It’s no secret that Los Angeles Clippers owner, Donald Sterling, is a marked man. In the NBA’s crosshairs after tmz.com released a sound recording of him making racist statements to his alleged mistress or girlfriend about not associating with blacks, minorities, or Magic Johnson, all hell has broken loose around the league and in the digital atmosphere. The Twitter, Instagram, and online blogging communities have had many fans calling for the boycott of games by both players and fans. Chris Paul, Blake Griffin, and other Clippers players have also been pressured to take a stand for African-Americans, as well as for all minority groups. Such pressure likely led to their game four 21-point blowout loss to the Golden State Warriors. And after all, can you blame them for dropping an egg like that? Team morale was low, players were confused about who they work for, and most of all, the squad had to figure out what they stood for while trying to focus on a playoff series that they were in the middle of.
Emotions were clearly boiling over despite many players not rushing to speak out on the hideous comments of Sterling. Clips rim-protector DeAndre Jordan led the charge on using his voice and wasted no time on sending a message. On the same day the comments hit his ears, he posted a picture of all black onto his Twitter and Instagram accounts. It had no caption, no hashtag, no catchy acronym, just a simple picture that was profound on several levels. At first glance, his post is similar to the same post used in support of Trayvon Martin. On the other hand, it could have been #6 subtly saying “I’m black, and I’m proud!” However the post is taken, it was a clear response to Sterling’s thoughts and opinions.
The Clippers organization soon followed in their big man’s footsteps three days later and released their campaign to unify the team, as well as the NBA and its supporters. Shortly after the NBA’s new commissioner, Adam Silver, banned Sterling for life from the Association, the Clippers and the league launched their “We Are One” slogan. For a short period, the Clippers’ team website was disabled, with the all black post accompanied by the Clippers logo and the powerful three words emblazoned across the all black background. The slogan quickly caught on with several other NBA teams including the Miami Heat, Sacramento Kings, Portland Trailblazers, and others, who also posted the showing of unity on their team’s website with their respective team’s logo.
During the Clippers game 5 win, the plain yet influential phrase was seen around the Staples center on banners and t-shirts, and was chanted vigorously throughout the night which had fans supporting their team from the opening tip all the way until the clock struck three zeros.
The Clippers definitely noted DeAndre’s silent protest and incorporated it into the action they took. Little did DJ know that a simple post on social media would be the first step in a soon-to-be league-wide stand for harmony and peace among all people. Clearly his urge to complete the small task of clicking a button played a role in his team screaming out against racism, discrimination, and the deprivation of any human being. With the phrase first appearing on the team’s website, as well as their Instagram and Twitter accounts, the organization began its fight back by engaging people on their phones, computers, and mobile devices. In doing so, they provided a battle cry for the team and city to rally around for the remainder of the playoffs, and the rest of their life.