Blake Griffin has played a pivotal role in the Los Angeles Clippers' rise from obscurity to legitimate NBA title candidates over recent seasons.
With the perennial All-Star no longer seen simply as a dunk-specialist, his move to the top table of NBA stars has occurred in tandem with his franchise's rapid improvement - an achievement that in itself has seen the team move from out beneath the shadows of city rivals the Lakers.
The famous yellow and gold franchise have endured a tough couple of years with coaching trouble, an ageing and malfunctioning roster, and injury woes for the likes of Kobe Bryant. The Clippers meanwhile, aside from their off court worries, now sit at amongst the elite group of franchises regularly competing in the post season.
Indeed, the Clippers have been in playoff action for the past three straight seasons - a sharp contrast to their one solitary appearance past the regular-season (2005-06) in the previous 14 years.
Kobe Bryant and the Lakers meanwhile missed out on the NBA playoffs for the first time since 2005 following their 27-55 season last campaign.
All of that may make you think that their is a power shift occurring in the city of Angels, and you wouldn't be wrong. The Clippers are certainly the better team at present.
But that doesn't mean they are the 'bigger' team.
Not there yet
And unfortunately for Clippers fans their talisman Blake Griffin admitted that isn't about to change any time soon when speaking to GQ magazine this month.
Asked if the Clippers had become the "alpha team in L.A." after the Lakers recent woes Griffin wasn't so sure.
"No, because for a lot of people, it's about history," explained Griffin.
"And nothing we can ever do will ever take away from their history. They've had unbelievable success as a franchise.
"I think in this current day, we're the better team. I do. But I mean, if you ask anybody that, they're gonna say that, you know - so that's not a real controversial statement."
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He has a point.
The Lakers are one of the most, if not the most, storied franchises in the history of the NBA. Their 16 championships is more than any other team, and they are known throughout the world thanks to their long list of Hall of Fame calibre players.
The Clippers meanwhile have long lived in the shadow of their more popular rivals with whom they share the Staples Center with just two division titles the most fans have had to cheer about.
But with the likes of Griffin, Chris Paul, and DeAndre Jordan playing easy on the eye basketball under the guidance of Doc Rivers there is a sense that their time has come. And as the Lakers can attest, with success comes support.
Unfortunately for those of a Clippers persuasion their roster is going to have to stick around for many years to come if they are first to reach their ultimate goal of an NBA title, and then usurp the Lakers as the kings of LA.
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