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Are There Any Former Clippers Players Worthy Enough to Have Their Number Retired?

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With the recent retirement of Elton Brand, conversations appeared in blogs and Twitter questioning whether or not he deserved to have his jersey retired by the Clippers, the team he spent the most time on during his NBA career. That question is hard to answer. The Clippers have no jerseys in the rafters of Staples Center. The first one to go up will be special.

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When looking at retired Clippers players, not many names come up for jersey retirement conversation. In fact, the fact that the Clippers have never had a star player spend over 75% of their career with the team, makes it very difficult to consider anyone for the honor. You have to be very lenient on how long players were with the club to come up with any options, and even then, if you include players that played in the other cities that the team has called home, only 4 players make sense. Here are those 4 options, in order of when they played for the club.


1. Bob McAdoo

Played 4 1/2 seasons with the Braves, 14 seasons overall

28.2 ppg, 12.7 rpg, 2.4 bpg, 2.6 apg, 50% fg

1 MVP

3 All-Star Games

3 Playoff Appearances

2. Randy Smith

Played 8 seasons with Braves/Clippers, 13 seasons overall

17.8 ppg, 4.9 apg, 4.2 rpg, 1.9 spg, 47% fg

2 All-Star Games

3 Playoff Appearances

3. Danny Manning

Played 5 1/2 seasons with Clippers, 15 seasons overall

19.1 ppg, 6.4 rbp, 3.0 apg, 1.1 bpg, 52% fg

2 All-Star Games

2 Playoff Appearances

4. Elton Brand

Played 7 seasons with Clippers, 16 seasons overall

20.3 ppg, 10.3 rpg, 2.3 bpg, 2.7 apg, 52% fg

2 All-Star Games

1 Playoff Appearance

Which one of the 4 players above deserve to have their number retired by the Clippers is up to debate. Do you base it on stats and awards? If so, the answer would probably be Bob McAdoo. But he spent very little of his career with the club, and was never a part of the California era.

So then, do you base it on longevity? If so, Randy Smith would be answer. He is the only player of the 4 to spend over half his career with the club, and was there for the start of the Clippers era. But his stats are probably the worst of the group, which may factor into him not yet being honored with a retired jersey.

Or do you go with the first "star" of the Los Angeles Clippers Danny Manning. For many Clippers fans from Los Angeles that didn't follow the club prior to their move to the city of angels, Manning was the first star of the team. He lead them to 2 playoff appearances, while making the All-Star team twice. His overall skills as a big man were valuable to a team that struggled for much of the 80's and 90's.

Or is it the workman-like leader of the 2000's Elton Brand. Brand joined the Clippers in 2001, joining a young group of charismatic NBA players, such as Lamar Odom, Darius Miles, and Quinten Richardson. For younger Clippers fans, this is when they became fans of LA's other team. While many of those players left the team either via free agency or trades, Elton remained to lead the Clippers to the playoffs for the first time in 9 seasons in 2006, almost making it to the conference finals.

The decision is tough. For some, none of the players above deserve to be the first player to have their number retired, whether its because of stats or the fact that they didn't spend enough time with the club. For those fans, maybe Chris Paul or Blake Griffin will be the answer. And of course, many feel that Ralph Lawler should be the first, in honor of the longevity and commitment to the Clippers.