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Lakers fans ‘threatened’ by Clippers, claims owner Steve Ballmer

Steve Ballmer Clippers Lakers LeBron James

The Los Angeles Clippers are finally slated to distance themselves from their in-city rival Lakers. Well, physically at least. The Clips are set to move into their own arena, dubbed the Intuit Dome, by the 2024-25 NBA season.

Clippers owner Steve Ballmer spoke at length about their move, as reported by ClutchPoints’ own Tomer Azarly. But one interesting tidbit stood out as the billionaire owner detailed his team’s relationship with the Lakers. Ballmer stated that their rival fans may be feeling “threatened” as his Clippers have gotten better over the years.

“We’re good now, and we’re going to be good year in and year out. We’re going to build our own building, more of our own identity, more of our own personality. And I think some of the fans on the other side, if you will, it’s like, ‘What? You dare to question our supremacy?’ No, we do.”

“There’s 30 teams in the league. There’s 29 others. 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 Clippers have come a long way from being a perennial cellar dweller, turning into one of the more solid NBA franchises over the past decade. But despite their renewed regular season success, LAC has been unable to capitalize on a championship run.

The Lakers, on the other hand, bookended the most successful stretch of Clippers basketball with two more titles of their own in 2010 and 2020.

Steve Ballmer wants nothing more than to etch the Clippers into the history books as well, right there with the Lakers. With Kawhi Leonard out for a good majority of next season at least, it may be difficult this year. But Ballmer is determined to give it a shot year in and year out.

“Every year I want to win,” Ballmer said. “Some people will talk about ‘We’re taking a step back’ or ‘We got an injured year.’ No. Our fans can count on the fact that we are going to try to win as many ballgames as we can every year. Now, we took a little setback. We got to get Kawhi healthy. And when he’s back, we’re back at full strength.”

The Clippers made the Western Conference Finals last season, the furthest they’ve ever gone in franchise history. That may be a far cry from where their rival Lakers are at as a franchise, but you have to learn to walk before you can pop champagne.