He broke the news via his blog and Twitter. The L.A. Clippers had pressured Bailey into removing the ‘Clipper’ from his now famous nickname. Clipper Darrell was no more: “It is with great sadness 2 say this that I have been told by@LAClippers front office that they no longer want me 2 b Clipper Darrell.” Here is the link to his blog post.
Darrell Bailey used to be an electrician. Just a regular guy, doing his 9-5 to make ends meet. Then he was laid off and told he wouldn’t amount to anything, ever, ever. He got home, turned on the TV, and there is was: The media criticizing the much maligned franchise – The LA Clippers. “They’ll never be any good…they’ll always exist within the Lakers shadow.”
It was that moment in time when Darrell Bailey morphed into Clipper Darrell. The name hadn’t stuck yet, but he wrapped his thoughts and personality around the franchise. He began attending games because the his persona had now enveloped the Clippers as well. Told by the media they would never be anything as he was told by his former boss, he decided to take his enthusiasm to the arena.
It all began when the music started bumping and he decided to flaunt his moves. The camera quickly found him in the empty arena and he soon became a mainstay on the jumbotron at each and every home game, dubbed “Dancing man.” Soon thereafter, the Clippers were actually a topic of discussion on sports radio shows around Los Angeles. 1540 AM’s Dave Smith spent tireless nights thinking of a new nickname for the now recognizable Clipper fan as Clipper Darrell – and the rest, as they say, is history.
He was the fans’ voice at Staples Center. He began “lets go Clippers, lets go” and soon the entire crowd would join. While the opposing team was at the free throw line he’d chant “U-G-L-Y, you aint got no alibi, you UGLY.” An icon was born. In 2005, he stepped his game up when he decided on a major wardrobe change: the half-red-half-blue suit to each and every home game. Craig Sager has nothing on Clipper Darrell. Mark Cuban even offered him housing in the Dallas area as well as free season tickets to become Dallas Darrell, the number one Mavericks fan, and he respectfully declined because he didn’t do it for the press, he did it for himself. He formed his identity through his Clippers. He personifies the Clippers; the struggle to become relevant in a city that is built to beat you down.
Despite all that, it’s tough to come to his defense, even though you want to. He embodies what true Clippers fans are. Clipper Darrell became a self-made celebrity in a town like Hollywood where you need to follow protocol to reach that goal. He even painted his car red, white and blue with the Clippers logo front and center. He has the Clippers logo on his front yard basketball court. Clipper Darrell is the Clippers. Struggle, struggle, struggle, push, push, push and eventually you’ll reach the top.
It’s quite perfect timing for this whole debacle to go public as the Clippers lead the Pacific Division (although not by much, anymore), however the Clippers have a fair point. He began using this name to make public appearances at schools, charities, parties around the LA area while, of course, gaining monetary compensation while using the Clipper name. It’s funny that they never seemed to really care, at least publicly, until they are now becoming more of a nationally recognized franchise, though. But that’s neither here nor there.
The Orange County Register reported the truth: “In a conversation with an authoritative and tenured Clippers’ executive last week, he was asked again to either consult with the team on all public appearances and/or commercial ventures, or stop undertaking those opportunities representing himself inappropriately. His response was an offer to stop representing himself commercially in that way and his offer was accepted in principle. The next thing we heard was the baseless claims he has made today and the ensuing media rush to judgment….We have had multiple conversations with him concerning his inappropriate use of the Clippers’ team name and trademark for his own unmonitored commercial gain. We have spoken to him repeatedly about his desire to make public appearances in ways which improperly suggest that he is officially affiliated with our organization. In all cases and over a long period of time, he has consistently rejected our efforts to operate in consultation.”
Regardless, he was still given free season seats by the team to remove the “Clipper” from his name and return to being Darrell Bailey. He took it so seriously, he even dropped the blue and red suit for an all black attire for their first game following the All-Star break against Minnesota. Even Clippers players reacted to the news via Twitter, voicing their support for him.
Any way you look at it, it’s a sensitive subject. This guy has stuck with his team through the worst of times, and now that their at the top of the mountain, he can no longer join them as his alter ego. But he still gets to sit in section 108, he’s still locally recognized as Clipper Darrell, and he still gets to enjoy watching his team thrive. He just can’t have monetary gain from his nickname anymore. I’d take that trade any day.
Celtics Shopping Rondo?
An ESPN report has the Celtics “aggressively shopping” PG Rajon Rondo. Back in December, Golden State rejected a trade that would have sent Stephen Curry to Boston, according to Chris Broussard. Now that Curry’s ankle injuries has become a major red flag, the Celtics are wary about Curry’s long-term durability.
The Monta Ellis Paradox
The Warriors have also had a lot of trade discussions involving Monta Ellis. However, the feasibility of many of these scenarios are questionable at best. Earlier in the week there were discussions of an Ellis trade to the Nets for Brook Lopez, but neither team thinks the player they’d get back is of equal value to what they’d be giving up. Then there was talk Orlando would try to trade for Ellis to appease Dwight Howard even though on Wednesday there were reports that Golden State would not consider trading Ellis unless it was in a deal for Howard. Still following?
Another problem is that Orlando doesn’t really have the assets, including a quality big man, to trade to Golden State for Ellis. A source told Marcus Thompson that “we’re not trading Monta unless we get something really good in return. It would probably have to be an All-Star or that caliber of a player.” Orlando’s only All-Star caliber player is Howard himself.
However, the Ellis rumor (even if it’s a nearly impossible scenario) is an encouraging one for the Magic. Dwight Howard is now involved in the decision making process for Orlando, according to Alex Kennedy, and they’re trying to build around him rather than trade him away.
Hawks Sign Dampier
With Al Horford out, Atlanta is 21st in rebounds per game and 21st in rebound differential. They signed Erick Dampier for the rest of the season, according to Marc Spears, and will hopefully improve their defense and rebounding.
The Players Who Have To Be Dealt
Sheridan Hoops has done a very good job covering the latest trade rumors, and they have come out with the players who must be traded. Players like Andray Blatche, Monta Ellis, Pau Gasol, Kirk Hinrich, Chris Kaman, Shawn Marion and Gerald Wallace were mentioned, but Michael Beasley makes the most sense. Beasley has a large qualifying offer and teams like the Lakers could be interested in a package with Anthony Randolph. Another team rumored to be interested is Boston, who could deal Jermaine O’Neal for Beasley, according to Sam Amico.
Lakers Looking To Build
Los Angeles will be busy over the next two weeks as the Lakers look to improve for the Western Conference playoff push. While they rejected an offer of Michael Beasley for a first-round pick from Minnesota due to the luxury tax, there is still interest in Beasley. There is also interest in Atlanta’s Kirk Hinrich to play PG.