Adam Lindner | Sports Editor
When Blake Griffin became an unrestricted free agent this past summer, Los Angeles Clippers executives gave Griffin an extravagant display in an effort to re-sign him.
Griffin was shown a mock No. 32 jersey retirement ceremony in an empty Staples Center one summer night, alongside a “Blake Griffin Museum.” That’s right — the Clippers had prepared separate stations that looked back on Griffin’s career as a Clipper.
Then, after Griffin signed on the dotted line of a five-year, $171 million contract extension with the franchise, Clippers employees donned T-shirts with the inscribed word “Pioneers” appearing below the following figures: Martin Luther King Jr., Muhammad Ali, John F. Kennedy, Barack Obama, Nelson Mandela, Albert Einstein, Abraham Lincoln, Mahatma Gandhi and Blake Griffin.
Yes, it’s as historically ignorant as it seems.
Regardless of the sensibility of the shirt, the underlying sentiment was understood: The Clippers were cementing Griffin, the team’s No. 1 pick in 2009, as the franchise’s G.O.A.T. Had Griffin finished his career with the Clippers, he would have undoubtedly been the greatest Clipper ever.
Shoot, he probably already is.
However, Chris Paul left via a sign-and-trade deal with the Houston Rockets earlier this past summer, effectively discontinuing the Lob City era in Los Angeles.
The Clippers, 25-24 at the time of the Griffin trade, are on the outside of the Western Conference playoff picture looking in.
Severely lacking both young talent and assets, the Clippers saw it fit to make a move to better themselves for the future — especially with a tremendous free agent class coming in 2018.
Griffin, only 28, suddenly became a fantastic trade piece once he signed his five-year deal that didn’t include a trade clause.
But how could the Clippers?
After throwing literally everything that the Clippers had at him in free agency eight months ago, they’re going to take all of that back and send him to Detroit?
That’s almost like what Kevin Durant did two summers ago when he left small-town Oklahoma City for the 73-9 Warriors — if Durant had proclaimed his love for Oklahoma City in a blatant display of affection months earlier.
The hypocrisy that exists in situations like these is abhorrent.
Of course, the NBA is nothing more than a business, but the disdain directed toward players that make decisions like the Clippers recently made is ridiculously delusory.
Spare me your burned jerseys.