It can be hard to be a Clippers fan. Look no further than this past season when even the most successful postseason in franchise history was clouded by an ACL injury to Kawhi Leonard that will keep one of the top five players in the league out indefinitely.
Nevertheless, those who persist with the Clippers have good reasons for doing so, which is why we posed a happier question to our staff: What moment in Clippers history confirmed your fandom?
Brent Yoo: It was their second playoff game in two years. I made sure I finished all my work the day before, so I wouldn’t miss a single minute of the game. I was tempted to, though: the LA Clippers were down by 31 points against the talent-filled Warriors with a little more than seven minutes left of the third. I wasn’t even the one chasing around, desperately trying to stop Kevin Durant, but I wanted to call it quits. It was exhausting just to watch. But, the Clippers didn’t — even without a single All-Star presence. Patrick Beverley ferociously chased the Warriors down the court, committing two personal fouls in two seconds. Lou Williams showed the world why he was deserving of his nickname, Underground Goat (he finished the game with 36 points).
And the 31-point comeback was completed in the hands of two rookies; Shai Gilgeous-Alexander kicked the ball out to Landry Shamet who drained the open 3-pointer. 31 points. A 31-point deficit against arguably the greatest basketball team ever constructed. This organization and its players don’t know how to give up, and that is exactly why I can’t and never will give up on the Clippers.
Chris Schachter: After the Kobe/Shaq breakup, I decided to check out the “other team” in LA in the 2004-05 season. During a Clippers home game, I got asked to come down and compete on the court during a timeout catching basketballs in a KFC bucket on my head. Walking off the court, Elton Brand may or may not have nodded at me (or somebody around me) while he was at the free-throw line. Either way, I was a diehard Clipper fan from that point forward.
Josh Sexton: The moment that *literally* confirmed my Clippers fandom was the protests against Donald Sterling. The Sterling storm made the news over here in the UK and meant that all eyes over here were on Game 4 of the Clippers-Warriors playoff series. I decided to tune in and liked what I saw: from the show of solidarity off the court, to the excitement of Lob City on it. Although those guys we hung all our hopes never quite got it done, they did enough to get me completely hooked on this ball club. The rest has been a rollercoaster formerly known as history.
Matthew Scammahorn: The comeback win against the Warriors in the 2019 playoffs confirmed my fandom. I was a fan of the Clippers since the Blake Griffin era, but that playoff series turned me into a truly dedicated fan. It came at the perfect moment too, and with the Clippers at basically their worst point since 2010, it would’ve been easy to hop on another team’s bandwagon. The players displayed what we know as the Clippers’ winning culture, never giving up in the face of adversity. The comeback win also showed how the team puts faith in all of its players, with then-rookie Gilgeous-Alexander making the game winning assist. After that game, I fully bought into the Clippers’ system and style of play, and I don’t plan on leaving anytime soon!
Joshua Mei: Out of a few notable comeback victories, the one that meant the most to me, and the one that decisively cemented my allegiance to Clip Nation, happened on February 9, 2019. To set up some context for this moment, just two days prior to this game, the Clippers rotation had lost six players at the trade deadline, including Tobias Harris, the Clippers leading scorer and lovable almost-All-Star, and his best friend Boban. To many, including myself, that series of trades had felt like a resignation of the rest of the season in the tanking effort, a bet on the future for sure but only by forsaking the competitive spirit of the Clippers that year. And sure that team was bordering on “alright” at best, but oh was that team fun.
When the Clips found themselves in a 28-point deficit to the Celtics late in the first half, it seemed all my suspicions were confirmed. I probably would have kept rooting for the team that year, but only begrudgingly and complaining about the integrity of competition all the while. But a gritty second half, a hot shooting night for some newcomers, and a stunned TD Garden later, the Clippers came away with a double-digit win. Absolutely unbelievable. I had no idea how they did it. What did I know? What had I learned? A reverence for the fight in that team even when down big (further confirmed by a subtle 31-point comeback against the defending champs in the playoffs later that year), the resourcefulness of our front office and Jerry West (always always always, trust the logo), and an unshakeable love for this tough, beautiful, inspirational team.
What moment confirmed your Clippers fandom? Let us know in the comments!