Clippers missed a truly Magical opportunity PRO BASKETBALL

July 23, 1993|By Ron Rapoport | Ron Rapoport,Los Angeles Daily News

Since all of the good jokes about the Los Angeles Clippers seem to be taken, I guess I will have to be satisfied with making the serious point that they made a big mistake in not hiring Magic Johnson as coach.

I know this is easier said than done, but it certainly wouldn't have been any more complicated than the Clippers' recent journey into the unknown that started with Larry Brown, continued through Lenny Wilkens, Rick Pitino and Hubie Brown and ended up this week with Bob Weiss.

Probably, a deal making Johnson the Clippers coach would have had to include an ownership stake in the team, but since Donald Sterling was prepared to offer Hubie Brown a million dollars a year (a million dollars a year for HUBIE BROWN?!) I don't see that as a problem.

Look, I know Bob Weiss is a nice man who gets along well with his players. And it is true that in two of his five seasons as a head coach his teams actually won four more games than they lost. But anyone who thinks Weiss is the answer simply doesn't understand the question.

The answer to the Clippers' problems, the answer on every level, was Magic Johnson.

Does anyone doubt Johnson would be one terrific coach? Does anyone doubt he can motivate players, draw up an offense, pick apart an opponent's game.

I don't see why anyone should since Johnson did every one of those things as a player.

What could Johnson have done for the Clippers?

Besides bringing them high marks for intelligence and foresight and creativity, you mean? Besides instantly marking themselves one of the glamour teams of the NBA? Besides making everybody overlook the personnel problems that have struck them just when they seemed to be hitting their stride? Besides getting one fine basketball coach?

Still, there's always next year. Which is, I figure, when the job may very well be open again.

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