Steve Ballmer isn't scared to change things. He brought that tech mindset to the NBA, and everything is on the table. Including the name and the logo.
The Clippers are having their best summer in franchise history. The Finals MVP decided to join them and team up with the second runner up for regular-season MVP. A day after officially presenting Kawhi Leonard and Paul George, they released the first renderings of the new arena in Inglewood that should be ready in 2024.
The arena will be privately funded, state of the art and the design features a ball with the Clipper logo going through a hoop. If it turns out anything like the renderings, it will be spectacular. But, there is one thing Ballmer hopes to change by 2024. Like all arenas, they are hoping to get a named sponsor for the arena (via LA Times).
“Hopefully, by the time we’re done, it won’t be a Clipper logo,” Ballmer said. “It will be some naming rights sponsor.”
This isn't surprising as this is an important part of generating revenue. I mean, they share an arena with their LA rival named after an office supply company. But, this question did lead to the name of the Clippers name and logo.
One of the first things Ballmer changed was the logo, and it didn't go well. Here we turn to the worlds leading logo and court design authority, Mr. Zach Lowe and his column from 2015 (RIP Grantland):
It takes about two years for teams to create new artwork, which means we’re probably at least a half-decade away from the Clippers scrapping this — and pretending it never happened. They tried some cool stuff with the monogram and the curved lines, meant to suggest undulating waves, but the only thing you notice is the giant CLIPPERS word in a color the team had never featured.
“It just doesn’t work,” says Mark Fox, a Bay Area designer who has worked on several team logos over the last two decades.
The Clippers used to be The Buffalo Braves, but when they moved to San Diego in 1974 the team officials had a contest and "Clippers" won. A clipper was a type of mid-19th-century merchant sailing ship, designed for speed - often passed through the San Diego Bay. When the team moved to Los Angeles, they kept the name. This may change with the move to Inglewood. (via LA Times)
And Ballmer would not rule out changing the logo — and the colors, and perhaps even the nickname itself — when the Clippers move into the new arena.
“We have a once-in-a-lifetime chance to really step our identity up another level,” he said. “I don’t anticipate making a change, but we have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and that is the kind of thing you somehow do in consultation with your fans.”
While the hope is the Clipper logo will be changed to a naming sponsor, the move to Inglewood presents an opportunity to redesign the team logo and visual identity, and it fits with Lowe's "a half-decade away from the Clippers scrapping this — and pretending it never happened." We definitely hope it happens.
A name change? It would be great to capture something important to the local community, set roots in Inglewood, but to think of Hornets and Thunder - maybe we just stick with the Clippers.