The Los Angeles Clippers conducted a lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered-themed night Wednesday while hosting the Chicago Bulls at Staples Center.
The event was the first of its kind in NBA history. Chicago won, 106-88.
"The LGBT community has been generally ignored by sports teams as they do community outreach and this shows that gays are passionate fans and can help teams sell tickets," Outsports.com cofounder Jim Buzinski said. "It has been awesome for the Clippers to be so proactive and welcoming. Maybe some of us will make the Kiss Cam!"
Clippers Host Equality Night
Fans and supporters who purchased tickets for Wednesday's game received a Clippers Equality Night T-shirt, and a portion of all ticket sales will go to Equality California. Tickets purchased through Clippers.com/equality are offered at a discounted price and will admit fans to a pregame cocktail reception (6 p.m. at Staples Center). Buzinski said 300 such tickets have already been sold.
According to Outsports.com, the NOH8 campaign joined the Clippers for this special event. The first 50 people to arrive at the pregame cocktail reception could have NOH8 photos taken for the campaign.
Esera Tuaolom, a former NFL defensive tackle who came out after his playing career ended in 1999, was scheduled to sing the national anthem.
"The fight for equality in California is an important one, and we are thrilled that the Clippers recognize the LGBT community as an equal and important part of their fan base," Mike Holtz of Equality California told the Clippers.
While this is the first event of its kind in the NBA, LGBT events have been part of Major League Baseball for the last decade. Outsports.com's Cyd Zeigler helped organize a similar event with the New York Mets in 2004.
Los Angeles is experiencing some firsts of its own on the court. The Clippers have won nine straight games at home, the most in their 27 years in Los Angeles. The overall franchise record for consecutive home wins belongs to the San Diego Clippers, who won 11 straight on their home hardwood in 1979.
For the third straight time, resplendent rookie Blake Griffin has won the NBA's Western Conference Rookie of the Month award for January (he's won every month this season). Griffin's January highlight came against the Indiana Pacers, when he scored an NBA season-high 47 points and grabbed 14 rebounds in a win.
Clippers leading scorer Eric Gordon, who was previously slated to be out three to four weeks with a wrist injury, has been upgraded to day-to-day and will join the team for it's upcoming 11-game road trip, which will kick off Friday in Atlanta.
In their last meeting with the Bulls, the Clippers escaped with a 100-99 win in Chicago.