Griffin, who was “stunned” when the Clippers traded him last year, appeared to ignore owner Steve Ballmer’s effort to shake his hand.
The Clippers hosted the Pistons on Saturday for the first time since they acquired Blake Griffin last year, and the drama began even before tip-off.
During pregame warmups, as Griffin walked off the floor, Clippers owner Steve Ballmer stepped toward him along the sideline and extended his hand. Griffin did not even look at Ballmer before breaking into a trot and heading for the locker room.
Clippers owner Steve Balmer was trying to give Blake Griffin a handshake … Blake wanted no part. pic.twitter.com/wgDHx3Hyvr
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) January 12, 2019
The Athletic’s Jovan Buha noted Ballmer called out “Blake! Blake!” as Griffin approached.
After the Pistons beat the Clippers 109-104 behind 44 points from Griffin, the forward explained his action was not intentional.
“As soon as I’m done doing my pregame shooting I make sure there’s a path and I take off running toward the locker room and I don’t stop running,” Griffin said. “A lot of you have seen me do that before.
“That’s what it was, plain and simple.”
You can’t blame Griffin if he did not want to reminisce with Ballmer about his time in Los Angeles, which ended on a bad note. The Clippers traded him in January 2018 to Detroit for Avery Bradley, Tobias Harris, Boban Marjanovic, the No. 12 pick in the 2018 NBA draft and a 2019 second-round pick. Griffin later said the trade “stunned” him, and at his introductory press conference in Detroit said, “I want to play for an organization that wants me to play there and clearly this was an organization that wanted me to play here.”
Griffin, who had been the Clippers’ No. 1 overall pick in the 2009 NBA Draft, had just signed a five-year, $171 million deal with the team before last season. The five-time All-Star had assumed he would be a Clipper for years to come.
The 29-year-old forward is averaging a career-high 25.1 points and 8.3 rebounds.