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Jerry West gets real on Clippers being in Lakers shadow

Jerry West, LeBron James, Anthony Davis, Kawhi Leonard, Paul George, Clippers, Lakers

The Los Angeles Clippers and legend Jerry West broke ground on their new arena, which is scheduled to open in time for the 2024-25 season. Intuit Dome, which will be the arena’s name, will have a number of state of the art features by the time it opens. None, however, will be bigger than the opportunity for the Clippers to play a more fair schedule away from the Los Angeles Lakers.

Following Friday’s groundbreaking event, West, who is still acting as a consultant for the LA Clippers, had a chance to speak with members of the media. He called the new arena something to look forward to for the fans, but even moreso for the team.

“The Clippers have been in a great building, a staple,” Jerry West said following the Clippers’ groundbreaking event. “But when you’re the third tenant in a building… I mean, my god, we have the worst schedule every year and this will allow this team to have a schedule that’s more fair and also not be as taxing on the players. At the end of the day, the most important thing is are the fans going to enjoy this experience.”

The Clippers’ 2021-22 NBA season will feature five sets of five-in-sevens (a stretch of five games in seven nights). That’s more than any other team in he league. If they had their own arena, they’d have the flexibility to pick and choose their game days better, thereby avoiding any tough stretches due to scheduling conflicts.

Everyone still believes the Clippers have a chip on their shoulder having played in the shadow of the Lakers for decades and not having won an NBA Championship.

That question was presented to Jerry West during Friday’s media availability.

“The Lakers, my gosh, if you’ve been around this city, the Lakers are probably the most favorite sport team of all.” West added. “I don’t think that’s what is in this timeline. [Steve Ballmer] wants his own identity, he also has been so philanthropic in the things that he does. This building, if you read the carbon emissions, I mean everything has been thought out very thoroughly. This is a building that if you hear him talk, his enthusiasm, that’s who he really is, and it’s amazing. This building will be amazing for fans, it’ll be amazing to go in there every night to see something different.

“I just think it’s gonna be the right time for this franchise to have their own building.”

Lakers fans have come roaring at the Clippers and their fanbase for whatever reason. For years, Lakers fans have complained that they should move out of Staples Center. Now that they are, Lakers fans are making fun of them for that. Clippers chairman Steve Ballmer let it be known his franchise must be doing something right if his team is on the opposition’s mind.

“There’s 30 teams in the league, there are 29 others,” Ballmer said. “And we got one that happens to be based in L.A. And we got our fans. We use our expression, ‘LA Our Way.’ And we’re building our own presence, identity. And if the other guys feel a little threatened — the other guys’ fans, I mean; the players are actually a little different deal — but if they feel a little threatened, that’s OK. It means we’re doing good.”

The Intuit Dome isn’t scheduled to open until 2024, and Steve Ballmer remains a very impatient man, but the Clippers have a bright future ahead of them until and after the highly-anticipated opening of their new stadium.