He Loves L.A. Hoops

By Norman Chad
Monday, November 13, 2006

From my somewhat modest Los Angeles neighborhood, through the waft of purple haze and unpublished screenplays, I can see the line of BMWs slowly streaming toward Staples Center. And why are they bumper-to-bumper to pay $30 for parking?

Because here in Tinseltown -- that's right, my friends, where broken dreams and nightmarish sitcoms are made -- we are home to the NBA's Clippers and the NBA's Lakers, who just might be the best in the West.

(In Los Angeles, we have two of everything: Two NBA teams, two NHL teams, two MLB teams, two Hilton sisters and two Botox procedures per household. We used to have two pro football teams; now we just have NFL Sunday Ticket.)

At any given moment this season, the Clippers and the Lakers will sit atop the Pacific Division. The curious thing here: Staples Center will fill up, but most of Southern California doesn't even manage a yawn -- yawning is clinically proven to induce premature wrinkling -- in regard to the NBA before playoff time.

Then again, L.A. doesn't get excited about anything.

(The only things we ever rally around are the Oscars, the Emmys, the Grammys and the annual unveiling of the new line of Bentley Coupes.)

(Boy, there's a lot of money in this town. Over at David Geffen's estate, it grows on trees.)

(Did I mention that I live in a somewhat modest neighborhood? For me to get to 90210, it takes two buses, one transfer and a reference from the late Aaron Spelling.)

The average Angelino can't name two Lakers other than Kobe Bryant, any Clipper or the current mayor. But we can tell you who's most likely to get booted from "American Idol" in a heartbeat!

(Speaking of Kobe, that tattoo on his right arm is rather elaborate and labyrinthine. From certain angles, it looks like a Hieronymus Bosch painting; from other angles, it looks like a reconfigured map of Eastern Europe.)

The Clippers are a little better than the Lakers, but the Lakers still have more cachet. The stars always come out for the Lakers -- by the way, Jack, take the shades off; it's a basketball game, not a hold 'em tournament -- while NBA purists favor the Clippers. You can scalp a Lakers ticket for the price of a newborn baby. You can scalp a Clippers ticket for the price of, well, a Clippers ticket.

(Incidentally, the NBA hires people to sit in Staples Center seats until season ticket holders arrive late in the second quarter.)

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