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The best Clipper to wear No. 45

Bo Outlaw was given a chance, and took it with both hands.

Los Angeles Clippers Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images

Nine players have worn the No. 45 in Braves/Clippers history. I’m going to be real, you probably haven’t heard of many of them.

It’s a number that has been used in five different decades, so it’s been fairly popular over the years, but from John Hummer in 1971 to Cole Aldrich in 2016, it’s been used plenty, but perhaps not always with major distinction.

In a way, it’s fitting that Bo Outlaw is the best to wear No. 45 to date for the Clippers.

Let’s get this out of the way first: Bo Outlaw is a fantastic name. If you are in the public eye, you want a name folks can remember, and this one is certainly memorable. While his given name is Charles, the right choice was made to go with the nickname.

Outlaw hailed from San Antonio — making the name even more fitting — and played NCAA ball at Houston after a JuCo run at South Plains College. But while he had a good stint in college, Outlaw wasn’t drafted in 1993, and went to the CBA to embark on his pro career.

That didn’t last long, as he signed with the Clippers as a free agent in Feb. 1994, first on a 10-day contract, then a second one, before signing a longer-term deal to finish out the 1993-94 season.

All told, he played 280 regular-season games for the Clippers across four seasons, and as a 6’8 inside presence, he was known for his defensive chops while playing power forward and at times, center. His elite stat was blocks, averaging 1.5 per game in his Clippers tenure, just a shade above the 1.3 average for his whole NBA career.

For most of his career, including his entire Clippers run, Outlaw was a bench option, but he stayed healthy and ready to play, missing just three games in his three full seasons in LA. In this day and age, if you are fortunate to have a job, making it to work is half the battle, and Outlaw brought the work ethic and consistency to be a team player.

He made the playoffs once with LA, in 1997, and after that season signed a free agent deal with the Orlando Magic. While Outlaw began his NBA career with the Clippers and enjoyed a good run here, he’ll probably be best remembered for his stints in Orlando, from 1997-2002 and 2005-07. He played 360 games in Orlando, and another 192 in two stints with the Phoenix Suns, with one season in Memphis thrown in.

Here’s a short video of Outlaw’s highlights in a Clippers game in his first NBA season. It’s the kind of production you wouldn’t typically notice in isolation, but he had a solid all-around game and put it on display here.

Since retiring as a player in 2007, Outlaw has settled in Orlando, where he continues to serve as a team ambassador for the Magic. He’s active on social media and perhaps more importantly, in the community, where he’s been helping out in various ways during the coronavirus shutdown.

Outlaw seems like a person who knows how to work hard and values it, something shown during his career. He gave a shoutout to the recent WNBA draft by reflecting on the grind he went through to make it to the bigs.

Bo Outlaw may not be the flashiest name (sorry, it is a very flashy name, he may not be the flashiest player) in Clippers history, but the Clips gave him a chance, and he brought the contributions night after night. He may have traveled around the NBA during his long career, but to date, he’s the best to have worn the No. 45 for the Clippers.