Take an eccentric, billionaire owner who has a history of not shelling big money for players (not to mention not paying fired coaches), then finally opens the purse strings (for a huge ego point guard who’s more an aspiring director than hoops junkie) and reacts to his superstar’s poor play by sitting courtside taunting him and you have a recipe for a team with the worst record in the NBA.
Donald Sterling, owner of the Clippers is not short on ego himself. Earlier in the year, he took a quarter page ad in the Los Angeles Times to announce an “all-white” party he was throwing at his Malibu mansion, only to end the ad with the disclaimer that, unless you had an invitation, you weren’t welcome. That’s spending big money (how much does a 1/4 page in the Times go for?) simply to let people know he’s richer than the readers are and even if there were people out there who had more than he did, they couldn’t go to his party. That’s one world-class schmuck!
He decided to go all-in for Baron Davis whose nickname is “CK” which stands for Coach Killer, a moniker that B Diddy is most deserving. After being wooed by his best old ex-friend Elton Brand to join him in the City of Angels (naturally after Davis put up career numbers in his contract year - surprise!), Davis saw Brand hightail it out of town to sign with the 76ers. That should have been a hint-and-a-half about the Clips’ organization and Baron. Davis attended Crossroads High School and UCLA (neither exactly situated in the hood, both better known for the actors they produce), yet wants people to think he has street cred.
At the outset of this year, his life must have been at a “crossroads.” He’s billing himself as a budding director (he’s probably upset with the word “budding”), yet was viewed as the leader of a talented, but young, bunch of basketball players. As is the case with most point guards, he was the natural leader of this heretofore group of losers. He could cement his legacy as the guy who brought together the young gifted players (Blake Griffin and the Erics - Gordon & Bledsoe to name three) and got the Clippers into the playoffs. Not an easy task considering they reside in the West, but along with All-Star center Chris Kaman, a do-able goal.
What was The Baron’s opening act? Report out of shape and catch the wrath of guys in the know, e.g. Kenny Smith and Greg Anthony, both lead guards who understand the importance of the PG’s role. Both blasted Davis for coming to camp as he did. Baron’s take on it? The problem wasn’t a weight issue but a severe hamstring injury.
In reality, Sterling and Davis are made for each other - two rich guys (one with billions, the other a mere pauper who signed for only $65 million) who accumulated much of their wealth by “stealing” it, The Donald by, reportedly, being one of the world’s most famous slumlords and Baron getting his through fraudulent play. At this point, their legacies would be as follows: Davis would fall into the category of Eddie Curry and Jerome James, while Sterling would be the second coming of Ted Stepien.
I wonder what Vince Lombardi would think of the Clippers’ situation. It was the late, great coach who once said:
“Build for your team a feeling of oneness, of dependence on one another and of strength to be derived by unity.”