February 16, 2003

Every Sunday, readers of the Los Angeles Times are treated to vanity ads featuring some philanthropic achievement by Donald Sterling. Usually, its something along the lines of the Police Protective League granting the uber-landlord and Clippers owner their "Humanitarian of the Year" award at a dinner next week, where he will be feted by the likes of Norm Crosby, Billy Crystal, Al Davis, and other similar worthies. I can't believe anyone actually contributes money to those charities after seeing these pathetic cries for help; basically, the ads exist to justify the continued existence of Mr. Sterling, who otherwise could not provide a reason to the basketball fans of the city to not publicly stone him.

I attended my first (and last) Clippers game of the season Saturday night. Lord, what an awful franchise. In terms of raw talent, they probably have more good players right now than the Lakers; if Shaq and Kobe were injured, the difference wouldn't even be close. Elton Brand and Andre Miller are good young players, and Lamar Odom and Michael Olowakandi have shown flashes of brilliance. But even though the Lakers have just completed a dreadful first half, barely rising above the .500 mark, the Clippers are even worse, 7 games behind their co-tenants at the Staples Center. The team plays with no heart, no spirit, and it is evident that the players view their current predicament with no concern; as Ron Harper said years ago, he's just serving out his prison sentence. Sterling will not spend the money to keep good players, or do anything to indicate that he is serious about winning. But when it comes to hyping his philanthropy with cheesy ads, he has a deep pocket.

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