What is the curse of the Clippers? Los Angeles Clippers Playoffs Jinx Continues
The Los Angeles Clippers have never made it out of the second round of the playoffs and they usually fail in the first round or fail in the Western Conference semifinals. This bizarre phenomenon is widely known in Los Angeles as the “Clippers Curse” because the franchise can’t get over the playoff bump, even with good teams over the past decade.
When the Clippers fell 0-2 behind Spida Mitchell and the Utah Jazz in the Western Conference semifinals, everyone at SoCal couldn’t help but talk about the dreaded curse.
“I think we’re doing fine,” said Clippers head coach Ty Lue, who shrugged off discussions of the curse.
“There’s a lot of basketball left,” Kawhi Leonard said after losing Game 2.
In the first round against the Dallas Mavericks, the Clippers rallied 2-0 and 3-2 against to eliminate the Mavs and advance to the semi-finals. The Clippers fell to another 0-2 hole against the Jazz, but they might not be able to recover from that deficit.
The Clippers have never won an NBA championship or a Western Conference title. For die-hard Clippers fans, they would love a championship but would settle for a first appearance in the Western Conference final.
Over the past decade, the Clippers have qualified for the playoffs nine times, but have been beaten four times in the first round and met their fate in the western semifinals five times. Now down 0-2 against the Jazz, the Clippers appear to be eliminated in the semifinals for a third straight season with the Clippers Curse in full effect.
History of the Clippers: Buffalo> San Diego> LA
In 1970, the NBA added a trio of expansion teams. The City of Buffalo received a new team and the Buffalo Braves entered the NBA for the 1970-71 season as a member of the Eastern Conference in the Atlantic Division.
In 1978, the owners of the Buffalo Braves and Boston Celtics traded their franchises. New Braves owner Irv Levin has moved the Buffalo team to their new home in San Diego. They renamed the team name and the San Diego Clippers were born in 1978 as a member of the Western Conference. In the early 1970s, San Diego had a team called the Rockets, but they moved to Houston, so they were looking for a professional hoop team.
|1970 to 1978||Ox Braves|
|1978 to 1984||San Diego Lawn Mowers|
|1985 to today||LA mowers|
In 1982, Levin sold the Clippers to Donald Sterling, a Los Angeles real estate developer, for $ 12.5 million. The NBA rejected his request to move the Clippers to LA, where they already had the Lakers.
In 1984, Sterling went ahead and moved the Clippers to LA without league permission. The NBA sued Sterling, but Commissioner David Stern dropped the case when Al Davis of the Oakland Raiders won his case to move the Bay Area Raiders to Southern California.
Sterling’s dismal era
Under the miser Sterling, the Clippers were known as the worst franchise in the NBA in the 1980s and 1990s. Sterling often won the “worst owner in professional sports” polls. He made James Dolan of the New York Knicks a lovable character.
Sterling nickel and all greyed out, especially team travel. Its strained relationship with the players made the team unwelcome to free agents. He often bragged about how little he spent on payroll.
In 2014, Sterling was embroiled in a huge scandal when he was caught making racist remarks on tape. The NBA banned him for life, which they wanted to do since he first bought the team in the early 1980s. Fans hoped the Clippers’ curse would be lifted after Sterling sold the team. ‘team. On the contrary, the Clippers’ curse has only intensified.
Steve Ballmer paid $ 2 billion for Clippers in 2014, but fans feared the former Microsoft CEO would relocate the team to Seattle. As the team prepared to move into their own arena near the old LA Forum and new SoFi Stadium, rumors of the “Seattle Clippers” were quieted.
Playoffs: drought, then misery
Between 1974 and 1976, the Buffalo Braves qualified for the playoffs for three consecutive years. They even won a playoff series in 1976.
The Clippers never made the playoffs when they played in San Diego. When they moved to Los Angeles, the Clippers only made the playoffs three times between 1984 and 2006. However, they were eliminated in the first round three times in 1992, 1993 and 1997.
In 1992, the Clippers ended a 16-year playoff drought and advanced to the first playoffs on the West Coast.
The first whispers of the Clippers’ curse began around the turn of the century when the Clippers finally reached the playoffs, but were busts in the first round.
If you ask someone from western New York state, they’ll tell you the Clippers are cursed because of their Buffalo roots. The city of Buffalo is still chasing its first major sporting title. The Buffalo Bills have gone to four straight Super Bowls but have been finalists each time.
Did the spell begin when Donald Sterling bought the team? The stories about the cheap sterling were known. A bus company abandoned the team at Newark Airport because they were fed up with Sterling’s refusal to pay an overdue bill. The players almost went on strike on several occasions.
Doc Rivers rejected the curse and cited bad play as the culprit for the Clippers’ demise during his seven-year tenure as head coach.
“We’re here because we got here,” Rivers said after the Nuggets eliminated the Clippers last year.
Then again, Rivers and the Clippers have gone their separate ways in several disappointing playoff outings. Rivers currently coaches the Philadelphia 76ers, who won the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs and are poised to secure a berth in the Eastern Final.
Another choke job coming up?
Winning in the playoffs is tough enough without mind games ruminating in the heads of players and coaches. The Chicago Cubs and Boston Red Sox finally ended their curses, but fans worked hard for nearly a century before their teams finally won a World Series.
The Clippers nation know they have to get over the bump first before they can even stage a realistic championship race.
|POST-SEASON HISTORY (Since 2012)|
|2012||San Antonio Spurs||Semi-finals lost 4-0|
|2013||Memphis Grizzly||Lost in the first round 4-2|
|2014||Golden State Warriors||Semi-finals lost 4-2|
|2015||Houston rockets||Semi-finals lost 4-3|
|2016||Portland Trail Blazers||Lost in the first round 4-2|
|2017||Utah Jazz||Lost in the first round 4-3|
|2018||missed playoffs||N / A|
|2019||Golden State Warriors||Lost in the first round 4-2|
|2020||Denver Nuggets||Loss in semi-final 4-3|
Between 2013 and 2017, the Clippers were eliminated from the playoffs in five consecutive playoffs after losing a series lead, which also set an NBA playoff record. That horrific run included their epic collapse in the 2015 playoffs after taking a 3-1 lead over the Houston Rockets and quickly suffocating.
The Clippers signed Kawhi Leonard to a hefty free agent contract in hopes he can end the curse. Kawhi won two titles with two different teams, including a championship in 2019 in his only season with the Toronto Raptors.
In Kawhi’s first season with the Clippers, they lost a 3-1 lead to Nikola Jokic and the Denver Nuggets. The Nugs won three straight playoff games and knocked out the Clippers in the western semifinals.
In Kawhi’s second season with the Clippers, he is in a tough spot and loses 0-2 to Jazz. Even with Kawhi on the pitch, the Clippers Curse is in full force.
The Clippers are the first team in NBA history to take a series lead in five straight playoffs. pic.twitter.com/erZVz2RXRP
– SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) April 30, 2017
Little Brother Syndrome: Clippers vs Lakers
The Clippers play in a major media market, but as a secondary team. Franchises that have this big brother / little brother rivalry are often doomed because it bothers their heads.
Professional baseball after WWII had this problem in New York with the New York Yankees, New York Giants and Brooklyn Dodgers fighting for the hearts and minds of baseball fans in Gotham. The Yankees were New York’s best team, so the Giants and Dodgers jumped at the chance to move to California.
The New York Mets joined baseball as an expansion team in the late 1960s, but even though the Miracle Mets won the first of several championships, they will still live in the shadow of the Yankees.
|NBA CHAMPIONSHIPS SINCE 1984|
The New York Jets have had an identity crisis playing at Giants Stadium in New Jersey for many years. The Giants have won multiple Super Bowls, while everyone calls New York’s other football team the LOL Jets.
By the time Sterling moved the Clippers from San Diego to LA, the Clippers became a second class franchise in the City of Angels. LA is the epicenter of show business, but the Lakers were the big stars of Tinsel Town. The Clippers were B-List stars at best and Z-List stars at worst.
As long as the Clippers remain in Los Angeles, they will never attract the same media attention and the same fandom that the Lakers attract. Until the Clippers finally get past the conference semifinals, they will continue to draw negative attention to the Clippers curse.