It only took $100. Tobey McIntosh was 9 years old at the time. He headed to the auction table during halftime at the then-Staples Center, something he would do every time he attended a Los Angeles Clippers game with his father. Usually, he would only bid a few dollars and walk away empty-handed. But on this particular day, he decided to use all of his Christmas money to bid on the grand prize, a game-worn pair of sneakers signed by then-Clippers star Caron Butler. Lo and behold, McIntosh finally won. He still has the pair, and they’ve come to symbolize his longtime Clippers fandom.
“Growing up, the only tickets my dad could afford were the Clippers tickets. He always enjoyed taking me to basketball games,” McIntosh tells Complex over a Zoom video call. It didn’t matter that the team wasn’t winning. He viewed the games as a bonding experience with his father that he looked forward to. As he got older, the Clippers team would improve. But the team’s competitive spirit in the down years is what won him over. “At that time, they weren’t the best team. But they still went out there and competed every night. That underdog mentality drew me towards them.”
Today, McIntosh is able to represent his Clippers fandom in a new way with an official clothing collaboration between the team and his brand Crenshaw Skate Club. This is the latest in an impressive string of projects the 18-year-old has been able to release since launching his brand back in 2017 at just 14 years old. Other partners have included heritage labels like Lacoste, along with iconic LA streetwear brands like Carrots and The Hundreds. This partnership is just a bit more special, though. For McIntosh, it’s a full circle moment.
“It feels surreal. If I told my 12, 13-year-old self that I was doing these things, they wouldn’t believe it,” says McIntosh. “I try to think of [collabs] as fulfilling my own dreams because I feel like I don’t really do collabs if there’s no story or meaning behind them.”