How Actor Paul Scheer Became a Clipper fan: "The Clippers, and the Underdog Mentality is Something Everyone can Relate to"

Farbod Esnaashari

Comedians have a special relationship with the LA Clippers, and Paul Scheer is one of those comedians that loves the franchise.

Scheer is known for his roles on shows like: "The League", "Veep", Big Mouth, and Black Monday. Coming from city of New York in 2006, the Clippers slowly but surely won over the comedian. It takes a lot to make a sports fan stop rooting for the city they came from, and start rooting for the city they live in - that's what the Clippers did.

When did you become a Clipper fan?

Scheer: "My Clipper fandom started when I moved out to LA. I was coming out to a new city, and I hate being the person who moves to a city, and doesn’t root for the team. I like having an identity connected to the city that I live in. I wanted to commit to something here. I wanted to one day bring my dad, and kids to games."

Who was on the team when you first became a fan?

Scheer: "Elton Brand was playing when I first came over here, so that was the era the Clippers were in. I got to see a game, it was cheap enough. Then this moment happened around 2009, when Blake Griffin gets on the Clippers. He was this young guy who was really fun. I decided I should get into the Clippers a little bit more. Blake Griffin being the funny guy was what brought me into the Clippers more. He was interning at Funny or Die, doing all these funny skits, I just loved his personality. I loved DeAndre Jordan too. Then I really got to be a fan during the Lob City era. That was the moment I realized this was a legitimately fun team.

It felt like a team that was an underdog team, but also up-and-coming, and that was really exciting. I didn’t want to be a bandwagon fan of the Lakers. The Lakers are the Dallas Cowboys of basketball. Everyone loves the Lakers, they’re an amazing franchise team. The image when you think of, when you think basketball, is the Lakers. I liked the idea of being a part of this young upstart team, that was also funny. It happened slowly but surely." 

What teams were you a fan of before coming to LA?

Scheer: "I was a Knicks fans, Jets fan, and Yankees fan, but the Knicks were terrible. At one point I was like, 'what am I still holding on for with the Knicks?'

There was just such a fun energy with the Clippers. It really felt like a hometown team. The fans had that type of energy that you see when you go to a Sixers game."

Why root for the Clippers over the Lakers?

Scheer: "There’s never been a moment where I wanted to be a Lakers fan. I love the underdog. When you see the Clippers, and their fans, you see so many comedians, writers, and directors. The Clippers, and the underdog mentality is something everyone can relate to, especially in the profession we’re all in. There’s a hustle, and worker day mentality with the Clippers. There’s an idea that 'we’re going to get it.'

The Lakers feel like a big Hollywood team. I remember when I saw my Lakers first game, the whole stadium transformed. The drapes are dropping, they’re showing a trailer for a movie before a starting lineup, it was just overwhelming. It made me always me look at the Lakers as the Hollywood team, and the Clippers as the Los Angeles team. There’s nothing wrong with that. I grew up as a kid watching Magic Johnson, and I loved Kobe Bryant. I grew up a fan of the Lakers, but they just weren’t my team. I appreciate how great LeBron and AD are, but now the rivalry is much more intense."

How do the Clippers relate to the everyday working person?

Scheer: "That mentality is something people in LA can relate to. People come to this town to achieve their dreams, to do what they've always wanted to do. I feel like the Clippers own that mentality. 

You look at the players right now, like Pat Bev or Trez. Trez spends all summer to work so hard to get his game to where it is this season. Pat Bev has to claw from Russia to get on this team. Lou Williams is one of our premiere players, and he’s the 6th man. It's so cool that this team is about people who’ve paid their dues. Even PG, he was willing to admit that he didn’t deserve to be an All-Star this year. No one else was saying that. Everyone else was cursing out the All-Star game."

Favorite moment as a Clipper fan?

Scheer: "The 31 point comeback from last year against Golden State. It was one of the most viscerally exciting games I’ve ever watched. Last season was a lot for me about becoming a super fan, but that game was the one that did it."

Favorite Clipper game ever attended?

Scheer: "This sounds lame, because it was this season, but my favorite game was the game against the Celtics. It was a real turning point in all of my Clippers experience. 

The Boston game this year, I felt like something happened. As a Clipper fan, I’ve been to Staples Center so many times, and I’m always surrounded by fans of the other team. It’s not just Laker fans, it’ll be Portland Trailblazer fans, or Miami Heat fans. I hated it. I want to be the majority when we’re playing at home.

When Pat Bev got the Clipper crowd to take over, that to me felt like a dawn of a new day. This was our new narrative now. Ballmer has been doing it slowly but surely too. In that moment, Pat Bev pointed to the crowd, and made the fans get out of their seats. All of the Clipper fans got up, and took the stadium back, in a way that I’ve never experienced before. That to me, was so exciting. I don’t know why I felt like it was a very magical experience, but it was something I’ve never experienced. 

I was there for the opening night against the Lakers too. There was an energy there that just got me. It was the first time Paul George and Kawhi played together at home too. It felt like the beginning of a new era. Lob City was created for this moment. We’ve been building towards this."

Favorite Clipper player of all-time?

Scheer: "I’ve been thinking about this a lot, as I’ve been reading this book called “The Curse” about the Clippers.

There’s something about the Clippers that’s really heartbreaking, because whenever you fall in love with a Clipper they leave. You lose who you really connect with. Norm Nixon, Danny Manning, Elton Brand, they all got out. I remember being heartbroken when DeAndre, and Boban left. 

If I had to pick favorite Clipper of all time, it would have to be Blake, because Blake brought me in. I think I was most heartbroken when Blake left, because Blake was the person who brought me in. Blake was the face of the franchise, and he wanted to be the face of the franchise. It was a player that was really be happy to be here. He wanted to make the Clippers as good as he could. There was something about the energy he had."

Favorite current Clipper? 

Scheer: "If I had to pick a favorite Clipper right now, it’s Pat Bev for me. Pat is the heart of this team. He’s on the court hyping players up, and bringing out the best in everybody. He’s very much the mouthpiece on a very quiet team. 

I love Kawhi, and I love Paul George, but you need a bulldog. He’s a bulldog that’s not going to take shit. I love his energy. He is the biggest defender on this team, and he works his ass off. Pat Bev represents everything that is Clippers. Fighting from the bottom, getting to the top. I will be heartbroken if he ever left."

Why do comedians resonate with the Clippers so much?

Scheer: "Comedians gravitate towards the underdog because there’s something relatable about it. Every Comedy movie is about an underdog trying to get on top. That’s the formula we all relate to. There’s something about the Clippers that’s not showy, but it’s fun and exciting. I have many comedy friends that like basketball, and almost all of them are Clipper fans."

There's something special about the Clippers that draws comedians. The struggles of the franchise, the idea of being the little brother, it all points to a bigger idea of being an underdog. It's that special intangible that draws in fans like Paul Scheer.

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