Blake Griffin made his first appearance against the Los Angeles Clippers at Staples Center on Saturday night since being traded to Detroit last January, and he reminded Clippers fans of what they used to cheer for for nine years.
Griffin scored 44 points to go with eight rebounds, five assists and three steals to help the Pistons to a desperately needed 109-104 win. But aside from his monster performance, people noticed a bit of drama before the matchup started.
Clippers owner Steve Ballmer made his way down to the Detroit sideline during the player shoot around as Griffin was finishing his pre-game routine. Ballmer tried to shake Griffin’s hand, but didn’t get to as Griffin continued right past Ballmer to the tunnel leading to the locker room.
— FOX Sports Detroit (@FOXSportsDet) January 12, 2019
However, Griffin downplayed the incident, saying he didn’t intentionally snub Ballmer.
“For nine years now, as soon as I’m done doing my pregame shooting, I make sure there’s a path and I take off running to the locker room,” Griffin said. “I don’t stop running. A lot of you know that. A lot of you have been here for a long time and seen me do that before. I don’t change that for anybody. To tweet out something like that, like what you did, was kind of bull****. You know that. But that’s what it was. Plain and simple. It wasn’t anything planned. Every single game I’ve done this for I don’t know how long.”
“I’m not here to answer hypothetical questions, to be honest,” Griffin then replied if he’d shake Ballmer’s hand in a different setting.
Griffin may still have a sour taste in his mouth over being dealt just six months after he signed a five-year, $171 million contract to stay with the Clippers. However, he now considers Detroit his home and is happy to be with the Pistons.
During the game, a video tribute was played on the scoreboard and met with a nice ovation from the crowd.