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Clipper Nation no longer paper bags and Penny Marshall

COMMENTARY — What is the Thunder going to face in L.A., where it must win at least once if it is going to win this series?
by Jenni Carlson Published: May 8, 2014

Watch a Clippers game, and the arena is more uniformly lit.

But even as the Clippers did what they could to make the arena their own, it was still the Lakers’ house. All the championship banners. All the retired numbers. All of that hung in the rafters and over the Clippers.

Doc Rivers thought it was crazy that those Lakers banners were still visible during Clippers games. So, last fall before his first season as the Clippers coach, he asked that the gold and purple banners be covered for their games.

“Listen, I think this is our arena when we play,” Rivers told the Los Angeles Times then. “No disrespect to (the Lakers). But when we play, it’s the Clippers’ arena as far as I know.”

Now, the Lakers’ banners are covered by large panels with photos of some of the Clippers. Jamal Crawford. Blake Griffin. J.J. Redick. DeAndre Jordan. Jared Dudley. Chris Paul. Matt Barnes.

Has it helped the Clippers win any more games?

Probably not.

But it’s a sign of the change in the Clippers’ culture. No more deferring. No more playing second fiddle.

They’re even drawing more Hollywood types these days. Frankie Muniz has become a regular. Kanye West and the Kardashian clan made a cameo appearance earlier this season. Ditto for Kate Upton.

Have they jumped on the suddenly sexy bandwagon?

Have most of the folks who’ve taken to the Clippers?

Probably so.

But if you add the atmosphere that they’ll create to the talented team that the Clippers will put on the floor, Los Angeles will be a tough place for the Thunder to win. It’s no Peake, but it’s no piece of cake either.

Jenni Carlson: Jenni can be reached at 475-4125. Like her at, follow her at or view her personality page at

by Jenni Carlson
Jenni Carlson, a sports columnist at The Oklahoman since 1999, came by her love of sports honestly. She grew up in a sports-loving family in Kansas. Her dad coached baseball and did color commentary on the radio for the high school football...
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