As we all await the decision of NBA Commissioner Adam Silver as to the fate of the unapologetic bigot and Clippers owner Donald Sterling, an article on SI.com by Lee Jenkins documents how we got to this point:
The Lakers were incredulous that Stern, acting as temporary steward of the New Orleans Pelicans, would capsize the NBA's flagship franchise so he could throw a lifeboat to the bigot, the cheapskate, the miscreant who owned the Clippers. Stern was punishing the club that brought his league nothing but plaudits and riches while rewarding the one that brought nothing but embarrassment and shame. It was like handing a Ferrari to a juvenile delinquent and expecting his behavior to improve.
David Stern, the man that brought "basketball reasons" into the lexicon as an eternal punchline, not only enabled Sterling, but rewarded him. And as the basketball profile of the Clippers increased, so too did the risk of the Sterling factor making its way into the mainstream.
Sterling was a racist before the Paul trade, and he'd have remained one regardless, but the NBA validated him. They emboldened him. They transported him, in one motion, from the margin of the league to the forefront of it. They provided him a bigger voice, knowing full well the ugliness that could emanate.
A town with only a semi-professional football team in the Trogans and known across the country as a basketball mecca has fallen hard and fast, so much so that a franchise worst 55 loss Los Angeles Lakers team is the least embarrassing basketball squad in the city - at least to those who prefer to watch basketball with a clear conscience.
Think about it. The Clippers are in the midst of a first round dogfight with the Golden State Warriors, but the long shadow their owner has cast taints their victories and brings back a feeling all too familiar to Clippers fans before "Lob City" was a thing: Shame.
The Trogans finished dead last in the Pac 12 this year, and were the definition of uncompetitive. Even the Lakers couldn't manage to finish at the bottom of their conference (much as many of their fans might have wished for it).
The Bruins? Even if you didn't count in the whole Steve Alford is an alleged rape apologist scumbag asshole thing, we still had #Daddyball to deal with, which turned out to be our undoing in yet another spanking at the hands of the Florida Gators as well as the unraveling of any offseason plans to retain the core of this year's team.
So the Lakers are now the "best" of a bad bunch, and they just set a franchise record for losses. Bad times to be an LA basketball fan.