DENVER, CO – The 2023 NBA Finals features two teams in the Denver Nuggets and Miami Heat who took drastically different paths to the championship round. Former Los Angeles Clippers center DeAndre Jordan is hoping the NBA championship will finally be his after eluding him for multiple seasons.
Jordan has played 15 seasons in the NBA and has had a number of postseasons cut short just when his teams appeared to be serious championship contenders. After falling short with the L.A. Clippers and Brooklyn Nets, Jordan isn't taking any of this NBA Finals experience for granted.
“It's surreal and it's exciting,” Jordan told ClutchPoints in an exclusive interview Saturday. “It's humbling to be in this position. I've had situations at times where I thought, ‘hey, this is the year. This is the year.' We just got a little bad luck whether it be injuries or whatever, and we ended up coming up short.
“But just now to be able to be on the last two teams standings and fighting for a trophy, it's an amazing feeling. And after winning Game 1, you feel even better. But we're not satisfied. We'll be satisfied once we win three more games. It's gonna be a battle. It's gonna be tough, but it's the Finals. It's supposed to be.”
Jordan played sparingly for the Nuggets in this 2022-23 season but has taken on a very serious and respected role as a veteran and leader in the locker room. In a recent story written by Denver Nuggets beat writer Mike Singer, it became increasingly clear DeAndre Jordan and Jeff Green have become staples in the locker room and guys that have gotten superstar Nikola Jokic to open up even more.
“Nikola has a lead-by-example kind of voice,” Jordan told the Denver Post. “I always compare that to a guy like Tim Duncan. He doesn’t really want to ruffle feathers or use his superstar status.”
Over the last several weeks, Clippers fans have been incredibly supportive of both Reggie Jackson and DeAndre Jordan. Both of those players played significant roles in their respective teams' successes with the Clippers, and fans beloved both players for their fun personalities and hard-working attitudes.
When told that there were a number of Clippers fans cheering for the Nuggets because of Reggie Jackson and himself, a smile from ear to ear appeared on Jordan's face.
“Ahh, that's so cool. I love that,” Jordan said. “I got nothing but love for the Clippers, man. It was my home for the first 10 years of my career. I got a lot of relationships. I've done a lot of great things in the organization there. And the community is one that I love and one that I still call home. I would love to win a championship for sure, and I appreciate all the support they're still giving me.”
Jordan played his first 10 seasons with the Clippers after L.A. picked him 35th overall in the 2007 NBA Draft. He played sparingly in his first two seasons but really made a jump in his third season. He would go on to become an NBA All-Star in the 2016-17 season. He averaged 12.7 points, 13.8 rebounds, 1.2 assists and 1.7 blocks per game for the Clippers.
DeAndre Jordan's best chances at an NBA championship were likely in 2015, when the Clippers blew a 3-1 lead to the Houston Rockets, and in 2021, when the Brooklyn Nets nearly defeated the Milwaukee Bucks to advance to the Eastern Conference Finals. In fact, if Durant's shoe was one size smaller, the Nets likely win that round and reach the NBA Finals. In both of those Clippers and Nets playoff runs, injuries played a significant role in the team's downfall.
Despite the shortcomings, his 10 years in Los Angeles taught a 20-year-old unseasoned Jordan how to play the game the right way and develop the skills necessary to turn him into a two-time All-Defensive team member, a three-time All-NBA team member, and a two-time rebounding champion.
“Obviously with teams with Chris, Blake, and myself, those are the times I feel like we all started to excel, and our games got better. We studied the games. We worked more on and off the floor to be successful. The times with those guys were just amazing.”
With one win down and three more to go, DeAndre Jordan expressed his gratitude to Clippers fans once again.
“Thank you, guys, so much for the continued support. I always have love for Clipper Nation. Thank you, guys.”