Respect is hard to come by. Just ask the Clippers.
They are easily the least respected franchise in the NBA.
They are arguably home to the smallest fan base.
Here at Bleacher Report, there are 30 registered fans, with no community leader.
The Oklahoma City Thunder have 12 fans, so I guess it could be worse. But that city is excited for the team.
Even the Seattle Supersonics page has more fans then the Clippers.
I have always said that being a Clipper fan is like being in a secret society. When you see another member of Clipper Nation you get excited, because you know there are not that many people out there.
I have come to the realization that being a Clipper fan is more like playing Magic the Gathering or Dungeons & Dragons. Not many people do it and you get excited when you meet someone else who does. But everyone else who knows you play makes fun of you. Being a Clippers fan in Southern California causes a lot of ridicule from my peers.
I honestly think that even if the Clippers win a championship, they will still have no respect and very little growth in their fan base. Just look where they play.
They play at the Staples Center, which is a nice arena and has great seats. But has anyone else noticed that the outside there are basically just yellow and purple lights?
It seems awfully similar to another Los Angeles team with those same colors.
The stadium is only the beginning, though. I went to a game recently and saw an ad for the Lakers' next home game in the stadium.
The Clippers need to move out and get their own place and actually have a home court to call their own. This is not the Jets and Giants sharing a stadium because, at least there the attendance is 50-50 and the site is neutral to both teams.
I thought of the Great Western Forum being a decent site for the Clippers but two problems arose. First, the Lakers called that home and you cannot earn respect by playing in the Lakers' old stadium. Secondly, a church now owns the buildings and uses it for church services and such, and I do not think it is in basketball shape anymore.
This leads to the only other alternative: The Clippers need to move.
They can go back to San Diego and take on a new moniker. The San Diego Tropics could use a revival, but I don't think Will Ferrell should play. But a move back to San Diego could be a rewarding experience, as the city is already home to lovable losers like the Padres and Chargers.
The problem is finding an arena to play in. A stadium would have to be built and the city of San Diego may not want to pay to bring the team back.
I came up with another great spot to move the Clippers, though. Think of how fans will react when they cheer for the Los Angeles Clippers of Anaheim! The Clippers move a county over to Anaheim. They can retain the LA name and join a city of winners in the Angels and Ducks, who have both won a championship this decade.
Plus, the Arrowhead Pond is already used for basketball. I remember going there for the California High School Basketball Championships a few years back.
Also, a move to Anaheim may get Disney sponsorship and the team could get some huge money behind it. If this happens before 2010, then the Clippers could seriously contend to sign Chris Bosh. However, being owned by Disney may make you popular among the tweens and under-18 crowd, but does it get respect?
Think about when the Angels and Ducks became respectable in their sports. The year the Ducks dropped the "Mighty" from their name they started winning. The Angels changed their Halo Blue uniform and logo and became respectable. The Clippers would need one of these kinds of revivals, but I do not see how it can happen in Anaheim.
This leads to the last place the Clippers can move to while maintaining some sort of their old fan base and remain close to Southern California: Viva Las Vegas!
The Las Vegas Clippers would gain some respect. It would be easy to find funding for a stadium and the cheerleaders would look a whole lot better. The crowd would be much more excited and more celebrities would come to the games. Fans could see Elvis cheering the Clippers and get an autograph from Marilyn Monroe.
The Clippers would have no trouble finding funding because the city has been itching for a pro sports franchise for around a decade. The Clippers could become the Vegas Shooters or Rollers. Vegas would be the best move for the Clippers because they would come to a needy fan base, a lot of big money investors around, and they would be fairly close to their old fan base so fans like me could still go to see a game.
So Bleacher Creatures, what do you think: Should the Clippers move and where?