The Climb Back

I have been allowing perfectionism to stop me from sharing any work so I will be releasing new content for 30 days starting from today. Shout out to my interim agent for this challenge. 

Today I’m going to talk about the Clippers. You might not be familiar with basketball so let me get you up to speed. The Los Angeles Clippers have a notorious history. They are known as the little brother of the LA Lakers (who you probably have heard of) and have historically choked in the big moments, colloquially known as “clipping”. This year was set to change all of that. 

They signed THE big free agent; former Defensive Player of the Year and two-time Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard. They traded (their future) for an All-Star and two way (good on both defence and offence) dynamo Paul George (also known as PG). Adding these pieces to a Playoff calibre team with a terrific bench lead by Lou Williams and Montrezl Harrell and an already stingy defence helmed by pest (in every sense of the word) Patrick Beverley, they were seen as the team to beat. Sure LA had LeBron and the Greek Freak was doing freaky things in the Eastern Conference but the combination of suffocating defence and red hot offence from the dynamic duo of Kawhi and PG was world-beating we assumed. When the Clippers were up 3-1 at the end of game 4 of the Western Conference Semi-Finals, the world (myself included) assumed this series was over. We were all already on to the next series, looking forward with baited breathe to watch the Clippers play the Lakers in the Western Conference Finals. The Clippers would finally have their chance to stand up to big brother after overcoming their history of choking by not making the Western Conference Finals after 47 attempts. 

Their opponents, the Denver Nuggets, however had other ideas. Down 3-1 was familiar territory for a team that many wrote off as young and soft. They had just come back from a similar hole in their first round match up against the Utah Jazz. They were written off then and rose above it so although unprecedented, they had form for digging in their heels and refusing to die. In games 5 and 6 they were down by double digits (over 10 points) and overcame both deficits to win each game. By the end of game 6 you could see they were playing with house money, free and loose. They weren’t succumbing to the pressure, they invited it, bathed in it and ultimately fed off it. Going into game 7 they made it so the Clippers were in the hot seat, it was their to lose. 

And lose it they did. They absolutely crumbled and the jokes are flying. I have been laughing my head off at every meme NBA twitter has produced today. Some have been hilarious like Superstar point-guard Damian Lillard quipping that he should extend a Cancun invite to Patrick Beverley. This is hilarious because Cancun, a city in Mexico, is a famous destination visited by NBA players in the off season; that is when they have been eliminated from the Playoffs. Lillard inviting Beverley is additionally delicious as Beverly once mocked Lillard on Instagram by captioning a video of Lillard missing crucial free throws against the Clippers that almost contributed to his team, the Portland Trailblazers, missing the Playoffs (and thus ending their season early) with “Cancun on 3” (oh the turntables). At the same time some jests have been almost cruel such as the numerous (and I mean numerous) alias given to Paul George (I’d be lying to you if I said Pandemic P and Wayoff P didn’t elicit tears from my person). PG has mentioned the mental stress playing in the NBA bubble campus in Orlando has had on him so although I can’t deny the hilarity on a personal level I hope he is okay and shielded as much as possible from the online abuse. Nevertheless, the Clippers’ organisation as a whole, will have to ask themselves some serious questions going forward as the goal of their many offseason moves both recent and past (and the goal of any serious NBA franchise) was to secure a championship that is proving very difficult.

That’s just it though, it’s not supposed to be easy, life comes with bumps a plenty. If things were easy, would accomplishments be as satisfying, would highs feel as lofty as they do. Consider LeBron when he left Cleveland to go play in Miami. During his now infamous introduction press conference with Chris Bosh and Dwayne Wade he proclaimed that the team would win “not one, not two, not three” NBA championships and then watched Dirk Norwitzki beat his team in his first NBA Finals with the Miami Heat. In this life you will be tested not to break you down but to refine you. It’s called a trial by fire for a reason. So yeah right now the Clippers are burning (and the world is laughing) and you may also be burning in your own personal struggles (I know I am) but remember we are being refined so that we can be improved to reach our full potential (there are no Ls only lessons). The only question is do you really want it enough.  I am reminded of the opening lines of the song of the same title and I frequently as myself

Are you doin’ this work to facilitate growth or to become famous?

Which is more important?

Getting or letting go?

Peace and Love,

Aharoun the Author


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