Tuesday's night's Game 5 between the Clippers and Warriors was obviously an emotional affair, but especially so for Chris Paul. As head of the NBPA, Paul has been at the forefront of the fallout from Donald Sterling's comments. He has a son who no doubt asked his father about what everyone on TV is talking about, and the Clippers nearly boycotted Game 4 and would have boycotted Game 5 if Adam Silver hadn't dropped the hammer with a lifetime ban and a $2.5 million fine.
But with Drake's song, "Trophies," blaring in the background, the weary Clippers ran out to a roaring standing ovation from a packed house that nearly brought Paul to tears.
"I'm an emotional person," Paul said. "So running out for warm-ups, it took everything not to break down. That is something I will never forget forever."
The Clippers won Game 5 113-103. The Clippers released a statement in support of Silver's lifetime ban on Sterling Tuesday afternoon and posted this image to their website:
Paul was facing enormous external pressure to take a leadership role regarding the situation, but even more internal pressure to resolve his conscience. He worked with Kevin Johnson to develop a strategy, and the situation comes out as a huge win for the team and the players.
But it also shows you the hurt this episode put on so many people, most especially Paul, who signed up as the face of the franchise. Paul's class throughout the ordeal is a reflection on his person and the quality of individuals representing this era of players.