For Spurs fans like me, the Lakers, Clippers rivalry had a very clear favorite team until recent memory. They were the city’s underdogs and Lob City with Blake Griffin, Deandre Jordan, and Chris Paul are arguably one of my favorite trios to ever watch play. There was never any real bad blood between Clips fans and Spurs Family until Kawhi signed a 3 year $103 Million Dollar Contract with LA’s Other Team. The Lakers, however, have been a thorn in the Silver and Black’s side since our founding. Until the arrival of Tim Duncan, the Spurs would get bounced by the Lakers almost every single postseason. (San Antonio boasts only missing the playoffs 4 times in its entire existence) Once Timmy and Kobe came to their respective cities the rivalry really heated up, from the time period of ’99-’04 most NBA fans would consider the LA-SA Rivalry as one of, if not the league’s best.
I love to hate my rivals. I love to hate the Eagles, and Redskins, and The Mean Green (not really a rival but shut up) but there are few teams that I LOVE to despise more than the Lakers. I’m a native son of San Antone, Tim Duncan was my very first superhero, I had a championship jersey before I could walk. I love the San Antonio Spurs like they’re my own family because, in many ways, they are. I can’t begin to tell you how many times my grandparents and I stayed up on nights I’d spend at their house watching the Spurs play, and all of my friends (save one Laker fan and the most passive Heat fan ever) bled silver and black. The Spurs are apart of me, and apart of being a Spurs fan is hating the Lakers for everything that they are. That means despising the Purple and Gold, Wilt the Stilt, Kareem Abdul Jabar, the Logo, and especially the human enigma himself, the eternally beloved/forever hated Kobe Bryant. I hate everything about the Lakers, I hate their championships, I hate native San Antonians who are fans of them, and I especially hate native LA folk who rep the purple and gold when they come to my town. (I’m looking at you AR) LeBron, being one of my all-time favorite players going to LA doesn’t change that hate much if at all. These past few years with the Lakers being as bad as they’ve been has been glorious. Laker’s fans’ misery is my pleasure.
But as I said, for the longest time I really did love the Clippers as a team. They had a pre-2016 Cubs Loveable Loser way about them, with a fantastic color scheme, and one of my favorite players of all time in Blake Griffin. Then they axed the Human Hammer, then tried one of the most intense free agency plays of all time and landed the man who was supposed to bring me and my people five more championships, Kawhi Leonard. Now the Clippers are an aggressive, win-now team. They aren’t resting on their 40 million banners or 75000 Hall of Famers, they are about talent and ingenuity, and it’s hard to hate a team like that.
But Kawhi is still a thing. to fully understand this complicated man, I ask you as a Spurs fan to go on a journey with me.
Imagine you are a kid from San Antonio, Tim Duncan and the Spurs way are all you know. Your friends and you spend your summers at the park shooting hoops in #20 jerseys and passing the ball like your heroes. You make a big enough splash in High School to play ball at SMU, make enough noise for the Milwaukee Bucks to pick you up and you go there with little to no expectations. So you get there and Giannis takes you under his wing, you spend a few years growing your game ad making a real name for yourself, then your moment comes. it’s your 6th season in the League and the Bucks are on a tear, you fly through the Eastern Conference and smack the Denver Nuggets in the finals. You averaged 20 points a night, you were the best defender in the league all season and you where unanimous Finals MVP. You raise a Larry O’Brien trophy with your team, you laugh you cry and you hug your teammates. When the plane touches down in Wisconsin your met with the screams of adoring fans chanting your name. At this moment there is no other team you’d imagine playing for. Milwaukee is your home and these are your people. A few years pass and you’re in talks in the MVP race, you’re one of the league’s best players. Then you get a call from RC Buford and the San Antonio Spurs. What would you do?
I’m not saying I agree with how he went about leaving, but I get it. Picking a side in the Battle for LA is still an obvious choice for any Spurs fan. If it isn’t ill spell it out for you, who would you rather see win? The hated Los Angeles Lakers? Or the kid who just wants to go home and win a chip for his childhood team.
Good luck Clips.
GO SPURS GO