As a 10 year season ticket holder I think there have only been 3 really good seasons to be a Clippers fan. The other 7 seasons were plagued by injury, dissapointment, depression and under-achievement.
Even though the record and the standings dont indicate it, this was a very successful and fun year. Although it only ranks as 2nd in the last 10 years, it was a blast.
3 of my top seasons:
1. 2005-2006 was my favorite season simply for the fact that the Clippers were winning. I woud gladly exchange all of Blake's dunks this year for one evening at Staples during playoff time in 2006. I remember those games against Denver and Phoenix... and how the crowd was super loud. The atmosphere was jumping. There was real enthusiasm in the crowd. And that enthusiasm was not fake or arrogant. We didnt think we would win the championship, but we knew our team could play with anyone. We didnt think our team was better than everyone else, but we trusted that the players busted their asses on a daily basis and were talented enough to challenge on a nightly basis. Wow that was a great time in Clipper history.
HIGHLIGHT OF 2005-2006: Any home playoff game... maybe the one where Vlad Rad hit four 3-pointers in the fourth quarter
2. 2010-2011 was number 2 on my list simply for the fact that winning is better than highlights. Short of winning on the road, this year has been spectacular. I cant remember anyone asking me to go to games with me until this year (save the playoffs 5 years ago). Every time i couldnt make it to the game, i'd be able to sell my tickets for more than face value! Sellouts galore. Buzz in the crowd. National spotlight. All-Star recognition.
I think the most amazing thing about the Clippers is that they ranked 8th in visiting attendance. That means when they go on the road, they are playing in front of sellouts (unlike playoff regulars San Antonio or Utah).
Regardless, it feels like i'm getting a bargain now with my season tickets. My rep didnt have to call me begging to renew. I called him and asked him why I didnt receive the packet yet!
My wife loves coming to games where last year I literally had 5 games that i coudnt give the tickets away to... and hell i wasnt going to waste my tuesday night on Clippers vs New Jersey.
It's too bad that Baron Davis didnt come in ready to play this year and it's too bad that Kaman couldnt sustain his hot preseason start... because we could be talking about another magical season. Truth is the team's young rotation players like BG, Bledsoe, Aminu and Jordan just were too young and inexperienced to consistently win close games on the road. Throw in that the Gomes/Butler platoon was a dissaster this year, and there you have a 50 loss team.
Either way, I had a great time this year. It was really, really fun and it actually improved the quality of my life.
HIGHLIGHT OF THE YEAR: Clippers vs NY where Blake exploded for 44 points and Mozgoved Mozgov and Danillo Galinari. I was sitting right behind the basket that Blake was dunking on. That was the most exciting non-playoff basketball i've seen in person my life.
3. 2000-2001-- This was my first year as a ticket holder and i got those tickets for so cheap they were practically free. I remember the T-Shirts that i bought outside of staples for $5.00--
"A New Era" and then it listed the players: Odom, Richardson, Dooling, Skinner, Nesby, Rooks, Piatkowski, McInnis, Maggette, Miles, Olowokandi.
Those were fun times. Unlike this year, there was zero expectaion of winning yet the dunks were a-plenty. Remember the old commercial? D-Miles telling us to come to the games to see "dunks, dunks and more dunks". Q-Rich and Miles had the fist to head thing which till this day i still dont know what it means. The Clippers Spirit were super hot (they've been short of "super" hot the last few years).
ESPN made a series of six 30 minute specials on the Clippers because people cared. The Clippers were stacked but needed time to mature (sounds like OKC). Meanwhile, Olowokandi turned out to be a huge bust, Lamar Odom literally smoked himself out favor witht he team and then BEGGED to be allowed to go to Miami (for which i still HATE him. I always believed the Clippers should have matched that offer and told him to screw himself).
Regardless of the bad taste that team left in your mouth a few years later, that year was a magical one. Do you guys remember the full court alley-oop that ended in Odom catching in mid air and laying it off to Miles for a huge windmill dunk? It was great to go to the games. The only difference between this year and that year, is that nobody saw any future MVP candidates to build around on that team. It was just pure fun.
HIGHLIGHT OF 2000-2001-- The Season Finale. After the last game of the year, the crowd stuck around for at least 20 minutes after the game (a blowout win of playoff bound Phoenix if i can recall correctly). The players didnt want to leave the court and the fans stood and cheered while players removed every thing they were wearing (less their shorts) and threw them into the crowd. Darius Miles and Q-Rich were dancing on the scorer's table. Nobody wanted the season to be over. Great day.
Recap-- It's been a great year, and something we're not really used to. The franchise we love is somewhat relevant and there is hope again. And hope is a good thing (especially if we get to see Blake destroy people on a nightly basis).