It's hard to believe, but the NBA season is just around the corner (no, not that corner; that's curling). We don't know about you, but we've barely had time to miss Ron Artest and Mark Cuban before they're back again. And that's a good thing. So let us celebrate with five tiny tidbits on each team, today continuing with the Pacific Division and that traditional powerhouse, the Los Angeles Clippers. Do us a favor and send us your tips via firstname.lastname@example.org.
• 1. Eat It, Just Eat it. Vin Baker played in eight games for the Clips last year, in case you forgot in all the hubbub. He appeared in four consecutive All-Star Games in the 1990s, but the 1998-99 NBA lockout took its toll. Namely, at the buffet, as Baker ballooned to 300 pounds during the work stoppage. Baker eventually lost 50 pounds, but then there's the alcoholism. All is well now, we hope.
• 2. They'll Always Be The San Diego Clippers To Us. Moving from Buffalo in 1978 (in some sort of shady shenanigans), the San Diego Clippers had one winning season and then 13 straight losing ones (along the way becoming the Los Angeles Clippers, in 1984). World B. Free and Bill Walton played briefly in San Diego — Walton missing 68 games in 1980 with foot injuries.
• 3. You've Been Branded. Elton Brand began playing varsity basketball at Peekskill (NY) High School at the age of 13 (don't ask us how something like that works). He also played AAU basketball with Ron Artest and is friends with NY governor George Pataki, a fellow Peekskill alumn. Brand also was the producer of a Vietnam-era Prisoner of War film, Rescue Dawn.
• 4. Do The Chickens Have Large Talons? Chris Kaman suffers from Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, and as a child used to tear shingles off of neighbors' rooftops. He is also ambidextrous and is known for his strong Christian beliefs, his size 16 shoes and his wild blond hair. He is also very fond of chickens and spent much of his childhood on a chicken farm. He claims that the reason he left Central Michigan a year early to go pro was so that he could fund a chicken farm in Michigan. He is the only player we know of to have his testicles pulled by the Nuggets' Reggie Evans during a game (Evans was later fined $5,000 per testicle). His nickname is "Kaveman," for his similarity to TV cartoon character Captain Caveman, which is a stupid nickname that no one should ever give themselves.
• 5. But Will It Play In Peoria? Where would the Clippers be without the state of Illinois? Aaron Williams (Evanston); Shaun Livingston (Peoria) and Corey Maggette (Melrose Park) all hail from there (they also have four players from Duke).