|From now on, he's just Darrell. (Getty Images)|
You probably have no idea who Darrell Bailey is. But Clipper Darrell? You know exactly who that is.
He's the most visible, most loyal, most supportive Los Angeles Clipper fan there is. He's been a fixture at home games for the last 15 seasons. Through all the bad, very bad, and super bad, Darrell has stuck with them staying positive and upbeat.
So wouldn't it be the most Clipper thing ever that when they finally get relevant and have a bunch of bandwagon fans jumping on board, that they'd pick on what of their most loyal and vocal fans?
Unfortunately, that's exactly what they've done. Clipper Darrell is losing his first name. Now, he'll just be "Darrell." Via Clipper Darrell's blog, in a post titled "I AM DEVASTATED!!!":
It is with great sadness that I must report to all those in NBA NATION that I have been told by Clipper management they no longer want me to be Clipper Darrell, a name that was given to me by the media because of my unwavering support and team spirit. I am devastated!!!!So to recap, the Clippers have never had a problem with this over the last 15 years, but now that they're good and relevant, they do? Yep, all that talk about the Clippers organization moving forward from the past -- all crap. That free publicity Darrell gave and all that support in the past doesn't count, I guess.
I have been a season ticket holder for over a decade and a FAN for over 15 years and have dedicated a major part of my life to support the Clipper organization and it’s players no matter what the season’s outcome. Over the years (400 home games) I have gone to great lengths to show my appreciation and loyalty in my attire, the car I drive and in my very own home. I’ve taken seriously the mantra of being “Clipper Darrell” in performing community service, mentoring young children and my participation in outreach programs. I’ve appreciated the struggles of the team to overcome obstacles as I’ve done in my life.
I felt vindicated for all the years we as Clipper fans have gone through trials and tribulations and NOW we have a team that can win it all. Yesterday was the hardest day of my life, I felt powerless as a fan, as I was stripped of my identity however, no one can take away my heart and the love I have for my team!
From the organization's point of view, with the rise of the Clippers as a more visible franchise, Darrell is trying to capitalize on it too. He's selling Clipper Darrell merchandize such as wristbands and shirts. With the brand building, the Clippers weren't willing to just let Darrell keep on with it.
Media Bistro has some more details:
According to Bailey, the Clippers offered him an additional free season ticket if he dropped the Clipper nickname.The backlash has been fierce already, with support piling in for Darrell. Blake Griffin tweeted, "Bring back #ClipperDarrell." DeAndre Jordan tweeted: "I love Clipper Darrell....#ClipperDarrell." Chris Paul tweeted at Darrell, "WE GOT YOU!!!"
“That’s when everything went haywire and they said I was trying to make money off sponsorships,” Bailey added. “If people are going to pay me to do some things, why not do it? I don’t see any harm in it as long as I’m not hurting the brand itself. I’m going to high schools, charity events, I do it all. They told me at the end of the conversation that, ‘We would like you not to be Clipper Darrell anymore and would like you to go back to Darrell Bailey.’”
Not entirely sure what CP3 and others can do other than make their voices heard, but it's not a good look for the Clippers. For an organization trying to move past the stereotypes of being incompetant and sad, they are taking two steps backward.