Should I Be Watching the Clippers?
May 12, 2014

A California team, and more specifically a southern California team, is a contender for a major championship, and I haven't been watching. The Los Angeles Clippers are two wins away from the Western Conference Finals, which is the NBA version of the Final Four. They've been lousy for years, and now they are on the precipice of basketball glory for the first time in franchise history! I also don't really care, but maybe I should.

This has absolutely nothing to do with Donald Sterling. Forget that guy, he is a putz. For whatever reason, and I haven't really put my finger on it yet, I have pretty much walked away from professional basketball. If this happened two seasons ago, I'd be almost as excited as Billy Crystal. Crystal is the only real celebrity Clippers fan, and, for reasons I still don't understand, has been a season ticket holder for over 25 years.

During most of this season, I've figured that the reason I haven't cared about the NBA is because the Lakers are bad. The Sacramento Kings are bad too, but that's always the case. Last year, I think I only followed the sport because I was in a fantasy league. I gave that up this year, which apparently provided me no reason to care. I don't know if its the players and their off-court issues (see below), the roller derby atmosphere with the loud music played during play and public address announcers screaming, or the replay rule which makes the final two minutes of a game seem like two hours (instead of one with all the timeouts and such).

I know other sports fans who feel the same way. Baseball, college football, the NFL, and the NCAA Tournament yes, but the NBA? No. Is it the absence of Kobe? The presence of LeBron? It has to be something. When the Donald Sterling thing went down, I didn't even know David Stern wasn't commissioner any more. I knew Adam Silver (no relation to the fictitious David Silver from Beverly Hills 90210) was going to take over, but I didn't know he already had. I don't have a recommendation for Mr. Silver, but maybe something needs to be done, because I know there are others like me who don't care anymore.

Maybe, though, the Clippers of all teams can turn that around. Their second round series with Kevin Durant and the Oklahoma City Thunder is tied 2-2. Two more wins and LA's “other team” is in the Western Conference Finals. That would be the biggest achievement in Clippers history, and maybe even my return to the television set. Maybe a game seven with OKC would do it. Maybe.

Pride of Palmdale?: I was going to point out another reason to watch the NBA, but this may be another reason not to watch. The Indiana Pacers are a threat to knock off LeBron James and the Miami Heat, and their star player is from my home town. In an effort to look up some statistics for encouragement, I stumbled upon a story where Paul George, whose girlfriend is Clippers coach Doc Rivers' daughter Callie, cheated on her, with a stripper, got her pregnant, and then offered the woman a million dollars to have an abortion. The woman, according to the story, declined, and is now seven months pregnant. The stripper, named Daniela, is from Miami, and is often seen at Heat games, and has reportedly had a relationship with musician Lil Wayne, and others. George, by the way, went to Pete Knight High School.

Let's go Kings!: I'm still on the hockey hayride, but it doesn't look good for the Los Angeles Kings. I didn't get to see the game, but LA lost tonight to the Anaheim Ducks 4-3. After winning six in a row (coming from 0-3 down against the Sharks and winning the first two against the Ducks), the Kings are down 3-2, and face elimination. Game six is Wednesday.

Back to baseball: This week, the Mets and Yankees are playing each other, last week the White Sox and Cubs tangled, and the Dodgers and Angels square off for the interleague Freeway Series in August. This is a vast improvement over last year, where all of the so-called rivalry series were played at the same time. One thing that could be better, though, is that all of these series (two home, two away) are during the week. There must be some way to schedule those big interleague series that everyone wants to see (and those like Padres-Mariners that no one cares about) over a weekend... While hammering out all of the juicy details of the Paul George story, Brian Wilson just gave up a two-run homer. The Dodgers bullpen leads the majors in home runs allowed, and just before the Beard Man gave up the long ball, announcer Charley Steiner quipped “Dodger baseball from the eighth inning on has been like a trip to the dentist.”

We can laugh about it now: Two funny things during the Giants-Dodgers series, which overall wasn't fun for Dodger fans. Thursday was 'Inflatable Seat Cushion Night', which really turned out to be a bad idea. Fans were inflating the seat cushions during the game, and then batting them around the stands like beach balls. “Whoever came up with this idea should be fired”, said Giants analyst Mike Krukow... I don't think Vin Scully stays up to watch David Letterman, but with Matt Cain on the mound, Scully, in talking about Cain's perfect game in 2012, read the Top Ten list that Cain read on television a short time after that.

Goooooooooool: The biggest sporting event on the planet is coming up, and while I know little about soccer, I like watching the World Cup. I'll root for Brazil, and watch as many of the games as I can in Spanish (it's much more exciting that way, try it.). And while I know little about the World Cup, I know even less about the English Premiere League, but this stat is astounding. Manchester United finished seventh this year, and apparently the top six in the EPL advance to play for the European championship. It's the first time since 1989 (25 years) that Man-U didn't get that far. Amazing.

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