I’ll spare you all my usual vitriol about how I don’t like basketball and all that nonsense. Bottom line, I am a sports fan, and as such, I do sort of pay attention. I still don’t like it, but I sort of keep track. So I know that Dwight Howard, this year’s premier free agent in the NBA, has decided not to stay with the Lakers and seek greener pastures in Houston. Ok. Good riddance. Life goes on.
But whiskey tango foxtrot (how many of you all know your nautical alphabet?) is up with the sudden influx of “Los Angeles is now a Clippers town” crap that every idiot with a sportswriting job is now vomiting up?
Correct me if I’m wrong, but shouldn’t you have to hang a couple of banners, or at least one, before you piss on the fire hydrant? The Lakers have won a ton of championships since both teams have been in Los Angeles, while the Clippers have only made the playoffs a scant few times, and haven’t exactly gotten very far when they have.
ESPN’s Rick Reilly is a chief culprit of this crap. You can read his article here. Really, dude? The disappointing thing is, Reilly is one of the last true sports journalists. The guys that care about their craft. The guys that write about stuff that matters. He doesn’t have to pander for clicks. His excellence stands on its own. So why does he have to write this nonsense?
So Dwight Howard left. So Kobe is getting old. So Gasol is a shell of his former all star self. Every team, in any sport, eventually has to go through a rebuilding process. Key guys eventually just get old. Guys leave. It’s life.
Now, let’s look at the Clips. Chris Paul is elite, one of the best five players in the NBA. If I had to start an NBA team, and I admit that my NBA and basketball knowledge is not at the level of some others, I would do it with the best point guard in basketball. LeBron is obviously the best “player” these days. But I’d take CP3. What else do they have? Blake Griffin? An amazing athlete to be sure, but he’s not a complete player, and more concerned with making highlight reels than he is with doing the dirty work required of the elite 4s in the NBA. Kevin Garnett never had an issue doing that stuff. And I can’t imagine that Zach Randolph ever played Garnett out of the building like he did Griffin in the Clips Grizzlies playoff series. DeAndre Jordan? Caron Butler? No doubt, the Clips will probably lead the league in appearances on Sportscenter’s Top 10. But they’ll never win a title. Not unless they get some guys who are as concerned with winning as they are with their own hairstyles.
Now, you might be thinking, “Clipper hater…” Quite the opposite. I grew up a Laker fan during the Showtime period. I still think Magic Johnson is the best player that ever lived, and Michael Jordan is number two. But in the period that followed, I just couldn’t get as attached to Shaq and Kobe, their excellence not withstanding, and grew disenchanted with basketball in general and the personalities of the main players. But I always hoped that one day the Clippers would emerge and be an elite team. Then, the city in which I was born and raised, and have loved unconditionally since I’ve known how to love, would have TWO elite teams in the NBA. That never changed. I would be ecstatic if the Clippers won the title in 2014. But it ain’t happening. So all of you professional writers out there who are in such a hurry to pass the keys of Los Angeles basketball over to the Clippers, put your drink down and look in the mirror. Do you believe what you are writing? I didn’t think so.