By Brian Murphy
Special to Page 2

So a priest, a rabbi and a Los Angeles Clipper walk into a bar …

Wait. Scratch that.

How many L.A. Clippers does it take to screw in a light bulb?

Wait. Scratch that.

Elton Brand
Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images
The bad old days: Thank goodness Elton Brand didn't listen to Michael Olowokandi's advice.

… and so then the guy says: "That was no L.A. Clipper. That was my wife!"

Wait. Scratch that one, too.

My fellow sports fans, we are officially out of Clippers jokes.

It's over. The jig is up. The Washington Generals have run the fast break on the Globetrotters. Charlie Brown has gone Adam Vinatieri on Lucy.

The Clippers are in the playoffs. And with their combination of Elton Brand, Cuttino Mobley, Corey Maggette, Sam Cassell and Chris Kaman, it looks like they're here to stay. For the love of Lamar Odom, they'll finish with a better record than the Lakers for the second straight year!

What is this world, without the security of Clipper futility? The Clippers sucking was a rock, a benchmark, a security blanket. In a world of uncertainty, the Clippers sucking was certain. Walter Cronkite on the evening news; Clint Eastwood chasing down a bad guy; a Jessica Simpson update on the pages of US Weekly … these are things we could count on in life.

So, too, was the idea of the Clippers. They sucked. Every year.

No. Wait. Let me rephrase that: They sucked, comically. Every year.

And the nominees are ...
The Clippers have escaped purgatory. We need a new team to mock. Check out the Page 2 essays on why the following teams may be the new Worst Franchise in Sports.

Arizona Cardinals | Atlanta Hawks Baltimore Orioles | Chicago Blackhawks | Detroit Lions | Golden State Warriors | Kansas City Royals New York Knicks | Pittsburgh Pirates Portland Trail Blazers

Vote: Click on our SportsNation listranker to rank the worst of the worst. Plus, send us your thoughts and sob stories on these teams, and read what others have to say!

In case you don't remember, let me refresh you about some key moments. (Please cue Paul Anka's "The Times of Your Life"):

Coach Gene Shue and 17 wins in the soul-crushing den of dankness that was the L.A. Sports Arena … Danny Manning drafted No. 1, then blowing out his knee his rookie year … Danny Ferry drafted No. 2 overall, and fleeing to Italy instead … 50-loss seasons with the surety of the tax man in the soul-crushing den of dankness that was the L.A. Sports Arena … coach Bob Weiss … losing the first 16 games of the 1995-96 season … Michael Olowokandi as the No. 1 overall pick … let me repeat: Michael Olowokandi as the No. 1 overall pick …

Did we mention the soul-crushing den of dankness that was the L.A. Sports Arena?

(Fade out Paul Anka now, please. Thank you.)

Now, somebody fast-forward to today, and cue up the boom box to Katrina and the Waves' "Walkin' on Sunshine":

Sam Cassell, disturbingly yet amusingly miming gonads after a big 3-pointer … Chris Kaman, channeling Jack Sikma's pre-perm days … the shiny, gleaming new Staples Center … Elton Brand, legitimate NBA All-Star … Corey Maggette, coming back from a foot injury to make the Clips a force come playoff time … the soul-crushing den of dankness that was the L.A. Sports Arena, rotting away in emptiness and cobwebs, just down the road … did we mention Sam Cassell, disturbingly yet amusingly miming gonads after a big 3-pointer?

Sam Cassell
Branimir Kvartuc/AP Photo
Sam Cassell has helped engineer the Clipper turnaround.

(You can cue out Katrina and the Waves now.)

So that's where we are. Clips: for real. Our preconceived notions of what sucks and what doesn't smashed forever: Also for real.

What to do now?

What else?

Find a new punch line!

You didn't think we were sports fans just to glorify winners and praise gritty efforts, did you? Come on, man! Haven't you ever been to a Mets game? We're sports fans also so we can heap scorn on losers, point and laugh at futility and mock the downtrodden as often as we can.

All of this means that Page 2 is now openly auditioning teams to take the place of the Clippers as the Worst Franchise in American Sports.

You know they're out there. For every Clippers rebuilding story, there is a Golden State Warrior club, drafting Todd Fuller in the first round. For every boy-isn't-Mike-Dunleavy-doing-a-nice-job-with-the-Clips tale, there's a Portland Trail Blazers team clogging up the police blotters. Devil Rays, Pirates, Saints … come one, come all.

Who wants to be the next Worst Franchise in American Sports?

Let's take a closer look.

E-mail Brian Murphy at