And for someone who has lived in the shadow of this poor, godforsaken team, it’s quite surreal. Every day seems to bring a new first, or a “I can’t believe this is happening” moment. Watching the Clippers steamroll Whizz the other night while Mike Smith and Ralph  Lawler try to figure out the last time the Clippers beat anyone by 30 on the road had me nodding my head intently. Strange days, indeed.

Trust me, it’s impossible to overstate the immensity of the losing culture that has engulfed this team for over 30 years. I mean, do you know how many times have the LA Clippers started a season 14-7?

Try never.

Do you know how often sought-after veterans like Kenyon Martin sign with the Clippers after stating they want to play for a contender?

Uh, this would be the first.

Best of all, none of it feels fluky. Instead, it feels like this team is destined for great things, like they are getting better with every game they play together. If a team needs talent, chemistry, leadership and toughness to be great, these Clippers appear to have all their bases covered. When you have that, it’s only a matter of time before really big things start happening. Yeah, I know Rome (or most NBA champs) wasn’t built in a day and all that. Still, it’s clear that the Clippers need to be taken seriously right now, just as it’s clear that anyone who thought they gave up to much to get Chris Paul were missing the bigger picture. Without the trade, this was gonna be a “win one, lose one” team. With it, the sky really is the limit. With it, the Clipper are selling out every game and Ralph Lawler is having almost-nightly fits of orgasmic delight while Blake Griffin tries to put the enitre league on posters, one player at a time.

Yeah, it was the dunk of the year and all that, but everytime I see it I’m more moved me the sheer joy in Lawler’s voice than the actual dunk. Well, maybe not more than, but you get my point. Yep, this season feels like a great big party for anyone who has ever had to suffer through all the losing or been foolish enough to root for these guys, and yes, I’ve been that foolish for over 20 years now.

Can’t wait to see what happens next. For the first time in Clipper history, I’m sure it’s gonna be good.


Ok, so I finished this last night and decided to publish it this morning and lo and behold, Chauncey Billups rips his achilles in half in the interim. It’s like the basketball gods felt the need to shake an angry fist at me or whatever. That’s what happens when I say something dumb like “I can’t wait to see what happens next” in reference to the Clippers.

So yeah, it might be a while before they shake the curse completely. 

-John Hathwell


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