What is a Clipper? NBA fans question LA’s new ship logo from rebranding announcement

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There’s a new era of Clippers basketball in Los Angeles.

Since Microsoft magnate Steve Ballmer purchased the LA Clippers in 2014, the franchise has made an effort to establish a new identity. Ahead of the 2024-25 season, the Clippers will make a big step in doing so, moving from Downtown LA’s Crypto.com Arena to the brand-new Intuit Dome in Inglewood, Calif.

And with a new home comes new branding.

In anticipation of their move to a new arena, the Clippers unveiled new colors, logos, uniforms and a court on Feb. 26. And while they were revealed midway through the 2023-24 campaign, the new brand won’t be put into use until the 2024-25 season.

With nautical themes abound, the basketball world has not been shy with its critiques and assessments of the new brand. Take a closer look at what it all means.

MORE: Predictions for the final stretch of NBA’s regular season

What is a Clipper?

A clipper, or clipper ship, is “a sailing ship built and rigged for speed, especially a type of three-masted ship with a fast hull form and a lofty rig,” according to Dictionary.com.

With that in mind, the nautical themes of the Clippers’ new branding align with the definition of a clipper ship. The franchise has been known as the Clippers since it relocated from Buffalo, N.Y. to San Diego in 1978.

The franchise kept the nickname when it relocated from San Diego to Los Angeles in 1984. The team’s first logo in San Diego featured a blue background with white triangles representing a clipper ship’s sails.

This current logo features the front profile of a clipper ship but the orientation of the sails has caused many to draw parallels to a cruise ship.

NBA fans, social media react to Clippers rebrand

Those closest to the team saw the need for a rebrand, citing the voice of the fans, who have long desired change.

LA Clippers beat writers Farbod Esnaashari and Joey Linn both provided perspectives gained from the team’s fanbases.

Former Clipper Sam Dekker is also a fan of the new looks.

Others, however, drew parallels to other professional sports franchises. 

The Columbus Clippers, Triple-A baseball affiliate of the Cleveland Guardians, had some fun with the similarities between the two franchise’s logos.

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