Let me tell you something my friend. Hope is a dangerous thing. Hope can drive a man insane.
–Red (Morgan Freeman) from the Shawshank Redemption
For Clippers fans, there is always hope.
Hope that this time the number one pick stays healthy. Hope that the owner and general manager will make more good calls than bad. Hope that the next coach will be able to pull it all together and make this team blend.
Hope that LeBron James will want to come play for the Clippers.
So much so on the last one that Clipper fans — led by their superfan Clipper Darrell — will put on a LeBron James parade on May 27.
The Clippers have the cap space to offer a max deal (something Mike Dunleavy did before being fired as general manager). They have a solid young core of guys like Blake Griffin and Chris Kaman inside to build on. They have an open coaching vacancy so they can appoint whomever LeBron wants as coach (say John Calipari).
On paper, they are a very good destination. Hope is high in Clippers Nation.
Whether an African American player would risk the public relations hit to play for a man (Sterling) who has faced multiple discrimination suits for his apartment buildings is another thing. Whether any star player wants to trust that Sterling will keep spending like he needs to win in the future is another thing. Whether a superstar wants to enter a media market where another team and anther superstar are already established and have won the city is another thing.
But there is hope. There is always hope for the Clippers Nation.
Sevyn Streeter said the 76ers prevented her from singing the national anthem at tonight’s game because she was wearing a “WE MATTER” jersey:
“The Philadelphia 76ers organization encourages meaningful actions to drive social change. We use our games to bring people together, to build trust and to strengthen our communities. As we move from symbolic gestures to action, we will continue to leverage our platform to positively impact our community.”
This is a continuation of Carmelo Anthony‘s argument: The emphasis should be on action in communities and there’s no longer a place for gestures like Colin Kaepernick kneeling.
But this needn’t be an either/or discussion. Community-based action is obviously important (though don’t assign responsibility to NBA players to fix racism). Recognizing the width and depth of the problem is necessary – which is why symbols matter, too.
Take Street’s shirt at face value. “We matter.” “Black lives matter.” What’s so offensive about that? There is no implicit “more” attached.
Yet, the 76ers found it antithetical to their brand.
This is why the widespread “unity” message preached by arm-locking NBA players left so much to be desired.
To the 76ers, unity meant silencing Streeter.
Is that what players were demonstrating on behalf of during the preseason? I’m sure that arena was much more united with a 76ers dancer singing the anthem than it would have been with Streeter spotlighted. But sometimes divisiveness is necessary to advance a cause.
If the 76ers don’t want Streeter using their platform to say “WE MATTER,” that’s their right. Not everyone has to support that choice, though.
No NBA players followed Colin Kaepernick’s lead by kneeling during the national anthem in the preseason.
But that courageous form of protest still found its way onto NBA courts.
A national-anthem singer knelt before a Kings game, and other did at a Heat game.
Another singer wanted to take a bold stance for the 76ers’ regular-season opener against the Thunder tonight by wearing a “WE MATTER” jersey, but she said the team stopped her.
A 76ers dancer performed the anthem instead:
The 76ers deserve some latitude to choose how someone uses their platform. But what about claiming black lives matter is antithetical to the 76ers’ brand?
The team did not immediately respond to request for comment. I will update if it does.
The Russell Westbrook era didn’t get off to the fastest start for the Thunder, who fell behind the 76ers early.
This Philadelphia fan got way ahead of himself (and any reasonable standard of decency).
Via Andy Bailey of Bleacher Report:
Oklahoma City responded with a 5-0 run, Westbrook scoring three points himself and assisting another basket.
The No. 28 pick, R.J. Hunter became the first first-rounder from last year’s draft to fall out of the NBA when the Celtics waived him.
He won’t be out of the league for long.
The Bulls, the only team with an open roster spot, appear close to adding him.
Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports:
Hunter belongs in the league. Though he must knock down shots far more reliably than he has, Hunter has potential as an outside shooter with complementary ball skills to provide value. Boston just had more NBA-caliber players than roster spots.
He’s far from a lock to succeed in the NBA, but I value Hunter about as much as Tony Snell – whom the Bulls just traded for an upgrade at backup point guard in Michael Carter-Williams. That they could so cheaply replace Snell makes that deal look even better.