The face of the Los Angeles Lakers and the Clips' most ardent supporter each have aspirations to see L.A.'s next NBA banner in Staples Center feature their team's name etched across it. The fact that both play in the same downtown L.A. sandbox makes this scenario even more engaging.
Over the weekend, an inside joke between Bryant and Clipper Darrell, whose real name is Darrell Bailey, caused a major stir across Twitter.
Bailey started it all with this tweet:
I am sorry to inform u that @kobebryant has recruited me
-- @ClipperDarrell, 31 Aug 2013
The accompanying picture was particularly disturbing to many fans on both sides. It featured Darrell decked out in purple and gold with face paint and a suit to match. The Lakers' supporters didn't take too kindly to seeing Darrell jump aboard the Lakers fan train so suddenly:
"Someone take that purple and gold away from Clipper Darrell . We don't want him."
"Do Clippers fans even know who Clipper Darrell is? Probably not since they just started watching basketball in 2011."
" MY TEAM IS IN A SOMEWHAT RIVALRY WITH THE CLIPPERS BUT NO CLIPPER DARRELL NOOOO"
"clipper darrell the offseason acquisition of the year. (expletive), clippers . what are you gonna do about it? oh, win games? i guess that's good"
Lakers fans generally disliked the idea of the Clippers' most dedicated fan switching loyalties. A few welcomed having such a passionate fan come over to their side, but, for the most part, all the reaction was consistent with the rest -- that Bailey needed to stay out of Laker-land.
He obliged, and retorted, saying that switching sides was never an option:
-- @ClipperDarrell 31 Aug 2013
This pictured featured Bailey in a more traditional, less earth-shattering red suit with white and blue accessories. Soon afterward, everyone calmed down.
Ironically, there's more than enough room on the Lakers' bandwagon should any of the Clipper Darrells of the world decide to come on board. The disastrous 2012-13 season included losing a coach, the league's most highly coveted free agent and experiencing multitude of freak injuries. True Lakers fans will identify themselves by sticking by their team even when they're relatively down.
Relativity is the key idea here, because with a team that features the likes of Bryant, Pau Gasol and Steve Nash, there's plenty of star power to keep things interesting and fill seats, even without Dwight Howard. But, for the Lakers, being a marginal playoff team means that they're transitioning and rebuilding. For Clippers fans, especially those like Bailey, it's enough reason to pile on the Purple and Gold.
So, for now, Darrell remains a Clipper, and all is right with NBA basketball in Los Angeles. That is, of course, until the next controversial tweet goes viral.
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Michael C. Jones is a Southern California-based journalist and was the 2012 Contributor of the Year. He is the founding editor of Sports Out West and contributes to SB Nation.
- Sports & Recreation
- Los Angeles Lakers
- Los Angeles Clippers
- Kobe Bryant
- Clipper Darrell