On this Good Friday, why not talk about curses being broken? Jesus died on the cross to break the curse of sin and death. Can we talk about curses for my beloved Los Angeles Clippers? I don’t want to, but I have to.
I’m not a curse guy. You know the ones. Curse of the Red Sox before winning the World Series in 2004. Supposedly living under demonic oppression because of trading Babe Ruth to the New York Yankees. How about the Chicago Cubs going about 100 years of not winning a championship until breaking through in 2016? Steve Bartman anyone?
I get it. Your team loses for hundreds of years and you get spiritual about it. Perhaps, maybe, the sports god is punishing us for not living up to some expectation.
I don’t want to do it. But can we talk about the Clippers? In 2009, Bill Simmons wrote about Blake Griffin getting drafted to the Clippers and how things wouldn’t go well. Well, Simmons makes an interesting case for the cursedness of the Clips. Lots of terrible drafts, surgeries… lots of missed opportunities in the playoffs and underachieving. Is it a curse or something else?
I’m not sure, but things can’t ever seem to go right for my beloved Clippers. The other night they lose a play-in game to a Minnesota Timberwolves team with little playoff experience and riding the momentum of an average season. The Clippers are up by 10 late into the fourth and blew the game. Can’t hit a shot, can’t make a stop, Clips lose by six.
Last season, the future Hall of Famer Kawhi Leonard goes down with an ACL as the Clips cruise through two rounds of the playoffs. Yes, they got to their first conference championship only to lose. Paul George misses 50 games this year, Kawhi the entire year, and a slew of other players banged up. The Clips started the season with Championship hopes and barely snuck into the play-in game. Now they must win tonight against the Pelicans to play the Suns in the first round. Are they cursed? If they lose tonight to an inferior team like the Pels, I might jump on the cursed train.
The Clippers went out and finally spend money. Steve Ballmer, the owner, is working on a new arena to make Clipper basketball relevant in LA and the world. He brought in two superstars. Championship coach. What have they achieved?
*2018-2019- lost in the first round
*2019-2020- lost in the second round (choking away a 3-1 lead)
*2020-2021- lose in the conference finals (6 games)
*2021-2022- lose in play-in game, one game to make playoffs (8th seed)
How about the Lob City years? Chris Paul, Blake Griffin, DeAndre Jordan, and others.
*2011-2012- swept in the second round
*2012-2013- lose first round
*2014-2015 blow 3-1 lead in second round
2015-2016- lose first round
2016-2017- lose first round (7 games)
The Clips have won many games in the last ten years. They’ve made the playoffs multiple times after not making it for twenty years before 1992. Much to celebrate, I guess.
But are they cursed? Time will tell. The Clips have spent hundreds of millions of dollars to bring in quality talent and make a run at the best basketball team in LA and the NBA. So far, we have little to show for it. Conference Final runs are a good start. And yet year after year injuries and untimely losses seem to derail the Clips from being something. We spend most off-seasons asking: What if?
I’m not a curse guy, I don’t think. The great curse of sin and death has been broken and gives many reasons to celebrate. I just hope that once in my lifetime I can watch the Clips hoist the Championship Trophy and my dad and the four Clipper fans in KC will join in.
Until then, I’ll see what happens tonight, and if they lose to the Pelicans, my theory on curses could change. Could, let’s not get crazy. Go Clips!