Although the Los Angeles Clippers have called the City of Angels home for the last 17 years, the team was originally called the Buffalo Braves. From 1970-1978, this professional basketball team was, in the early years, under the leadership of Hall of Fame coach Dolph Schayes. The NBA had wanted to expand their fan base, so they played 16 of their home games from 1971-1975 in Toronto, Ontario at the Maple Leaf Gardens. Although most first year teams have losing seasons, the Braves finished 22-60. Unfortunately, they never fully bounced back. The Braves were never known as a “winning team”.
In 1978, the team moved to San Diego, where their first year fared much better. They ended that season 42-39. It wasn’t good enough to land them in the playoffs, and it was their last winning season for 13 years. They now had attained the name “Clippers”, which stayed with them when they made their next move. Gene Shue was the new Head Coach, and although they did manage to snag center Bill Walton, who had played for the Trail Blazers two years earlier, it wasn’t enough to bring them success. Walton was frequently out due to foot injury and was unable to salvage a win for the team. In 1982, Donald Sterling bought the team for $20 million. The last two seasons at San Diego, they only managed to sell an average of 4500 Clippers tickets to each game.
In 1984, the new Los Angeles Clippers began playing at the Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena. Jim Lyman was their head coach, and they ended that first season with a disappointing 31-51 finish. The fans seemed to latch onto the team, however, and they did attract a supportive fan base. There have been several coaching changes throughout the years, including the introduction of Larry Brown as the new Head Coach in January of 1992. Brown had been fired from the San Antonio Spurs. They made the playoffs while under Brown’s leadership. However, another coaching change was about to take place. Bob Weiss became the new coach during the ’93-’94 season. That only lasted a year and yet another coaching change was announced.
In 2001, they began to rebuild their name and their team. They were determined to build a solid team with a winning coaching staff. Bad blood between the players, as well as injuries plagued the team despite their best efforts. The 2005-2006 season took them back to the playoffs, which delighted fans as well as the team’s owner and management. It was somewhat of a turning point which they had been hoping for. In 2006, they won their first Playoff Series in 13 years. The next several years saw more struggling, but a new rebuilding began in 2009. This team is nothing if not persistent and determined. Their loyal fans continue to purchase Clipper tickets in the hope to once again see them in the Playoffs. Although not always a winning team, the Los Angeles Clippers have proven they can keep on fighting despite some pretty rough challenges.