The Los Angeles Clippers are a horrible, horrible team. They have always been a joke of a franchise for the way they conducted themselves on the court and through free agency. Now, though, they have given fans and critics an excuse to dislike them for what they do off the court as well.
Serving as an assistant coach for the Clippers seven years ago, Kim Hughes was diagnosed with prostate cancer. As he sought out possible treatment options, he made it a point to put emphasis on the fact that he needed to be back on the court by the time the regular season started. In fact, he was so dedicated to doing his job that he insisted that the surgery take place earlier than truly necessary just so that it didn’t interfere with his work.
Unfortunately, the red-headed step child team of Los Angeles sports didn’t share a similar ideology when it came to loyalty.
"I contacted the Clippers about medical coverage and they said the surgery wouldn't be covered," Hughes said. "I said, ‘Are you kidding me?' And they said if they did it for one person, they'd have to do for everybody else."
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The team’s response sounds like a bad joke. Yet, after giving it a bit of thought, it actually sounds exactly like what you would expect this ridiculous organization to say when one of their own was suffering from one of the scariest diseases known to man.
While the cold, heartless powers that be behind the worst team in professional sports wouldn’t do anything for Hughes, the players burdened with wearing Clippers colors actually happened to be good people. Corey Maggette, Chris Kaman, Elton Brand and Marko Jaric all stepped up and decided to help their assistant coach.
"Kim was one of our coaches and he's a really good friend of mine, too," Maggette said. "He was in a situation where the Clippers' medical coverage wouldn't cover his surgery. I thought it was a great opportunity to help someone in need, to do something that Christ would do.
"It shows your humanity, that you care for other people and not just yourself. Kim was in a life-and-death situation."
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"Those guys saved my life," Hughes said. "They paid the whole medical bill. It was like $70,000 or more. It wasn't cheap.
"It showed you what classy people they are. They didn't want me talking about it; they didn't want the recognition because they simply felt it was the right thing to do."