Over the past 13 years, there’s been one consistent, iconic duo on the court during every LA Clippers game.
No, I’m not talking about Chris Paul and Blake Griffin, or Montrezl Harrell and Lou Williams. I’m talking about DJ Dense and his father “Pops”, one of the only father-son MC duos in the NBA. For 13 years, DJ Dense and his father have been entertaining Clipper fans, every single game.
“I started with the Clips in the 06 season,” Dense said. “I started off just doing a few games, just the big games because they weren’t sure if they were going to have a DJ. Then I got word halfway through the season that they loved the energy that I brought, and that they wanted that energy the whole season.”
Dense has been a Clipper fan since 1989, during the Sports Arena days, and this job has always been a dream come true for him. However, it wasn’t always smooth sailing.
“I remember my first game, and I’ll never forget it,” Dense said. “I’m getting counting in and the team is ready to come out, everything is set, and then came the camera guy. I had no idea I was going to be on the videoboard.”
Stuck in awe, Dense froze and didn’t play anything for what seemed to be an eternity. After a few minutes, he dropped a song, and the rest became history. From that moment onward, Dense embarked on a 13 year journey that his younger self would never believe.
“The most exciting moment in my career was gaining the trust of Clipper Nation,” Dense said. “That I can take them on this journey and this ride. My greatest moment is Clipper Nation accepting me for who I am, and being able to rock Staples.”
Even more amazing than Dense’s 13 year journey with the Clippers is the fact that his father has been with him since the start.
“My pops has been with me from the very beginning,” Dense said. “My pops had retired a few years before, and I told him that when he retired, I didn’t want him sitting around and doing nothing all day. I didn’t want him to grow old.”
Dense’s father worked at Xerox for 35 years. Immediately after his retirement, Pops came with Dense to different events and clubs to help with equipment loading. After years of working various venues, Dense finally got his break with the Clippers, but he didn’t go alone.
“When I got the opportunity to work with the Clippers, I said I had to have my pops with me,” Dense said. “My pops has missed only a handful of games. He’s been there the whole trip with me, he only misses games during his anniversary trip with my mom or if he’s ill.”
Officially, Pops is Dense’s assistant. He’s the one who sets up the equipment, turntables, and vinyl’s. When Dense gets his credentials and parking pass at the start of the season, so does Pops. Dense has never looked at his working relationship with Pops as a father/son dynamic.
“To me, that’s my buddy and my best friend,” Dense said. “It’s just my guy.”
For Pops, every day working with his son is simply a dream.
“It’s incredible,” Pops said. I’ve hung out with him for the 13 years that we’ve been there. I’ve been with him every where he goes, whether it’s driving the car or setting up the equipment.”
To those that have never seen Pops at a game, all you have to do is look for the man in an autographed Clipper jersey that has the word “Pops” on the back of it. You’ll see him talking to players, fans, and anyone that’s a part of the Clipper family; it’s his favorite part about being at Staples Center.
“I love the people,” Pops said. “I get to know all the people. I get to sit and watch the game, sit and watch my son do his thing, and watch him grow.”
Pops has created some of his own traditions too. During Christmas-time he makes his specialty eggnog recipe, which he then gives to every Staples Center employee. At the start of every season, he goes to Hawaii with his wife for an anniversary trip. After that trip, Pops brings Hawaiian shells for the Clippers Spirit. His family extends far beyond his son — it extends to every Staples Center employee.
What matters to Pops is being there for his son. Pops grew up without a father figure in his life, and wanted to make sure his son, Dense, didn’t experience that same fate. He bought his son his first set of turntables, and watched him grow. He took Dense to parties, picked him up, and sometimes trusted him with the car. These two have been a duo, since day one.
“I’m proud of what he’s done, I’m proud of what he’s accomplished at Staples Center,” Pops said. “How he’s made a name. I think it’s fair to say that he’s become a senior at the Clippers now.”