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I

 

INTRODUCTION

Los Angeles Clippers, professional basketball team and one of seven teams in the Pacific Division of the Western Conference of the National Basketball Association (NBA). The Clippers play in the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California, and wear jerseys of red, white, and blue. The team played as the Buffalo Braves and the San Diego Clippers before moving to Los Angeles.

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FRANCHISE HISTORY

Along with the Portland Trail Blazers and the Cleveland Cavaliers, the Buffalo Braves entered the NBA in 1970 as an expansion team. The team finished both the 1970-71 and 1971-72 seasons with a win-loss record of 22-60.

Center Bob McAdoo joined the team for the 1972-73 season, winning the rookie of the year award even though the Braves finished with another losing record. An outstanding shooter, McAdoo led the league in scoring in each of the next three years, averaging more than 30 points per game. He helped the Braves advance to the playoffs each of those seasons. During the 1974-75 season McAdoo won the NBA most valuable player (MVP) award.

During the 1976-77 season, owner John Y. Brown sold McAdoo’s contract to the New York Knicks, and the Braves quickly dropped out of playoff contention. The team also suffered in attendance, and in 1978 Brown and Boston Celtics owner Irv Levin traded franchises. A California businessman, Levin wanted to own a team on the West Coast. He moved the Braves to San Diego, California, and renamed the club the Clippers. In the 1978-79 season the team posted a 43-39 win-loss record, which stood as its best mark for 12 years.

The Clippers’ roster during the early 1980s featured veterans such as guard Norm Nixon and centers Swen Nater and Bill Walton, as well as talented young players such as forwards Tom Chambers and Terry Cummings. In 1981 attorney and real estate developer Donald T. Sterling bought the franchise, but when the team failed to reach the playoffs and attendance dropped, he moved the club to Los Angeles in 1984. Sterling hired former Los Angeles Lakers player Elgin Baylor as general manager in 1986. Through a series of trades and top draft picks, Baylor rebuilt the Clippers. Larry Brown took over as head coach during the 1991-92 season and helped the Clippers finish with a winning mark of 45-37. Forward Danny Manning and guard Ron Harper led the team to its first playoff appearance since the 1978-79 season. The team made the playoffs again the next season, but Brown then left the club, which dropped to the bottom of the Pacific Division in the mid-1990s.