Right now, the Clippers are clearly the best basketball team in Los Angeles. That much was evident Friday night.
But I know whatâ€™s coming in the newspaper and on talk radio â€” â€œLA is now a Clippers town!â€ The thing is, this will always be a Lakers town, but that doesnâ€™t make exciting copy, doesnâ€™t light up the phone lines.
Look at the two area baseball teams. Right now you see more people wearing Angel gear around than I can ever remember. The reason â€” they are winning and have household name players, the Dodgers are not and do not (save Gagne).
The Angels generated a fair amount of excitement in recent years because they have won. But that pales to the palpable excitement in the city the Dodgers generate when they win, when they are serious playoff contenders. The Dodgers are the Los Angeles tradition, the one that people hold fond childhood memories of, the one that elicits intense passion when they do well.
Los Angeles likes a winner, so right now they like the Angels, but they will always love the Dodgers.
The same is true of the area basketball teams. People like the Clippers now because they are winning, because Brand and Cassell and Maggette are good players. Theyâ€™ll even find a way to like Chris Kamenâ€™s hair.
But they love the Lakers. The Clippers will never be able to match the excitement that comes with the Lakers in the playoffs, the passion people have to see the Lakers good again. This is now and always will be a Laker town.