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Laurence Fishburne to star as Doc Rivers in new LA Clippers mini-series


clipped, LA Clippers TV series, ed o'neill, laurence fishburn

One of the most controversial ownership regimes in NBA history is being re-lived through a star-studded production. Here’s everything we know about Clipped.

In the early 2014s, the LA Clippers seemingly had everything they needed to win an NBA Championship. Chris Paul was their All-Star point guard, Blake Griffin their young superstar in the making and Jamal Crawford was dynamite off the bench. JJ Redick and DeAndre Jordan led a stellar supporting cast.

On the court, the pieces were there, even if the performances weren’t. When they didn’t get in their own way, the Tim Ducan, Gregg Popovich and Tony Parker-led San Antonio Spurs, or the Russell Westbrook, Kevin Durant Oklahoma City Thunder, did.

Then, it all came crashing down. Donald Sterling, who’d owned the franchise since the early 1980s, became embroiled in a sickening racist scandal ultimately resulting in the tycoon receiving a life ban from the NBA.

Based largely on a 30-for-30 podcast titled ‘The Sterling Affairs’, a press release announcing the series to the world explained it would explore ‘the collision between a dysfunctional basketball organisation and even less functional marriage, and the precipitating tape’s impact on an ensemble of characters striving to win against the backdrop of the most cursed team in the league’.

For some, this story is widely known. For others, that aren’t in the loop, will find the events jaw-dropping. Regardless of where viewers land on that spectrum, the new series titled ‘Clipped’ will be a fascinating affair.

Here’s everything we know.

clipped, la clippers, donald sterling
Former LA Clippers owner Donald Sterling caught up in a moment with Chris Paul | Clipped

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What you need to know about the LA Clippers TV show, Clipped

When will it air?

June 4

The series will be released at the beginning of June, just in time for the NBA Finals, which kick off on 7 June. In the states, the show will air on Hulu. Down under, that’s yet to be confirmed.

How many episodes will there be?


The series will play out over six episodes. Coincidentally, this is the same number of games it took the Oklahoma City Thunder to knock the LA Clippers out of the 2013-14 Western Conference semi finals.

Who’s starring in it?

Laurence Fishburne will star as former LA Clippers coach, Doc Rivers, who currently presides over the Milwaukee Bucks. Fishburne has previously starred in Apocalypse Now, Boyz n the Hood, John Wick: Chapter 2 and the Matrix trilogy.

He will be joined by Modern Family’s Ed O’Neill, tasked with playing Sterling, and Australian Jacki Weaver, who portrays Sterling’s wife, Shelly. Cleopatra Coleman will play V. Stiviano, Sterling’s assistant at the centre of the scandal, while Chris Paul will be played by J. Alphonse Nicholson.

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Is there a trailer?

So, what’s the real story behind the series?

In April 2014, infamous Hollywood news site, TMZ, released a recording of a conversation between Sterling and his mistress, Stiviano. Taken in September 2013, the file voices Sterling, furious at a photo Viviano took with Magic Johnson, an iconic figure at the LA Lakers, the Clippers’ closest rivals.

In the recording, Sterling shares some rather unsavoury, disgusting racist remarks we don’t intend on resharing.

As a result of Sterling’s comments, a series of events transpired, many of which will likely make their way into the series. Firstly, the LA Clippers players and coaching staff discussed potentially boycotting Game 4 of their first round playoff series against the Golden State Warriors.

Though deciding against a boycott, the Clippers players wore their shirts inside out in protest of Sterling’s behaviour. The Clippers would go on to lose that game 118-97, though win the series 4-2.

Several former NBA stars strongly criticised Sterling’s comments. As did then-US President Barack Obama, who labelled them “incredibly offensive racist statements.”

The LA Clippers lost many of their main sponsors too, while the Miami Heat, at the time led by Lebron James and Dwayne Wade, wore their jerseys inside out as a sign of solidarity with the Clippers.

clipped, la clippers, chris paul, blake griffin, deandre jordan
Blake Griffin (left), Chris Paul (middle), DeAndre Jordan (right) | Clipped, LA Clippers series

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Four days after the recording was released into the world, Sterling was on the receiving end of one of the harshest bans in NBA history. In addition to becoming one of the few people permanently banned from the NBA, Sterling was fined $2.5 million, banned from entering any Clippers facility and attending any NBA games.

Later that year, the LA Clippers were sold to Steve Ballmer in a deal worth $2 billion, then the second-highest amount ever paid for an American sports franchise.

Kyle Robbins
Kyle Robbins
Kyle is a senior sports writer and producer at Only Sports who lives and breathes sport, with a particular burning passion for everything soccer, rugby league, and cricket. You’ll most commonly find him getting overly hopeful about the Bulldogs and Chelsea’s prospects. Find Kyle on LinkedIn.

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