Detroit Pistons star Blake Griffin has rebuffed suggestions of him snubbing a handshake from Los Angeles Clippers owner Steve Ballmer ahead of the clash between the two sides on Saturday.
Griffin, who scored 44 points to help his team to an away victory on his first return to the Staples Center, did not look at all keen to exchange pleasantries with Ballmer when the businessman approached him with an outstretched hand after his warmup session prior to the game.
And he left the 62-year-old to his own affairs on the sidelines as he raced into the locker room while Ballmer yelled his name.
Griffin has since explained that he was simply following his pre-game routine, something he says he won't change for anybody.
"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," he told reporters after his big performance, per ESPN's Malika Andrews.
"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 bulls**t. 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."
Pressed further by being asked if he would have shaken Ballmer's hand if he was approached before the warmup, Griffin said he wouldn't answer a hypothetical question.
Blake Griffin addresses not shaking Steve Ballmer’s hand pre-game: pic.twitter.com/faHBCI7fpo— Malika Andrews (@malika_andrews) January 12, 2019
What This Means
Griffin has every right to feel hard-done-by after the manner in which he was traded from Los Angeles. The team made much fanfare of their signing him to a five-year, $173 million deal in July of 2017 but traded him just a few months later.
He was telling the truth about his routine. However, it just seems a perfect excuse for ignoring Ballmer as he could have always checked in with the Clippers owner at another point in time.