Blake Griffin: All-NBA performer. Endorser. Comedian. Slam poet. Writer of excellent essays? In his debut for The Players’ Tribune, an athlete-helmed site founded by Derek Jeter, Griffin shows off tremendous writing chops in a story containing first-person anecdotes of the Donald Sterling saga.
As a writer, there’s nothing that makes us more uncomfortable than when a piece is good enough to elicit unavoidable jealousy. Considering this one was written by a NBA superstar, though, a whole new kind of inferiority overcame us while reading it. Seriously, Griffin – just named Senior Editor of The Players’ Tribune, by the way – can really, really write.
Below are a few of our favorite passages from Griffin’s exceptional debut.
On Sterling’s annual “White Party” when Griffin was a rookie:
Donald Sterling had me by the hand. You know that thing elderly women do where they grab the top of your hand with just their fingers and lead you around? That’s what he was doing. We were in Malibu for his annual White Party, and it was the first time I was meeting him since the Clippers had drafted me in the spring of 2009. He led me through the house to the balcony overlooking his tennis court. The whole party was set up out there. White tents. White umbrellas. White cloth. I showed up in all white. Everyone showed up in all white. Then there was Donald, standing on the balcony overlooking it all, wearing all black. “Isn’t this just fabulous?” he said.
On Sterling heckling Baron Davis, a member of the Clippers, while he was shooting a technical free throw:
If you’re wondering how a known racist can own an NBA team without anyone batting an eye, first ask yourself how the owner of an NBA team can scream at his team’s best player in front of thousands of people and hundreds of cameras without anyone even caring.
On Sterling’s ouster:
Someone asked me the other day if I’m mad that he made out with $2 billion for selling the team. Maybe a little bit. But in the end, I’m just happy he’s gone. I think about him pulling me around the White Party in Malibu, and a saying comes to mind: “Some people are so poor, all they have is their money.”
There’s no factoid in Griffin’s story that’s especially noteworthy. We’ve covered all of it before, with the notable exception of Steve Ballmer paying for a piece of training equipment on his first day as owner that Sterling refused to buy for years.
The best writing isn’t always revelatory – it simply weaves a winding story. That’s what Griffin so seamlessly does here. We can’t wait to read more of him at The Players’ Tribune going forward.
What do you think?
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