Doc Rivers Advocates for DeAndre Jordan as First Clippers Jersey Retiree

Charting the Clippers' transformative journey to NBA prominence.

by Zain ul Abedin
Doc Rivers Advocates for DeAndre Jordan as First Clippers Jersey Retiree
© Harry How/Getty Images

In an era when the Los Angeles Clippers are on the verge of transitioning to the Intuit Dome later this summer, the spotlight turns to a significant milestone yet to be achieved by the franchise: retiring a player's jersey.

Among the NBA's ensemble, the Clippers, alongside the Toronto Raptors, stand as the sole teams not to have honored a former player in such a grand fashion. This impending move ignites conversations about who deserves the honor of being the inaugural figure to see their number immortalized in the rafters.

Stepping into this dialogue, former Clippers coach Doc Rivers casts his vote for DeAndre Jordan, a linchpin in transforming the team into a formidable playoff presence. Rivers' endorsement came during his appearance on the "Sloane Knows" show, where he lauded Jordan's foundational role in the team's resurgence.

"I actually think DJ should be the first Clipper jersey retired," Rivers asserted, praising Jordan's accolades which include an All-Defense title, an Olympic Gold medal, and an NBA championship. Highlighting Jordan's loyalty and impact, Rivers added, "He stayed there the longest, was traded, never just left.

So, I think when they open the new arena, they should put DJ's jersey up. I think that would be really cool."

Clippers' Resilient Rise

The Clippers' journey from obscurity to relevance is a story of resilience and transformation.

Initially established as the Buffalo Braves in 1970, the franchise underwent several relocations and name changes, struggling to make a significant impact in the playoffs. It wasn't until the 2011-12 season, with the acquisition of Chris Paul and the emergence of Blake Griffin alongside Jordan, that the Clippers began to rewrite their narrative.

The arrival of Doc Rivers in 2013 further cemented the team's status as contenders. Jordan's contributions during this era were pivotal. Not only did he dominate the boards, leading the league in rebounds twice, but his defensive prowess and efficiency on the offensive end were crucial to the Clippers' success.

Despite the Lob City era's inability to advance beyond the conference semifinals, Jordan, Paul, and Griffin's combined efforts under Rivers' guidance marked a significant chapter in the franchise's history. With Jordan's subsequent championship victory with the Denver Nuggets, his legacy as a Clipper is both rich and deserving of recognition.

As the Clippers look towards a new chapter in the Intuit Dome, honoring Jordan's contributions could serve as a fitting tribute to a player who was instrumental in elevating the team's stature within the NBA.