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Believe the hype

Matt O'Brien | Sunday, January 29, 2012

I am a basketball fan from Los Angeles who long ago decided to take the righteous path and become a Clippers fan, rather than jump on the Lakers bandwagon.

That being said, I found Andrew Gastellum’s article (“Don’t get sick with Lob City Disorder,” Jan. 26) about the Clippers to be fundamentally flawed. Now, I’m not trying to argue that the Clippers will ever historically supplant the Lakers as LA’s best team — that will never happen since the Lakers have as much history as any franchise in the NBA — nor am I trying to say the Clippers should be favorites to win the NBA championship this year. But I do argue that the Clippers are allowed to have the same expectations as the Lakers this year and are legit contenders to make a deep playoff run.

The addition of Chris Paul, along with NBA champions and former All-stars Caron Butler and Chauncey Billups, has made the Clip Show a legitimate contender.

This is evident from their standing atop the Pacific Division, ahead of the “hungry, veteran-savvy” Lakers. This Clipper team “with no playoff experience” (except for Chauncey Billups, Chris Paul, Caron Butler and Mo Williams, of course) has already beaten the Mavericks, Miami Heat and the Lakers, three teams the author claimed they wouldn’t be able to beat.

The author also made the absurd claim that most people are at Clipper games to see the opposing team, yet Clipper Season Tickets sold out within minutes of going on sale (there must be a lot of good teams coming to the Staples Center this year).

The Clippers have some of the most dedicated fans in the NBA, headlined by Clipper Darrell, a fan who dresses in a red and blue suit for every home game, yells so loud he can be clearly heard on TV and once turned down a six-figure job offer from Mark Cuban to become a Dallas Mavericks fan.

During the Clippers 2006 playoff run, LA sports reporter John Ireland said the Staples Center was louder during Clipper playoff games than it had been during any of the Lakers championship runs.

Basketball fans who hold both Laker and Clipper season ticket packages at the Staples Center have even reported Clipper tickets are in greater demand than Laker tickets this year.

Clippers fans are just as dedicated and nearly as plentiful as Laker fans in the LA region. The odds of Chris Paul leaving young superstar Blake Griffin and a solid core of role players in 2013 to join a 35 year-old Kobe Bryant, a 33 year-old Pau Gasol and an overrated Andrew Bynum (who has the knees of a 70-year-old and the maturity of a 7-year-old) seem fairly low.

Laker fans need to stop the denial and accept the reality they are no longer the best team in LA. The Clippers are here to stay and will be legitimate title contenders for years to come. Just a spoonful of reality helps the medicine go down.

Matt O’Brien


Carroll Hall

Jan. 26