Clippers' Doc Rivers Says Lakers Counting Minneapolis Titles 'Bugs Me a Little'

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistOctober 22, 2019

LOS ANGELES,  CA - OCTOBER 13: Head Coach Doc Rivers of the LA Clippers smiles during a pre-season game against Melbourne United on October 13, 2018 at Staples Center in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2018 NBAE (Photo by Adam Pantozzi/NBAE via Getty Images)
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The Los Angeles Lakers not only brought their nickname with them when they moved from Minneapolis but also the five championships they captured when they called Minnesota home.

Los Angeles Clippers head coach Doc Rivers alluded to that fact when he spoke to The Undefeated's Marc J. Spears about the Lakers' general legacy in the city of Los Angeles.

"It is a Lakers town. I'm good with that. I have no issues with that," he said. "They have how many titles that they've won here? You know, they claim them all, but they only won a certain amount here. I will say that. That actually bugs me a little bit. ... Having said that, that's generations of loyalty."

The Lakers moved to Los Angeles in 1960, and Arash Markazi, then writing for ESPN in 2011, explained how their popularity in L.A. exploded in the 1980s during the "Showtime" era. Then came the three straight titles with Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O'Neal, which coincided with the team's move to Staples Center in downtown.

In a city with franchises in the NBA, NHL, WNBA, MLB and MLS, the Lakers arguably remain the premier ticket in town despite six straight years of missing the playoffs.

StubHub announced earlier this month the Lakers were the most in-demand NBA team on its site heading into the 2019-20 season. Their 16 NBA titles are second-most behind the Boston Celtics' 17.

Of course, they now have serious competition from the Clippers, who added Kawhi Leonard and Paul George in the offseason. Rivers' relative deference toward the Lakers is evidence of how the gap is closing a little bit between the two teams.

Upon first taking the job in 2013, Rivers instructed Staples Center personnel to cover up Lakers banners with Clippers banners and told reporters at the time "the culture is changing."

Now, he doesn't really have to make declarative statements like that because the Clippers' on- and off-court successes are doing the talking for him.

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