Detroit Pistons star Blake Griffin denies he snubbed Los Angeles Clippers owner Steve Ballmer before his return to Staples Center.
Griffin returned to Los Angeles for the first time since he was dealt to the Pistons by the Clippers last year and there was plenty of drama on Saturday.
During pre-game warmups, as Griffin walked off the floor, Clippers owner Ballmer stepped toward him along the sideline and extended his hand.
Griffin – a five-time NBA All-Star – did not even look at Ballmer before breaking into a trot and heading for the locker room.
After the Pistons beat the Clippers 109-104 behind 44 points from Griffin, the forward explained his action was not intentional.
"As soon as I'm done doing my pregame shooting I make sure there's a path and I take off running toward the locker room and I don't stop running," Griffin said. "A lot of you have seen me do that before.
"That's what it was, plain and simple."
The Clippers traded Griffin in January 2018 to Detroit for Avery Bradley, Tobias Harris, Boban Marjanovic, the 12th pick in the 2018 NBA draft and a 2019 second-round pick.
Griffin later said the trade "stunned" him, and at his introductory press conference in Detroit said, "I want to play for an organisation that wants me to play there and clearly this was an organisation that wanted me to play here."
Griffin, who had been the Clippers' first overall pick in the 2009 NBA Draft, had just signed a five-year, $171million deal with the team before last season.
The 29-year-old forward is averaging a career-high 25.1 points and 8.3 rebounds.