The Case for the Clips

I’ve gone through many trials and tribulations in my life thus far. From failed relationships to upsetting academics, I’ve seen a bit of the turmoil life can give the average early 20 something. It’s never bugged me too much, though. Sure, I’m affected just like everyone else, but sometimes I feel like things could be worse. There’s always a light at the end of the tunnel, you just have to make it to the end and have faith. Who is this person who persists that things will get better even at a time when they are at their most bleak?

That person is a Clippers fan.

You might wonder how someone born and raised in Southern California ends up this way. And, just to get this out of the way, I’ll answer that boring question: Why not root for the Lakers? Easy, the Lakers are not easy to root for. The Lakers are led by the most unlikable superstar the league has seen in a long while. Kobe Bryant has a way about him that just is not easy to like. That his teammates have not liked. Just because he won a title without Shaq (who himself was not easy to like beyond the jolly exterior, just ask the teams he has ditched over the years) doesn’t mean he’s suddenly affable. You’ll find it difficult to see Bryant close to any teammate during all that championship hoopla, instead carrying his kids and his wife like they’re just as much of a trophy as his NBA jewelry. And I don’t need to go into detail about his relationship with his family.

These flaws are obvious to the rest of the nation. The Lakers are a team you inherit because it’s convenient. Now, back when I was a kid looking for a team to root for, I looked at the Clippers. In the early 2000s, the Clippers were filled with lovable talent. You had Lamar Odom (not coincidentally the only genuinely likable Laker). Odom was a player the league hadn’t seen since Magic Johnson, selfless, capable of playing any position on the court effectively. Eric Piatkowski was a sharpshooter that looked like he practiced 24/7 in your local YMCA. Darius Miles was a goofy gifted kid and he did that funny head bop thing with Quentin Richardson. Elton Brand, then at least, seemed like one of the league’s nicest guys. Michael Olowakandi was also there but let’s forget about that.

The Clippers are still filled with lovable underdogs. Baron Davis spearheaded the last underdog tale when the Golden State Warriors romped on the number one seeded Dallas Mavericks in 2007. Eric Gordon is a by the book sophomore who has serious game. Chris Kaman and Marcus Camby are quiet dudes that know their roles. And now, the great (injured) hope, Blake Griffin. Griffin has infused hope in this franchise like few others have, with his hustle and hard play. He’s also infused the Clippers with another injured knee from a lottery pick, which is a scary thing. But let’s also forget about that.

The Clips have had a slow start this year, with some disappointing losses to teams they should’ve beaten even without Griffin. But, believe me, this team is stacked. There are growing pains left, but, things have never looked so sunny. Griffin’s injury is heartbreaking but his college highlights and even his preseason play are enlightening. He puts absolutely everything into everything and is an athletic freak. The guy, partnered with Gordon and a motivated Davis, can make this team one to be reckoned with.

But you can also forget that. You can go back to rooting for your Laker team with their peachy history. Rooting for your superstar who’s been spoon fed everything but that no one really likes. Or you can look on the other side of the fence, where the grass isn’t as green just yet but the roots are there: for a team that you actually like, rather than one you’ve been given.

Now if only we could find some damn way to fire Mike Dunleavy.