Basketball Reasons keep Clippers as king of Los Angeles: Column


Moises Ajanel

New owner Steve Ballmer's enthusiusm is one of the basketball reasons the Clippers are kings of Los Angeles. Courtesy of: Thomas Gallegos
New owner Steve Ballmer’s enthusiusm is one of the basketball reasons the Clippers are kings of Los Angeles. Courtesy of: Thomas Gallegos

“Basketball Reasons” is arguably the turning point for two Los Angeles franchises. One went from being a long-time NBA powerhouse, to a team whose current success hinders on how many games they are willing to lose in order to retain a draft pick. The other, is a championship contender captivating the hearts of fans with their alley oops, dunks, and a pair of charismatic superstars.

The present is about as daunting to a Lakers fan as it was for Marty Mcfly when he first stepped foot into Biff’s World. An alternate reality that couldn’t possibly be real. ?As it currently stands, the Clippers have been playing the better basketball for the last three years.

Call it a Freaky Friday of sorts, where former NBA Commissioner David Stern’s basketball reasons may have initiated the fortune cookie spell that switched the roles of two distinctive franchises.

Success has been short-lived for Los Angeles Clippers fans. It’s difficult to get excited about accomplishments when they’ve experienced some of the most unimaginable heartbreaks.

It wasn’t long ago that the Clippers had a young nucleus of Elton Brand and Shaun Livingston, accompanied by the veteran leadership of Cuttino Mobley and Sam Cassell. The Clippers were seconds away from reaching the 2006 Western Conference Finals when miscues by Cassell and rookie Daniel Ewing allowed the Phoenix Suns to win the series in seven games.

Fast forward to the 2013-2014 season when déjà vu revisited their door. Chris Paul experienced the biggest meltdown of his career and the Clippers were once again denied of going to the Western Conference Finals, this time by the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Playing in the second largest market in the U.S. has given “LA’s other team” an opportunity to grow its respective fan base. Los Angeles has its share of die-hard fans, but what makes LA unique is the casual fan who is willing to adapt and change with the present times.

Angelenos love relevant stars and sex appeal, which is why a team such as Chivas USA- who ceased operations earlier this year- struggled to gain the credibility from soccer aficionados while playing in the shadows of the Los Angeles Galaxy.

The terms “16-0”, “your rent is due”, and “LA’s JV team” are annoying remarks that fans of the red, white and blue go through on a regular basis. As recently as four years ago it was common to walk into a sports apparel store and not see Clipper’s gear on the shelves. It wasn’t because the items were sold out but because the merchants were at risk of taking eventual losses for these unpopular items.

Present time tells a completely different story. One that involved Dwight Howard “STAY” billboards plastered all over the city from a team that once carried the swagger of a star quarterback.

The differences between the two teams have spilled their way to the top. Clippers fans are still rejoicing over the purchase of the team that took place earlier this year that crowned former Microsoft CEO, Steve Ballmer as the new owner.

The Ballmer effect has already paid dividends, most notably in the form of a 3D player introduction during home games, that has created a buzz among fans. ??Ballmer’s energy provides a change of pace for the organization as they move forward from the dark days of Donald Sterling.

For long-time Clipper fans the priorities have always remained the same. Winning their first NBA championship continues to be at the top of their list.

Constant reaffirmation from laker fans about who the town belongs to is as important to Clipper’s fans as Kobe’s point total; it means nothing if you’re not winning.

Since the basketball reasons fiasco, the Clippers have had an overwhelmingly superior record to their co-tenants, (153-77) to (113-117) prior to the beginning of this season.

Staples Center is now electrified by the sounds of bingos, oh me oh my’s and a Lawyer’s law that reaffirms fans that everything will be okay. Being relentless has never felt better. Thank basketball reasons for the Clippers found success.