "disrespectful," via Dave McMenamin of ESPN LA.
In more ways than one, his little brother comment holds merit.
Los Angeles is still the Lakers' town. They've accomplished way more than the Clippers and one or two seasons that deviate from past trends won't change that.
Looking ahead, it's not as simple. The Lakers are drowning in question marks. Kobe Bryant isn't healthy, Steve Nash is old and they're looking at serviceable role players, like Kaman and Young, as centerpieces.
Which team will win finish with the better regular-season record this season?
On paper, the Clippers have the better team. Last year, they had the better team, too. There is now pressure on these Lakers to prove themselves, just like the Clippers have always had to.
“There’s just something about the Lakers," Kaman explained, via Bresnahan.
Right now, there's just something about the Clippers. Though they'll never surpass the Lakers in popularity, they currently have a firm hold on their big brother's division.