Title contender. 14 game winning streak. Best record in basketball. Hell, best team in Los Angeles.
As wonderful as all of these phrases sound to me and to all of us, they are relatively brand new phrases to fans of this franchise. That's not to devalue the accomplishments, as many major media outlets still manage to do, but these new things are worth talking about for a fanbase accustomed to waiting for better days. Believe it or not, those days are here. Now we have to represent the franchise properly.
I still see many of us still stuck on old habits. The most frequent habit? Watching the Lakers, and giving too much attention to Los Angeles' other team. Don't get me wrong, I understand why the Lakers might be on our radar a bit more than other teams. Quite a few of us are either from Los Angeles or live in Los Angeles, so it makes sense that we are constantly dealing with the Lakers and their fans on a daily basis. (This is no doubt reinforced while out in the public during the Holiday season) But I'm tired of the common cliché that all Clipper fans are just Laker haters. That idea is only strengthened by giving a currently .500 team so much attention when our own team has the best record in basketball. I don't care much for the Lakers, but neither do I care much for a random mediocre team in the East. I am a Clipper fan first, and what I care about is what the Clippers are doing.
The media hasn't really done the Clippers too many favors, often trending on stories like the Laker fall or New York relevance. Even the few times the Clippers do get substantial coverage, their checkered past is highlighted a little too much. But even that seems to be fading the longer the winning happens. Fans of other teams won't stop reminding us about Clipper past, even if this team wins a championship this year, but falling back on history against the present makes the laziest basketball arguments. As long as we're winning now, that's all we need to point to. Generic fans use media coverage as cogs in their discussions, but actual fans use real NBA games as their conversational foundations.
The Clippers are finally successful. Now is an interesting time to see how the organization handles consistent success. But the organization doesn't just stop at management, or the players, or the people who make their livings inside Staples Center. It goes beyond that, to the fans, and how they carry the success. Certain franchises already have reputations for having loads of fair weather fans, and I don't think the Clippers have had that reputation during most of my days being a Clipper fan. But then again, our team has never been in the public eye this much, and with that, bandwagoners are sure to come. But to the fans that have been here through thick and thin, let's show the country how we represent our team.