LeBron James: Lakers-Clippers ‘not a rivalry’
Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James is no stranger to controversy, so it should come as little surprise that he’s once again stirring the pot and generating quite a critical reaction.
Following a 112-102 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers in Game 1 of the regular season for both teams on Tuesday night, James pooh-poohed the idea that Lakers-Clippers are a legitimate rivalry.
Lakers’ LeBron James on opening loss to Clippers: “It’s the first game. The NBA is back so everyone wants to have the narrative of a rivalry game and a huge test. Both teams are not who they want to be. … It’s not a rivalry.” pic.twitter.com/POjRgOXNMT
— Ben Golliver (@BenGolliver) October 23, 2019
The Lakers and Clippers, of course, have a long-standing rivalry that doesn’t begin or end with one game, and fans of both teams made sure that was evident during the national anthem.
“Go Lakers,” one fan shouted out, drawing heavy boos from Clippers fans.
But James isn’t the only member of the Lakers who seems to think there’s no true rivalry between the Los Angeles franchises.
In an interview with Wosny Lambre of The Athletic earlier this month, Lakers guard Danny Green also suggested the rivalry did not exist.
“No, [I don’t see them as rivals],” Green said. “We’re not worried about anybody but us. We feel like we have what we need (for a championship) and if we do things the right way like we’re supposed to, we feel like the only team that can beat us is us. So we just need to stay healthy and do things the right way. But they obviously have a good team, as well as some other teams in the west. We’re definitely not sleeping on anybody. But were just worried about reaching our full potential. If we reach our full potential and don’t win, we can live with that. We can’t let small things like rivalries distract us from our goal of being the last ones standing.”
The Lakers seem to think the Clippers are inferior and therefor no rivalry exists. However, after the first day of the 2019-2020 NBA season, it’s not only clear that the rivalry still very much exists, but that the Clippers landed the first legitimate blow of the new season.