It’s the start of the new month, which means it’s time for a new feature at Clips Nation. In the interest of commemorating the careers of beloved Clippers, or simply reminiscing about players whose time in L.A. didn’t quite go according to plan, every day this month, we’ll look back at a Clipper whose jersey number matches the date.
Today’s April 1, so let’s remember a Clipper who wore no. 1.
The number 1 is actually the most popular number in LA Clippers history, with 20 players donning it dating back to Charlie Criss in 1982 all the way to Reggie Jackson in present day. When I think of that number, I think of Baron Davis.
Davis was supposed to form a dynamic duo in Los Angeles with Elton Brand, but Brand bailed to Philadelphia before the two could play together. In hindsight, it’s hard to blame Brand (or anyone, really) for skipping town on Donald Sterling, but it was easy at the time, especially as a young fan. Davis, on the other hand, was the one who stayed.
It was fun to have a local boy on the Clippers, someone who had gone to Crossroads and UCLA and who legitimately wanted to play for this team. Even though he was injured for most of his first season, and the Clippers never really reached the heights they were supposed to, Davis was more entertaining than he should have been.
He was easily the best of the three Davises on the roster (and I don’t think Paul and Ricky were that close), and he was always willing to mix it up with opposing teams. I remember Baron elbowing Pau Gasol as well as I remember his preposterous game-winner against the Celtics earlier that season.
That was the beauty of Baron Davis and the Clippers at that time, as well as what made them especially maddening. They clearly had the talent to be very good but not the discipline to have that happen on a regular basis. Mike Dunleavy’s visible distaste for the team he was coaching didn’t help in that regard.
Incidentally, the most memorable Davis moment happened when he had switched to no. 5 in 2010-11, when he delivered the pass to Blake Griffin as he jumped over the hood of the Kia in the dunk contest. It turned out to be the last act for Davis in a Clippers uniform, as he was traded along with an unprotected first-round pick to Cleveland for Mo Williams before the team’s next game.
If Davis’ arrival in Los Angeles represented the team’s poor luck, his exit reflected the team’s poor management. Seemingly every other front office in the league knew an amnesty provision was coming in the next CBA, but the Clippers surrendered a valuable draft pick — one that turned into Kyrie Irving — just to dump Davis’ contract, and they suffered the consequences.
Davis was a fun player and a nice guy to root for. Although his time in L.A. was a low point for the Clippers, it’s less painless to look back now knowing how the franchise has evolved since then. In essence, Davis was the last of the downtrodden Clippers. Hopefully, the organization never returns to those depths.
Do you have a favorite Clipper to wear no. 1? Or are there any who were particularly memorable?
On to the links...
- Patrick Patterson is hosting virtual movie nights with fans called “Pat Presents” using Netflix Party. He is accepting suggestions for this Friday’s movie through Instagram.
- The NBA has announced the bracket for its 16-player NBA 2K Tournament, featuring both Montrezl Harrell (no. 8 seed) and Patrick Beverley (no. 14). The event airs Friday on ESPN, and Beverley is confident he’ll meet his Clipper teammate in the final.
- Andrew Grief of the L.A. Times looked at Kawhi Leonard’s abbreviated season in the context of other great Clippers campaigns.
- Terance Mann’s mother Daynia La-Force explained why she and her sons all wear number 14. Perfect timing!
- The NBA is looking into plans to withhold up to 25% of player salaries due to lost revenue from canceled games.
- The league is holding a coronavirus Q&A with former Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy on Twitter today at 1 p.m. PT. Ask questions with the hashtag #NBATogether.