The Los Angeles Lakers and Los Angeles Clippers are set to fight for Western Conference and league supremacy heading into the 2019-20 NBA season.
As the Clippers signed Kawhi Leonard and traded for Paul George from the Oklahoma City Thunder, the Lakers traded for Anthony Davis from the New Orleans Pelicans. Along with LeBron James still the best basketball player, the Lakers also signed strong role players like Danny Green, DeMarcus Cousins, and Avery Bradley.
Now, it appears this will be the first time in NBA history where the Lakers and Clippers are both championship contenders. It also seems like the two teams are fighting for both league and hometown supremacy, but it only applies on the court as the Lakers are still the team that drives ratings nationally and locally.
Los Angeles is Madrid:
Having the Lakers and Clippers play at a high level will be great for basketball in Los Angeles, but there will still not be a battle for fame and supremacy.
The Lakers-Clippers rivalry is similar to Atletico Madrid-Real Madrid. Real and Atletico are both based in Madrid, but the former is the glitz and glamour team while the latter is the working-class team and play second fiddle to them.
Like Real Madrid, the Lakers have historical/present-day success. Real had David Beckham, Zinedine Zidane, Raul Gonzalez, and Cristiano Ronaldo while the Lakers have had Kobe Bryant, Shaquille O’Neal, Magic Johnson, and LeBron James.
Atletico and Real faced off in the 2014 and 2016 UEFA Champions League Finals where the latter came out on top in both and the former stayed in the shadows of Los Merengues. The hope is the Lakers and Clippers emulate this portion of their rivalry, and face off on the biggest stages. Playoff battles make rivalries and hopefully, they face off on the hardwood and not in the minds of talk shows.
This is going to be fun?
The hope for Los Angeles and neutral fans should be to have these two teams face off in the Western Conference Finals. A Lakers-Clippers matchup at this stage of the season would make Los Angeles the epicenter of the basketball world as the chance to reach the NBA Finals would bring a pressure-packed battle.
The Lakers and Clippers have multiple All-Star players while the former still has the league’s biggest one. The 34-year-old fighting the upstart franchise in his own backyard would be a great dynamic to witness in his 17th NBA season.
There is also the small matter of James fighting to maintain his place as the best basketball player in the world. Leonard will hope to lead a second team to their first championship much like he did with the Toronto Raptors in the 2019 NBA Finals.
Davis and George add an interesting wrinkle to the storyline as well. As both players look to finally have playoff success and make their first NBA Finals appearance, the hope is Los Angeles will stay a purple and gold town.