Wednesday, 24th July 2019

DONE-leavy in Los Angeles?

Posted on 03. Jan, 2010 by stavkav in NBA

DONE-leavy in Los Angeles?

Just when I think I have myself all figured out, life knocks me on my arse and shows me just how ignorant I truly am. The most recent knockdown occurred on April 10th, when I was fortunate enough to get free tickets to the L.A. Clippers versus the Sacramento Kings contest at Staples Center. On this night, the basketball gods were kind enough to reach down to the 8th row behind the Clipper bench and replace one fan’s hate with wisdom.

In the previous five years, there has been no greater Mike Dunleavy basher than yours truly (well maybe the Sports Guy Bill Simmons). As an avid Los Angeles Clippers fan, many of Coach Dunleavy’s decisions have caused me to experience panic attacks, curse profusely in front of family, and abuse alcohol. Dunleavy’s coaching against the Phoenix Suns in the 2006 NBA Playoffs was especially bad for my physical and mental health. I never want to hear the name Daniel Ewing again.

A good Dunleavy bashing always starts with a little bit of history. Before a tirade begins, the listener must be told that the only reason Mike Dunleavy took the L.A. Lakers to the finals in 1991 was because Magic Johnson and James Worthy were on that team. The listener must then be made aware of the monumental meltdown/choke-job that occurred in the 2000 Western Conference Finals where the Portland Trailblazers, coached by Dunleavy, gave up a double digit lead to Shaq, Kobe, and the rest of the L.A. Lakers during the final minutes of game 7. Damon Stoudamire never wants to hear the name Mike Dunleavy again.

After the history portion of the bash is complete, any number of Dunleavy short-comings or current Clipper woes can be discussed at length using as many expletives as necessary. When concluding the tirade, it is crucial to mention the only way to make everything right is for owner Donald Sterling to fire Mike Dunleavy.

I was prepared to use the Dunleavy-bashing formula described above on April 10th at Staples Center. My hate for the man was turned up to 11 and I was ready to talk with whatever fan was willing to listen. But that didn’t end up being necessary because a drunken fan sitting a few rows away from me spoke up for the entire Clipper nation. The rumblings started in the first half. A few well-timed “Fire Dunleavy” shouts left most of us in the section by the Clipper bench chuckling. The beer must have been flowing at halftime because this fan really picked it up a notch during the second half. The shouts turned in to chants and his cronies even started getting in on the action. The chants then became louder and more frequent and the Clipper bench started to take notice.

Ricky Davis was the first to nonchalantly look back in an attempt to get a glimpse of the heckler. He also tried to hide a smile once he spotted him. I noticed others get sucked in to the drama as well. Assistant coach and former player Rory White casually glanced up during a time out as did announcer Mike Smith. This heckler was relentless and there is no doubt in my mind that Mike Dunleavy could hear every word. After a while, it just started to get uncomfortable in my section, especially as the “Fire Dunleavy” chant started to spread.

That’s when a very strange thing happened to me. I started to feel bad for the man who had been tormenting me for the last 5 years; I started to feel bad for Mike Dunleavy. I don’t know how or why this happened (that’s why I attributed the epiphany to the basketball gods earlier in this article), but somehow it happened. I started to think of all the positive things coach Dunleavy has done for the Clippers like leading them to the best record in franchise history and convincing owner Donald Sterling to finally spend money. I thought of some of the bigger names he was able to help bring to the Clippers like Sam Cassell, Baron Davis, and Marcus Camby. I realized that, besides Elgin Baylor and Eric Piatkowski, Mike Dunleavy is the only other form of continuity the Clippers have had in recent years. So, I finally cut the guy some slack.

I could finally admit that I was mad at myself and not Mike Dunleavy. In psychology, it is referred to as projection. I was angry with myself and projected that anger on to coach Dunleavy. I was mad at myself for having hope and believing the Clippers could ever be more than just L.A.’s b-team. I tasted a little bit of success in 2006 and thought it would be enough to change the history of a franchise overnight. I wanted immediate results and I started to get unruly. I think a big portion of the Clipper nation felt or currently feels this same way.

Los Angeles Clippers fans are usually patient, easy-going, and kind, not bitter and angry. This fan is going back to basics.

Who knows what the future holds for coach Mike Dunleavy? Based on his performance in the last three years, one would naturally assume that he may not be coaching the Los Angeles Clippers next season. However, knowing how the fiscally minded Donald Sterling likes to work, it also just as likely that Dunleavy will be the coach of the Clippers for the next few years instead of being bought out of a contract where he has over $10 million still coming his way.

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IC0gIzwvbGk+PGxpPjxzdHJvbmc+d29vX3Jlc2l6ZTwvc3Ryb25nPiAtIHRydWU8L2xpPjxsaT48c3Ryb25nPndvb19zaG9ydG5hbWU8L3N0cm9uZz4gLSB3b288L2xpPjxsaT48c3Ryb25nPndvb19zaW5nbGVfcG9zdF9pbWFnZV9oZWlnaHQ8L3N0cm9uZz4gLSAzODA8L2xpPjxsaT48c3Ryb25nPndvb19zaW5nbGVfcG9zdF9pbWFnZV93aWR0aDwvc3Ryb25nPiAtIDI4MDwvbGk+PGxpPjxzdHJvbmc+d29vX3NsaWRlcl9oZWFkaW5nPC9zdHJvbmc+IC0gTW9yZSBmZWF0dXJlZCBlZGl0b3JpYWxzPC9saT48bGk+PHN0cm9uZz53b29fdGhlbWVuYW1lPC9zdHJvbmc+IC0gVGhlIEpvdXJuYWw8L2xpPjxsaT48c3Ryb25nPndvb191cGxvYWRzPC9zdHJvbmc+IC0gYTozOntpOjA7czo2NjoiaHR0cDovL2ZyZWVzcG9ydHNtYWdhemluZS5jb20vd3AtY29udGVudC93b29fdXBsb2Fkcy81LXVybGljb24ucG5nIjtpOjE7czo2NToiaHR0cDovL2ZyZWVzcG9ydHNtYWdhemluZS5jb20vd3AtY29udGVudC93b29fdXBsb2Fkcy80LWZzbWZzbS5wbmciO2k6MjtzOjY4OiJodHRwOi8vZnJlZXNwb3J0c21hZ2F6aW5lLmNvbS93cC1jb250ZW50L3dvb191cGxvYWRzLzMtZnNtYWdsb2dvLmpwZyI7fTwvbGk+PC91bD4=