The NBA season starts tonight and in Los Angeles there couldn't be a bigger contrast. The Lakers host the Clippers at Staples Center.
The Clippers would never host the Lakers in the opener. That would never happen. As it is, the Lakers are receiving their 2008-09 NBA championship rings before the game and another championship banner will be unveiled.
Meanwhile, the Clippers will be sitting on the visitors' bench politely watching, or perhaps in their dressing room (at least they have one of their own at Staples), biding their time until their presence is requested.
Make no mistake: The role of the Clippers tonight is that of patsy, tomato can, stooge. The Clippers tonight are to the Lakers as the Washington Generals are to the Harlem Globetrotters (I knew that SAT stuff would eventually come in handy).
And then, at about 10:20 Monday night, this little bit of news came across the wire: Blake Griffin, the NBA's No. 1 draft choice will miss the first six weeks of the season because of a broken kneecap.
Is anyone surprised about this? The Clippers are where good players go to become obscure and where bad players vanish altogether. Danny Manning, Elton Brand, Sam Cassell are just part of the long list.
Just when you thought the Clippers might be somewhat worth watching this season, at least to see if Griffin could be the league's Rookie of the Year, he gets swallowed up in the Bermuda Triangle that is the Los Angeles Clippers.
Welcome to the Clippers, Blake. And let the rehab begin.