Any time someone tells a Donald Sterling story, you can’t help but think “Sterling is just creepy.” In that old guy hanging around the Forever 21 store in the mall kind of way. Then feel like you need to go take a shower.
While the Clippers in unison have said through training camp they are just trying to turn the page on their Sterling past and move forward with new team owner Steve Ballmer, the team’s brightest star Blake Griffin is still telling more creepy Sterling stories.
Griffin is somehow instantly a Senior Editor of The Players’ Tribune, one of Derek Jeter’s post-baseball projects, a platform allowing athletes to tell their own stories unfiltered (and with the spin they want). (Senior editor? I seriously doubt how Griffin spends his days and how I spend mine are at all similar despite the titles.)
In this new piece (well worth your time to read), Griffin is relatively unfiltered about Sterling, and is straight forward about how this was a distraction for the team last postseason. The stories start with the first time Griffin met Sterling, at the annual white party Sterling threw at his Malibu home.
Donald Sterling literally introduced me to everyone. Here’s how he did it, every single time, to every single group of people, while holding on to my hand:
“Everyone, have you met our newest star? This is Blake! He was the number one pick in the entire NBA draft. Number one! Blake, where are you from?”
Then I’d say I was from Oklahoma.
“Oklahoma! And tell these people what you think about LA.”
Then I’d say it was pretty cool.
“And what about the women in LA, Blake?”
It was the same conversation with every group of people. When he would start having a one-on-one conversation with someone, I’d try to slip away, and he’d reach back and paw my hand without even breaking eye contact with the person. Whenever he didn’t have anything left to say, he just turned around and walked us over to the next group.
Griffin goes into how Sterling used to sit courtside and heckle Baron Davis (by the way Griffin, that story did get covered). Griffin goes into how the team decided to deal with all of this through the playoffs last season.
Eventually Griffin gets to his new boss Steve Ballmer, the former Microsoft CEO who spent $2 billion on the team to buy it away from the Sterling Trust. He is excited because here is an owner willing to spend to win — not just on the players but on the other things that go with a first-class organization, such as new training equipment.
At a pep rally for season ticket holders not long after he bought the team, Ballmer was his screaming, crazy self on the stage. People who had seen his schtick at Microsoft shook their heads knowingly. Others of us found it funny.
Griffin says the players ate it up.
All the players thought it was awesome. Personally, I love that kind of crazy. Ballmer wants to win no matter the cost. Donald Sterling didn’t care if we won — at least if it meant he had to spend money….
It’s little bit ironic to me that the media has tried to turn Ballmer into a meme when they turned a blind eye to Sterling for years. Steve is a good dude. He’s like a cool dad who gives you candy. Donald was like a weird uncle.
Griffin and the rest of the Clippers are glad he’s gone. Can’t blame them one bit.