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What year did the LA Clippers start?

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Answered 2005-12-27 02:39:30

The Los Angeles Clippers first came into existence as the Buffalo Braves in 1970. The Braves were one of three expansion franchises to join the NBA that year (the Portland Trail Blazers and the Cleveland Cavaliers were the other two), as the league dueled with the upstart American Basketball Association for prominence. After struggling through their first few campaigns, the Braves soon found playoff success under the coaching of the legendary Dr. Jack Ramsay and high scoring Bob McAdoo. Unfortunately, drastic changes in the organization's ownership during the 1976-77 season threw the team into a tailspin, resulting in back-to-back losing seasons. Following a proposal by then-NBA attorney David Stern, the Braves were allowed to leave Buffalo after the 1977-78 season for San Diego. The deal was a complicated one, as Buffalo Braves owner John Y. Brown traded places with Boston Celtics owner Irv Levin. Levin, a California businessman, was unhappy in Boston and relished the opportunity to own a team in his home state. Levin immediately renamed the club the Clippers due to San Diego's bustling harbor and seaside locale. Under Levin, the Clippers posted respectable records, but could not seem to reach the playoffs due to a loaded Western Conference. In the Clippers' first San Diego season, their 43 victories were impressive, but just shy of playoff caliber. That year, six Western Conference playoff teams tallied at least 45 victories. After missing the playoffs for the third straight year, Clippers ownership again changed hands as Beverly Hills attorney and real estate mogul Donald T. Sterling purchased the team in June of 1981. Despite the play of new additions Tom Chambers and Terry Cummings, the Clippers continued to struggle in San Diego over the next few seasons. Injuries plagued the team and box office numbers plummeted. Finally, with attendance averaging fewer than 4,500 fans per game for the third consecutive season, Sterling moved the team north to Los Angeles in 1984. On November 1, 1984, the Los Angeles Clippers debuted at the Los Angeles Sports Arena with a 107-105 win over the New York Knicks. The arena became the team's home for the next fifteen seasons, during which the franchise snapped a playoff draught, hired NBA legend Elgin Baylor as Vice President of Basketball Operations, and landed 2 #1 overall draft picks in a 10 year span. The 1998-99 campaign marked the Clippers' final season at the L.A. Sports Arena as the team again changed addresses. In 1999-00, the franchise moved just up the street into the new state-of-the-art STAPLES Center in downtown Los Angeles. Since making the transition to STAPLES, the team has broken attendance records in each year of its residence and has added a crop of talented young players that have dazzled Los Angeles crowds.

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