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TWiCH (This Week in Clippers History): The Curse

Hubie Brown almost was, Doc reports despite contract extension, an unknown has a shot, the Kobe dream, and the Clippers Curse, all in this edition of TWiCH.

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

1988

Ralph Lawler’s Full Time Partner was Almost Hubie Brown

In the off season of 1988, the Clippers hired Hubie Brown to sit alongside Ralph Lawler to broadcast Clippers games. But alas, it did not happen. CBS came in and hired Brown as their top commentator, and with that, he had to give up any other jobs he had, including the Clippers commentator role. The Clippers chose to replace Brown with two people: Keith Erickson, the former commentator for the Los Angeles Lakers alongside Chick Hearn, and Kevin Loughery, a longtime NBA head coach coming off a stint with the Washington Bullets.

1991

The Doc Reports Without the Money He Wants

In the pre-season of 1991, Doc Rivers, then the projected starting PG for the Los Angeles Clippers, was holding out for a new contract with the team. He was traded to the Clippers from the Atlanta Hawks for 3 draft picks (one of which turned out to be Stacey Augmon), and was looking for a one year, $4 million extention. The Clippers did not budge, and Doc finaly reported to the team without the extra year/money he wanted.

Rivers ended up playing in 59 games, starting less than half, as Gary Grant took the reigns as the starter. After the season, the Clippers traded Rivers, along with Bo Kimble and Charles Smith to the New York Knicks, in a three team trade with the Orlando Magic which brought the Clippers Mark Jackson and Stanley Roberts.

1994

Fish, a Long Shot to Make the Team, Could Make It If He Continues His Good Play

This is a lesson for Joe Ingles and Jared Cunningham. It is possible to make the team as an non-guaranteed contract player, with some excellent play in the preseason. In 1994, Matt Fish, a 6’ 11" center, was a long shot to make the team. But the Clippers lacked quality at the center position. Their options for major minutes included Tony Massenburg, Elmore Spencer, and Eric Riley. Fish had a strong preseason, and made the Clippers roster, playing in 26 games (starting 8 of them) and averaging 4.7 ppg and 3.2 rpg. He went on to play two more seasons with four teams: the New York Knicks, Denver Nuggets, Washington Bullets, and Miami Heat.

2004

What If….. (disclaimer: This is a TJ Simers article)

In the summer of 2004, for the first time in his career, Kobe Bryant was a free agent, and although everyone knew it was a slim chance, Bryant let it be known that he was considering leaving the Lakers — for the Clippers! Bryant let the two Los Angeles teams woo him, and both teams gave it their all. I mean, the Lakers could in no way allow the team down the hallway steal their top player in his prime. And, as much as Clipper fans might say they would of turned on the Clippers if they had brought in Kobe, there is no way any team turns down the chance to get the top player in the league. With Bryant sharing the same agent as Corey Maggette, the Clippers had a little more than a slim hope.

But it did not happen. Kobe resigned with the Lakers, and the Clippers returned to being the "other" LA team.

2009

Blake Griffin Goes in for a Monster Jam, Grabs His Knee Afterward

In the final preseason game of 2009, the Clippers were playing the New Orleans Hornets. In the 3rd quarter, Blake got a block on the defensive end, and ran the court beautifully, and received a perfect reward pass from Sebastian Telfair. He went up for one of his trademark monstrous dunks to the roar of the Staples Center Crowd.

I was at this game, front row of section 310 (for those that do not know Staples Center, 310 is almost center court, top section). My wife had bought me season tickets for my 30th birthday, and there would be no better season (at the time) than Blake Griffin’s rookie season. But after that dunk, my friend Ryan, turned to me and said "Did you see Griffin grab his knee?" I did see it, but at the time, myself, and every other person that watched the game, thought nothing of it. Except my friend. His words, and I am paraphrasing, since it’s almost impossible to remember exactly what he said: "Typical Clippers. Get the top pick, and he gets injured."

So what was the outcome? As we all know, Griffin missed the entire season, and the Clippers failed to reach the playoffs (so much for those season tickets, it was so hard to find people to go with me towards the end of the season). Griffin came back strong the next season and never looked back, continuing to improve and evolve his game every year since.