So typically, TWiCH (This Week in Clippers History) comes out on Thursday, but with Thursday being the big first game of the season, I have moved it up, so that we may dedicate Thursday to all things current. Enjoy.
Who is Robert Smith you ask? He is only the guy behind one of our favorite Lawler-isms. Robert Smith, better known as Bingo Smith, played 11 years in the NBA, 2 in San Diego (his rookie season with the then San Diego Rockets, and his final season with the then Los Angeles Clippers), and the other 9 in Cleveland, where he is a Cavs legend. He joined the Clippers for the 1979-80 season, which just so happened to be the first season for the 3-point shot in the NBA.
As legend has it, Smith hit some 3-pointers that season, and Ralph, calling the games, responded with his now
infamous famous "BINGO!" It caught on, and Lawler has been using it ever since.
Clippers Strong Out the Gate, Get Off to a 5-0 Start
After finishing the 1984-85 season with a record of 31-51, the expectations were low for the Clippers, entering their second season in Los Angeles. So what did they do? They started the season 5-0, with victories over the recently relocated Sacramento Kings, Houston Rockets, Portland Trail Blazers, Chicago Bulls, and New York Knicks. What made this start even more impressive was the fact that the Rockets and Blazers were expected to compete with the Lakers for the Western Conference championship.
Not that anyone noticed this start. 4 of the 5 games were at the Sports Arena, with an average crowd of 7,868. The game in Sacramento was a sell out, 10,333 fans.
The Clippers would go on to lose 12 of their next 14 games, and finish the season 32-50, just one game better than the previous season. They were lead by all-star Marques Johnson, who averaged 20.3 ppg, 5.5 rpg, and 3.8 apg.
In 1992, the city of Burbank was looking for something to do with the former 89 acre Lockhead site, and one proposal was to build a $100 million sports arena, to lure the Clippers out of LA. At the same time, the Clippers were looking for renovations to the Sports Arena, and used the proposed Burbank arena as leverage. In the end, the Clippers remained at the Sports Arena, and the former Lockhead site was converted into a huge shopping center, you know, the one off the 5 with airplanes on the signs.
第一个中国出生的球员在NBA (I used Google Translator, so I'm sure this didn't translate correctly)
In the 1995 pre-season, the Clippers brought in Ma Jian, to audition for the team. What is so special about Ma Jian? He was the first ever Chinese-born player (not including Tom Meschery, who was born in China to Russian refugees) to suit up for an NBA team (pre-season included). He even had a fan base, with many fans at the games holding up signs in mandarin, and cheering for him. Heck, the Clippers even dubbed it "Ma-mania" in their official press release. Unfortunately, he did not make the team, and was the last player cut. He went on to serve as a commentator for Clippers games on KAZN.
There are a good amount of Clippers fans who joined the Nation in the early 2000s, when the Clippers were a young, hip team, with a bright future. They featured young and upcoming players such as Elton Brand, Lamar Odom, Corey Maggette, Quentin Richardson, and Darius Miles.
In the summer of 2002, the Clippers felt they were one piece away from taking the next step. They needed a floor leader, a quality point guard, to help lead this young team into a new Clippers era. The found their point guard of the future in Andre Miller, sending Miles and Harold Jamison to Cleveland, for Miller and Bryant Stith.
As a new member of the Cavs, Miles decided to share his opinions on the situation in Clipper land, including his thoughts on the lack of contract extensions. Looking back, that team didn’t reach expectations, in part the lack of interest Andre Miller had in ever being a Clipper, and also the lack of security for many of the players. It was a total "me first" mentality, and it derailed the season.