A proposal for a 1993 redesign would have given the LA Clippers a more southern California style.
According to professional designer Conrad Burry and SportsLogos.net, the LA Clippers came to the NBA Creative Services office in 1991 hoping to rebrand. The team was looking to tap into their name, which references the sailing ships that pass through the San Diego Bay, and take on a more nautical theme in logo and color.
The NBA Creative team took that idea and added a more southern California spin to capture the culture of the Clippers new home in Los Angeles. Tom O’Grady, the NBA Creative Director from 1993-2003 told Burry:
“We felt the nautical theme the San Diego Clippers after moving from Buffalo really was less appropriate in LA. The surf and beach culture along Pacific Coast Hwy 1 and that lifestyle inspired us to use a wave; a morphing of the Oakley and Cooper Tires logo…and the color palette of sea foam green, creamsicle orange, black and silver came together as a strong color palette for an LA team.”
Then owner Donald Sterling signed off on their proposal and the league’s creative team put the logo into production, and even went as far as creating uniform prototypes before Sterling shut the whole thing down.
Burry does a fantastic job recreating the potential new-look the Clippers turned down. You can see the full mock-ups here. The look is definitely a creative and interesting departure from the red, white, blue, and black of the Clippers we know today. Of the three mock-ups, we think the black alternate uniform design looks the sharpest.
The sea foam green and creamsicle orange scheme would have definitely fit in the 1990’s era of NBA design that brought bright color choices and bold designs to courts across the league. The basketball-wave logo in orange and sea foam would have made for a killer Starter pullover jacket to rival the popular Charlotte Hornets teal and purple favorite of the day.
The Clippers have tapped into the city and culture of Los Angeles in recent years, partnering with legendary artist Mister Cartoon for the design of their Olde English scripted city edition jerseys. The look is a lot more location appropriate and far less generic than their standard logo and uniforms.
The mid-90s LA Clippers could have looked a lot different if the proposed redesign was seen through until completion. The team could have capitalized on the fashion and style of the times to grab some popularity from kids around the country looking for fresh new jackets and hats. While that didn’t happen, the team has started to further embrace the culture and style of the city of angels, and might look towards a more city-appropriate and original redesign sometime in the near future.