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Clippings: Steve Ballmer doesn’t want to change the team name

The history — good or bad — of the Clippers nickname is part of the allure.

LA Clippers Break Ground on Intuit Dome Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images

When Steve Ballmer first bought the Clippers, he thought it might be worthwhile to change the team’s name. There’s a reason why our site, among others, engaged in speculation about new nicknames.

However, seven years after coming aboard, Ballmer has changed course. Ballmer told Bill Plaschke of the Los Angeles Times that he’s moved past that initial thought and wants to keep the Clippers name because of its history and all that the team — and fan base — has gone through and overcome.

“I thought about it, you’ve got to think about it,” Ballmer said about the changing the name. “When I first got the team, I thought about it in the sense, ‘Is the brand tarnished?’ ... But the brand is better known because it is tarnished. ‘But is it tarnished?’”

He added, “But we’re through all that, our Clipper loyalists won’t want us to change the name of this thing, there’s no push for that. I’m hopeful we’re going to win a championship with that name in the next few years. Why walk away from that?”

If the Clippers don’t win a title before moving to Inglewood, I think a rebrand would be more tenable. A fresh start with a fresh arena makes sense. However, if the team manages to become champions before 2024, like Ballmer says, it would be very difficult to move away from the Clippers name.

Hopefully, Ballmer isn’t as committed to the Clippers’ look as he is the name. A redesign still needs to be in the works.

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