This column appeared in the Daily Nexus under the header “He Said, He Said: The L.A. Clippers, Yay or Nay?”
No matter how many games they lose, coaches they fire, first round flops they pick and players in their prime they let go, the Clippers never let you down.
[media-credit id=20201 align=”alignleft” width=”203″][/media-credit] They never let you down because they always let you down, and after a while you get used to the pain. You hold your breath after every mild success, ever number-one draft pick and every two-game winning streak — waiting for something to go wrong, waiting for them to fuck it up. Then you bitch about it once they inevitably do.
That’s what it means to be a Clippers fan.
Still, I sit here after the Clippers have fallen to 1-6, fully prepared to talk about why this is the year everything changes. For the Clippers, 1-6 is the new 1-2. It’s a disappointing start, but they can still recover.
There’s some pride involved with loving a team so shitty they only sell out games when the Lakers are playing them. We’re a distinct bunch, Clipper fans. We’re used to empty arenas, cheap tickets, waiting until the end of a SportsCenter broadcast for highlights that never come.
When I showed these first few paragraphs to the Artsweek guy, the dude who wrote about Miami’s pending dominance last week, he said nothing helpful, walked back over to his office and yelled back, “Who cares?”
Before that, I told the Opinion girl about what I was about to write and she said, “Really? Why?” with one of those looks that hot girls give to short ugly guys with no money who try to hit on them. Then she talked about how well the Lakers played this weekend, just like everybody does.
I’ve been going to Clippers games since I was six. I remember feeling sorry for Brent Barry, who would stand in a corner outside the Clippers’ locker room at the Sports Arena in silence while all the kids would crowd around Penny Hardaway, Grant Hill and young Kobe. I remember sitting right above the Clippers bench when Michael Jordan, in the legendary black Bulls jersey with the pinstripes, dropped 49 in 1998 to beat us in double overtime.
On Saturday night, I was home watching the Clippers’ road loss to the Jazz. The Clips were up by 18 at one point. Three quarters later they were only up by seven. Then they were tied. Then they were down by seven. Blake Griffin fouled out with two minutes left. As usual, it looked like it was all over.
Then the Clippers went on a run, as usual. Eric Gordon started shitting all over everybody. With eight seconds left in regulation, he crossed over two dudes and dunked on two others, tying the game and sending it into overtime. I jumped and yelled and ran around the family room. My little sister rolled her eyes and resumed watching Mary Poppins on her stupid little DVD player.
Two overtimes later, they lost anyway. Now they’re 1-6 instead of 2-5. I haven’t compiled the stats, but I can almost guarantee the Clippers have been on the losing end of overtime games more than any other NBA team.
There’s always hope with the Clippers, and the Clippers always take that hope away and leave you longing for that hope all over again. They’re an addiction.
Once they’re that .500 team that inches their way into the playoffs, which they will be, I’ll be there. Then I’ll be there when they lose, and when they trade Griffin away for a first round pick in 2013. The cycle will continue.
But this is their year.