Author: Oliver Field
When NBA commissioner David Stern blocked all star point guard Chris Paul from being traded from the Hornets to the Lakers, fans from Los Angeles and around the league agonized over the missed opportunity to see Paul team up with Laker legend Kobe Bryant. The NBA maintains ownership of the Hornets and claimed the trade did not have the best interests of both teams in mind. But just weeks later, Chris Paul arrived in Los Angeles, only to suit up for crosstown rivals the Clippers, creating a tandem with high flying dunker Blake Griffin to give Los Angeles the nickname “Lob City”. Despite ruling Los Angeles and the NBA for years, the Lakers find themselves in serious danger of playing second fiddle to the excitement and attraction of the newly successful Clippers.
Griffin, a third-year player out of Oklahoma, set the league alight last season, winning the slam dunk contest and emasculating many of the leagues big men with his powerful play. He was a staple in Sportscenter’s ‘Top Ten Plays,’ essentially becoming a walking highlight reel. But despite his personal success, the Clippers remained the joke of the NBA, finishing near the bottom of the standings.
Their fortune appears to have changed for the better with the addition of Chris Paul from the New Orleans Hornets, arguably the best point guard in the NBA right now. He is a five-time all-star averaging 10 assists per game over his career. With a distributor like Paul, fans can only sit back and watch with childish wonder as the two combine for alley oops on a regular basis. Paul brings experience and structure to a team full of potential and the league has noticed. Both Paul and Griffin were recently selected as starters for the West in the upcoming NBA all-star game in Orlando.
Laker fans are shocked, anxious that their years of taunting and flaunting will now come back to haunt them. They are jealous of the player they felt should have been on their team, before commissioner David Stern said no. For years, the Lakers have owned L.A., and the league for that matter, winning five NBA titles since the year 2000, but it seems the tides are turning as more and more Clipper fans realize it’s acceptable to wear their team apparel in public.
Clipper fans have every right to celebrate and enjoy their new acquisitions, while never growing tired of the ludicrous dunks and pinpoint passes that have transformed the Clippers from a B team laugh track to a real contender. Angelinos and teams around the league can watch nervously as the power shifts from Kobe Bryant’s aging knees to the youthful legs of Paul and Griffin, who will undoubtedly remain in Los Angeles for years to come.
As it stands the Clippers are second in the Western Conference and atop the Pacific Division-and ahead of the Lakers-with a record of 14-11. With two superstars and a finally successful product, Clipper fans and band-wagoners alike can rejoice in the hope that their team can compete and do it with style.
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