The Los Angeles Clippers have certainly risen from the basement of the NBA, into a team that many experts say could contend for a championship in 2014-15.
But before the Clippers’ recent run of success, and even before they called Los Angeles home, they began life as the San Diego Clippers. The Clippers were brought to San Diego the same way they were brought to Hollywood, by relocation.
Their stint in San Diego was not a success, even after they brought NBA legend, and San Diego native, Bill Walton into the fold. People never showed up to the games, and the city never had much interest in the team. When Donald Sterling bought the team in 1981, he lobbied the NBA to move the franchise to L.A., and voila! The Los Angeles Clippers were born.
So now that the Clippers are finally out of the dregs of the NBA, and finally among the league’s elite, is it time to reunite San Diego with the Clippers? I mean, for all of their recent success, the Clippers will always be L.A’s “second team,” and will never garner the full respect in Hollywood like their rivals, the far more glamorous Los Angeles Lakers.
Yes, San Diego has the reputation of being a dreck sports town that favors the beach and the outdoors over watching its sports teams. But I believe San Diego would embrace the Clippers. The population is big enough to support a third pro franchise, and it can draw upon fans from nearby Orange and Riverside Counties for fan support.
But atlas, this dream is unrealistic. The city does not have an adequate arena to host the team, and is not in any financial shape to build a new arena. To add injury to insult, the team could also become subjected again to fans staying away from the team, preferring to treat them like their other two pro franchises, as ugly stepchildren.
So in reality, the Clippers will be in L.A. for eternity. But it does not hurt to dream and think what would happen if the Clippers returned to San Diego. I think the city could become a viable NBA market, but then again, people have said the same thing about the Chargers and the Padres, and look at their attendance and fan support.
So yes, the Clippers returning to San Diego is wishful thinking indeed. But it would be cool for the team to return to those navy blue jerseys again.