Before the secretly recorded tapes found their way to the public, Blake Griffin had his doubts about Donald Sterling. In a column penned for The Players' Tribune, Griffin talks about his uncomfortable relationship with the former Clippers owner, including how Sterling sometimes treated Griffin like a novelty.
Griffin describes how, at Sterling's annual White Party in Malibu in 2009, Sterling led Griffin around to all the party guests, holding his hand and introducing the young star to the billionaire's friends.
Griffin says that Sterling would engage in a question-and-answer to demonstrate to his friends how a young kid from Oklahoma was adjusting to life in Los Angeles.
"At one point, a guy who had clearly been to a bunch of these parties turned to me and said, 'Just keep smiling, man. It’ll all be over soon,'" Griffin writes.
Griffin says that when the tapes came out documenting Sterling's racist comments toward black people at Clippers games -- even criticizing Magic Johnson -- the Clippers star was shocked, but not surprised.
The forward also insists that when the team did proceed to play in last year's NBA playoffs, they did so for themselves and their fans -- not for Sterling's benefit.
"For people to ever think we were playing for Donald Sterling is comical," he writes.
While his characterization of Sterling is that of a "weird uncle," Griffin sounds happy with new owner Steve Ballmer, who he describes as a "cool dad"-type that wants to win at all costs.
As for Sterling, Griffin wasn't exactly happy to see him walk away with $2 billion. But he also recognizes that with the Clippers taken away and his reputation tarnished, money is about all Sterling has left.