The Clippers will never be LA, but they have to be the best

My little brother, Jimmy, is hardly my “little” brother. To me, he is only my brother; Equal to his person, as I am personally. I would never call Jimmy my “little brother” if I had known him to a stranger, not even referring to him as my younger brother. I’d like to clarify if asked – “Smaller or older?”

I was asked on a date last month as a follow-up to a question about how many siblings I have – but in my eyes, his age is hardly a defining characteristic. For others, because of 801 days between our births, he’s my little brother.

For example: When we were in high school, Jimmy and I often found ourselves on the same lunch block. Being stylish people, we never fail to strike up a conversation with the lunch ladies. I jumped for two years on Jimmy in terms of having a relationship with the kitchen crew, to the point where they even knew me by name. When they first met him, they were happy to discover “there is one more”.

They never called Jimmy. From that point on, it was known as “Little Will”.

That distinction pissed me off at the time and still bothers me, despite five years of being away from school and over 300 miles between me and that lunchroom. People can often tell that Jimmy and I are attached to each other, so it wasn’t entirely a criminal that these cafeteria workers immediately hooked me up with him. After all, some say we are identical. (Far from a fleeting resemblance, we don’t see it, but if being soggy and blonde means you’re related, I think Ryan Gosling and I have some catching up.)

But I suppose my main complaint is the idea that, for some, brothers can’t just be brothers. There will always be separation. one younger, one older; One is longer and the other is shorter.

One was there first, while the other came in second.

A familiar sight for the Lakers: Banners and trophies, one at a time. Their little brother’s franchise is still waiting for similar glory, all these years after.
Photo by Adam Pantozi/NBAE via Getty Images

It was founded in 1946 as the Detroit Stones before moving to Minneapolis the following year Lakers It has been around since what one might modernly refer to as a minute.

Innovators of the jump, they boasted players like George Mikan and Elgin Baylor even before the team moved to Los Angeles for the 1960-1961 season. (Which is why Jerry West, although chosen by the Minneapolis Lakers, was never truly Minneapolis Lakers. He never actually played for a Lakers team that wasn’t in Los Angeles.)

The rest, as they say, is history.

The Lakers have won a total of 17 championships as a franchise and boast an all-time roster that can easily be favored in any fantasy tournament that pits historic teams against each other.

Kobe Bryant, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Magic Johnson, James Worthy, Shaquille O’Neal, Wilt Chamberlain, LeBron James… Should I continue? It’s a never ending list, and this cropped version only scratches the surface of Who’s Who in Laker Legends. I could list 50 more names before I even consider including Shannon Brown, and anyone with a passing knowledge of this team’s history would be familiar with it, even if only because that block.

So, it’s fair to say that the Lakers aren’t just the number one franchise in NBA history: they are the number one franchise in the history of the sport. Lakers basketball what Yankees It is baseball: intertwined with the game’s texture and legacy. Remove it from the equation and there is no equation. We don’t know what basketball would look like without the Los Angeles Lakers. This is a vital and undying legacy.

The Los Angeles Clippers, on the other hand, hardly bears the historical consideration that the Lakers do. The Clippers was founded in 1970, 24 years after the Lakers introduced the sports franchise, and was one of three expansion teams to join the NBA that year. Known then as the Buffalo Braves, they were forced out of town due to a conflict with Canisius Golden Griffins—yes, of Canisius College in Buffalo, New York—over the use of Buffalo Memorial Hall.

As a result, the franchise moved to San Diego, where it spent six seasons floundering in the NBA basement. The Clippers failed to advance beyond the season in all of their six years in San Diego, before then-owner Donald Sterling moved the team to Los Angeles in 1984. Sterling spurred — note sternly — this transfer without league approval, which was met with legal action from League, but it received few consequences. Los Angeles suddenly became home to two NBA franchises.

Only four times in the first 27 seasons in Los Angeles did the Clippers compete in the playoffs. They won in one series. And while the team became more important once the 2000s got underway, thanks to the success of Lob City teams led by Blake Griffin and Chris Paul, they still failed to advance after the second round during that system. Only in 2021, led by Paul George and Reggie Jackson, did the Clippers make their way to their first appearance in the Western Conference Finals. they fell on Phoenix Suns In six games.

They are the oldest franchise in the league not only because they have not won any title, but have not played in the league The NBA Finals.

One would go so far as to say that they are and will forever be the Los Angeles Lakers’ little brother. No matter what they do move forward.

Golden State Warriors vs Los Angeles Clippers

Banners hang for Clippers home games at Staples Center in 2014. A slight difference from the ones that fill the rafters when the Lakers take the field.
Photo by Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images

Steve Palmer’s last dream wasn’t something he could buy. He wants the Clippers – the team he’s owned since 2014 – to outpace the Lakers in terms of popularity. While taking ESPN’s Om Youngmisuk for a tour of the Intuit Dome construction site late last month, Palmer pointed out how important it was for the Clippers not to have to share a rink with the Lakers.

“I think it’s another phrase that says, ‘Look, we’re no one’s little brother,'” Palmer said. At the end of the day, we still had to win matches. We must win trophies. If we can give that to Clipper Nation and fulfill my responsibility as host, I’ll be satisfied.

“I said this is Laker City,” he added. “No. Clipper-Laker. And one day, I want to be able to say Clipper-Laker.”

While it will never change the past and is unlikely to reshape its popularity in the future, perhaps the “someday” that Palmer is referring to is closer than we think. Despite the Clippers’ back-to-back losses in the Western Conference playoff last season, A gulag Which they were highly favored to escape from and instead stumbled towards the elimination of the hands New Orleans Pelicansthey could still outperform the Lakers in 2021-22.

The Clips finished the regular season – one largely spent with one or both of their star players due to injuries – with a better record (42-40) than their inner-city rivals (33-49).

And while they didn’t exactly have the post-season to remember (or post-season at all, for that matter), the Clippers made it far more than anyone would have imagined if you told them at the start of the season that Kawhi Leonard and Paul George would miss a combined 133 games.

out of place 231 head-to-head matches at all times, the Lakers have won 150, and the Clippers, 81. However, the latter team has run seven consecutive contests, and 11 of the last 15 since 2017-18. Of course, they don’t put up banners for these kinds of accomplishments, even if you can call them accomplishments. But what they may prove is that these winds are the winds of change. “The future is in the air / I feel it everywhere.” I can not?

Many fans, writers, analysts and players have spent at least part of this season positioning the Clippers as the favorite heading into next season. At the moment, we have sports book partner, kingshe have Clippers tied for 2nd overall overall tournament odds (+600, like Golden State Warriors), behind the favorite bet Boston Celtics (+450). And it wouldn’t be impossible at all to place a decent bet on the Clips to win him all over the next year, considering the pieces that will come back (George and Leonard from injury; Norm Powell, Reggie Jackson, Terrence ManLuke Kennard, Ivica Zubak, Nick Batum, Robert Covington, and others just for another take on the title (and the big one they added)Impressive John Wall).

They will be one of the deepest teams in the NBA when the 2022-23 season begins, and that’s just considering the players who will get consistent minutes. Brandon Boston Jr pique the curiosity of a potential client locally as the team has since had Blake Griffin; Jason Preston is still on the wings as a potential reserve guard in the near future, yet has yet to play a regular season game with the team due to the injury he sustained shortly after being re-enlisted in 2021.

The Lakers (+1600, in case you’re curious), meanwhile, are in the midst of another season of Hell. calls To trade with Russell Westbrook For a bag of magic beans that is getting louder and more convincing day by day. Reportedly, the The Lakers are Kyrie Irving’s next favorite destinationWhether he got there by trade before next season or at a free agency next summer. And the conversations about him LeBron James returns to Cleveland, no matter how trivial the truth may be in those conversations, he certainly can’t get along with those who support his current team, and therefore, he is. Feelings, they say, can use some work.

Across the hall – not for long, but in the moment – feelings have never been better, even if they are on paper… for the time being. Long gone are the days when only one team in Los Angeles was able to command attention, respect and expectation. Long gone are the days of sarcasm, and early post-season exits. Long gone are the days when a fan named Daryl would think of it He has been away from his longtime fandom clipper to join the dark side.

It’s still a long way from the day Los Angeles became the Clippers’ domain to rule in every capacity.

But in terms of basketball’s supremacy, it’s hard to argue why it couldn’t be “someday” for Steve Ballmer today.