They say the Dallas Cowboys are America’s Team, but I disagree.
No team in the history of sports ever further embodied its concurrent America than the uber entitled, underachieving, constantly bitching Doc Rivers and Chris Paul era Los Angeles Clippers.
The Cowboys were first labeled America’s Team in the late 70’s by a guy named Bob Ryan, who produced many segments for NFL Films.
In compiling a highlight junket of the Cowboys, Ryan surmised that since the Cowboys were perennially among the best teams in the league and prominently featured on national television, that they were the football team America was most familiar with.
Ryan also noticed that many of the fans at home games wore cowboy hats, and was no doubt tying in the majestic image of the American cowboy, the roughnecked men who wrangled cattle in the great American West before corporate Illuminati such as Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones put them out to pasture, stealing their hats in the process.
It’s an eerily similar story to that of the Native American, or Redskin, in the NFL’s incarnation.
There aren’t many more cowboys left. Or Indians for that matter. And the harsh truth is that if you’re a rancher or a Native American, you’re statistically most likely poor as hell.
That doesn’t mean grown and purportedly heterosexual men can’t still dress up as cowboys and attend football games, and the term America’s Team gained fast fanfare.
Once you identify something as American, you tend to get a lot of blind Oorah level of bandwagon support.
If you’re looking to justify invading another country, elect a politician, or simply sell jerseys, identifying your cause as pro-America should be your first step in the process.
The next thing you know, dudes from Cleveland to Brownsville will inexplicably become diehard Cowboys fans, and some JuCo dropout will get teary eyed about the terrorists trying to steal his freedom while drunk at the casino.
Take the case of Donald Trump. His campaign slogan was Make America Great Again. While nonsensical, it’s a brilliant line. Everyone needs a team. You’re either with America or against it.
Hillary’s slogan was I’m With Her. This breathtakingly lame piece of rhetoric was conceived on the spot by Ida Woldemichael, a sufficiently multicultural graphic designer who was working for Hillary’s campaign.
Make America Great Again looks great on a banner. I’m With Her looks like something a middle aged lesbian would write in sharpie on a poster board adorned with a photo of Candace Barker and wave around at timeouts from her six dollar LA Sparks courtside seats.
The Los Angeles Clippers suffer a similar fate of poor marketing, which is why I don’t believe they’re being properly recognized as America’s Team.
For those unaware, a clipper is a 19th century sailing ship, the engineering of which has become obsolete.
No guy who occasionally visits biker bars with his wife is going to voluntarily wave around the flag of a not especially masculine sailing vessel.
That’s the type of thing that can make you someone’s bitch in prison.
The Clippers were previously owned by a racist slumlord and subsequently annexed by a multibillionaire under dubious legality.
The team has a history of prolific incompetence and squandered potential, and has only briefly sniffed prosperity.
In this sense, it is not America’s Team. It’s more Haiti’s Team, or that really smart guy you know who smokes way too much’s weed’s team.
Yet I am making the case that the Clippers, under the leadership of Doc Rivers and Chris Paul, were America’s team in that they most accurately symbolized American culture during the time in which they played.
No other franchise has ever mirrored our current society so beautifully. Here’s why:
The Clippers blamed everyone else for their problems. Much like America’s lazy white trash took it upon themselves to blame The Mexicans because they got fired from Target for failing their third drug test, the Clippers blamed the refs for their lack of achievement, in what became a collective martyr complex. It was incredibly infuriating to watch. Dock Rivers complained about every call. So did Chris Paul and Blake Griffin, who was fond of displaying an apoplectic choir boy expression after every whistle, basically complaining while attempting to signify that he wasn’t complaining, because everything is so hard, because the refs were out to get him and it just wasn’t worth the effort of actually complaining anymore, because it wouldn’t do any good anyway.
Apart from being douchebag behavior, constantly bitching at the refs is counterproductive. When people find you annoying they’re less likely to give you the benefit of the doubt. In a self fulfilling prophecy the Clippers actually worked their asses off to attain a minimal disadvantage. Take some responsibility next time.
Chris Paul was an elected leader with a major conflict of interest. Chris Paul was elected as president of the National Basketball Players Association in 2013. This is the player’s union, whose job it is to advocate on behalf of players in regards to pay and benefits. While serving in this position, one of Chris Paul’s most notable accomplishments was changing an arcane rule known as the Over 36 Rule, and making it the Over 38 Rule. This rule stipulates the maximum amount of money a player can make based on his age. As it turns out, Chris Paul was 32 years of age at the time. If he hadn’t changed the rule, the most money he could make on his next contract would have been 156 million dollars. After he changed the rule, $201 million. So he used his position of power to enrich himself. That’s corruption. Many presidents have done it. Trump is doing it. Hillary would have done the shit out of it.
Doc Rivers preferred nepotism over meritocracy. There’s no reason Austin Rivers should be in the NBA. Other than the fact that he’s the coach’s son. Acting in his dual role of Coach and General Manager, Doc gave his own kid an indefensible 3 year $35 million contract, which was well well above market value, which would have generously been the league minimum. In doing so Doc not only wasted money, but ate up a roster spot which a more qualified player could have occupied. Several reports have come out that everyone on the team hated Austin Rivers, probably in part because they knew he didn’t deserve to be on the team, but also, if you’re not supposed to be on the team you had better be pretty damn humble, and apparently Austin Rivers was the opposite of humble. Meaning he was given a job he didn’t deserve, did not do any self reflection, and was not grateful. So, basically an entitled prick. It was also recently reported that Doc Rivers refused to trade Austin Rivers and Jamal Crawford for Carmelo Anthony, a move which would have inarguably made his team better. For that he deserves to be fired. But if you take a look at the hideously underqualified cronies occupying most government positions, Doc’s behavior shouldn’t surprise you. Austin Rivers is basically Jared Kushner. It’s America, 2017.
These Clippers were a bunch of entitled millennials. The Clippers released a shirt this summer. It says LA Pioneers and features a photo of Blake Griffin standing next to Muhammed Ali, and on top of Barack Obama, John F Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Albert Einstein, Nelson Mandela, Abraham Lincoln, and Ghandi. There are several problems here, not to mention that none of those people have any tangible connection to Los Angeles. Einstein was a pioneer, but he wasn’t an LA Pioneer. Also, Blake Griffin isn’t a pioneer of anything. Also, comparing a basketball player to Nelson Mandela or MLK is pretty insulting. Reportedly, the Clippers were trying to stroke Griffin’s ego to get him to sign a new contract. Whether or not this completely tone deaf delusional shirt had any part in his resigning is unknown.
This shirt is a perfect metaphor for how the Clippers carried themselves. They acted like they were three time Champions when they’d barely ever even won a playoff series. For unexplained reasons, they were dramatically entitled. Blake Griffin probably thinks he’s the next Abraham Lincoln because of his Kia commercials. Participation Ribbon culture, basically.
The team consistently underperformed. They reeked of entitlement. They rigged the system. They complained. They gave handouts to their children. Their egos were out of control.
They were America’s Team.