On the Road with OGIO: Farewell, Oracle

by Charlie Widdoes
Photography by Tommy Zweibel

It’s the final road trip of the regular season, and the Clippers are on their way to The Bay. There, they’ll get a fourth and final look at their eventual first-round playoff opponent, and a place in NBA history as the last visiting team to play a regular season game at Oracle Arena.

The defending-champion Warriors will move across the bay to San Francisco next season, but not before a nostalgic night celebrating their home of 47 years and the many memories during that time.

In partnership with OGIO, here’s an inside look at the trip through the eyes of the Clippers and their dedicated equipment staff.

The team heads north with heavy hearts as it mourns the loss of L.A. rapper Nipsey Hussle. Montrezl Harrell honors the fallen community activist and hardcore basketball fan as he boards the plane for San Francisco.

It’s a short flight to San Francisco, but travel within the Bay Area presents challenges for any team trying to navigate the trips from airport to hotel and hotel across the Bay Bridge to arena. For this reason, in cities like San Francisco and New York, it’s common to request a police escort to ensure the team arrives to its destination in a timely manner.

“The use of police escort allows the team to navigate during heavy traffic conditions with little or no interruption in travel,” says Hector “The Protector” Ramirez.

“It’s a great venue because of the fans,” says Doc Rivers at his final regular season pre-game media availability at Oracle. “It’s not a great venue because of the building, if you know what I mean. It’s the fans that make this place special.”

The fans, and the memories… On the far wall, you’ll notice the “We Believe” shirt above the hole in the wall caused by Dirk Nowitzki throwing a trash can after the 2007 Warriors’ historic upset of the top-seeded Mavs.

Shaun Livingston, drafted fourth overall by the Clippers in 2004, drops by the Clippers’ broadcast to pay his respects to Ralph Lawler. The two Peoria High School alums share a special bond, and always go out of their way to check in when possible.

Head Strength and Conditioning Coach Daniel Shapiro gets the team loose before the final regular season game at Oracle.

Manager of Team Operations Kyle Rohde sits on the extra bag, or “X Bag,” as it’s called, during play. “It’s hardly used, but incredibly important,” he says. “With the NBA being as physical as it is, jerseys can be ripped, torn, or stained with blood. We carry the X Bag next to the bench in case any of those scenarios occur, we are able to quickly pull a fresh jersey or pair of shorts. Fortunately, we have only gone into the bag once this season when Montrezl Harrell had an excessive amount of blood on his white jersey and shorts in Sacramento – (Director of Team Operations) Max (Reza) and I were able to provide him with a clean uniform directly on-court and he was able to return to the game without missing any playing time. That scenario is exactly why we carry the bag on court with us.”

OGIO is proud to serve as the team’s supplier of high performance travel gear throughout the NBA season and offseason. For more information on OGIO or to shop products, click here.

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