Clippers' 30-year climb to relevance

Donald Sterling bought the team in 1981, then decades of punch lines. Not anymore.

Updated: January 13, 2012, 1:44 AM ET
By Mike Downey | Special to ESPNLosAngeles.com

Los Angeles Clippers tickets? Clippers tickets??? For a Christmas gift? C'mon. Can't be. Wow, just what I never -- I mean always -- wanted! How did you know? I mean, I never expected Santa to bring me a pair of Clippers tickets. A pair of Lakers tickets, sure. (In the $1,000 to $10,000 range, or Best Available.) A pair of Dodgers tickets, you bet. (For $1,000, a McCourt would personally deliver them to your door.) A pair of Angels tickets, any time, any date. (I'm going to Pujolsland!) But a box ...

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