‘We thought it was over’: Clippers’ plane reportedly struck by lightning in February

The Los Angeles Clippers found themselves in a scary situation in late February. 

When the team flew to Denver ahead of their Feb. 26 game against the Nuggets, their charter plane was struck by lightning, according to an ESPN report.

Players and staffers on the plane immediately thought they were in danger as the plane’s altitude “dropped several times” and shook as it flew over the Pacific Ocean. The engine briefly went silent before working back up to normal speed again, according to ESPN.

Still, Clippers staffers told ESPN that it was one of the worst moments they’ve ever had while flying. 


“Us players, we’re trying to nap away,” Clippers guard Eric Gordon told ESPN of the flight. “Oh, everybody was up after that for sure.”

When the Clippers landed in Denver, players and staffers reportedly noticed a mark on the plane that took some of the paint off from the tail of it. 

Clippers coach Ty Lue couldn’t help but quip about how the event adds to some of the unfortunate events the organization has experienced in recent seasons.

“Our luck was so bad, we even got struck by lightning,” Lue told ESPN.

Los Angeles has certainly had some unlucky events happen since Kawhi Leonard and Paul George joined the team in 2019. The Clippers were having one of their better seasons in recent history in 2019-20 prior to the COVID shutdown, forcing play to stop for a few months before they blew a 3-1 series lead to the Nuggets in the Western Conference semifinals.

A year later, the Clippers were on the verge of avenging their playoff loss from a year prior when Leonard suffered an ACL tear. Los Angeles ended up completing its series win over the Utah Jazz in the Western Conference semifinals but lost to the Phoenix Suns in its first trip to the Western Conference finals.

Leonard missed the entire 2021-22 season with the ACL injury and George missed much of last season as he dealt with injuries himself, causing the Clippers to miss the playoffs.

And the lightning strike also happened during an unfortunate time for the Clippers, taking place before their second loss of a five-game losing streak following the All-Star break.

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Los Angeles has been a bit luckier lately though. The Clippers have won their last three games, helping them move into sixth place in the Western Conference ahead of Wednesday’s slate. They’ve also had both of their stars healthy and available in 14 of their last 16 games. 

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