Hate Arena? ‘It’s not like Staples is a sacred name,’ says Trevor Noah


Trevor Noah wants hardcore fans of the Staples Center name to get a grip as owner AEG Live prepares to rebrand the venue Arena, starting Christmas Day.

On Wednesday night’s “Daily Show,” the late-night host ran a clip of Los Angeles Clippers forward Paul George — a Palmdale native who’s been a Clipper since 2019 — lamenting the change from the only name the place has had since it opened in October 1999.

“It’ll be weird ... You know, I grew up [with] this being Staples and Staples being, you know, the place to play and the place to be,” George told reporters. “It’s kind of, like, just stripping the history here.”

Noah begged to differ.

The Clippers have not embraced Arena, the new name for Staples Center after AEG inked a naming rights deal worth more than $700 million.

Nov. 17, 2021


“I don’t know if you need to get that sentimental, Paul,” Noah said. “You know, it’s not like Staples is a sacred name from the ancestors. It’s a store where you buy 50 packs of binders even though you only need one. Then when you get home, you find out they were the wrong size anyway.

“You don’t need to get that nostalgic about it. It’s a company.”

Noah noted that if people do want to wax nostalgic, all they have to do is wait 20 years until everyone gets used to the name and then “they change that name to Nanobot X Arena or whatever.” Then the next generation can get nostalgic.

What do we know about the company behind the Staples Center’s new name? Here are some things you may have missed.

Nov. 18, 2021

“Back in my day, this stadium wasn’t about the latest fad,” Noah said as a filter of glasses and a fedora descended on his head. “It was about swapping blockchain currencies on a digital market exchange. There was culture attached to it, you know. NFTs.

Noah predicted that advertising and naming rights would ultimately extend further than they already do (on jersey, on the court, during free throws) because if somebody wants to hand over a huge pot of cash — paid $700 million for a 20-year deal — you take it.

“We’re two months away from the NBA selling name rights to the score. It’s gonna be like, ‘And the game ends with a score of 84 to Mountain Dew,’” he said, as a headset filter and an American accent appeared. “‘A big win for the Lakers. Or a big loss. I can’t tell what’s happening.’”


The Staples Center will become known as Arena as part of a new 20-year deal between the Singapore cryptocurrency exchange and AEG, owner of the home arena of the Los Angeles Lakers, Clippers, Kings and Sparks.

Nov. 16, 2021

Noah said he had sold his own naming rights to a guy he didn’t know.

“Do I look like a Trevor?,” he asked. “My real name is Bert Pakowski.”

Meanwhile, sidekick Desi Lydic couldn’t help but giggle.

“I’m sorry, I just can’t stop picturing them removing the Staples logo with one of those giant staple removers. Just a giant claw,” she said. “Sorry — the edible’s kicking in, I think.”