Tag Archives: Blake Griffin

The Sad Case of Donald Sterling (Or how everyone missed the point).

If I’m Donald Sterling I’m confused. I’m confused because I said some extremely racially charged things, in what I thought was a private conversation with my girlfriend, and now everyone is killing me over it. I’m confused because in my 33 years of owning the Los Angeles Clippers, nobody has ever had a problem with my bigotry before. After all I was awarded a lifetime achievement award by the NAACP in 2009 and was about to receive another this year.

Donald Sterling, Clippers owner, banned by the NBA for life. (Lucy Nicholson/Reuters).

However, I’m not Donald Sterling and while I’m certain nobody wants to be in his shoes right now I can’t help but feel that all of this must be extremely confusing for the man. The reason of course is how inconsistently we treat racial issues in this country, and everyone is responsible. The journalists, analysts, viewers, and in this specific case the NBA. The truth of the matter is that Donald Sterling’s bigotry, his racism and sexism, predate this internet age that we live in. He was racist long before this, and you know what? Nobody cared. Well, almost nobody cared. It wasn’t until Donald Sterling’s Clippers were actually good and in the limelight, couple with the fact that we live in the sound bite era of the internet and you realize that Sterling’s downfall was years in the making. What is sad about this, the truly regrettable thing, is that everyone should have seen it coming. A few did but more people shouldn’t have been shocked by this.

Sports Illustrated writer Franz Lidz wrote a story on Donald Sterling 14 years ago. The story mostly details the eccentricities of the Clippers owner but was originally supposed to have more bite to it. It was edited down because it “demonized him(Sterling)” which as we know now is ridiculous. If anything, he’s being demonized now because we allowed him to get  away behaving like this for years before we finally had a sound bite of him saying it that we could play over and over. The “we” that I’m referring to by the way is a collective “we”. We fans, writers, and the NBA allowed this to continue.

As Bill Simmons poignantly points out in his (vastly superior) column, Sterling was attempting to settle housing discrimination lawsuits in 2003,2006, and 2009. The real world application of Donald Sterling’s outdated beliefs in which he tried to keep Latino-American and African-American tenants from living in his apartments. In his sworn statement of those lawsuits he unleashed some of his most direct racism dropping such bombs as, “it’s because of all of the Mexicans that just sit around and smoke and drink all day” and “that’s because of all the blacks in this building, they smell, they’re not clean.” 

Where was this outrage then? The people that are all up in arms right now, which is most of America at this point, are more delusional than Donald Sterlings wife who at this point is orbiting Pluto in her attempt to distance herself from her husband (like she didn’t know the man she was married to for 50 years was capable of such despicable behavior).

Actually, an a side tangent, Rochelle Sterling wife of Donald Sterling posed as both a health inspector and a government official in an attempt to  ascertain the race of her husbands’s tenants. Of course she knew he was racist, because she helped. This is a woman who pretended to be both a health inspector and a government employee, so as to find out exactly what ethnicity her husband’s tenants were.

More to the point, this whole story from beginning to end, has become a depressing ouroboros situation. The joke is on us, as told by us(collective “us” because that’s how I roll). Doc Rivers and Chris Paul forced trades to the Clippers, Blake signed an extension, the fans showed up to the games, and the NBA knew for years that this man was a bigot. All of the outrage is completely reactionary. The constantly recurring sound bite is the reminder that everybody messed up.

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver

None of this is to say that the league’s actions aren’t just. They are. Racism is a hard thing to get out of sports once it’s in. Just look at soccer in Europe, we still have fans throwing bananas at players and other kinds of nonsense. There’s no room for it. It just seems like the NBA is trying to distance itself from the racism of a man it knew to be racist with disproportional outrage and shock that seems like it could come straight out of an Onion News headline. “Racist Man Says Racist Things, League Is Stunned!” Yet here we are pretending like this is a bright day, while we sweep under the rug the sins of the past that could have been averted if only we cared enough. The NBA is a business and it just didn’t care when profit margins weren’t being affected. Now, with sponsors dropping like flies, it seems like a good time to give Donald Sterling the boot that he should have been given years ago.

The next time, and I promise there will be a next time, let’s be prepared to do the right thing. Money and good basketball be damned.

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Doc Rivers Kills Lob City (Inadvertently).

Okay, so Doc didn’t really kill Lob City, not that you could tell by the way Blake Griffin was talking about it. In an interview with Shelly Smith of ESPN he said,

Lob City doesn’t exist anymore. Lob City is done. We’re moving on and we’re going to find our identity during training camp and that will be our new city. No more Lob City.

The last time something this beloved was mercilessly killed off, FOX cancelled Firefly (sorry Browncoats). Blake Griffin sounded like he was in mourning. To be fair any time you have to kill your team’s identity and trade it for a new one over night, it’s never an easy task, but in this instance the Clippers are better for it.

That’s right. Better.

Lob City can’t completely die. Blake and DeAndre Jordan are too athletic to not throw lobs. Hell, for all his size, strength and athleticism it’s not like Jordan can do anything else. He has no post moves, no reliable interior shot and absolutely no desire to play defense. It’s this kind of attitude that gave the team formerly known as Lob City another moniker with it’s old nickname.

Soft.

The one word every professional athlete tries to avoid being tagged with. Being soft means you’re weak willed and that you can be broken. Everyone thought Lob City was soft, Doc Rivers and Blake Griffin, believe the Clippers won’t be. In order to get to that point, they’ve decided to erase everything associated with their old identity. Doc Rivers teams play defense. They just do, and while that doesn’t guarantee that they won’t be abused by the Grizzlies some more, it does guarantee that they’ll put up a fight. That’s exactly what Doc Rivers wants.

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Daily Rain 5-10-12

New York Rangers vs Washington Capitals Proves That NHL Is  More Exciting Than The NBA (in the postseason anyway).

As a fan of the Capitals I’m glad that they were able to force a game seven of this second round series. More importantly, I’d like to take this time to say that the NHL playoffs are better than the NBA playoffs.

The NHL is less predictable. In the NBA there are about four contenders for the title and we’ve known who they were about halfway through the season. Barring injuries, we know who will win in the NBA playoffs. In the NHL the eighth seeded Los Angeles Kings were able to beat the first seeded Vancouver Canucks and the second seed in the St. Louis Blues. The NBA may give us some great games but we know who is in and who is out most of the time. The first round of the NBA playoffs have been awful.

There are too many teams in the mix that have no chance of winning a title. Lebron can praise the strengths of the Pacers until he’s blue in the face. He knows the Heat are winning that series, I know it, and the Pacers are going to know it too soon enough.

In Hockey it really feels like anything can happen.

What’s Next For The Knicks?

The New York Knicks were run over by the Miami Heat. With the exception of game 4 in this series where Carmelo scored 41 points, the Knicks looked like anything but a playoff team. They were outclassed, pounded, and they seem to have very few options offensively outside of Carmelo. Coach Mike Woodson did a good job with what he had but, what he had wasn’t much.

The Knicks should consider moving Amar’e to add pieces around Melo. Stoudemire has a lot of mileage on him and he doesn’t seem to ever be healthy enough to be a viable number two option for that offense. Tyson Chandler doesn’t score consistently and J.R. Smith plays well but he is not dominant.

I know I’m piling on and it’s been said before but, Carmelo Anthony needs to show up next season in shape. He needs to add strength and stamina. Mostly stamina since, the thing that suffers the most when he’s tired is his defense and he wasn’t really great at that already.

The Clippers Are In Trouble. Big Trouble.

Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph started game 5 of the series like men on a mission. The two men had been successfully tamed for the greater part of this series however, they started last night’s game rebounding and attacking the bucket early. This lead to a big first quarter lead that proved to be the difference maker in the game. When Gasol and Randolph play their best basketball they’re a hard to team to beat and the Clippers are too soft inside to actually stop them.

Adding to the Clippers woes, Blake Griffin hyperextended his knee and Chris Paul re-agitated a groin injury. While Clippers head coach Vinny Del Negro assured everyone that his two stars would be okay it seems that injuries, especially those two injuries would have some kind of effect. If Griffin can still jump the Clippers can still use him but Chris Paul cannot afford to be hampered. Especially since the speed of Grizzlies point guard Mike Conley has proven troublesome for the Clippers defense.

I think this series goes seven games.

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