Unstatable is a newsletter about the new Clippers arena.

The Inglewood Basketball and Entertainment Center — some background:

There are three major pro sports tenants at Downtown LA’s Staples Center whose seasons overlap:  the Kings (hockey), the Lakers, and the Clippers. The Clippers, because of the terms of their lease and decisions former owner Donald Sterling made about twenty-five years ago, are the "third" tenant.

That means they get third pick of Saturday night dates, and often play on weekends at 12:30 pm, which players, coaches, and fans all hate; they have to tithe concession and souvenir money sold during games back to the arena (which is run by AEG, the same company that owns the Kings); and they are surrounded by iconography of other teams when they play.

The Clippers look at the development of a new arena as the final hurdle in cementing the franchise's identity and long-term business trajectory in the Los Angeles basin. Steve Ballmer, who is the wealthiest owner in American pro sports with a net worth of 60+ billion dollars, is financing the entire Clipper arena (price tag: 1 billion), the Inglewood Basketball Entertainment Center (IBEC). Seeking to end litigation against the arena’s development, Ballmer has also purchased the nearby Inglewood Forum — the Great Western Forum back when it was the Lakers’ home court — for $400 million, and pledged $100 million to Inglewood for housing loans and grants.

Meanwhile, Inglewood residents are not so certain that the city, which is also opening a 300-acre football stadium and attached mixed-use campus on the parcel adjacent to IBEC, needs another arena. Volume 2 of this newsletter will explore their concerns, the aspirations of the Clippers and the city of Inglewood, the history of stadium and arena development in LA, and how professional sports fit into the ongoing transformation of South LA.

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Unstatable, Volume 2

Making this newsletter — reading planning documents, interviewing the people involved, and of course writing — takes time, and it is my plan to keep Unstatable free to the public. There are two ways you can help.

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About the author

Louis Keene is a writer and lifelong Clipper fan whose work has appeared in New York Magazine, The New York Times, Jalopnik, VICE, SB Nation, and elsewhere. In 2019, he completed his Master’s in Urban Planning from the USC Price School of Public Policy with a focus on transportation and infrastructure. He lives in Los Angeles.

You can contact Louis by email at louis[at]unstatable.com.

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Reporter, Writer, 6th man