This might seem obvious to most of you, but I'd just like to make it clear that the Los Angeles Lakers are the most interesting basketball team in town. This might seem wrong to some of you, looking over at the shiny new Clippers. It's true that the Clippers are way more exciting now than they were a few seasons ago. They have come up in the NBA world in a major way. The Los Angeles Clippers are an exciting team, yes, but they still have to take a back seat to the Lakers ("Clippers Paul Undergoes Thumb Surgery").
Right now it's about history, not personnel…
Even before Dwight Howard signed with the team, the Lakers were going to enter the 2012-2013 season as the team to watch first in Los Angeles. It comes down to banners. It comes down to championships. It comes down to the number of rings on the fingers of the players suiting up to start the season.
The Lakers have more, so the purple-and-gold remains the most compelling color scheme at Staples Center.
The Clippers have come up and there may be a chance at a rivalry between these two teams. There is no rivalry yet. This is true because, like Kobe Bryant always loves to say, both teams have to win before you can call it a rivalry. The Clippers have to become a better team than the Lakers before there is any real rivalry.
That could happen. It could happen soon. But it hasn't happened yet.
By dint of history, the Lakers have a richer storyline than the Clippers. If Kobe Bryant's Lakers win another championship, Bryant's career becomes more historic than it already is. He'll be tied with Michael Jordan in the "championships won" category.
The franchise would tie Boston for most championships.
What happens if the Clippers pull it out this year and win a championship?
A first Los Angeles Clippers' championship would be groundbreaking for the franchise, obviously, but it's not going to cement anyone's name in the Hall of Fame. A Clippers' championship would be exciting, but it would also just be a first step for Chris Paul and Blake Griffin, not a career capper.
Okay... Personnel too.
The Clippers have put together a solid team now that owner Donald Sterling has decided to spend some money. It's an exciting team full of talent and potential. I want to watch them play, but given the option of watching the Lakers or Clippers, I'll watch the Lakers.
One of the great things about living in LA today, as a basketball fan, is the upsurge in talent on the Clippers. With local cable, Los Angeles basketball fans get to watch two honestly compelling teams multiple nights of the week.
I'll watch some Clippers games, probably a lot of them. I'm actually especially stoked for this season to see how all the (big) new pieces fit for the Clips.
With all that said, the Clippers still have not caught up or passed the Lakers in LA basketball. I think that is saying a lot because the Clippers have got to be in everybody's top five teams to watch this year.
It's just that the Lakers have got an edge, the Kobe edge, the Nash edge, the Howard edge… As a team, the Lakers are bringing so much to the table this year…
The Lakers will be suiting two locks for the Hall of Fame in Kobe Bryant and Steve Nash. Dwight Howard, one of the best defenders in the NBA and the best center in the league, has joined silver-medalist Pau Gasol in the front court.
The Clippers time might come. For now though, the Lakers remain the most interesting basketball team in Los Angeles.
Eric Martin is a lifelong basketball fan living in the Los Angeles area, lucky to have lived in Illinois during Jordan's reign and in Philadelphia when Allen Iverson was in his prime.
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