"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.
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.