But to bask in the mere legitimacy of the franchise is a little too clichéd for me. But, for what it's worth, I'm proud of the Clippers. We've got our big boy pants on now, don't we?
What you really ask for as a sports fan is a team that won't keep you from feeling like a schmuck for wearing their logo across your chest while you're working out at the gym. The Clippers used to be an expression of irony for guys like me - basketball fans stuck in Los Angeles but who could never stomach the Lakers. Now, they're a full-blown recreation. And why the hell not -- because who wouldn't want to root for these guys?
Elton Brand. Seriously. A player so selfless and beyond reproach that the Times had to sick Michael Hiltzik on him to uncover the slightest appearance of impropriety.
Tell me one team without a championship to their name who wouldn't kill to have Sam Cassell in their backcourt rotation or Shaun Livingston as their point guard of the future?
Think the Clips will get any calls on Corey Maggette this offseason? Or that Baylor isn't terrified of the Koncak treatment Kaman is going to fetch in his qualifying year? And how smug he must feel to have mined Quinton Ross out of the obscurity of the summer league? Ditto James Singleton.
But I feel badly that I'm not more giddily appreciative about it all. Maybe it's because I know that Elton Brand is an NBA Champion at heart and, with the slightest bit of organization support, can own the left block in this league for the next ten years. And I'm certain that Shaun Livingston is a 6'7" freak with PG clairvoyance, that Chris Kaman is a Top Five center, and that Q. Ross is one of those guys you always see in a championship starting lineup.
I say this not as a Pollyanna-ish romantic. Hell, I'm an Atlanta Falcon fan born-and-raised and I was less sold on Michael Vick -- even at the height of the hype -- than I am on the Clippers' future.