These are dark days for the Los Angeles Clippers. They’ve lost 12 of 20 since their 4-0 start. They’ve lost Patrick Beverley for the rest of the season. They’ve lost Blake Griffin for what could be two months. They’ve lost their cool.
And now, they’ve lost their No. 1 fan. Well, they haven’t, really; their coach has.
That’s right: Darrell Bailey — better known to NBA watchers as “Clipper Darrell,” the fired electrician-turned-red-and-blue-suit-wearing diehard who’s stuck with the long moribund Clippers through thick and thin for more than 20 years (even when they haven’t wanted him to), been a season-ticket-holding fixture at Clips games since 2000, and become one of the NBA’s signature superfans in the process — has apparently seen enough out of head coach Doc Rivers to know that he’s seen enough.
Darrell’s displeasure with Doc has been simmering for quite some time. Back in 2015, he took Rivers to task for his roster management as the Clippers’ president of basketball operations, suggesting that Doc didn’t know what he was doing and drawing a stern rebuke from Rivers’ son, Jeremiah. As this season has worn on, though, he has continued to raise questions about Doc’s coaching, repeatedly questioning what he sees as a lack of fundamental offensive structure, system and identity stemming from, I guess, Doc’s stubbornness?
After Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons, Robert Covington and the Philadelphia 76ers beat the Clips at Staples Center on Nov. 5, Darrell recorded a post-game video saying “I think it’s time” for L.A. to bid farewell to Doc. After another demoralizing loss to the Utah Jazz on Thursday night, the time for “thinking” is evidently over.
One suspects Darrell’s not the only Clippers fan who feels this way, despite Rivers having led the Clippers to four straight 51-plus-win seasons. One suspects Steve Ballmer’s not about to make any decisions on a superfan’s say-so, even if that fan did once want to stage a sleep-in at Staples Center to protest a lockout. (Clipper Darrell, man.) If the state of affairs at Staples continues its deterioration, though, you wonder whether the man with the Microsoft money might start picking up what Darrell’s putting down before too long.
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