The L.A. Clippers are ready to leave the Staples Center and become the face of Los Angeles

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There was a time when the L.A. Clippers were so deep in the L.A. Lakers' shadow, they were barely visible.

Since the Staples Center opened in 1999, the Purple and Gold and their neighbouring Clippers have shared the famous arena, but it was the former that got off to an unprecedented start.

In their first three years at their new home, the Lakers won the three-peat behind Shaquille O'Neal and Kobe Bryant. Something tells us the Sacramento Kings won't be bringing three consecutive titles to the Golden 1 Center in the next three years.

Meanwhile, the Clippers languished. They never even saw the postseason until 2006 and then had five more baron years after that until they secured a promising rookie by the name of Blake Griffin.

That was the turning of the tide. The following year, Chris Paul's proposed move to the Lakers was blocked by the NBA and the Clippers promptly swooped in. In the 2011-12 season, the 'big three' of Griffin, CP3 and DeAndre Jordan was born, and the second team in the City of Angels have never looked back.

They have qualified for the playoffs every year since and have won the Pacific Division title - which they contest with the Lakers and Golden State Warriors among others - two times as well.

They have also had higher attendances at the Staples Center than their co-habitants since 2011. Bearing in mind last season was Kobe Bryant's retirement year, that's mighty impressive.

But, now is the time for them to stand alone. Their lease at their current home is up in 2024 and owner Steve Ballmer doesn't want to be the third favourite child behind the Lakers and the Los Angeles Kings anymore.'s Kevin Arnovitz, who broke the news, reported: "The Clippers receives a smaller share of proceeds from suites and club seats than the Lakers and [Los Angeles] Kings [at the Staples Center], according to sources, and a lesser say in scheduling and the overall fan experience at the arena."

So would the Clippers move out of L.A. to make their own mark?

"The Clippers are not going anywhere, ever," Ballmer said at GeekWire Sports Tech Summit in July. "I will die owning the L.A. Clippers in Los Angeles."

We'll take that as a no.

Doc Rivers stirred some controversy a few years ago when the Clippers coach and president decided to cover up the Lakers championship banners and retired uniforms with pictures of Clippers players.

"He can do that?" Lakers guard Nick Young said, per's Dave McMenamin. "For real? That's disrespectful. We got to talk to Doc. He can't have that. We got to do something about that."

But Rivers' rebuttal is all the justification necessary for getting their own home soil.

"The other day I was in a drug store and a Laker fan said, 'I can't believe you covered up our banners, but I was always wondering why you hadn't done it in the past.' It's the Clippers' court and that's the way we feel. Again, it's not a disrespectful thing at all, it's not intended that way at all, it's more that when we play our game it should be about us and only us."

And in 2024, it will be.

DeAndre Jordan
L.A. Clippers
Pacific Division
Western Conference
Chris Paul
JJ Redick
Paul Pierce
Blake Griffin

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