The Best of Seasons, the Worst of Seasons

And, just like that, it all ended for the Clippers.

The greatest season in their history and at the same time the worst, all ended last night just after 10:00 pm, PDT. In a playoff season that seemed to include a remarkable comeback in virtually every game, the Thunder thundered back, as they did two nights earlier, for a 104-98 victory over LA’s team, after being down by as many as 16 points.

So, Clippers’ fans, was this season the start of something, or the end?

This great young team, lead by one of the sports greatest coaches and featuring two of its 10 best players, a constantly improving young center with the talent to break into that top 10, and a solid supporting cast, could improve and become champions of the league next season or the year after, or the turmoil that its owner has perpetrated can be allowed to decimate its

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core, sending the franchise sprawling downward, with defections and protests and plummeting moral.

What Donald Sterling will do in the next few weeks and months, whether the NBA and Commissioner Adam Silver actually have the authority to divest an owner of his personal property, and how players and the players' union react will reshape not just the Clippers, not just
the NBA, but all of professional sports.

Other “problem” owners have plagued various leagues for decades, and the general response from league commissioners and owners’ committees has been to ignore the problem until it goes away, i.e., the owner dies, or as has happened, silent, behind the scenes influence has been exerted to instigate a sale. Thus, Ted Stepien oh-so willingly sold his Cleveland Cavaliers after he had turned them into the laughingstock of professional sports, and the ownership group that owned the Cincinnati Reds first forced Marge Schott out as managing partner, and then sold the team. But, alas, the NFL never did a thing to oust the worst, most outspoken racist to ever own a major sports franchise, George Preston Marshall, who finally relented and signed an African-American player

only after U.S. Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy threatened to kick his "Redskins" out of the government owned stadium that a couple of years later was to bear Kennedy's name.

Leagues have sprung to action when a team's financial well-being has been put at risk, such as when Frank McCourt bankrupted the Dodgers and the league took over team operations. The Clippers, even with sponsors fleeing due to Sterling's words and actions, are still a money-printing machines, but that could change if ownership does not.

So, come November, will Doc Rivers be coaching CP3 and Blake and DeAndre and maybe a couple of new, talented guys, with a real chance to get even further in the playoffs, or will an unknown neophyte be on the bench directing a make-shift lineup of rookies, has-beens and never-weres, perhaps against similarly constructed teams, with stars on the sidelines, waiting for a resolution to the continuing effects of the Clippers worst of seasons?

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