The Clippers have had their share of fan favorites in the past, players the crowd got behind the moment they entered the game. These guys were rarely stars, and for the most part, weren’t actually very good at basketball. You could usually lump these guys into one of the three common fan-favorite categories:
1. They don’t look like a basketball player. There’s something exhilarating about seeing a guy that could share the cubicle next to you at the office go out there on the court and tear it up. (Ex: Earl Boykins)
2. They play their ass off. Nothing makes Joe Fan more cranky than watching a player completely dog it out there. They hate the notion that someone would loaf through a game that they get paid an extraordinary amount of money to play, so they root for the players who look like they’re trying the hardest. (Ex: Tony Allen)
3. They’re hilarious, intentionally or not. Basketball games can get a little predictable, so it’s up to these guys to do something that will make you crack up hysterically or bust out the double face-palm. JaVale McGee is writing the book on this type of fan-favorite as we speak. (Ex: Brian Scalabrine)
Here’s why I love Reggie Evans: He’s all of those things. He’s not the rangy, lanky type most basketball players are. He is a man-tank who never runs out of gas. He just smashes into things until he gets his rebound. It’s his singular objective on the court, and it’s hilarious how good he is at it. Watching Reggie try to do anything but rebound is an exhilarating experience. You have no idea how it’s going to end, and you kind of have to watch with squinted eyes while you hold your breath.
Reggie Evans is one of those guys you can never really appreciate until he’s playing for your side. His game is built around annoying the piss out of the other team, flailing wildly, and eating up every rebound available. It’s been hilarious to watch Reggie’s teammates get used to him — they now realize that throwing up a shot attempt is much better than trying to make an interior pass to him. The ball is never truly “given” to Reggie Evans. He must take it. He’s a man with a code.
This has been a strange year for Clippers fans, but Reggie lets people cheer for a likable underdog on a team that is no longer the likeable underdog. This is Reggie’s first year with the team, but for me at least, he represents something I’ve been rooting for much longer than that.