What Happens If The Clippers Win The NBA Title?

Time for your weekly edition of the Deadspin Funbag. Got something on your mind? Email the Funbag. Today, we're covering Donald Sterling, Donald Sterling, Donald Sterling, and pizza.

Before we hit up the Funbag, two things. First off, I wrote a short story called THE ROVER that you can buy here for a dollar. You can also borrow it for free with Amazon Prime. But for real, it's only a buck. You cheap old miser. GIVE ME MY DOLLAR, GOD DAMMIT.

Also, for one time only, we're gonna bring back Drunken Hookup Failures for a special prom edition. So if you blew it with the Prom Queen/King/Archduke back in '97, send your tale of woe to the Funbag email link right up in the top of the post. Got all that?

Your letters:

NJ:

What would the NBA do if all this crap with Sterling actually united the Clippers, and they went on a tear and won the NBA championship? Does Adam Silver hand the trophy to Doc instead?

I think that Silver would have Sterling forcibly restrained from taking the podium and happily risk the legal consequences of doing so. It would be well worth losing a $5 million out-of-court settlement to Sterling for that than to let him hoist the O'Brien trophy in front of a national television audience. America would fall into a sinkhole if that happened.

That's the thing you have to remember about professional sports. Whenever a team wins the title, you know who always gets to hold the trophy first? THE OWNER. It's his. When he passes it off to a player or coach, they're just renting it from him. The owner will always say some nice shit about the fans, but that comes with the implication that he GAVE them that title. Look what I did for you, people of Seattle! The ceremony suggests that everything about that title run was done in service of that one guy. The players and coaches won that title for HIM. Nice work, boys!

Matt:

How long would you or I last in an NFL game before we were quite literally killed? I'm a pretty average guy: 5'10", about 170 pounds and decently athletic. Say the Seahawks subbed me in at left guard during the NFC Championship Game and I had Patrick Willis and Navorro Bowman charging at me with full force and speed. After discussing it with a few buddies, we decided that my NFL career/life would last three plays until both ended together.

I think you would be permanently injured in short order and then removed from the game forever after that. So I think your shattered pelvis would end up preserving your life. You wouldn't be killed in an NFL game because you wouldn't physically be able to compete long enough to die.

But let's say that, even with a crippling injury, you still have to participate in the game. Even if you can't stand, you have to stay in there—perhaps we could strap you to some kind of sled—and take blow after blow after blow, each blow more damaging as your defenses weaken and you lose consciousness. Each hit from a skilled d-lineman could contain up to 1,700 pounds of force. My guess is that internal injuries would set in after 10 to 15 plays, and then you would experience brain death after another five to 10. Please note that I am NOT a doctor. Do not try to test this theory using your friend and a nearby pickup truck.

I'm always amazed at how resilient the human body is under extreme circumstances. It's a miracle that ANY NFL player walks away from your average game under his own power. You're getting hit by a mail truck every play. You shouldn't be able to withstand that. If I were forced to become an NFL tackling dummy, I would probably die well after wanting to.

Danny:

Why do a majority of women prefer cheese pizza? Cheese pizza is a complete waste of pizza. Never in my entire life have I heard another man suggest we order a cheese pizza, but it seems like 70 percent of women prefer cheese pizza.

Well, it's the "healthiest" pizza, because it includes no other additional animal-fat byproducts, not that you or I give a shit about that. It's the same as when someone at the table suggests ordering a veggie pizza and part of your soul dies. We're already eating a tray of bread topped with three pounds of fermented whole-milk curd. We're long past the point of legitimate nutrition. You're not getting that car back atop the cliff after you've driven off it. May as well add some sausage to that pie.

This is why children are annoying, because children are hypersensitive sea creatures who ADORE plain cheese pizza. And that means, at a birthday party, I have to go peeking into every pizza box to see if there's one sympathy pepperoni anywhere to be found. Half the time, there's a fucking olive pizza in there, but the pepperoni one is gone. HELLFIRE AND BRIMSTONE.

Sometimes I order a half-and-half pizza with the kids, which is dumb, because neither side ends up cooking correctly. If you're out with someone, and they don't want the same pizza as you, I strongly urge you to just order two separate pizzas. I'm tired of compromising when it comes to sausage. Sausage demands and deserves a full commitment.

Doug:

How long will it take before the combination of ego and money leads to an owner dropping the city's name and just naming his team anything he wants? Green Bay is the obvious exception here, but what's making owners continue to use the city names? Is it a league rule? Tradition? Is naming the team after a city or collection of states (cough, Carolina, cough) continued for the sole purpose of extorting public financing for stadiums?

Probably. It's just a smart way of marketing. If you name your team after a town, you're attaching it to the town with virtually no effort. You're saying, Hey citizens of Toledo, this is YOUR team! Even if they didn't want that team to begin with. And it works! I was rooting for the Wizards to beat the Bulls this week because A) Fuck Wilbon, and B) I live here. I wasn't raised here. I don't even like D.C. proper all that much. But still, I see the Wizards win and I think, Hey, that's the team near me! That is my team somewhat by default! You're taking people's emotional and circumstantial connections to an area and exploiting it for the sake of branding. That gets you free local TV and newspaper coverage, a slot on your local terrible Comcast sports channel, and all sorts of other goodies. That's more valuable to an owner than naming your team the Papa John's Hot Slices.

This is why I can't process sports teams that have no town name in them. Like Arsenal. WHOSE arsenal? I'm not just rooting for some freelance, mercenary, GLORY BOY arsenal.

JC:

What would have happened had the Clippers refused to play Sunday?

I think if they had outright refused to play (and technically forfeited the game), this whole situation would have been made substantially worse. Some people would have turned on Clippers players and call them unprofessional or hypocritical, and then the NBA would have to had to figure out if the players deserved to be punished, and then we would all complain about how that punishment compared to whatever punishment the NBA decided to levy upon Sterling.

Essentially, it would create a new scandal that would diminish the original scandal, and it would probably help Sterling more than it would hurt him because everyone would be focused on this shiny new puppy of a scandal rather than old-racist-frogsloth scandal still lingering on the couch. Scandals age horribly in that way. One feeds into the next, and the waste product gets stored in a hollowed-out mountaintop. We'd go from shitting on Sterling to having people rant about unions and ungrateful players and DURRRR I DON'T LIKE MY BOSS BUT I SHOW UP IN MAH TRUCK TO MY JERB AT THE FACTORY DURRRR and Sterling would slither away from all this relatively unscathed, just as he has a million times in the past.

It's ironic that, in the trail of this shitwreck, it's Clippers players who have had to tread lightly. They staged a tasteful protest, and Doc Rivers was firm but polite in his public statements. They all felt compelled, on some level, to measure their words and deeds carefully. Meanwhile, Sterling has a billion dollars and—regardless of what happens next—will still live out an impossibly cushy existence. Like I said, few people have ever gotten as much FUCK YOU out of FUCK YOU money than that guy.

I think, with the jersey protest, the Clippers did the best that they could do in that situation. Plenty of people have noted that it falls on the NBA and its owners to fuck Sterling over… NOT on his employees. They don't deserve to be forced to put themselves at risk. That's just one more insult.

That said… holy shit, would I have loved to watch a live sit-in on national TV. If only Jim Nantz called NBA playoff games. He'd be left speechless for hours.

Patrick:

Once you are done benching at the gym, should you re-rack all of the weights back to their storage spots, leaving the bar empty and ready for the next person, or is it OK to leave some weights on the bar? I maintain that it is just as acceptable to leave a 45-lb plate on each end of the bar as it is to leave the bar empty.

I think that's okay. In most cases, you're sparing your fellow gym-goer from having to walk over to the rack and lug the stupid plates all the way back to the bar. After all, I didn't go to a gym to WORK. That would suck. Most people at the gym either A) start off with 135 lbs. on the bench press, or B) try to start at 135 lbs., only to fail on the first rep and then sheepishly replace the 45-lb. plates with smaller ones. God, that's a horrible moment. Half the reason I never lift weight anymore is because I fear being unable to lift 135.

I remember in school that 135 lbs. was a big deal. I had to work up to it, and there were motherfuckers that could lift it like it was NOTHING. Like they were benching a wiffle-ball bat. You will never feel more emasculated than when you throw a couple of piddly-shit 25-lb. plates on either side and FEEL everyone staring, marveling at how weak you are, even if they don't actually give a shit. You feel the whole gym laughing at your caved-in chest. I probably did irreparable damage to my spine trying to lift 135 lbs. before I was ready, because I wanted to look normal. I remember I once heard that, when he was in college, Scottie Pippen couldn't even bench the bar. I'm sure that's a complete lie, but I spent a good eight years consoling myself by thinking, at least I'm stronger than Scottie Pippen! All the while, Scottie Pippen could have broken me like a swizzle stick.

One last thing: Replacing weights can sometimes get you just as much grief as putting them back. I went to football camp as a kid and when I was done lifting, I went to put the plates back, but the rack was full of weights and couldn't hold anymore. So I rested the plate against the wall. And when I did that, the strength coach (who was insane, as is required of all strength coaches) ran up to me and screamed, "WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!" He picked up the weight and pointed at a small scratch on the wall. "YA CHIPPED THE SHIT OUT OF IT!" I thought he was gonna make me eat the weight.

Jeremy:

What if an NFL owner made the same comments as Sterling? Would the shitstorm be bigger since it's the NFL? What secret powers could the Ginger Hammer use to banish an owner like this?

I doubt a meat puppet like Goodell would be able to do anything meaningful. Remember: He still hasn't bothered to discipline Jim Irsay for speeding down a road with half a Mexican apothecary in his system (which you could argue is a potentially far more damaging thing for an owner to do than to spew out weak, racist horseshit to his rented girlfriend). Roger Goodell is a man who likes giving off the appearance of authority. When it comes to suspending players or wearing a fucking Navy hat aboard an aircraft carrier, Goodell will happily seize the chance to look authoritative. But when it comes to exercising REAL power—that is, strong-arming a group of owners who know, at heart, that he's just a glorified paralegal—he's worthless. He's kept Jimmy Haslam in the league and actively defended him.

I'll tell you what Goodell would do with Donald Sterling: He would do nothing in the loudest possible way. He's write a stern press release. He'd create an NFL PlayNice ad campaign teaching kids to not be racist. He would threaten legal action. He'd extol the NFL's ability to bring together fans from both the suburbs AND the exurbs. And he would do it all in a grandiose fashion that ultimately solved nothing. That's what Roger Goodell excels at: the illusion of action.

HALFTIME!

Jay:

If Donald Sterling had to be present for his punishment from the NBA, and that punishment was broadcasted on live television, what punishment would draw the most viewers? This punishment cannot cause him physical harm or illness.

ATTACH THE STONE OF SHAME.

Can I just ignore your clause about physical harm? Because physical harm is what I REALLY want to see. I'd like to see a giant, novelty-sized boxing glove spring out from a present box and hit Sterling right in his gunt.

There are two reasons Sterling's comments have blown up this week: 1) Aaron Hernandez hasn't killed anyone this year that we know of, and 2) Sterling validates everything we suspect about rich and powerful people, namely that they are pure fucking evil. I'd shit hot knives to be a billionaire, so when someone out there actually does get rich and does absolutely nothing good with it, I want them dead.

Will:

Where does Sterling rank on the list of racist sports figures in the modern American era? We all know Ty Cobb and Tom Yawkey were loathsome bigots, but sticking to, say, my lifetime (1980-present), is Sterling #1? Is he behind Al Campanis, but ahead of John Rocker? Does Rush Limbaugh count for his brief tenure as an "analyst"? He's definitely worse than Fuzzy Zoeller. I think we eliminate the tongue-slips from guys like Billy Packer (though Packer is loathsome in just about every other way).

I wouldn't count Rush Limbaugh, because no one thinks of him as a sports figure. He was a political figure who happened to dabble in sports. I think Sterling trumps a lot of people that you mentioned because this isn't a matter of bad taste. When Fuzzy Zoeller tells a fried chicken joke about Tiger Woods, it's bad taste. Sterling, as a slumlord, practiced institutional racism. REAL racism. Racism that had a genuine, adverse effect on people's lives. That's hard to beat. It makes any dustup over Kelly Tilghman look silly by comparison. I say the rankings go:

  1. Sterling
  2. Marge Schott
  3. John Terry
  4. John Rocker
  5. Hector "Macho" Camacho
  6. Riley Cooper
  7. Jimmy the Greek
  8. Al Campanis
  9. Richie Incognito, I guess?
  10. Colin Cowherd

But really, this whole Sterling flap makes the people below him seem progressive. And so few public examples! It's kind of heartwarming, until you realize that most racism in sports has remained tucked away in private, where it can't be punished and can never be altered. HAIL TO THE REDSKINS, GUYS.

Jason:

What would it take for Sterling to turn babyface? I think he would have to sacrifice himself to protect Los Angeles from a nuclear attack by a masked villain, and his butler would then reveal afterwards all his racist actions were a ruse to keep his identity as Batman a secret.

Some sort of duet with Stevie Wonder on Jimmy Fallon, maybe? People love that kind of shit. The problem here (not really a problem, actually) is that in order to be redeemed, you usually need to be beautiful or talented, or there needs to be something you've done in the past that people look upon with great affection (like in the case of Michael Richards). With Donald Sterling, there's NOTHING. There's nothing about him that anyone looks fondly back upon, and that means the next heartwarming thing he does will be the first.

I listened to that Sterling tape, and I think it was the single most pathetic thing I've ever heard, anywhere, ever (and remember: I've heard songs by New Found Glory). There isn't a shred of human decency to be found anywhere within it. His mistress is clearly interviewing him. And he's just a controlling old pig whose prejudices are so old and dumb that he can't even articulate them clearly. I feel worse knowing that people have the capability of turning into that. I don't want that to be possible.

Ned:

What's the tallest a fire-pole could be built and be safely ridden? I ask this as a thrill-seeker, but could imagine many practical reasons for quickly exiting a large building. I work on the sixth floor of a building, and the elevator sucks. Not a day goes by that I don't wish I could pole-slide to the ground level.

The second-tallest fire pole in the world is in Williamson, West Fucking Virginia, and it's three stories tall (picture here). In theory, you could make a fire pole much higher—miles into the air—and safely ride down it provided you have strong grip and you do that thing where your shoes and/or clothing and/or sticky hands hold you up as you slide down, so it's not just one smooth ride. Hate it when that happens. But in the case of a mile-high fire pole, it would probably prevent you from reaching terminal velocity.

We have a fire pole at a nearby playground, and it's basically a trap some civil engineer devised to murder two-year-olds, because all of them want to ride the fire pole, but none of them know how. So they'll just fall right down the thing. It's terrifying. These toddlers know nothing about proper hand pressure. They'll just grab on for one second, and then let go and plummet to their doom.

Evan:

Most tickets nowadays are printed online, which sucks to me. I have Saints season tickets, and love holding onto the stubs forever, but a big sheet of paper just doesn't feel right. I went to LSU-Texas A&M and the first-ever New Orleans Pelicans game this year, and would love to tell my kids in the future about how I saw the first ever Pelicans game, and Johnny Football in person. But what kind of proof is it to show them a folded up 8"x 11" sheet of paper that's only half-filled up with nothing but text and bar codes? In a couple years, I think it's possible tickets won't exist at all, and you have to use your phone or something like that. Tickets are supposed to be one if the biggest aesthetics of sports. Now they're just dumb.

This is true. And I have the Flutie Hail Mary game on vinyl.

I used to keep a handful of tickets from games and concerts and whatnot. I'd stash them in the nightstand and let them rot, and once in a blue moon I'd go digging around in there and see the ticket and be like, "Oh yeah, I went to see Puddle of Mudd once! That was a thing I did." A ticket makes for a nice souvenir because it comes free with purchase. Plus it gives you proof of your attendance, which means you get to brag about being there, which is 90 percent of why anyone goes to any game. Now that you can just have the security dude scan your phone, that little talisman is gone.

And to be honest, it's fine. I threw away all my old tickets. If I ever keep tickets now, it's just because I'm too lazy to empty out the back pocket of my jeans. There are probably dead mice in there. The memory of the game should be enough for you. It's nice to have a ticket to refresh some of your mental images of attending, but it's ultimately unnecessary. You should be confident enough in the memory to let the ticket go. Or buy a hat.

Joe:

Do you think a guy has ever knocked up both female participants in a threesome at the same time?

With just one payload? Impossible. No way he could transition mid-spurt from one birth canal to the other. He'd have to finish inside one of his partners, wait 30 minutes, and then go another round and finish off inside the second partner.

Has that ever happened? Sure, why not. Every strange reproductive possibility in human nature has already been accomplished. So yes, I think Anthony Quinn probably pulled it off at some point. CONGRATS! IT'S FRENCH TWINS!

Kevin:

If sliding doors on subways had blades and could amputate or slice people in half, would people still try to run into the subway at the last second? Would this make for a more time-efficient subway preventing riders from blocking doors and allowing trains to depart on time?

I mean, I have to think it would act as something of a deterrent. I certainly wouldn't fuck with a razor door. I'd probably avoid the subway entirely after its implementation, because a crazy hobo could go pushing me into the doors at the last second. No, thank you. So yes, it would make public transportation more efficient, because no one would ever use it.

Email of the week!

Isaac:

One time, after taking a shower, I dropped down onto my bed to sit down. The combination of my wet thighs crashing against my fat stomach and FUPA area created a clapping noise so loud that it shocked me. It was truly incredible. Imagine a big, wet clap that echoes throughout a room. Anyway, I tried to recreate that sound to no avail. Unfortunately, I don't think it will ever happen again. This, or any similar noise, ever happen to you?

I used to get out of the shower and shake my hips so that my balls would slap against my taint. Made a really cool sound. So what happened to you is similar, only your gunt was acting like a giant scrotum perched over your genitals. With a little bit of practice, I'm sure we could replicate it and then put you on display at the Whitney.

Drew Magary writes for Deadspin. He's also a correspondent for GQ. Follow him on Twitter @drewmagary and email him at drew@deadspin.com. You can also buy Drew's new Kindle Single, The Rover, through Amazon.

Image by Sam Woolley, photos via Getty

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