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Roundtable: Potential name changes for the Clippers

If the Clippers ever rebranded, what nickname should they choose?

NBA: DEC 03 Trail Blazers at Clippers Photo by Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

As the Clippers prepare to transition to the Intuit Dome and create a new home for themselves in Inglewood, it’s natural to wonder if the team nickname should move with them. This franchise doesn’t exactly have a decorated history, and this could be an opportune moment for a fresh start.

The Clippers’ current nickname is a nod to their San Diego days, a reference to the sailing ships that passed through the San Diego Bay. Perhaps there’s a more appropriate nickname that could capture this team’s new home in Los Angeles. So with that in mind, we posed the question to our Clips Nation staff: What would you rename the Clippers?

Matthew Scammahorn: I’d have to lean towards naming the team the LA Waves, or something that references the famous SoCal beaches. As a current San Diego resident, and with the Clippers having a past in San Diego, it would be nice if the other SoCal team paid homage to our amazing coastline.

Josh Sexton: Since the news broke that the Clippers were all set to break ground on a new arena, I’ve had some thoughts about what a new era of the franchise could look like. I’m somewhat accepting of the idea that too many good Laker memories and one too many bad Clipper memories have happened in STAPLES Center, so who’s to say that we don’t just go the whole hog and give the ball club a completely new look and feel? Well, I’m about to, kind of.

You see, I’m a bit of a stickler for history — though I’m an active believer in change and moving with times too. When I became a Clippers fan I was really intrigued by the roots of the team and how they used to be based on a completely different side of the country. It’s not something that happens at all in UK sport. I also really liked the name and brand of the Buffalo Braves. So, the Los Angeles Braves? It’s kind of got a ring to it. Plus bravery is a trait that can certainly be associated with the franchise in more recent years. From the bravery of the players that went against owner Donald Sterling, to the bravery shown by the underdog Clippers in that historic comeback against the Warriors in 2019. It’s a nod to the history and the culture that has been forged in the present, and I’d be absolutely all for it.

Brent Yoo: The Los Angeles Clippers have never been as highly esteemed as they should be. The team’s best qualities are often overshadowed by its worst — ranging from individual player struggles (Pandemic P jokes, for example) to still not having a championship banner hung up.

Perhaps they are a diamond in the rough. This team has two of the best two-way players in the league and is coming off a magical playoff run to make its first WCF appearance in franchise history. They are so close to the promised land, but they just aren’t there — their exceptional qualities need a little more refinement or polish. They also, like diamonds, don’t crack under pressure. Rather, they shine — the 2020-21 playoffs being the most notable example. Despite going down 2-0 in the first two playoff series, the team pulled through in both series — the first team in NBA history to do so. And in what seemed like a must-win Game 6 in the second round, the Kawhi-less Clippers, led by Terance Mann’s 39 points, beat the top-seeded Jazz.

They take on their most beautiful form when it matters the most. So, the LA Diamonds, I believe, is a fitting name for this team in more than one way. Most importantly, like diamonds are for people, they are, after all, my prized possession.

Sabreena Merchant: At the risk of avoiding the question altogether, I don’t think the Clippers need to change their name. The logo and artwork could definitely use a rebrand heading into the new arena — there’s a definite Brooklyn West theme at the moment that feels a little derivative — but part of the experience of being a Clipper fan is having gone through the pain of this team’s history. The name carries that weight, and if and when the team finally wins a championship, it should feel like the same franchise that languished on the periphery of the NBA for so many years.

I like the idea of L.A. Stars, especially if that brought back the 2018-19 City jerseys, but that feels more like the Lakers brand than what the Clippers are going for. I think Matthew is on the right track with a natural theme; the Clippers are more salt of the earth than Hollywood.

What would you rename the Clippers? Let us know in the comments.