Ralph Lawler's Top 10 Most Memorable Clipper Personalities
11/2/11
10. Cedric Maxwell (1985-87)

Cedric Maxwell

– Only with the Clippers for a colorful season and a half after winning two championships in Boston, but it was a memorable season and a half. He was bringing the ball in bounds in front of my broadcast location with the game on the line one night. I suggested on the air that the ball was likely going to Marques Johnson. Max turned to me – shook his head, "No," and said: "Nixon."

9. Derek Smith (1984-86)

– A sad tale of what might have been. His career was transformed by coach Jimmy Lynam who turned the former Golden State power forward into a shooting guard. He was a bigger, stronger version of a young player named Michael Jordan. Derek was averaging 28.0 points per game when a serious knee injury in 1985 stripped him of his explosiveness. He was never again close to being the same player.

8. Mark Jackson (1992-94)

– Mark was with the Clippers for two very solid seasons in the 1990's. He had been NBA Rookie of the Year in 1987-88 with the New York Knicks and he brought that East Coast swagger to an up and coming Clipper team. No Clipper ever took his job more seriously than Mark Jackson. He is a natural born leader who is finally getting his chance to coach in Oakland with the Golden State Warriors. I think he is a natural.

Mark Jackson
7. Danny Manning (1988-1994)

– A reluctant Clipper when he was drafted 1st over-all by the team in 1988. A series of knee injuries kept him from a possible Hall of Fame career. Still, he was a two-time all-star with the Clippers and later an NBA 6th Man of the Year in Phoenix in 1993-94. A class act all the way.

6. Brent Barry (1995-98)

– He was personality personified when he came into the league with the Clippers in 1995. He was always quick with a quip and a smile. Brent had a very productive 14-year career that included winning a pair of championship rings with the San Antonio Spurs in 2005 and 2007.

5. Ron Harper (1989-1994)

– "Harp" was a stutterer but he never let it keep him quiet. He was fun to be around and players loved playing with him. Later day fans who remember him in Chicago and with the Lakers are surprised to learn he averaged over 20.0 points a game five times in his early years. This guy could play.

4. World B. Free (1978-1980)

Ron Harper &
Danny Manning

– As colorful as the name he adopted after being born Lloyd Free. He was a forerunner for bigger than life stars such as Shaq O'Neal and Ron Artest. Oh, and he could score the basketball. He averaged over 20.0 points a game for eight straight seasons. In his two years with the Clippers in San Diego he logged 28.8 and 30.2 point per game seasons.

3. Elgin Baylor

– Truly one of the game's all-time great players. He later served as General Manager for the Clippers for 20+ seasons. He was named NBA Executive of the Year in 2006. But I will remember him as a master story teller and a man who never turned down a free game of golf. "Elg" told me once he didn't like the game enough to pay for it. He was truly one of a kind.

2. Larry Brown

– I'm not sure there has ever been a better coach of the game of basketball. The Clippers were a disappointing 22-25 when Larry replaced Mike Schuler as head coach in February of 1992. They were a better team the minute the coach assembled them on the practice floor. They won their first five games under Brown and finished the season winning 23 of their final 35. No wonder he is in the Hall of Fame.

1. Bill Walton (1979-1985)

Bill Walton

– He is a Hall of Fame player who became a leading television sports commentator after overcoming a debilitating stuttering affliction. The Clippers made him the game's first $1 million-a-year player as a free agent in 1979. He won two NBA championships and was a league MVP. Still, I will remember him as a great friend and a truly great man who gives more to each and every relationship than he ever receives.


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