LOS ANGELES (AP)—A band of Los Angeles Clippers fans has taken to the streets outside Staples Center to show love for LeBron James(notes).
At least 75 Clippers fans in red-and-blue gear waved signs and chanted slogans as they marched up and down Chick Hearn Court on Thursday night in the hours before Game 5 of the Western Conference finals between the Lakers and the Phoenix Suns.
With signs displaying the No. 6, which will be James’ uniform number next year, the fans chanted “We want the King!” and “L-B-J!”
Although the Clippers are a longshot in the LeBron sweepstakes after 17 losing seasons in the last 18 years, they’re among a handful of NBA teams with a combination of salary cap room, a solid supporting cast and a major media market to entice James. The two-time league MVP is eligible for free agency July 1.
The march was organized through Facebook by Darrell Bailey, the self-proclaimed “Clipper Darrell” who taunts opposing teams with clever comments from the lower bowl at Staples Center. Wearing a suit with one blue leg and one red leg, Clipper Darrell marched in front of the pack, shouting through a megaphone.
“LeBron versus Kobe, four times a year!” Clipper Darrell yelled to cheers from his fellow fans.
Most Lakers fans streaming into Staples Center paid little attention to the march, although a few mumbled about disrespect from Los Angeles’ perpetual second-banana franchise.
Baron Davis(notes), Chris Kaman(notes), Eric Gordon(notes) and Blake Griffin(notes) are expected to be back next season with the Clippers, who haven’t hired a coach after the midseason dismissal of Mike Dunleavy, the winningest coach in the franchise’s sorry history. Interim coach Kim Hughes is among the candidates for the full-time job, and is still working at the Clippers’ training complex in Playa Vista.