There are several reasons why the Los Angeles Clippers are America’s team. The franchise in recent years has represented a storyline analogous to the fundamental ideals of the American dream. America’s team, with a bullseye on their back are a team people love to hate, none the less they continue their cultural evolution from being the laughing-stock of the NBA to a Western Conference powerhouse winning Pacific Division titles. The team worked the NBA system of using the draft to develop young talent, and made strong front office moves to acquire culture changing players; not to mention the team colors consist of red, white, and blue. As with America, they show that if you work hard and do things efficiently and correctly, you can improve your well-being. In this arena, it is an American story of how a basketball team is now a model for every team aspiring for greatness, where previously it was a team hardly worth mentioning.
In 1984, 6 years after they moved to San Diego as the Buffalo Braves, they became the Clippers. Since 1978 they did not reach their first playoff appearance until the 1989-1990 season. The team would not return until 2006, giving 16 years of unworthy playoff basketball to their fans. The franchise was in a dark place, seemingly impossible for them to ever be considered a franchise with a great legacy. It was hardly seen as a franchise with potential, however with strong front office moves and efficient usage of the NBA draft, the franchise worked hard and made a complete 180 degree shift. It is a hallmark of the American dream that anyone, if they work hard and correctly, can have the opportunity to improve ones state of being. This is why the Clippers are America’s team; they represent the possibility that no matter how down a franchise gets, no matter how tough the road is to tread, a team’s merit will provide a way out and the possibility to achieve maximum potential.
Blake Griffin and Chris Paul, the two star pillars of the Los Angeles Clippers, have both appeared in numerous nationally televised commercials that have pinned a bullseye on their backs. Some LA fans claim that lesser, unknown players get jealous of their accolades, harboring resentment as these all-stars appear on late-night talk shows and the like. The LA stars are in the spotlight, similar to America in the global arena. The theory is that this bullseye comes with an increased animosity among peers which resembles the United States in its political relationships.
America has a culture that prides itself on being the best. Since WWII, the United States has often been referred to as the leader of the World, whether that title is true or not. As a result of this perception, Americans have been received with animosity when traveling abroad. Some have suggested that the Clippers have arrived on the scene as a dominant team in the west much like America after WWII, and that the attitudes directed at the franchise are analogous to the animosity America receives for being the arguable top dog. America conjures an easy-to-hate image for outsiders. According to this comparison, “America’s team” is the same with their star power forward Blake Griffin. Griffin leads the league in most fouls committed against a player, and is among the league leaders in altercations and technicals.
A far more subjective and obvious observation pointing to why the Los Angeles Clippers are America’s team, is in their uniforms. The team’s jersey’s are the same as the American Flag; red, white and blue. Together with the comparison with America’s international reputation, the argument for the nickname is being espoused. The team leads their division again this year and look to make it to the Western Conference Finals. If the team can conjure a championship for the future hall of fame point-guard Chris Paul, it may support the argument as an American story of company success.
Opinion by Zane Foley