The Day that Changed the Los Angeles Clippers Franchise

By Michael Stephenson
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

One year ago today was December 25, 2011. It was another Christmas day fulfilled with tons of joy and basketball, as always. The NBA had more hype than usual going into that Christmas day because it was opening day around the league, due to a lockout shortened season.

One team in particular might have actually entered that day with a little more hype than the others, enter Lob City. The Los Angeles Clippers picked up that clever name just two weeks earlier, after pulling off a blockbuster trade to acquire All-Star point guard Chris Paul from the New Orleans Hornets.

That trade took the entire league by surprise after NBA Commissioner David Stern had vetoed a trade a week earlier, which would have sent Paul to the storied Los Angeles Lakers franchise. The Clippers franchise ended up getting one of the top five players in the world instead and the rest is history.

The Clippers were an exciting team before the trade, led by high-flyer Blake Griffin. That excitement unfortunately didn’t lead them to many wins, but Paul was going to change that. Every basketball fan was excited to see the best point guard in the league playing alongside of one of the most athletic players the league has ever seen. The City of Los Angeles, known as Lakers town, Kobe Bryant’s kingdom, which has bled purple and gold for many years was about to find out that there was actually another team playing in the same city.

Christmas day arrived last year and the new era was about to be introduced to the basketball world. The Clippers were taking on the Golden State Warriors in the last game of the NBA Christmas day schedule on ESPN. It was a national stage that the Clippers weren’t used too, but now a days it’s become pretty common. The Clippers won the game 105-86 and Paul finished with 20 points and nine assists.

It’s been only one year since the Clippers made that highly anticipated debut, but it seems like Paul has been in Los Angeles forever. One year later the lob city nickname remains, they have YouTube highlights that could last you a lifetime, and they own a current 13 game winning streak. In one year Paul has changed the culture of the entire Clippers franchise.

The Clippers will play again during this Christmas, when they take on the Denver Nuggets at the Staples Center in the final NBA game of the day. It’s going to be another Christmas day filled with happiness, love, and basketball.

This will also be the one year anniversary of Lob City, which has brought more joy to the NBA world over that span than any other team in the entire league.

Merry Christmas!

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