THE LONE GRANGER
Raise your hand if you saw The Lone Ranger last summer?
If you didn’t, don't worry, you are not alone. Western flicks aren’t exactly the ideal film of choice for today’s tech-savvy, ADD society. When the climax of a movie is a train racing through a desert you have a better chance of John Travolta correctly pronouncing the name of Icelandic model Iris Bjork “Johannesdottir” than you do attracting a summer crowd.
Still, on a rainy Sunday afternoon my wife and I decided to give it a chance and rented the film. And while critics shredded “The Lone Ranger” worse than a seal during Shark Week, the movie was actually entertaining. It told the story of a man’s resurrection and quest for redemption. And, it reminded me a lot of the journey of the Clippers’ newest acquisition, Danny Granger.
In The Lone Ranger, John Reid is a young lawyer who heads out to Texas to work in his hometown. He gets caught up in a bounty hunt for a bloodthirsty fugitive and ends up dead left for dead in a canyon. He is brought back to life by the Native American Tonto, who says that Reid is a spirit walker, “a man who's been to the other side and returned. A man who cannot be killed in battle.”
For Granger, his career was seemingly left for dead coming into this season. The former All-Star battled injuries last season, limiting him to just five games and causing him to miss the first 25 games this season in Indiana before finally making his return.
So, when Granger was traded to the 76ers at last month’s trade deadline, everyone assumed his glory days were behind him. He seemed destined to ride out the rest of his career on the train of mediocrity with questions of “what if” forever following him. What if he had stayed healthy? What if he were given the chance to play for another contender?
But for Granger, his ending had yet to be written. When the Sixers and Granger reached a buyout agreement it offered him the chance for redemption. He was free to choose his own path and find his own niche. Fortunately for the Clippers, his journey led him to Los Angeles.
Granger’s arrival to the Clippers has not only brought a change of scenery to the nine-year veteran, but it’s brought a dynamic new weapon into the fold for the team. More importantly, it brought a man who has seen the highs and lows of an NBA career, and knows that second chances are few and far between in this league. Granger knows that this is an opportunity for him to not only win a title, but also revive his career within a system and organization that he can thrive in.
As the Clippers head to the postseason, this once forgotten veteran could be the key piece to the team’s championship puzzle. And with a World Championship on his resume, this Lone Granger will have the chance to ride off into the sunset as a winner.