Simply and beautifully Chris Paul announced his return to the LA Clippers this morning by tweeting "I'm in!" (Link). , Just like that, two words, all caps, three exclamation points.
Yeah, yeah, I know, it was a done deal. He was never going anywhere, he loved it in LA, wanted to build something here, he was happy, his family was happy, he'd established himself as a big player in a big town. Sure. Cool.
But we're Clipper fans. We've been jilted before. We've mucked around in the basement so long it seemed impossible, no matter how high we've flown the last couple of years we have nagging, horrible memories, memories habited by the ghosts of Danny Manning, Elton Brand, Danny Ferry, Brent Barry, Ron Harper, stars who dumped us or were sent away for asking too much.
But everything is different now... and the deal with Chris Paul seals it. Yeah I know, the tide's been turning for a while, false starts in this new century, first with the flash of that early Alvin Gentry team, with Odom, Q Richardson, and Darius Miles. Then there was Dunleavy and Brand and Kaman and the comical inspiring figure of Sam Cassell.... but that ship crashed on the rocks of our expectations and we watched in horror from the shore as the ship foundered and came apart.
And then there was Blake Griffin, a winged specter dropped from heaven and our hopes soared again. And the Clippers became a raw, spectacular phenomenon, perhaps more circus than success, but clawing at respectability.
And then came Paul, and though the cost was dear, his influence has been undeniable... the Clippers jumped suddenly from mediocrity straight into superiority. And the hope for the future became larger still.
And finally, fitfully, ownership made it's biggest move to date and hired a first rate coach... a coach with gravitas and respect, a coach who might put the final touches, the final bits of inspiration and strategy and take us where none of us have gone before.
But still there was that ticking clock, that gap in our belief, the thing that causes Clipper fans to wake in the middle of the night and stare at the blank ceiling and wonder if it would all come apart again...
And this morning, it's suddenly over, because Chris Paul sat down at a computer and wrote two words followed by three exclamation points.
Things are different this morning. It sounds ridiculous, but for long time Clipper fans, the world has changed forever. I'm in. I'M IN!!!