Let me start off by saying that i had a blast. The guys I were with made the experience that much better. I am a rookie basketball fan. I loved playing growing up but never devoted myself to the NBA like I have the NFL and MLB.
I know important players and stuff but could not tell you the starting line-up of every team like I almost can for baseball and football. This being said I am slowly becoming a force in Clipper Nation.
I drove there taking about an hour and forty five minutes in what mapquest called an hour long drive. Los Angeles traffic and Southern California traffic is horrendous. I found a nice parking garage for only five dollars which is an amazing bargain considering everything else was going for about twenty except a small, unlit lot that was going for ten but looked pretty shady to me.
So I enter the Staples Center and get to meet some of the Clippers Cheerleaders. I would later find out that they are called the Clippers Spirit, which is ironic. I took a picture with them, as you see from the article photo. And I noticed two things. One being that they were not very attractive. Two is that they looked like they were around 30 and had too much plastic surgery. They looked like after the game they would go work the street corner. If you know any Clippers Spirit Girls do not tell them I said that, just know it was from observations of the few I saw close up.
We get in and go to our seats in section 301 which is basically the nosebleeds. However, the Staples Center has great seating even at nosebleed I felt like I had an amazing seat. We were seated mid court in the nosebleeds which is a great seat.
We got there twenty minutes to tip off and there was basically no one there. Granted this was the Kings versus Clippers game so I shouldn't expect many fans but I was still taken aback by how little fans there were.I felt like a Florida Marlins fan. Okay maybe not that bad but still not many people
Let me taken an aside here tell you about my two friends who went with me. One is from Sac-Town (Sacrament for those who do not know) and is an avid Kings fan. He showed up in his Kings Jersey, granted it was of Peja Stojakovic but still. He high-fived a fellow Kings fan wearing a Mike Bibby jersey. This just tells you how far this franchise has fallen.
My other friend is an avid Jason Kidd fan. I am not really sure why but if I ask him I think his first response would be, "Because he is amazing, duh." But other than that does not align himself with an NBA franchise. He is from San Diego and is a Padres and Chargers fan. I tried to get him to join Clipper Nation with talks f the old Clippers in San Diego but he refused to jump on the team fandom, his loss.
And then there is me! I am a member of Clipper Nation and just this past year made my official dive into fandom. I had always followed with a bit of interest but never enough to call them "My Team" and really I think the only reason they are my team now is because I am sick of the Lakers here in Southern California. So I went for the other team in L.A. and am proud of it. I am not a band wagoner but am fully investing myself into this team. I went out of my way to get Clippers players in my only fantasy basketball team, which shows that I really do not care about winning.
So back to the event, the Clippers have a DJ named DJ Dense who does a great job working the fans. He is able to get cheers from the relatively small and uninspiring crowd. I was impressed with his ability to include the nosebleeders. He regularly gave shout outs to certain sections in the 300 levels. He was quite entertaining and I would say a good gimmick seeing as the Clippers really do not have a mascot.
The National Anthem was by far one of my favorite renditions ever. It was performed by about 30 African Orphans. I cannot remember the name of the country or group they were from but it was nice to see a change in the way it was performed. It was done in a tribal fashion and left tingles in my body. Although that happens often when listening to the song, I just love the National Anthem.
The game starts and I get to show my lack of knowledge to my two friends by saying players' names wrong and getting the wrong number to the wrong player. But I am a quick learner. The Kings grab the lead and for those who saw the game know they never give it back. Anyways, in the second quarter I see a player come off the bench and I get to use my one chance at shocking my friends. Number ten, Eric Gordon comes in the game and before the announcer I get to shout his name. I turn and comment slyly how he is our number one draft pick this past year. I am slowly becoming part of Clipper Nation.
Gordon does not do much tonight sadly but I look forward to seeing his career. I just feel he is my favorite player on the team because he is a rookie to the league and team and really so am I. I plan on getting a Gordon jersey but who knows.
In the middle of the first quarter during a timeout, some Clipper girl shows up with camera by our section and asks for the loudest fans. I jump on and scream but am new to the fandom thing so I do not want to win a prize when others are more deserving. She grabs 2 guys who were aout 4 seats to our left and asks them to go to some special court side seats sponsored by Corona.
They say yes and bend down to grab there things and there it was, for the first time in my life I was front and center on the Jumbo-Tron. What a glorious occasion for any fan really. I did not know what to do I was like a deer in headlights. Then my buddy stands in front of me with his Kings Jersey and yells "Sac-Town Represent!" I push him back to his seat and draw cheers from the crowd for my action. i feel honored to be a Clipper fan at that time.
So we go to get food because we are all hungry and plan on hot dogs. However the concession bar at Staples is amazing. They had popcorn, hot dogs, burritos, caramel apples, and a whole assortment of delightful goodies. I get Camacho Nachos which is basically nachos with chicken and beans and guacamole. it was much better than I had anticipated, but I was sad when I found out jalapenos are an extra two dollars, what a rip off.
Halftime comes around and some acrobat lady performs and she is cool but I just felt like i wanted more. I was a bit let down. Then some guy comes out and tries the money shots. He gets money for a succession of shots and has thirty seconds to do so. In this thirty seconds, the crowd was as lively as it had been all night and more people paid attention to his attempts then to the whole game it had seemed.
The game gets back under way and the Beno Udrih show begins. This guy single handily shredded the Clippers it seemed. Before I wrote this article i sent a trade offer to the guy who had him in our league. He looks like a special player. This may have been one nigh but I became a fan of his from his performance alone. He is worthy of a spot on your fantasy team go get him.
Now I may not know much about the NBA but I did play in high school and frequent pick up games and do watch my college team. I noticed the Clippers seemed to play for themselves. It may just be me but I do not feel like they were a team. Davis was off and taking bad shots and so where a lot of other guys. In fact both teams took their share of bad shots.
Another thing I noticed was the Clippers block a lot of shots. They were sending balls out left and right. I do not know what the record is for most blocks in a season for a team or player but the Clippers should threaten that record.
Sadly, the Clippers came up short in the end and the last five minutes were really entertaining. The crowd got into it at the end and were making some solid noise. But Beno took over and Baron faltered. It was good fun and a lovely experience.
However, the Clippers messed up my streak. I have been to about nine professional games. Every time, the home team has won. Dating back to about ten years when my dad took me to see the Lakers at The Great Western Forum (which was also my last basketball game before tonight's) the home team had won. Five Angels games, two Dodgers, one Lakers, and One 49ers' game and the Clippers lost. I was more mad about that then the Clippers actually losing. I guess I have a long way to go before becoming a die hard fan and leader in Clipper Nation.