It was in the early 1990s and Doc Rivers was still playing for the Clippers. Danny Manning was the team star. That year they were on their way to a rare playoff appearance. I ran into a Clippers employee late in the season and said, “I like your team a lot this year.”
“Yeah,” he said, “you and everybody else.”
OK, he was a cynic. Everybody didn’t like the Clippers and hardly anyone has liked them since they came into being. It has traditionally been the gold standard of wasted draft picks and horrible basketball.
Sunday the infamous Paper Clips took a major step in changing that image by completing a sweep of the Lakers for the first time since moving from Buffalo in 1974-75. It was also their first Pacific Division championship.
And yes, I do like the Clippers of 2013.
They have proven that never is a long time and that even downtrodden, much-ridiculed teams can come back. With such exciting players as DeAndre Jordan, Chris Paul and Blake Griffin, they’re fun to watch, too. Or didn’t you see the dunk-a-thon highlights from Sunday’s game?
It’s funny how momentum works. Right now the Clippers are a team of the future, the Lakers an aging dynasty. I always thought it was ironic that the Lakers practice in a lockdown type facility in El Segundo while the Clippers work out in an airy glass-and-steel building in Playa Vista.
Ex-Clipper Baron Davis once told Sports Illustrated, “The Lakers own the Staples Center, we’re just renting. It is what it is. We have a lot of ground to make up but we know who we have to chase down to be respected in this city and in this league.”
Consider the Lakers chased down.
In a city built on entertainment, the Clippers are by far the most interesting show.
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