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Mike Dunleavy

Clippers Curse is Real: Billups out for the year

This is the part where I would usually do my “Life and Times of the Los Angeles Clippers”, exhaustively detailing the most ridiculous and painful moments in San Diego turned Los Angeles Clippers history. With the news of Chauncey Billups’ season-ending Achilles tear coming to light this afternoon, I would have just another footnote to write with some hilariously appropriate jab for LA’s ugly red-headed stepchild. As a life-long Angeleno, I’ve had a front seat view as the Clips have taken what should be a luxury automobile and repeatedly crashed it head first into a brick wall, only to be repainted with the same red, white and blue colors whose stink can only be identified with one putrid source. They’re best known for being the butt of late-night television punch-lines, or one of the first ten names David Stern reads in June. Of course I think of them as a pathetic joke, but mostly I view them as a sports tragedy. In a hotbed of basketball in the second biggest market in country, the infinite resources that other small market teams would kill for are routinely wasted at the hands of an owner who knows how to do nothing but kill what he has. I’ve gone on record as saying how despicable Donald Sterling is as an owner, but I truly think it’s his flaws as a human that lead to the Clippers Curse.

Unfortunately, Simmons already did the “Life and Times of the Los Angeles Clippers” better than I ever could have. If you even get halfway through his “open letter to Blake Griffin”, you’ll see that the Clips’ history is littered not just with missteps by ownership or management, but also freak occurrences that seem to happen time and time again. A lot of people like to say that curses aren’t real, that things happen in sports, and there are so many complexities involved with having to appease millions of constituents. But I think if you read what has happened to the Clippers over the past 30 years, you’ll see that it can’t just be bad luck and the consequence of following a physical sport. No Clippers boon can bloom without it withering away and rotting soon thereafter. Just to be a completist, I’ll pick up where Simmons left off, the summer of 2009.

July, 2009: The Clippers trade Zach Randolph to the Memphis Grizzlies. Randolph would blossom in Memphis, becoming an All-Star and one of the most efficient power forwards in the league.

October, 2009: After a thunderous break-away dunk in a meaningless preseason game, rookie phenom and future All-Star Blake Griffin comes down on his left knee hard, creating a stress fracture in his left patella. This injury leaves the first overall pick out for the season.

February, 2010: With another disastrous losing season already locked up, the Clippers GM/Coach Mike Dunleavy steps down from his coaching duties, though keeping his title as GM.

March, 2010: For the second time in a month, the Clippers fire Mike Dunleavy, this time as GM of the team. Dunleavy reportedly finds this out through internet reports and friends, rather than the organization. You stay classy, Donald Sterling.

April, 2010: Dunleavy reports that despite having a guaranteed contract that runs through the end of the 2011 season, the Clippers had stopped paying him, on the grounds that he voluntarily resigned from his duties. The amount is roughly $6.5 million dollars.

February, 2011: Blake Griffin is named as an All-Star reserve, the Clippers first representative since Elton Brand. He also is selected for the dunk contest during All… Read more...