Since early Saturday morning, when the world became reacquainted with the vitriolic racism of Donald Sterling, it's been just a firehose of news. Player reactions, commissioner reactions, responses, denials, and more bits of vitriolic racism have all been featured here and elsewhere. But Doc Rivers, looking weary and beaten down by everything, hit on something today in his post-game press conference that's not so much news, but a weird reality: the Clippers head home for Game 5 after getting run out of the gym by the Warriors, and it may not even be a comfort.
This isn't hyperbole. It's a real thing, a weird tree lost in a fucked up forest. Sure, Clippers fans—and a lot of unaffiliated fans, too—will be behind the players, but any success they have is on some level the success of a man who hates them.
Whether or not Chris Paul and the rest of his teammates think about it in this specific way, it's there. On the one hand, you want to win and play well for yourself and your teammates; you've played all year for this and you don't want to just piss it away. On the other hand, fuck this guy. How could you not want to stand on the court for four quarters and extend a giant middle finger to Donald Sterling and say This? I didn't do this. You did this. You made this happen.
That could never happen, because the players have too much to lose, but this will be the subtext of every game they play from here on out, and all Doc Rivers and the Clippers can do in response is their job. We've got a game to play, they'll say. It's just basketball, when you step on the court. But it's not just basketball, it's a disgusting spectacle. An unapologetic racist sits entrenched, as other rich white men try to figure out how best to mitigate his disgraceful conduct, while men he thinks of as property amuse him, because that's all they can do. This isn't basketball at all.