I get ragged on a lot by my friends for being a Clippers fan. Being a resident of New York City, no one can understand why I do it to myself. They can understand the years of heartache and frustration because most of them are New York Knicks fans, but the question I get asked the most is: “why the Clippers and not the Lakers?” I guess it’s either my contrarian ways (my family were all Lakers fans), or my soft spot for underdogs, but time and time again, this early decision I made to bleed for the seemingly cursed Clippers has come back to bite me.
The amount of times I’ve been able to brag or boast about them has been few. The past six years have provided me with some ammunition, but also with some shrapnel in my ass. I will mention the Clippers record over the Lakers since 2012 (ahem, 23-5), or their cardiac ways this season, only to get the ghost of Rockets’ past yelled back at me, or losing four straight to Memphis in 2013 after being up 2-0, or having three All-Stars on the team and never getting past the second round. It’s a fight that I’ll never win, but a battle that I will never surrender.
So, when the Clippers come back, after being down 31, against a team that potentially has the most talent ever assembled on a basketball court, on their home court, in a playoff game, to set an NBA record, in what is assuredly the best Clipper game of all-time and I was asleep for it — yeah, I’m an emotional wreck. And not just because I’m crying for joy, because my elation in getting a win like this is sky-high, but also my rage in not being able to feel it live is just as high. Instead of waking up my roommate with “holy shits” and “I can’t believe this is happenings,” I woke up to a text from a college buddy saying simply “omg” followed by a quick Google search and a leap out of my bed to find the remote to watch highlights on YouTube. Then came the sobering moment that I was not a witness to history, and as a fan who has stayed up until 2:30 a.m. writing game recaps and listening to Jeanne Zelasko and Mike Hill on the postgame show, I was just plain pissed with myself and questioning my fandom.
The worst part of it? I’m not the only one questioning my fandom: I’ve been getting jeered at all day by my buddies for not staying awake for it, and now have to deal with them calling me out. I mean, this is a team that has a chance in every game until the final buzzer, and I had the gall to dip out on them and call myself a real fan. I feel like a Heat fan that left the arena early during Game 6 of the 2013 Finals only to miss the Ray Allen shot. Kicking myself endlessly over here.
I should have known better. But I’m still a cynical Clippers fan at heart. Yes, they had done the unthinkable a few times this season. But down 31 to the Warriors in Oracle? I had zero qualms with turning the game off midway through the third, when it was already 12:30 a.m. my time and had to wake up 6 hours later. While I was probably dreaming of going on a candle-lit date with my new celebrity crush Alexandra Daddario, the Clippers were stomping on the quick-sweep dreams of Warriors fans who actually have some cause for concern moving forward.
I am literally the human embodiment of the Alonzo Mourning meme: I absolutely despise myself right now for missing the second half of the game, but it’s reassuring knowing that the Clips made history and are now knotted at one game apiece with the best team of all-time. They can also go into Game 3 knowing that I will stay awake no matter how many Curry daggers we see for the rest of the series. Excuse me while I go cop a ten-pack of Five Hour Energy’s from the corner store real quick...