Chris: Jason Voorhees is a Laker. A Crystal Laker. In fact, any team that not only competes with but shares a town with the Los Angeles Lakers is in severe need of round-the-clock police surveillance. Only seven playoff appearances in franchise history? Check. Every player who played for the Clippers from 1981 through last season having to cash smudged and grease-stained paychecks from Donald Sterling? Check. Blake Griffin annually having his tendons probed by Jason’s four-foot-long machete? Check.
Joe: The Lakers are one of the premier franchises in basketball, if not all of sports. The Clippers are the much younger sibling that came along after the older sibling was an international brand. The Clippers have never come close to gaining elite status. Still suffering from the little brother syndrome.
Ralphie: The Clippers probably feel like they're always playing in the shadows of the Lakers.
Joe: The LA Clippers have a long history of mediocrity, dating back to their inception in 1970. The owners apparently have been satisfied with simply having a franchise, making enough money and not taking the big steps to bring in top-level talent players and coaches.
Ralphie: I'm sure the injuries and trades have affected the Clippers, but they can't use that as an excuse. They've got to overcome the bad luck and bad choices if they want to win.
Chris: History books reveal that the Clippers’ franchise began as the Buffalo Braves, and some scholars believe that naming the team after both Native Americans and one of their sacred animals was the equivalent to leaving one’s house on Friday the 13th with a black cat in one hand and a broken mirror in the other and attempting to walk under as many ladders as possible. This was followed by the team moving to San Diego, a town which has never had the opportunity to celebrate a major professional sports championship, unless the National Spelling Bee counts.
Joe: I think it will take new ownership with a totally different vision and attitude for the Clippers to reach the next level. New leadership, GM, coach, top-level players through trades and the draft over several years.
Ralphie: The Clippers are going to have to stop playing like the poor little team with injuries and bad trades and man up and play like a championship team.
Chris: Considering that only three coaches in NBA history have won championships with multiple teams (Alex Hannum, Phil Jackson and Pat Riley), by employing Doc Rivers, the Clippers must have been bamboozled, thinking Rivers was also a witch doctor, capable of exorcising curses.
Ralphie: I think the Clippers haven't won a championship because of lots of different factors. Unthinking heave made bad trades and had lots of injuries, but at the end of the day, good players and coaches could overcome those things. It's just been like a bad recipe. The ingredients were just not good enough.
Chris: I wonder how many times a day Coach Rivers hears, “What’s up, Doc?” Everyone who sees him daily surely greats him that way. Acquaintances who occasionally bump into him must ask him that. And when he meets someone new who was previously unaware of his nickname, a Bugs Bunny impression is forthcoming before he can even say, “But you can call me Glenn.”
Joe: Certainly injuries have been against the Clippers, but this is a part of the game, and all teams face the same risks. The Clippers have had their share of bad luck, accompanied by less than successful contingency plans. Management decisions have had lasting effects on team makeup and have discouraged players wanting to join the Clippers.
Ralphie: It's got to be kind of a hard decision to choose to sign with the Clippers. It's definitely not a dream team!
Chris: I’m not confident of the Clippers ever winning an NBA championship, considering that only one of 30 teams can win it each season. It is this type of analysis that makes this article a must-read.
Try on a new pair of Sports Briefs with the Gab Four every Friday. Find out more about Joe, Chris, Brad and Ralphie, and read their solo columns on their individual pages.