A Sterling example of as bad as it gets

Can it be called character assassination when the wounds are self-inflicted? 

Self-inflicted wound.  How else to better describe Donald Sterling and the Los Angeles Clippers?  Maybe that should just be their nickname – skip the nautical theme and just go with the LA Self-Inflicted Wounds.

After all, this is a franchise that has pretty much trademarked mediocrity and earned every ounce of that reputation.  The press has made a sport out of bashing the Clippers for their 25 seasons in Los Angeles with exactly 4 trips to the playoffs in that time. 

In those 25 years, they have had only one playoff series victory (in 2005-06).  That team’s success was supposed to signal a new era for Clippers basketball.  Ha!  Never a chance of that.

April 17, 2000 cover of Sports Illustrated

April 17, 2000 cover of Sports Illustrated

This is a franchise that rang in this decade with a Sports Illustrated cover story as the worst franchise in pro sports history and ends it with Donald Sterling “topping” the list of SI.com’s worst NBA owners.  Check out this description of the Clippers’ owner:

There is no American sports franchise more associated with futility than the Clippers, who have posted only two winning seasons under Sterling’s ownership. Marquee players have come and gone — including Danny Manning, Dominique Wilkins, Lamar Odom, Elton Brand and Baron Davis — and none has been able to turn around the losing tradition. Though they’ve achieved some level of stability in the past few years — notoriously cheap Sterling has cracked his checkbook a tiny bit, and Mike Dunleavy is now the longest-tenured coach in franchise history — the team is mired in its old losing ways, eclipsing 60 losses for the eighth time under Sterling.

So, conveniently, what better team to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the NBA Draft lottery as winners in this past Tuesday’s festivities than the franchise that has made its appearance at the lottery a virtually annual event.

Unfortunately for the otherworldly (and certain-to-be #1 overall pick) Blake Griffin, the Clippers’ third lottery victory in those 25 years means that he will join Danny Manning (1988) and Michael Olowokandi (1998) as the next college star to lead the draft only to have his professional career ruined in Los Angeles playing for Donald Sterling and crew.

What is it with “The Donald” anyway?  What makes him soooo bad?  ESPN The Magazine sums it up brilliantly in this new feature on Sterling, covering all angles from his days as the immigrant kid on LA’s East Side (born Donald Tokowitz), through his money-making days as a lawyer and real estate investor, all the way to his almost accidental purchase of the then-San Diego Clippers. 

All with numerous example of his status as the despicable, shameful 76-year old human being that he flaunts at every opportunity.

Donald Sterling, Los Angeles Clippers' owner and despicable human being

Donald Sterling, Los Angeles Clippers' owner and despicable human being

Jaw-dropping stuff here and there can be no doubt in anyone’s mind after reading this why things are the way they are in Clipperland. 

In fact, I just looked up the word “lunatic” and came back with this definition: a person whose actions and manner are marked by extreme eccentricity or recklessness.  Lunatic is the least of the things Sterling can claim to be.  And yet, he will own this basketball team to the grave and you and I can only watch in disgust.

Griffin calls Los Angeles a “great opportunity” and I hope it is for him.  Unfortunately, history shows that his best chance to thrive will come when he can escape the Clip Ship.  For his sake, it better be as soon as possible.

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~ by acm213 on May 21, 2009.

One Response to “A Sterling example of as bad as it gets”

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