The Morning Column: September 9, 2021

The Clippers will break ground on their new $1 billion arena on Sept. 17 with a ceremony at the corner of Century Boulevard and Prairie Avenue, where Church’s Chicken currently is.

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OK, let’s get to it!

1. 🏀 Clippers to break ground on new home

The Clippers will break ground on their new $1 billion arena on Sept. 17 with a ceremony at the corner of Century Boulevard and Prairie Avenue, where Church’s Chicken currently is.

The groundbreaking ceremony will be attended by Clippers owner Steve Ballmer, Clippers players, including Paul George and Kawhi Leonard, Clippers head coach Tyronn Lue, Clippers President of Business Operations Gillian Zucker and Inglewood Mayor, James T. Butts.

Butts told me last month that the Clippers would break ground by the end of the summer, in time for the team to move into their new home in three years. The Clippers said the arena will be completed in time for the start of the 2024-25 season. The Clippers’ lease at Staples Center ends after the 2023-24 season.

The Clippers will also be moving out of their current training facility in Playa Vista in 2024 and into a new training facility built on the site of the new arena in Inglewood. The arena, which will be built across the street from SoFi Stadium and Hollywood Park Casino, will seat 18,5000 and also house the team’s corporate offices and practice facility. The Clippers currently share Staples Center with the Lakers, Kings and Sparks, practice in Playa Vista and have office space in Downtown Los Angeles.

2. 🏈 NFL opens West Coast headquarters in Inglewood

One of the reasons Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry West and other NFL owners wanted to put a team (or teams) on the 300-acre Hollywood Park site in Inglewood was its size and location would be perfect for not only a new football stadium but also the NFL’s West Coast headquarters.

The NFL finally opened its West Coast headquarters before tonight’s season opener between the Cowboys and Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Situated next to SoFi Stadium, NFL Los Angeles is a 450,000 square foot building with 214,063 square feet of office space and 74,922 square feet of studio space. After being located in Culver City since 2003, the NFL Network along with, NFL RedZone and other league properties will be based out of the new building in Inglewood.

The first broadcast from the new studio will take place today when NFL GameDay Kickoff airs at 3 p.m. PT with Rich Eisen, Kurt Warner, Michael Irvin, Steve Mariuci and Cynthia Frelund.  

3. 🐏 Would Rams expand Inglewood footprint?

It seems like Inglewood mayor James T. Butts is at an unveiling or a groundbreaking ceremony for a new venue every week in his city and he’s looking for more.

Heading into the first NFL regular season game at SoFi Stadium on Sunday night between the Los Angeles Rams and the Chicago Bears, Butts said he would like the Rams to consider moving their headquarters to Inglewood. The Rams set up temporary corporate headquarters in Agoura Hills and a temporary training facility at California Lutheran University in Thousand Oaks when they moved back to Los Angeles in 2016. Both have become more than temporary homes five years later and Butts would like the Rams to think about building a more permanent home closer to SoFi Stadium.

“There is definitely one site that is large enough to accommodate a training facility and it is not even half a mile away from SoFi Stadium,” Butts said. “We’ll see what happens but we hope a deal could be worked out.”    

4. 🎥 Ross Greenburg talks about new HBO film   

Former HBO Sports president Ross Greenburg was on The Mightier 1090 AM this week and talked to me about his new film, “Extra Innings from 9/11: 20 Years Later,” which will premiere on HBO Max on Saturday. It’s a moving documentary on how baseball helped New York recover after September 11, 2001.

“The film really was sparked during Game 3 of the 2001 World Series,” Greenburg said. “I was at Yankee Stadium that day, and I had lost my mom on September 9 and I had found my way back to New York and to my family. And I was sitting in the ballpark that day is George W. Bush came out and through that first pitch and the Yankees won and I was walking back to my car and I high-fived 10 policeman. And at that moment I said, I'm living a documentary right now this isn't a baseball game, this has nothing to do with baseball. So from that moment on I knew was a documentary.”

5. 💵 Odds and Ends Powered by Bovada

Here are some odds on Bovada if you’re thinking about placing a wager today:

6. 📆 Sept. 9, 1965: Sandy Koufax’s perfect game

On this day 56 years ago, Sandy Koufax pitched a perfect game against the Chicago Cubs at Dodger Stadium. Koufax, who retired 27 consecutive batters without any reaching base, become just the eighth pitcher in baseball history to pitch a perfect game. It was also Koufax’s fourth no-hitter, which was a record at the time. Here’s Vin Scully’s call of that magical night:

7. 🎂 Happy Birthday J.R. Smith

Happy birthday to J.R. Smith. The former NBA player and two-time champion is turning 36 years old today. Smith won a championship with the Lakers last year in his final NBA season and is now a freshman at North Carolina A&T and is on the golf team. Smith won his first championship in 2016 with LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers and famously took his shirt off at the afterparty in Las Vegas and kept it off through the flight home, the parade the next day and long enough for someone to make a shirt of Smith’s tattooed torso.

8. 🎟 Ticket Time Powered by StubHub 

Here are the “get in” prices for tickets if you’re thinking about going to a game today:

🏀 Connecticut Sun at Los Angeles Sparks – $6

9. 📺 On The Air

⚾️ 10:15 a.m. – Los Angeles Dodgers at St. Louis Cardinals – SportsNet LA

🏀 7:30 p.m. – Connecticut Sun at Los Angeles Sparks – Spectrum SportsNet

10. 📻 The Arash Markazi Show 

On Wednesday’s show, we talked to former HBO Sports president Ross Greenburg about his new HBO Max documentary "Extra Innings From 9/11: 20 Years Later" about baseball's role in helping New York recover after 9/11. 

Listen to The Arash Markazi Show on The Mightier 1090 Monday-Friday from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m., following The Rich Eisen Show. The Mightier 1090 has the second strongest radio signal in North America and can be heard from “Baja to the Canadian Rockies.” You can also listen to the show on SpotifyApple PodcastsGoogle Play and Stitcher.

And please click below to subscribe to The Morning Column at Substack. Please also consider supporting my colleagues at Substack (and former colleagues at ESPN and SI): Marc SteinHenry AbbottChad Ford and Ethan Strauss on the NBA, Molly Knight and Joe Posnanski on MLB, Ariel Helwani on MMA, Dan Rafael on boxing, Grant Wahl and Leander Schaerlaeckens on soccer, Chris Peters on the NHL and Peter Bodo on tennis.

That’s it for today. Talk to you tomorrow!