Bill Plaschke laments that Lakers fans not only don’t root for the Clippers but actively root against them. He ascribes this phenomenon to sour grapes and bad sportsmanship. Apparently, in all of his years as a sports columnist, he has never completely grasped the concept of sports rivalries.
Before Steve Ballmer, the Lakers and their fans treated the Clippers as the clown franchise they were — with indifference. Ballmer has turned things around and openly challenged the Lakers’ supremacy in the city. He succeeded and got their attention. So yeah, game on. Now it’s a true rivalry, and that in itself has raised the Clippers’ profile. But rivals don’t root for each other.
On that note, Plaschke has also gotten the USC/UCLA rivalry wrong. If he wants enlightenment on that, he can a a stroll into the USC bookstore and view the mugs and other merchandise that carry the words: “My favorite teams are USC and whoever is playing UCLA.” I’m sure the sentiment is the same in Westwood, and I, as a USC alum, wouldn’t have it any other way.
What Bill Plaschke fails to articulate in his article regarding Laker fans’ antipathy to the Clippers — and what Steve Ballmer ignores at his peril — is that no one in Los Angeles ever asked for the Clippers to come from San Diego. They, and to a similar extent the Chargers, are analogous to the annoying, uninvited “plus one” at a party. They had the effrontery to just show up, assuming they would be welcome, let alone embraced, when Los Angeles was doing just fine with the Lakers and their umpteen championships and Jerry Buss.
The Clippers showed up with the worst owner in all of sports, Donald Sterling, and however much they try, it will take a long time to clear the air of that stench. The Clipper Curse will remain in effect until they realize that they belong in their own city, not lurking in the shadow of a much greater team’s history. I’m a lifelong Lakers fan who recently moved to Seattle. This city would take the Clippers up here and celebrate them. We’ve got an arena just waiting and a fanatic fan base. They would just have to change their name.
I want to thank Bill Plaschke for calling out the boorish behavior of many Lakers fans toward the Clippers. It’s not becoming to a franchise with such a winning tradition to have fans who behave like them. I have been a Clippers fan since they moved to L.A. and a season-ticket holder since 1995. During that time, I have endured ups and a lot of downs with the Clippers, as well as a lot of unkind remarks and disparagement from Lakers fans.
I attended Game 3 of the Western Conference finals between the Clippers and the Phoenix Suns. For the first time, it felt like a real Clippers home game. There were no Lakers fans in their jerseys booing the Clippers and rooting for the opponent. In fact, it felt like everyone in attendance was a Clippers fan, and they let everyone know it loudly. The Clippers are finally rewarding our loyalty with a season like none we have experienced before. If you Laker fans can’t be happy for us or even support us like we have the Lakers in past years, at least let us enjoy this run in peace.
Clearly Plaschke has never been around the New York sports scene. Go ask Mets, Knicks, Giants and Rangers fans if they would ever root for the Yankees, Nets, Jets and Islanders. The answer would be a resounding NO punctuated with a few swear words.
Steve Ballmer, I hope you can see the writing on the wall: Your team is not welcome in Los Angeles. Why waste your time and billions on a new arena? Come down to the Honda Center in Anaheim, which is a palace compared to that dump you’re in now. We would welcome you and the Clippers with open arms.
I take issue with Bill Plaschke’s comment that all Lakers fans hate the Clippers. I am a Lakers fan and a longtime season-ticket holder. I admit that when the Clippers first came to Los Angeles, I did develop a hatred. I was angry that they fired coach Vinny Del Negro, who had just come off a winning season, and created some class and respectability, which was lacking at the time. Then when Donald Sterling purchased the club, he ran it like a new toy and winning seemed farthest from his mind.
The current Clippers are the direct opposite of the craziness that they replaced. Hiring Jerry West was brilliant move, and he never would have taken the position if he felt that he couldn’t make some major changes. Ty Lue has proven to be one of the best coaches in the NBA, and with the quality players that are now on board, “winning it all” now and in the future is a legitimate goal. Steve Ballmer is a hoot! He wears his emotions on his sleeve and exhibits unbridled enthusiasm, win or lose. I understand that he is very charitable and a classy individual.
So … the cylinder applies only to the defense? The last Suns basket in Game 2 was clearly in the cylinder along with Deandre Ayton’s hands. However, offensive goaltending is lost in the quirky rule that the inbounds throw-in is a pass therefore not a shot attempt. One fan’s opinion — the cylinder still should be the cylinder. Gotta hand it to the Suns to draw up the play.
Now that his top seed 76ers have crashed and burned out of the conference semis, repeatedly blowing large or massive leads and falling at home three times in one series, would those who defended him to the death here finally admit that Doc Rivers is the world’s greatest snake oil salesman? He was gifted the NBA’s first super team in Boston and will dine out — filet mignon and lobster — on that championship for the rest of his life.
Meanwhile, he’s the king of excuses who couldn’t coach his way out of a paper bag. Having done my undergrad work outside Philly, I trust Sixer fans will be much less forgiving than those who let him get away with his shtick for so long here because he shared their woke values.
Repeat or retreat?
In 2020, the Lakers and Dodgers ended up with the same results, a championship. It certainly looks like 2021 will also be a parallel universe.
The Lakers never looked right from the beginning. They beat bad teams but lost to good ones. They blew big leads and sometimes looked like they wanted to be anywhere else but the arena. They got injured early and late and failed to get out of the first round.
The Dodgers are right on their tails. They have beaten bad teams but lose to good ones. Game after game, they just don’t look like they want to be on the field. They have had their fill of injuries as well. Don’t be surprised if the Dodgers don’t make the playoffs or are knocked out in the first round.
Well, well, well, so Dave Roberts has switched from his earlier support of shifting infielders to requiring two infielders on either side of second base. Since the Dodgers employ the shift more than any other team in baseball, one can only surmise that he is tired of watching the Dodgers’ scuffling offense trying to score against the shift.
When is Rob “The Wimp” Manfred going to start acting like a commissioner and restore some fairness to the game by banning the shift? It adds nothing to the game other than watching Albert Pujols get thrown out from right field on what would be a single without the shift in place.
The Dodgers continue to think they can just throw their gloves on the field and win a game. I see no one getting upset at their lack of effort each game. Not one .300 hitter in the group. Unfortunately, Roberts doesn’t believe in “ little ball,” moving runners, stealing bases, sacrifice bunts. He sits on his hands all game waiting for a three-run homer. Lastly, the bullpen is shaky at best. How about a little kick-butt manager instead of a coddling babysitter.
Three reasons why the Dodgers’ highly praised farm system may be vastly overrated … Gavin Lux, Luke Raley and DJ Peters. If these players are L.A.’s future, a 31-year wait for another World Series ring will seem like a drop in the bucket.
Remember when the Dodgers had Homer Bailey? Now they have Homer Bauer.
Applauding a bold Raider
Congratulations to Las Vegas Raiders lineman Carl Nassib for having the courage to live your life openly. After considerable thought, I think every pro athlete should come out as gay. Even if they’re not — just to show how ridiculous it is that someone is made to feel as if they have to broadcast publicly about their private life. No one should fear being “exposed” for living their authentic life. Hopefully this is the first step to a day where ultimately one’s sexuality won’t matter and will be as accepting as their college alma mater, weightlifting prowess or 40-yard times.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell’s response to Carl Nassib’s announcement about being gay was worthy of the Olympic 100-meter qualifying in Eugene. Suppose that Colin Kaepernick, after explaining why he took a knee, had added that he was gay. Would he have received “instant” support?
Follow the money
Econ 101 definitions …
*laissez faire capitalism: PGA Tour
*socialism: NFL revenue sharing
*feudalism: NCAA “amateur” athletics
I know track and field no longer holds sway over the sports world as it once did but, come on, guys, Ryan Crouser breaking a 31-year-old world record in the shot put by almost a foot deserves more L.A. Times reporting than a single sentence buried in Etc. I can only imagine how today’s coverage approach would have handled the epic 1936 Olympics: Jesse Owens has big week in Berlin.
Could you please explain the decision to have no coverage of the European Championship by a paper that claims global relevance and represents one of the most diverse, global cities in the world? Los Angeles has millions of residents who see football (as the globe calls soccer) as their preferred sport.
That’s the plan
I read everything in your sports page on the Lakers and Dodgers. I also read your letters, and even though the letters editor is leaving, I hope you continue to publish letters on Sundays.
The Los Angeles Times welcomes expressions of all views. Letters should be brief and become the property of The Times. They may be edited and republished in any format. Each must include a valid mailing address and telephone number. Pseudonyms will not be used.
This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.