The team you root for doesn’t serve solely as an indicator of your geographic location. Fanhood can be a reflection of your personality, your ideals, your loyalty. Being a Clippers fan, for a lot of people, means something. It means you go against the grain, you root for the underdog. It means on some level you’re self-deprecating and maybe even a little bit masochistic.
Now? I don’t know what being a Clippers fan means anymore. We’re all losing our identity, because the Clippers are no longer the Clippers.
This, of course, is a good thing. It’s nice that they can beat the Warriors by 19 points on the road and we can all complain afterwards about Chauncey Billups’ shot selection or all the offensive rebounds or the terrible half-court execution. It’s good that the sky can fall after a win. It’s just different.
And it’s a lot like being a Lakers fan.
Some of you just made your laptop do a Jerome Simpson like flip, and others are hovering your mouse over the back button as we speak. But let’s look at this for what it was.
The Clippers were sleep-walking through the first three and a half quarters, maintaining a small lead for the majority of the timeframe. For 44 straight minutes, save for some DeAndre Jordan blocks (8 to be exact), the Clippers looked downright apathetic on the court.
Then all of the sudden the best player on the court remembered he was the best player on the court, and decided to take his boot to the fingers of a team clinging for their life. 18-foot jumper, 11-foot jumper, 21-foot jumper. Three straight possessions, three straight Chris Paul daggers. And that was that. The Clippers knew it, the Warriors knew it. The best player on the court had just staked his claim to the victory, and there was nothing anyone else could do about it.
The Clippers didn’t play better than the Warriors this Christmas; they were just better. They did what teams with superior talent do — coast for as long as possible, then step on the gas and pull away when it matters. It’s maddening and unnecessary, it’s reminiscent of all the times Kobe and the Lakers have done it, and it’s something the Clippers will likely do all season long. And in return? Well…we”ll complain and conjure up crazy hypothetical situations where the Clippers actually lose the game, of course.
This team has obviously changed. The expectations have changed right along with it. And whether you realize it yet or not, so has your identity.