It has nothing to do with global warming, or if one prefers climate change, but the earths rotational axis has flipped, the science to prove it is in professional sports at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.
Two franchises that had been, for decades, the cities little lovable losers, perhaps only to those who came loyally in groves through the years to watch each of them play.
The Los Angeles Kings entered the National Hockey League beginning with the 1967-68 season as an expansion team. The league had then grown to 12 teams, eight of which would make the playoffs. The Kings made the playoffs their first year, but it took 26 seasons, and the acquisition of “the Great One” to get the Kings to their first Stanley Cup final after the 1992-93 season. They lost that Cup, as even Wayne Gretzky was only so great.
The Los Angeles Clippers, the team that has been as synonymous with losing basketball as the Washington Generals. However the Clippers couldn’t get the Generals on their schedule, and the Globetrotters were used to better competition. So from 1978 to 2011 the Clippers were stuck in the National Basketball Association, making the playoffs four times, thirty three years and 25 playoff games in team history. They didn’t play in the Lakers shadow, they played under a rock.
As the Kings head into the Stanley Cup Finals, their second trip on three years, southern California now has tanned blonde surfers waiting for their next set to roll in who understand the blue line, shift changes and the sound of a coach Darryl Sutter quote between periods.
“Yo, brudda Kings are skatin tonight, bring da boom!”
“Eh, smart hockey… outside!”
The last three seasons the Kings have made their mark in the National Hockey League, battling with the Chicago Blackhawks as hockey’s dominant team during the first half of the decade. The two teams have met in the Conference Finals in each season, with the winner also winning the Stanley Cup. After winning the New York Rangers in overtime of game 1, the Kings could be the first team to win the Cup two of three years since the Detroit Red Wings won back-to-back titles in 1998-1999.
The surfers are chanting “Dynasty”.
The Clippers must feel as good as any Conference Semifinals loser in NBA history right now. The teams best three seasons in history have been their past three, and they are now the reigning two time Pacific Division champions. Equipped for the first time since Larry Brown with a top tier coach in Doc Rivers, the leagues best point guard in Chris Paul, a first round pick who overcame injury to become an all-star in Blake Griffin, and a rebounding and defensive force in
This in spite of being saddled with with an owner who some thought may have a sister who once owned the Cleveland Indians and Charlie Sheen’s “Wild Thing” contract. Nobody could be that bad for that long, unless it was in a movie, you weren’t trying, or you didn’t care.
With sale of the Clippers to Steve Ballmer, as important the departure of Donald Sterling, the Clippers have become The Show of the Los Angeles basketball scene.
One can’t help but wonder if the Clippers were watching the Kings in the 2014 Stanley Cup Finals and thinking, “we can be like them”. The Staples Center is where the proof is, time changes all things…
Imagine a day when the sign above the entry doors reads “The Los Angeles Lakers sleep here.”