The timely adventures of Andy Rooney's best son
I'm watching this Suns/Clippers game sail away on the soft feathers of enthrallment, and suddenly it hit me: while I'm indifferent to most of Round 2, the Clippers bandwagon just disgusts me. The revelation of the Clippers as the White Sox of the NBA, the rag-tag upstarts making moves in the nation's most hallowed basketball city, is nothing new. Let me take you back to a time when love ruled all, when a still-smoldering Vick Mackey attempted, on a hunch, to bribe a black cop with Clippers tickets. All of you now sweating your seats over the heady symbolic cramp that is Cassell and Co., I invite you to stare deep into the eye sockets of an long-forgotten ornament, to silently behold
Look, I know that the Clip Show, as we called it back then, never made the playoffs. That instead of being constructed around Elton Brand's good sense, it sometimes threatened to permanently deposit him out by the margins. I'll even concede that between Cassell's crotchety-ass fakes and Livingston's ability to make "point guard" appear like a raw, natural gift, we might be on the verge of seeing the NBA serpent chew off its own rattler. But don't ever, ever act like this Clipper momentum is building something from scratch, at least as far as pride and concatenated identity are concerned. This is grunge, The Chronic, Eddie Murphy, and Starbucks rolled into one—a valuable contribution, in many ways a superior one, but derivative in matters of the spirit. This double-overtime thriller won't let me sleep, and "Clippers in the Conference Finals" only burns until you remember what that team's done all year. If you're talking alternative civic consciousness, though, fuck this success. This bout came before the squeals came easy, before the Simmons, before the "is it really real?" compulsion.
If Clipper Nation means what it thinks it does, this is grassroots, underground bubbling up, type shit. And anyone with a respect for this process, which got them where they are today, needs to recognize for all eternity the glow that surrounded a certain star-crossed season of blood-strewn potential. History teaches us many things, so perhaps we could ask these newly energized fans to remember: Israel, she never turned her back on the European experience.