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Sports Then and Now

JUST GO HOME! What if all pro franchises that were poached from their original cities went back home and LA got all the expansion teams? 4

Posted on January 15, 2011 by John Wingspread Howell

Only one of these four teams is a Los Angeles original. Do you know which one?

This has been building up in me for a long time but I read something today comparing the LA Lakers and Clippers and it finally made me blow. I responded to that particular article and started some verbal sparring. Most fun I’ve had in a month of Football Night(s) in America.

Here’s how that little te-te-te went. I picked the skirmish with this salvo:

Just remember that the Clippers best years were in Buffalo with McAdoo, Ernie D, Randy Smith, the Mc/MacMillains, and company. The Braves made more playoff appearances in 8 years than the Clippers have made since leaving Buffalo 34 years ago. LA doesn’t love the Clippers and they’d be better off being BACK in Buffalo! Send them along. We’ll take them.

That comment was basically ignored except for the author who sent me a polite:

“Thanks for the memories, John.”

Then some other reader made the very “LA” comment that he might switch to the Clippers after Kobe is gone. That really got me started.

You are the typical shallow LA fan only “loyal” when superstars are around. Don’t do the Clippers any favors when Coby is gone. Stick with the Lakers, who by the way, were named for the 1,000 lakes of MINNESOTA! What lakes are there in CA except for fricking Tahoe! 🙂 The Lakers should go back to the Twin Cities. The Clips should go back to Buffalo. LA should get the Timberwolves.

That particular reader then decided to get nasty. Good, I thought. Finally, I drew some California blood (although I think it was only water color).

That is the most pointless and irrelevant comment I have seen in awhile. But I’m going to respond anyhow. The reason for keeping the Lakers name is twofold. First, changing the name of the most successful franchise in basketball at the time of the move, would have been a horrible business decision. Second, in case you didn’t know, people from Los Angeles call their town L.A., which happens to be the first two letters of the team, or to put it more lamely, “You can’t spell Lakers without LA!”.

And California has over 3000 lakes and reservoirs, but as far as I know, they have no professional basketball players named Coby.

I threw my next counter-punch.

Sorry about the Kobe spelling. When you’re over 50 your brain farts occasionally. Point is the Lakers should have never left Minneapolis, nor the Braves Buffalo, nor the Jazz New Orleans (and I challenge you to find a rationale for keeping the Jazz name in the home of the Tabernacle Choir). LA as in LAte comer, should be saddled with the Timberwolves, or the Bobcats– the pathetic attempts to undo the mistakes and misery caused by franchise transience. Teams represent towns. With no town loyalty, no brand to be loyal to. Since those storied franchises would still be where they belong places like LA and Sacramento and OKC and Charlotte could have those wonderful new expansion franchises and they can name them whatever they want. How about the LA Confidentials, or Superficials, or Fair-weathers (as in the kind of fans you have out there). Somebody should do an article on the best team names for a city like LA. Nice place to visit, mind you, but wouldn’t want (my team) to live there. Read the rest of this entry →

Brave Throat Resurfaces 2

Posted on June 08, 2010 by John Wingspread Howell

This is the second in a Satirical Series

Was Blake Griffin a victim of the curse of the Buffalo Braves.

Another text message. This time, it said, meet at the base of the Peace Bridge.

It was him. Same trench-coat, same oversized shades, same Braves cap.

“It’s starting,” he said.

“It?” I asked.

“The movement.” Was all he said.

I looked at him, waiting for him to fill in the blanks.

But he didn’t. He just stared at me, waiting for my response, as if I was supposed to know what he meant.

“The movement?”

“Did you read the Simmons article?” He was referring to an article at, from draft day, telling the Clippers number one draft pick, Blake Griffin, to run as fast and as far away from LA as he can, to avoid the curse.

“Yeah,” I said. “Pretty similar to what you said. The curse of the Indians, jinxing the Braves/Clippers from the moment Paul Snyder started talking about moving to Hollywood, Florida.”

“He’s on the right track,” the man said. “More or less. The Indians might be part of it. It’s more than that, though.”

He took a puff on a Cuban.

“It’s the ghost of the franchise, right?” That’s what he’d told me the first time we met. Now that the Aud’s come down, the poltergeist has been unleashed. The universe is realigning. Things are happening. Read the rest of this entry →

  • Vintage Athlete of the Month

    • Rusty Staub: A Man For All Ages
      April 8, 2024 | 1:26 pm
      Rusty Staub

      The Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month is a former major league baseball player who came into the game as a teenager and stayed until he was in his 40s. In between, Rusty Staub put up a solid career that was primarily spent on expansion or rebuilding teams.

      Originally signed by the Colt .45s at age 17, he made his major league debut as a 19-year old rookie and became only the second player in the modern era to play in more than 150 games as a teenager.

      Though he hit only .224 splitting time between first base and rightfield, Staub did start building a foundation that would turn him into an All-Star by 1967 when he finished fifth in the league with a .333 batting average.

      Read more »

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