For the first time in years, the long-time underacheiving Los Angeles Clippers are arguably the best team in the NBA. The Los Angeles Lakers are perhaps the most disappointing team in the NBA. Once a one-sided rivalry, the Clippers are finally looking to turn the tide of misfortune into long-term basketball prosperity. But the Clippers are not, and will never be the Lakers. Ever.
Don’t get me wrong. What the Clippers are doing right now is beyond impressive. They have managed to go 16-0 in the month of December, with a roster that goes 10 players deep. Superstar PG Chris Paul is making his case for MVP, leading a franchise known for dysfunction and injury curses for the past 30 years. With a 24-6 record, the Clippers are perhaps the best team in the league, and are making it look easy along the way. Regardless of this year’s successes, we will never forget the 30 years of dysfunction and misfortune that has crippled this franchise on a repeated basis. Ever.
Depsite the bumpy road to a lousy 15-15 record, the Lakers are still a team that could win 50 games and obtain a high playoff seed in the Western Conference. The return of Steve Nash, and Kobe Bryant leading the league in scoring, the Lakers have looked functional and competitive lately. Unlike the Clippers, the Lakers’ expectations from fans and media were ridiculously high this year, and injuries added to the diluted results we’ve seen so far. That’s what winning 10 championships in the last 30 years does to you.
Despite the Clippers’ recent successes, the Lakers shouldn’t look to the Clippers to get back on track. The Clippers don’t have championship expectations every year. The Lakers do.
Let’s put this in musical terms for a minute. The Lakers’ are Beyonce to the Clippers’ Solange. Beyonce is a mega-star who’s stature in music extends all over the world. Beyonce is by far the best in her business, and has a track record of successes critically and commercially. Beyonce is married to the most powerful 1% owner of a NBA franchise Jay-Z. We see Beyonce on billboards, fashion ads, and Pepsi commericals. Beyonce’s name is in our mouths, regardless if you love her or hate her.
The Clippers are Solange, Beyonce’s real-life little sister. Solange doesn’t retain the same accolades and successes as her sister. Solange is not a household name compared to her sister. You probably can’t name five songs by Solange as a solo artist, but she’s comfortable because she flies under the radar. So when Solange does something great, like writes better songs than her sister, we rush to celebrate (and overrate) the underdog instead of appreciating the former. That’s exactly what we are doing with the Clippers right now at this point. Save it for the playoffs.
Now the Clippersare finally putting everything together, let’s stop with the lazy and locally convenient comparisons between the two teams as it does both teams an injustice at this point of the season. We’ll find out who the Clippers are when the playoffs arrive. We will find out who the Lakers are if they make the playoffs or not. The Clippers and Lakers will play Friday at Staples Center. This could be a playoff preview of some sorts, but let’s keep it real…
Beyonce doesn’t ask Solange for advice. And I think Solange is OK with that.
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