LOS ANGELES — Walking through the halls of Staples Center has been a routine Farbod Esnaashari has repeated at least 500 times over the last decade. 

His journey started way back in 2012 as an intern for the team.

"I used to be the one to put the shirts on the seats like you see right now," Esnaashari said. "I used to be the one to pick the contestants for the halftime contests."

After working for the Clippers for a couple of years, his career went in a different direction. Now, he covers the team as a reporter for Sports Illustrated. So, Esnaashari truly appreciates what getting to the NBA Finals would mean for the franchise, as a man who journeys to every home game from Orange County. 

"That's thousands and thousands of miles and thousands of hours of commuting," Esnaashari explained. "It would just make it all feel worth it."

The Clippers were two wins away from their first-ever Western Conference Title before losing Wednesday to the Phoenix Suns. The eyes of the basketball world were on Los Angeles before the team's exit from the postseason.

ESPN's Dave McMenamin has been a national reporter for 10 years, and despite Wednesday night's disappointment, he thinks times have finally changed for the franchise. 

"When Kawhi Leonard could have chosen the Lakers, but chose the Clippers — and the fact they are coming back from the demise of last season when they had a 3-1 lead in the playoffs and are now finding something here just says something about perhaps some of the curse, the spirit, or the bad juju of the Clippers leaving the building," McMenamin said.

Esnaashari has had an up-close and personal view of the transformation, first as a member of the organization and now a journalist. He understands what the fans are going through.

"I just hope they know (though) it seems like nobody else is a Clippers fan, and there are other ones, and it's a very, very special breed of people that I just think deserves a special shoutout," he said.