Why is a guy from Florida who was a charter season ticket holder for the Orlando Magic a fan of the Los Angeles Clippers? There are several good reasons to be a Clippers fan for me.
1. I’ve always rooted for the “little brother” in a two-team city. For this reason I like the New York Mets, Manchester City and of course, the Clippers. Since the Clippers and Magic rarely play each other, I can root for both, right? Most people in Los Angeles (and everywhere else) are Lakers fans. That is why I like the Clippers.
2. I really never have liked the Lakers. I rooted for the Boston Celtics in the 1980s, then later, rooted for the Detroit Pistons. When the Magic came along, we had a guy named Shaquille O’Neal, who flipped us the middle finger and then left for you-know-who where he won three championship rings. When people criticize Cleveland Cavaliers fans for hating Lebron James, I don’t. I get it. So now that the Lakers have a rival in their own building who can now beat them, I like it.
3. The best reason to be a Clippers fan though is, this team is just fun to watch. How do you not like “Lob City?” Blake Griffin and Chris Paul run the alley-oop as well as any duo I can recall. Clippers games are kind of like the NBA was when I was a kid. It’s all about who can get to 100 first. I don’t hate an 88-78 game, but let’s be honest, we’d all rather see 111-109. The Clippers give us more of those than than the games in the 80s.
Last Saturday was a college football Saturday, which is about as close to a holiday as there is in my area. I stayed up to watch the Brooklyn Nets-Clippers game. If you are from Los Angeles that probably seems like no big deal, but let me describe a fall Saturday in Florida for you.
College football in the South is almost a religion. People in the South know that you do not hold any event on a Saturday in the fall if you want people to attend. You don’t plan a wedding, you don’t have a birthday party, and if you are dying, hang on until Sunday. At 9:00 it’s time you watch College Game Day.
At 12:00 my alma mater, the UCF Knights, are playing at Temple. That game saw several lead changes including the last one on the game’s final play which ran my team’s record to 8-1. Our “dream season” is still going strong with only three games to go, but not before giving me a heart attack. After that game was over, I hopped in the car and took my son and his friend to a college basketball game in Gainesville between Arkansas Little Rock and the Florida Gators. Then after that was over it was back home to watch more college football.
After the end of Florida vs South Carolina, you’d think I’d be worn out. And you’d be right. But the Clippers-Nets game was on NBATV at 10:30 our time so I stayed up to watch it. It was as entertaining as any game I’d seen that day, even the 39-36 nail-biter of a football game earlier in the day that featured a game tying one-handed touchdown catch in the back of the end zone with 1:06 to go.
The Clippers game had everything. It had drama, with Griffin going down with what looked like a badly injured ankle, then returning later to lead a comeback. It had a fierce battle underneath between Griffin and Mason Plumlee of the Nets. It had fast breaks that ended in thunderous dunks. It had three-point shooting from Jamal Crawford, J. J. Redick and even Byron Mullens and Jared Dudley kicked in a few. It had a tight game down the stretch where every possession mattered. And best of all, it had the Clippers winning it.
Keep in mind, there were still some college football games on at that hour. But, here I was watching the Clippers game and getting up out of my seat whenever Griffin threw down a lob pass from CP3 or Jamal splashed down another three. Where I live, that is almost a sacrilege. But the Clippers are just as fun to watch as any football game.
When a basketball team can get me to watch on a Saturday, how can I not be a fan of that team?