*A Clipper fan is rolling down the street wearing his Blake Griffin jersey when he suddenly hears a voice in the distance*
Hey. Hey! HEY YOU!
Clipper Fan: Uh..
*Random bro wearing a classic Zeppelin shirt runs up and approaches Clipper fan*
Random Bro: Hey! Clippers huh?
CF: Yes sir.
RB: You must be fairly relieved about the entire Sterling thing being over huh?
RB: How relieved though?
RB: Like, the entire Sterling thing.. How much was it bothering you? If it was bothering you now, how come it wasn't before in years past? How come it didn't bother your players before?
CF: Well, when I started following the team when I was younger, I followed the players. I fell in love with the team through the players, going to games, the community.. By the time I realized who Sterling was, he made me fairly sick, but I loved the team. I wasn't alone, the entire fanbase despised him, as an owner first because of how cheap he was with the team, and then even more because he seemed to be a rather despicable person. His stories of general douchebaggery are well-documented, particularly his incredible racism and being otherworldly tone-deaf. But again, I loved the players, just like how most fans develop the love for their teams. All of the fans knew what a shackle Sterling was, and it's hardly the first time a miserable owner has bummed out a passionate fanbase. I haven't seen may fans being born out of who their owner was, and definitely not before the recent high profile owners such as Mark Cuban, so any fan taking moral superiority because their owner isn't as miserable as Sterling also made me fairly sick. The fans, and the players, were all for the Clippers despite Sterling, and after a while, as it seemed he'd die with the team regardless of whatever Godfather offer he'd receive, you just had to hope he wouldn't rear his ugly head to stunt any progress the team made. And it almost felt like it was inevitable after all the success the team has been having over the past few years. Once the tapes came out and Sterling kept burying himself in a ditch, that was the point of no return, and I'm fairly certain every Clipper fan couldn't imagine such a miserable person continuing to own the team, despite trying to block his existence out for so many years. But we've all wanted Sterling gone for a very long time.
RB: What about all this Clipper boycott stuff? A bunch of crap or not?
CF: Eh, I think Chris Paul and Doc were fairly serious, and when asked about it, they answered. At most it was just to strengthen stances we already knew about them. It was a super uncomfortable situation, even for the fans.
RB: What do you mean? What was it like?
CF: Being under the magnifying glass for all those wrong reasons, while already knowing what kind of person Donald was, and it was just super weird in between the time the tapes leaked and before Adam Silver banned Sterling.. It felt like weeks had past in between games 3 and 4 against a very good Warrior team. It was draining. The entire organization definitely wanted immediate action and at least a lot of the fans felt Sterling had constantly wriggled through punishment before. Years of thinking Sterling would never be ousted from the team, thinking the public outcry demanded action, coupled with the fact that Sterling would no doubt fight to keep the team, that alone was anxious. But the ideas of boycott, and a lot of the fans even supporting it to an extent given the circumstances.. There was a real buzz around Los Angeles of even fans boycotting game 5 of a 2-2 series. Players around the league were considering it before Silver's ban hammer. It was an anxious time. And the worst part is it happened during the time the Clippers had their best team ever. The timing was almost hysterical. It was rough, and all this for a fanbase not even use to being in the postseason. The Warrior series felt so long, and by the time the Clippers ran out of gas against the Thunder, you could sense the team was just spent. The summer brought back some of that drain too, with the general displeasure about Sterling around the organization and being worried about Sterling somehow delaying this sale despite the odds being so heavily against him and draining the Clippers of their value entirely right when the team is peaking. It was a small chance of course, but still the very possibility of Sterling doing another very Sterling thing made things anxious again until a sale was official. And to think, it all started with those tapes.
RB: So what was your reaction to the leaked Sterling tapes?
CF: Honestly? I just thought it was the same old Sterling. When one of my buddies linked me to the TMZ article, it barely made me flinch. It just seemed like another terrible Sterling thing that he does. I was worried that it would affect the team since it was assuredly going to get publicity, but I really had no idea it would lead to him being removed from the league. It just felt like another thing that he likes to do, I guess this finally broke the camel's back.
RB: Thank goodness for V. Stiviano and Rochelle Sterling, huh?
CF: I mean, thanks for putting the dominoes in motion I guess, but I couldn't care less for either. I'm just waiting for Stiviano's 15 minutes to be up and I'm ok with the fact that Rochelle Sterling sped up the sale process.. But the only silver lining I had in a possible lost suit against Donald was that it would've likely meant NBA intervention and that Rochelle would have nothing to do with the Clippers again either. She's a fairly miserable person herself. So while I'm grateful Donald's gone, I don't feel like making those two heroes. Their public personas seem fairly hypocritical after allying themselves with Donald for all those years. Rochelle having the leeway with the team she has now.. just means you can't win everything for the fans.
RB: Are you excited for Steve Ballmer!? How exciting is this for the Clippers!
CF: Yeah I'm hyped for Ballmer. I do want to wait and see how he deals with all the day-to-day stuff, but owners that let their basketball minds in the front office do most of the thinking while they open their checkbooks. Ballmer's theatrics are funny and it's cool he can be pumped up, but I also don't mind an owner in the background, like the last couple of champions the league has had, who most NBA fans wouldn't be able to recognize if it weren't for trophy ceremonies. Mostly, I'm very happy he's enthusiastic and not Donald Sterling. And that he's very publicly gone on record saying what we all already know about keeping the team here in L.A. despite his Seattle roots.
RB: Are you excited for the change of culture it should bring? Don't you want L.A. to be a Clipper town?
CF: The change of culture has been happening, but Sterling was the biggest hurdle and, in many ways, was someone that had to be dealt with eventually if this team wanted to be a class organization from top to bottom. The process of really transforming this team has been happening for a while, even Sterling has paid expensive contracts for a decade trying to build a winner, despite years of seemingly not caring about building a foundation. But now, ever since the Griffin draft, the team has slowly put together pieces for longtime stability. One of the most promising things about Ballmer is that the talks of a Doc extension seemed to come out simultaneously with the ownership change.
RB: But now there are no hurdles for this to be a Clipper town, right?
CF: I don't think Clipper fans really care about that. There are Laker fans, and that's fine. Their team is bad, and that's fine too. It happens to everyone, and I'm sure most of them didn't care much about the Clippers when they were bad for so long. If they have the majority of fans in Los Angeles, let them have it. Clipper fans have bigger things to worry about then accruing numbers in fans, we've always been a minority around here but a passionate one. Changing the culture is bringing more numbers but I don't think we're obsessed with that. I'm happy we have a very, very good team that can compete for titles in the near future.
RB: Are you worried that Sterling will rear his ugly head again down the line?
CF: He will, but I don't care as long as he doesn't own the team.
RB: So, now that the Sterling crap is finally behind the Clips, what's next?
CF: Basketball. Beautiful, beautiful, basketball.
RB: Alright cool, well I gotta go. Congrats! The ball's in your court now!
CF: Not if Tony Brothers has anything to say about it!
*Random bro fist bumps the Clipper fan and rides off into the sunset*