The Los Angeles Clippers broke through decades of mediocrity for an exciting six years of high-flying stars. Which 15 players best defined the Lob City era?
The Los Angeles Clippers were the joke of the NBA for the most of their existence. Prior to the 2011-12 season, the Clippers posted just six winning seasons in 42 years of existence, forever the forgotten little brother to the dynastic Los Angeles Lakers. In 2000, Sports Illustrated named the Clippers the “losingest” team in sports history.
That changed in 2011, when the team made the trade for All-Star point guard Chris Paul. Paired with young bigs in Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan, the team suddenly had a bright future ahead of it.
Indeed, the success began immediately, with the team notching its first winning season since 2006 and only its second since 1992. Paul and Griffin were both named to the NBA All-Star Game, the first time Clippers teammates had earned that honor in franchise history.
The six years of playoff runs by the core of Paul, Griffin and Jordan has become known as “Lob City” after a phrase tossed out by Griffin when he heard the news of the Paul trade.
While the team became known for its dunks, they also won 313 games in the regular season, behind just the San Antonio Spurs and Golden State Warriors over that time frame. After making the playoffs just seven times in franchise history, they made the playoffs six straight seasons from 2011-12 to 2016-17.
Despite the regular season success, the team was never able to make it all the way, losing in the first or second round each year. The joy of the highlight packages masked over internal conflict.
Multiple players have spoken out in recent years about the negative environment and all the factors that held the team back. With the departure of Paul in the summer of 2017, the” Lob City” era of Clippers basketball came to an end.
Such a well-branded and successful chapter of a franchise’s history is not without its personalities. This Clippers team was no exception, starting from the top-down. Both former owner Donald Sterling and current owner Steve Ballmer stand out for very different reasons, and the changeover that took place during the “Lob City” era was messy and painful.
Other characters stand out, from head coaches Vinny Del Negro and Doc Rivers to the team’s foils in the Memphis Grizzlies, Oklahoma City Thunder and Golden State Warriors. Chuck the Condor, Brandon Knight, Cliff Paul and the Kia Optima all played a part as well.
Yet ultimately, it was the players who made this run special, and without them there is no “Lob City”. 67 players suited up at least once for the Clippers from 2011-12 to 2016-17. With all due respect to Grant Hill, Chauncey Billups, Randy Foye, Ryan Hollins, Reggie Evans, Hedo Turkoglu, Mo Williams, Stephen Jackson and Lamar Odom, here are the 15 players who defined “Lob City”.