Christie grew up in Seattle, in the era of the Officer Friendly program. That program brought police officers into the schools at an early age to try and forge better relationships with students and the community in what was standard operating procedure. Police officers there, and then, handed out trading cards to kids of then-Seattle SuperSonics players like Gus Williams, Dennis Johnson and Jack Sikma. Kids would have to walk up to the cops and ask for the cards. Seeds of a relationship were formed and police were in the communities they served. Many still try. But too many encounters are ending like the one with Clark. And the local basketball team, still a point of civic pride in a city that has its own identity separate from the business in the state capital that gleams in downtown, is trying to do more than just dribble and sell tickets. “It’s odd that the community saved the Kings,” Christie said, “and now it’s coming full circle for the Kings to try and help save the community.”
The Clippers are a vanity project under Steve Ballmer as they were under Donald Sterling. They don’t belong to a fan base as much as an owner. You know what fans expect. What owners want, or are capable of, varies. Only Donald would have brought the Clippers here from San Diego to show he wouldn’t fail on the same level if they were closer to home. With less competitive, more hospitable sites like Seattle yearning for teams, only Ballmer may keep them here to show they’re worth that $2 billion he paid.