My Clipper Moment

First of all, thanks to CS for extending the deadline.  I'm a true luddite and will go to fairly great lengths not to figure out how to sign in to ClipNacion at home on the weekend, let alone taking the super-complicated step of figuring out how the diaries work.  But my favorite moment of the day so far was CS's comment that he was foolish to forget that people check out the internet and crucially important things like Clipper web sites as soon as they get to work on Monday morning.  It's all about focus.  We know that you have an exalted, progressive status, CS, but it's deeply appreciated that you show consideration for us stiffs who pretend to work.

In a one-second search I notice that I'm one of many former Laker fans who now loves the Clips in a deep and meaningful way, with an equally deep hatred and disdain for the purple-and-gold.  How does this happen?  It's an interesting phenomenon.  But the short story of my version is that my hooplove started with UCLA basketball, when my father, an alum who was in the furniture business, built a custom mattress for a new recruit named Alcindor, and he also contributed a sum equal to 4 seats at two or three Clipper games towards building Pauley Pavilion.  So I got to see 11 national championship teams (and counting), but the Lakerfan psychology was very different back in the day, when Baylor and West couldn't get over the hump to beat the dominating Celtics.  Thinking about it now, I grew up with two examples of dominating basketball teams:  the John Wooden Bruins, who I loved, and the Celtics who I hated.  So I loved it when Kareem came to the Lakers, loved Jerry West, was slightly cynical about Magic but he won me over very quickly, loved Worthy and the rest.

And towards the end of Showtime, with UCLA domination faded, I was losing interest in the regular season because of Laker domination, and I started feeling the funk of the Clippers for the first time.  I was a big Bill Walton guy--"throw it Down, big fella!"--from all the way back before he could speak (hard to believe now), so the Walton-Nater Clips vaguely interested me.  I liked Larry Brown, liked Ron Harper and Manning and Charles Smith and Loy Vaught and others, and loved the rumbling stumbling big men, Benoit and Stanley.  And I was able to read about and start following the Clips as they started with thin hopes and then took their hits and faded through the regular season.  And when the playoffs started I would hang out with my gang and watch Shaq and Kobe win a championship.

But my Clipper moment came at the end of the Laker cycle:  I knew my approach was corrupt.  Let's say I was in love with my mistress and happy to be with her, in good times or bad, and I was angry and disappointed in my wife.  Somehow, in their second round of domination, the Lakers had become the evil tyrants that the Celtics were in my childhood.  With Magic and Kareem the Lakers had killed the Celtic dragon, but the boring and tawdry Kobe-Shaq drama, with Malone and Payton added, had transformed the team into a new and hateful monster.  As the Lakers went off to dominate the Pistons to win another championship, I took the final step, and as the Pistons surprised and humiliated them, I was ecstatic, rooting passionately against them, reveling in Laker degradation.

And that was the moment I knew, in my heart and soul, that I was a Clipper fan.  

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