Tommy Lasorda is a motivator. The legendary Dodger skipper was never a managerial genius with moves that wowed baseball’s intellegentia, but his players would run through a wall for him. He understood enough that is a limping Kirk Gibson wants to pinch-hit in the World Series you send him out there, but mostly he just got guys to bring it.
Tuesday night he was courtside in Phoenix, not far from the Dodgers’ Spring Training facility, to watch the Clippers take on (and beat) the Suns.
Then during a mid-game timeout this happened, as reported by the Dodgers:
Before Tommy Lasorda made his way to his courtside seat, the skipper stopped at the Clippers huddle to give the team an impromptu motivational speech. Tommy is known for his rah-rah style that extends outside of Dodger baseball into business meetings or even everyday interactions with fans. However, this was during a timeout in a professional basketball game.
Not one for brevity, Tommy’s speech lasted a little longer than the timeout would allow. With the game beckoning, Dodger fan and All-Star Chris Paul escorted Tommy to his seat, so that the game could continue.
That is classic Lasorda, and Chris Paul picks up another assist. So, what did he say?
“I just kind of said something to them,” Lasorda related. “I told them I’m proud of them. I said, ‘The second half belongs to us!’ I talked to (Blake) Griffin, I told him he’s a star and he hasn’t scratched the surface yet. People pay a lot of money to see you play, so you better come out and play!”
Apparently it worked — the Clippers outscored the Suns 37-18 in the third quarter to go on to a 104-96 win.
At least nobody asked Lasorda “What did you think of Gerald Green’s performance?”