Blake Griffin has played hundreds of games in the Staples Center throughout his career, and some of them were even as an opponent when his Los Angeles Clippers took on their roommates, the Los Angeles Lakers.
But on Saturday, he visited for the first time as a member of the Detroit Pistons. And he was there to make a statement. Griffin poured in 44 points in the game and added eight rebounds, five assists and three steals to help the Pistons get a 109-104 win.
Griffin's monster performance in the revenge game wasn't the only reason people were talking about him on Saturday, though. Prior to the game, as Griffin as going through his pre-game routine, Clippers owner Steve Ballmer made his way to the sideline to shake his former player's hand.
But once Griffin finished his workout, he ran right past Ballmer and continued on into the tunnel. It appeared, at least, that he snubbed the offer from Ballmer.
When he was asked about the incident after the game though, Griffin tried to downplay any drama and said he was simply following his normal pre-game routine.
Griffin's full response:
"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. 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 bullshit. 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."
While this may technically be true, it seems like a convenient excuse for Griffin to be able to ignore Ballmer. And who can blame him?
In the summer of 2018, the Clippers put on a big theatrical show that included a mock retirement of Griffin's jersey before signing him to a massive five-year, $171M deal. Then, just a few months later, they shipped him out of town. It's understandable if Griffin has some hard feelings.
So now, he may not have been intentionally snubbing Ballmer, but he sure wasn't going out of his way to catch up with him either.