Yessir, it’s October 1st, which always signals the end of baseball season (for me and other Dodger fans this has felt way overdue) and, more importantly, it demarcates the glorious start of basketball season. So what’s the plan for the Clippers this month? Let’s have a look.
On Sunday the 3rd, the Clippers are heading down to Camp Pendleton to hold a scrimmage in front of our servicemen as a thank you for their sacrifice. I’ll be in the building, so I’ll be sure to let you know how all the players look in action. Hopefully, all the discipline will rub off on the Clips this year, although it sounds like there’s a start.
All that is a kick-off for the team’s preseason road trip north which starts on October 5th. If you look at the schedule, you will notice something a bit strange, not one game this preseason will be televised on national or local television. That’s a tough break for all of the NBA junkies that want to see some action. It’s going to be live only, so you’ll have to travel to the games or wait until the team returns home for their first home pre-season game on the 14th. (addendum: contrary to the schedule, this shows Fox Sports will televise games on the 14th and 19th of October.)
Of course, this all leads up to opening night against the Blazers on the 27th, which I can’t wait to watch. With all the hoopla of the newly settled free agents, the super-rookies (Griffin and Wall) and the fact the Clippers are on the upswing makes this season one of the most exciting in a long time. Although, I say that every year. I just really love basketball.
Clipper Related Sidenote: As exciting as it is to start the season, is it me, or is anyone else a little perturbed about going to the Clippers’ homepage and seeing Blake Griffin flanked by LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, Shaquille O’Neal (really?), Derrick Rose and Amaré Stoudemire? I mean, I consider myself a basketball fan first, but that’s more than a touch disheartening on your own page.
NBA at Large Related Sidenote: Since we all followed LeBron’s Decision, I’m sure many saw or read about his recent comments on CNN. J.A. Adande had a very well-written article on LeBron’s minor mention of race in a CNN interview and just how touchy and intertwined the subject of Race is in/with the NBA and America.
It’s important to keep in mind that [Maverick Carter] and LeBron were merely responding to questions. What O’Brien was doing asking them in the first place is another matter. For all we know she could have been trying to gather some sound bites for her next “Black in America” special. She asked and LeBron answered, and according to the transcript, it went as follows:
O’BRIEN: “Do you think there’s a role that race plays in this?”
JAMES: “I think so, at times. It’s always, you know, a race factor.”
That’s all it took. He didn’t claim to be a victim of racial persecution, he didn’t call for a racial revolution. He simply responded to a question and noted that race is a factor at times.
It’s a simple, fundamental truth in our society and, in particular, the NBA. As long as the NBA features predominantly black athletes playing for predominantly white owners who are selling their sport to predominantly white ticket buyers, there will be a race factor. It’s an ongoing quandary, usually left unsaid.
Just the fact that LeBron said nothing about race, really, and people got up in arms shows how testy we are about the issue in America, even now. Still, LeBron treated this like he was on the Bachelor and he was going to seriously flirt with 6 different girls/franchises, each hoping for the rose. But he only could choose one and thus he was going to have to rebuff five franchises very publicly. It takes a lot of magic to spurn more than a couple franchises and LeBron did it masterfully because he didn’t allow for the private breakdowns (Dan Gilbert’s open letter being the most famous breakdown). In the process, LeBron burned a devout fan base (Cavs fans), turned down all that is New York (Knicks and Nets), and miffed fans in two huge TV markets (Chicago Bulls and Los Angeles Clippers). Now, he has many fans in the three biggest TV markets rooting against him (Laker fans were already rooting against him) as well as his former, borderline-insanely loyal fans in Cleveland. Sure, the latent racism fed into it (just check the discrepancy in Q ratings), but as he set this up, he was going to face a backlash no matter what.