Clippers unveil new uniform, logo featuring return of red jerseys, classic script


When the LA Clippers made the 2021 Western Conference finals, it was a breakthrough moment for a franchise that had never been past the conference semifinals since starting in 1970 as the Buffalo Braves. As the team prepared to break ground on Intuit Dome, the new home of the Clippers, there were other plans in development back in 2021 that required a longer and quieter tail of development: what to do about the team’s look and feel.

The Clippers have had memorable looks throughout team history that have been bolstered by relocations to San Diego in 1978 and Los Angeles in 1984. Now, in 2024, the Clippers are ready to debut a new logo and uniforms.

The logo features a new compass rose, one that forms a letter C with an oncoming Clipper ship while the ship creates the points of the four directions. The white uniforms have an updated version of the Clippers script in blue that first debuted in the late 1980s. The blue uniforms have the Clippers sprint in red. And the red uniforms, teased by Paul George on “Podcast P” last month, has Los Angeles in blue script with maritime signal flags on the sides of the jersey.

Clippers president of business operations Gillian Zucker described the process as a “quiet listening tour,” taking into account hundreds and thousands of fans’ input before embarking on a new era starting this fall in Intuit Dome.

“We just gathered a bunch of information, which was, ’Should we?’ Should we change the name? Should we change the colors? Should we change the logo? And if so, what do people want to see? Why would they want us to change it, what would they want it to stand for? How would they want us to be represented?” Zucker told The Athletic. “And we used all of that information and all of that research and we worked with a bunch of experts in order to deliver what we think is the answer to that ask.”

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The Clippers received permission to reveal the new branding during the season instead of during the draft in June because the construction of Intuit Dome has progressed to the point where the new logo will start appearing inside the building. The expectation is that this logo review goes better than the 2015 reveal when the Clippers hastily developed a new logo and uniforms in about a year after chairman Steve Ballmer acquired the team in 2014.

“2015 was a completely different situation,” Zucker said. “There was a big outcry to do something, to just send some kind of very physical representation that this is not the same old Clippers. So I think we were anxious to have a logo change rapidly. That’s not how these processes work. There’s nothing rapid about them. … There were just more constraints than you would have wanted to deal with.

“This time, there were no constraints. We had as much time as we needed. We could talk to as many people as we needed to talk to. We could employ all different sorts of experts. We could do peer reviews, we could do focus groups, we could do research. And we did all of those things. Literally, this is a process years in the making.”

When Zucker spoke to The Athletic prior to last season about possibly changing the team name, Zucker responded that fans were “violently opposed to the idea” of a name change. The team will still be identified as the “LA Clippers” despite “Los Angeles” being spelled out on the uniform. But Zucker did hint that the team was eliciting feedback on what they could do ahead of the 2024-25 season. What the team landed on was an evolution, rather than a revolution, of the team’s identity. A big part of that was making it clear what a Clipper is supposed to be.

“That curiosity was part of what helped inform what type of logo design we should go for,” Zucker explained. “How do we bring all of that into our identity and make sure people do know, ‘this is what a Clipper is’?”

The red uniforms were a big part of what fans wanted back. The Clippers had not attempted to try a red uniform since the 2016-17 season, the last Lob City team with Chris Paul.

“I think fans are going to be really, really excited to have the red back,” Zucker tells The Athletic. “That was something that we had a resounding chorus of, is ‘bring the red back.’ So I think that’s something that fans will really embrace.”

The Clippers looked at multiple teams to avoid certain pitfalls. The compass is intended to “move us forward in the direction that we want to go,” according to Zucker, and the team was careful to stray away from the compass that the Seattle Mariners use. When the Los Angeles Chargers tried to have an LA logo, it was initially too similar to that used by the Los Angeles Dodgers, so the Clippers were sure to have their version stand out.

“We studied a lot of franchises — but you look at the logo of PSG, Paris Saint-Germain, and there’s many people who wear that logo and aren’t even understanding that it’s a European football team,” Zucker said. “They just think it’s cool, and it represents a place they care about. And so we worked really hard on that LA mark to be able to provide that opportunity for fans who are visiting and maybe want a piece of Los Angeles to take with them. And they’ll take with them the Clippers as well.”

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(Courtesy of the LA Clippers)

While the Clippers were not satisfied with how their 2015 rebranding effort went, the franchise took the opportunity to develop looks that resonated more with the fanbase over the years. While the Nike era of uniforms has oversaturated the marketplace with a surplus of temporary uniforms, the Clippers have developed several favorites over the years. The 2021-22 City editions were a hit, along with the Drew League collaboration from last season. Both made it clear how much the classic script had to be a part of the new uniforms.

“We heard ‘script’ a thousand times during our research,” Zucker said. “So you’re seeing the script that’s part of it as well.”

While the Clippers will look to finish this season strong on the court, their future look and feel are starting to take shape. They have the new arena, they have their marquee star in Kawhi Leonard. The Clippers will be hosting the All-Star Game in two years. And now they have a design that should finally help bolster their brand going forward.

“Hopefully everybody can find part of what they love in what we’re bringing them,” Zucker said. “Everything that we’re doing is giving people a connection that they feel that this came from them, that this is for them. Because it is.”

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(Photo: Courtesy of the LA Clippers)





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