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Clippers Makeover Part of New Arena Plan?

New L.A. Clippers arena

We could see a complete Los Angeles Clippers makeover when the NBA team moves into a new Inglewood arena, according to team owner Steve Ballmer, including a new name and a new color scheme.

Last week Ballmer and crew unveiled plans for a billion-dollar privately financed sports and entertainment center for the 2024-2025 NBA season. The proposed 26-acre project located on West Century Boulevard between South Prairie Avenue and South Yukon Avenue will include the team’s business and basketball offices, training facility, community and retail spaces. The proposed site is currently empty, but it’s in the midst of a busy area: a new NFL stadium for the Chargers and the Rams is across the street, and the Forum, now used as a live-music venue, is nearby. You can view the details and new renderings here.

Unveiling a billion-dollar arena and associated development is a big deal, but Ballmer followed up by hinting that more changes are under debate, including a team renaming and rebranding. (He also stated what everyone assumed was a given: the inevitable sale of naming rights to the arena.) The Clippers name is a legacy from the team’s former incarnation, adopted as a name when the Buffalo Braves moved to San Diego in honor of the sailing ships in the San Diego bay. Of course, there’s a rich tradition of Los Angeles sports team keeping nicknames that are not relevant to L.A.–the Lakers name was kept after a move from Minneapolis despite a lack of lakes in the area, and the Dodgers name was kept after a move from Brooklyn despite a total lack of trolley dodgers in the area. Even the Rams name is a legacy from the team’s former incarnation as the Cleveland Rams. From the Los Angeles Times:

On the roof of the arena — and in clear view of millions of passengers flying into Los Angeles International Airport every year — renderings show a giant Clipper logo.

“Hopefully, by the time we’re done, it won’t be a Clipper logo,” Ballmer said. “It will be some naming rights sponsor.”

And Ballmer would not rule out changing the logo — and the colors, and perhaps even the nickname itself — when the Clippers move into the new arena.

“We have a once-in-a-lifetime chance to really step our identity up another level,” he said. “I don’t anticipate making a change, but we have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and that is the kind of thing you somehow do in consultation with your fans.”

That’s not exactly a ringing endorsement of the name. But if the Clippers snare a championship with Kawhi Leonard and Paul George in the fold, look for the name to stay.

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