Hold up: Are the L.A. Clippers actually turning themselves into a respectable franchise right now!? Ahhh, not quite. At 19-28, the Clips still find themselves looking up at the elite teams in the Western Conference this season. But after nine straight home victories, there's at least some hope for NBA fans in L.A. who can't stand Kobe and company. Obviously, one big reason for the turnaround is Blake Griffin. But the other is the development of center DeAndre Jordan—who caught our eye last night (pause) when he posterized the shit out of the Milwaukee Bucks' Jon Brockman with an insane facial (double pause). So, who the hell is this guy? Here are just a few of the things you need to know about the Clippers' other poster boy.
1) HE USED TO BE THE TALL KID WHO GOT PICKED ON FOR SUCKING AT SPORTS. You know exactly what we mean, too. Every elementary school has the kid who's 6'2", 200 pounds in the fourth grade—and who's absolutely terrible at sports. DJ used to be that kid. "I heard so much trash talk," he said just before the 2008 NBA Draft. But, yo: Who's talking now?
2) WHILE ATTENDING HIGH SCHOOL IN HIS HOMETOWN OF HOUSTON, TEXAS, HE ONCE BLOCKED 20 SHOTS IN A SINGLE GAME. Though he's made his impact on the NBA with his quick feet, his hops and his ability to finish around the rim, DJ's defensive game was his strong suit back when he was playing prep ball. So, basically, you wouldn't have caught him getting Jon Brockman'd back then.
3) HE WAS A GOOD—NOT GREAT—COLLEGE PLAYER DURING HIS TIME AT TEXAS A&M IN 2007-2008. Despite the success Jordan enjoyed in high school, he walked onto the A&M campus boasting a lanky, underdeveloped 7-foot frame that didn't adjust well to college—and he averaged pretty paltry numbers during his time there (7.9 points, 6 rebounds and 1.3 blocks per game). Not exactly anything to write home about. That production coupled with his perceived immaturity forced him to drop from a projected lottery pick into the second round of the 2008 NBA Draft.
4) HE BECAME ONE OF ONLY THREE NBA PLAYERS IN THE LAST DECADE TO RECORD 10 DUNKS IN A GAME DURING HIS NBA ROOKIE SEASON. The other two guys? Shaquille O'Neal and Dwight Howard. Pretty good company to keep.
5) HE ALSO JOINED SHAQ, TIM DUNCAN AND AARON GRAY AS THE ONLY NBA ROOKIES TO EVER GRAB 20 REBOUNDS IN A GAME.
Then again, Aaron Gray (?!?) made the list, so take this one with a grain of salt. Let's just hope we're not laughing at the Shaq/Tim Duncan comparison we just made in a few years.