The league-owned Hornets? The north-of-the-border Raptors? The ridiculously bad Bobcats? Nope. If we had to vote for the worst franchise in the NBA right now, we'd have to go with the Los Angeles Clippers.
Sure, the Clips are finally putting a good product out on the floor every night after years and years (and years!) of mediocrity (and, for the record, "mediocrity" is putting it nicely). But they're also proving that success does change some people. Need proof? Well, right now, Donald Sterling & Co. are experiencing a PR nightmare after allegedly asking their biggest fan Clipper Darrell—a guy who has voluntarily supported the Clippers for more than a decade now—to stop using the word "Clipper" in his name. After a writer from the site Bleacher Report tried to get media credentials for a Clippers game recently in order to write a profile on Clipper Darrell and was denied, Darrell reached out to Clippers management to see what the problem was. And he was basically told, "Stop profiting off the Clippers name." According to Clipper Darrell—whose real name is Darrell Bailey—he was also offered one free season ticket if he agreed to stop calling himself Clipper Darrell. Apparently, the Clippers no longer want him associating himself with the team through his name.
Um, WHAT?! This doesn't make a whole lot of sense to us. So, you're telling us that a guy who, again, voluntarily turned himself into the Clippers biggest cheerleader over the course of the last decade can no longer call himself Clipper Darrell simply because Clippers are actually good now and he stands to profit off of it? We call BS. And we also say that if Clipper Darrell wants to make money off of his name, he should be able to do it. If he wants to do a Kia commercial with Blake Griffin, he should be able to do it. If he wants to appear on the cover of Sports Illustrated in his ridiculous red-and-blue Clippers suit, he should be able to do it. And, if he wants to do an interview on behalf of himself about the identity that he's created for himself, he should be able to do. THE GUY VOLUNTARILY CHEERED FOR THE CLIPPERS FOR MORE THAN TEN YEARS! If he hasn't paid his dues and earned the right to use the "Clipper" nickname, who has?
For now, the Clippers are standing pat. Despite support from Clippers players like Chris Paul—and despite the fact that Clipper Darrell routinely uses his name and image to do good for the community—they aren't gonna let dude use the name he's been using for years now. And it's a shame, not only because Clipper Darrell has become an iconic figure in the world of sports, but also because it means that others like him—Hornet Harry? Raptor Rick? Bobcat Bill?—are much less likely to take his approach to the game in other cities.
Then again, should we really be surprised? After all, this is the Clippers we're talking about. And, once again, they've shown why they're the worst franchise in the NBA. Way to go, guys.
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