The rivalry between the Los Angeles Clippers and Los Angeles Lakers just got some life injected to it, thanks to some strong words from Clippers owner Steve Ballmer.
Ballmer knows that the Clippers don’t have the Lakers’ history. But he also knows that since he took over, the rivalry has slanted the Clippers’ way. Moreover, he wasn’t afraid to say just that.
“So look. I’ll say two things. No. 1, we’ve been kicking the Lakers’ a– the last several years. Let’s just face it. We don’t have the championships that the Lakers do,” Ballmer said, per Julie Bort of Business Insider. “We don’t have any of that. But in the world of sports it’s, ‘What did you do this season?’ And all we can control is how we do this season, next game, next game, and I’m proud of what we’re doing.”
Objectively, it’s hard to argue his point. In the three full seasons since Ballmer took over, the Clippers have posted a 160-86 mark, while the Lakers have struggled to a 64-182 record. More to the point, the Clippers are 11-1 in head-to-head play against the Lakers.
Of course, beating the Lakers during his current run isn’t anything special. The Lakers have been one of the worst teams in the NBA for the last four years. Ballmer’s “ultimate goal” is one that he hasn’t reached yet.
“But our ultimate goal isn’t to to beat one other team. It’s to beat 29 other teams. If you tell me you were the top team in LA, but the 28th team in the league, I say to heck with that.”
The Clippers are far from the 28th-best team in the league. But it’s also a franchise that has never reached a conference final. In each of the last two years, the Clippers lost their first-round series. Both times, their first round opponent lost in Round 2 and never lasted more than five games.
So, while they’re not one of the worst teams in the league, the Clippers have a ways to go to be one of the NBA’s best.