The Los Angeles Lakers have been embedded in Los Angeles sports culture for more or less 40 years. They were always the team beat. The euphoria of NBA Finals and parades was too intoxicated to stop, and they didn’t — until now.
The Los Angeles Clippers‘ experience was far different. The move from San Diego to Los Angeles was insurance that they would never have to endure the pressures of winning, while enjoying the perks of a basketball-crazed town with a winning tradition, including a world-class arena paid for by the cities real breadwinners.
After years of having California sand kicked in their faces, the Clippers finally realized that the perks and being beloved are quite different. They drafted future All-Star Blake Griffin, acquired Chris Paul from the New Orleans Hornets, then secured him with a big check and an active offseason.
With the Lakers are coming off an pedestrian 2012-13 season, an injury to five-time World Champion, Kobe Bryant and a first round playoff exit, the door was opening for an ascending Clippers team to share in Lakers lore.
The Clippers have been mentioned as one of the NBA’s elite, but they have had a few tough looses, including the season-opener against the Lakers. They presently sit at a respectable 13-8, hardly enough to make Angelinos forget about the purple and gold. If that’s not enough, word around the water cooler is that Bryant has grown bored of shooting drills and video games, and plans to return to action on Sunday.
If Paul and company plan permanently capture the hearts of basketball fans in southern California, they lost their opportunity to do so by default. They’ll have to do it by winning big and winning late.
ChristopherBrown is an NBA writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @whatrockschris. Like him on Facebook. Christopher-Rant Sports.