Brianna Rodriguez | Contributing Writer
When you think of the NBA and LA, what team comes to mind? If this question was asked a few years ago, the answer without a doubt would be the Lakers. Today, however, that is not always the answer you will hear. In more recent years, a big rivalry between the Clippers and Lakers has developed. Both teams now have huge fan bases. The Staples Center is home of both teams, but in the eyes of the fans the LA sports stomping grounds cannot be shared.
However, Laker star Kobe Bryant is still seen as a key player that will lead the Lakers to gain another championship. The Lakers franchise has always been acknowledged for having a star-studded roster, including Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and of course Kobe Bryant.
In the past few seasons, the Clippers have dominated with Chris Paul leading the team. The main three Clippers in the starting lineup are Chris Paul, Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan. Together these players pose a threat on the court.
APU junior Corey Langerveld, a forward for the Cougars’ basketball team, considers himself a huge Clippers fan. He recalls choosing to be a Clipper fan because he was moving to Southern California but did not want to follow the crowd of the favored Lakers team.
“As of right this moment the Los Angeles Clippers are a much better franchise and much better players. In most recent years the Clippers have dominated the rivalry between the Lakers and the Clippers. The best players in Los Angeles are on the Clippers, so they run Los Angeles,” says Langerveld.
Senior computer science major Aaron Ochoa has been a Laker fan his whole life.
“Lakers definitely run Los Angeles. People forget that the Lakers won the championship in 2010 which is only 5 years ago. While the Clippers are better than the Lakers right now it would be hard to say that they run the city because they have yet to make their own statement in the NBA,” says Ochoa.
Everett Turner, shooting guard for the Cal State San Bernardino basketball team, does not have a specific NBA team favorite, but he believes that the Clippers currently run LA.
“The Lakers have a lot going on right now. It’s tough for them with Kobe being hurt, and they have a lot of young players. The Clippers have been playing with each other for a lot longer. They have a lot more team chemistry. I see them as a good team, but they are more of a team that sells tickets,” says Turner.
Historically the Lakers have been the better NBA team of Los Angeles, winning 16 championships. Thus, the Lakers have a built reputation to defend, while the Clippers have the opportunity to win their first championship. After observing both teams, Turner says he would be a fan of the Lakers because of their history. In the past Lakers have had star players on the team and have had multiple back to back championship wins during different years.
According to APU alumnus and Lakers customer service specialist Jessie Montz, the Lakers have about 3,400 season ticket members and are nearly sold out for every game.
Paola Sanchez, Montclair Plaza’s store manager for Pro Image, the nation’s largest licensed sports apparel gift shop, observed that Lakers apparel has been the top seller.
“The Clippers started to sell a lot last season, but never as much as the Lakers. The Lakers will sell year round. Unfortunately, if the Lakers aren’t doing well our NBA wall or NBA products really don’t move at all,” says Sanchez.
The Lakers’ legacy is tremendous and no credit can be taken away from them, but most of the players that helped win those championships are no longer on the team, making the question of who runs LA still on an even playing field. It all sums up to which team wants the win more, works on team chemistry, and stays determined.