Gratitude to be working during a time when he said “there’s not a lot of hope.” Gratitude for the opportunity to again inspire, playing the game he loves. Gratitude for his basketball career breathing another life. Gratitude for the opportunity to compete for a championship with the team that, just under three weeks away from the restart, owns the third-best record (44-20) and title odds in the league. “I feel really blessed to be in this situation. In September, I had a freak accident and cut my achilles,” Noah said, referencing an incident in which he sliced his achilles — crucially, not rupturing it — while carrying a steel ice tub, which required six-plus months of rehab. “And you know I told myself that’s just not how I wanted to end my career. So the day after the surgery I was in the gym working out, with the hope of making this team.”
“He looks great,” said Clippers coach Doc Rivers. “I don’t know if this stoppage has helped any single player more than him, because he was not healthy when we signed him, and now he is. And so, you know, I think he’s gonna help us on the floor, but even if he doesn’t, he’s just gonna help us with his presence, and his voice. I think he’ll be invaluable for Zu(bac).”
For the second straight media availability, head coach Doc Rivers was non-committal when asked about Leonard’s health status and the team’s plan with his injury management. “I don’t know that yet,” Rivers said of Leonard’s limitations with minutes and back-to-backs. “But no limits. Kawhi is healthy, for the most part. That still doesn’t mean that we don’t want to maintain him and get him through the first eight games and get ready for the playoffs. We want to be smart about this. Not just for Kawhi. It’s with everybody. “But having everybody healthy was more about training camp. I mean, we really did not have a great training camp because we didn’t have enough bodies and enough of our key guys practicing. We have a virtually new team so we needed our new guys to be on the floor, and we didn’t have that ability to do that. This time, for the most part, we’ll have everybody in.”
Storyline: Kawhi Leonard Injury
“We spoke as a team and we decided that our decision, it was going to be everybody or nobody,” Williams said. “And so once we sat down, we decided to take a vote and we just had more things in common and we just decided that we were going to come as a group. So I’m part of the group. “I have a lot of thoughts and ideas of the things that I felt strongly about personally, but I represent a group. I represent an organization; so ultimately that led to my decision.”
Did you have any hesitation about going? What was the thought process behind deciding to go? Patrick Patterson: “For myself, yeah, a little bit of hesitation, just due to a lot of uncertainty, family situations, wanting to be at home with my wife, and then on top of that, just with everything that’s been going on in the world. So do I feel safer in the bubble in that environment, or do I feel safer at home in the environment I can control? Do I trust the NBA to truly put us in the best situation and look out for our best interests? There was a little back-and-forth in the beginning, but, ultimately, having a chance to win a championship and being around my teammates again outweighed the no and was more of a factor toward the yes.”
Storyline: Orlando Bubble
So when you decide, “OK, I’m going,” how do you prepare for this unknown situation and to potentially be in there for three months? Patrick Patterson: “Just being able to adjust on the fly. The [NBA has] been pretty open with us about everything that’s going to be here, everything that’s going to be provided for us, the schedule, the layout, schematics. They’ve been asking us questions. They’ve been taking our feedback, as far as things that we need and things that we want. I feel like each team is different. Each team has players that like to do certain things whenever they’re not playing basketball in their free time, in their spare time. So [they’re] just making sure that they can accommodate each and every individual’s need as a mass, as a whole.”
For you, and for the Clippers in general, what are those things that you guys like doing down there? Patrick Patterson: “For me, I’m a big movie buff. So I think once we’re out of this quarantine situation, being able to go to the movie theater, watch a movie that they provide for us, an early release of a film that comes out in the future. Video games. So having the player-only lounge, and having games, ping-pong tables, all types of stuff set up, foosball and whatever else it may be. Then just peacefulness, quiet. It’s a big resort. So there’s a lot of space. Just being able to go somewhere quiet and just relax, read, just get my mind off of things.”
Patrick Patterson: “For us, we have guys that love to fish. I think it’s well known Paul George is a huge fisherman. Same thing with [Montrezl Harrell]. So they love to be out on the water, having access to boats. I think they have a couple of lakes here. Some guys enjoy playing spades, booray, card games, or whatever it may be. So being sure and having tables to provide for that. Some guys love old-school video games, arcade style, so they have an arcade here. Outdoor things, too—trails, bike trails, and courses to be able to go biking on.”
Storyline: Orlando Bubble
Until this season, Kuzma, having spent four years in college, was older than most of his teammates. In this new scenario, Kuzma keeps himself grounded by looking around the league. “I just look at Kawhi Leonard for an example,” Kuzma said of the All-Star forward, citing his early days in San Antonio with veteran stars Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker. “He was a Spur for three, four, five years, whatever it was, waited his time behind Duncan, Ginobili and Parker, and did his thing. So I just take away progression mindset to get better every day, focus on what I can control, and my time’s coming.”
Not long after billionaire Steve Ballmer purchased the Clippers in 2014, coach Doc Rivers still was getting to know his new boss. “What do you do now,” Rivers asked the former chief executive of Microsoft, “other than own the Clippers?” “His answer was incredibly simple, but shocking,” Rivers recently recalled. “He said, ‘I give money away.’ It made me sit up, like, well, pardon me?” The money went to education, Ballmer told him. That led to the topic of inequity in schools, which led to racial injustices felt nationwide. Helping find solutions for such systemic issues had become the “life’s work” for Ballmer and his wife, Connie, Rivers was told.
When the Ballmers founded Ballmer Group, their philanthropic organization, five years ago, it was to improve the lives of children and families. But alarmed by 2017 research showing Black boys and men in the United States face the most difficulty moving up, or staying near the top, of the economic ladder, the couple said that focus was broadened to include “acknowledging structural racism and working to fight it,” Connie Ballmer said. As part of its larger focus on economic mobility, Ballmer Group says it has given more than $300 million alone in the last three years to fund the work of more than 70 nonprofits working in communities of color from Detroit, where Ballmer was raised, to Seattle, where the Ballmers live, and Los Angeles.
Doc Rivers, a former NBA All-Star player and championship coach, who since 2013 has been the head coach of the Los Angeles Clippers, is looking to shake up his real estate portfolio, quietly listing a beachfront home in Malibu for nearly $13 million. The house was once owned by TV exec Don Ohlmeyer and leased by Backstreet Boy Nick Carter. Property records indicate the former point guard, who led the Clippers to the playoffs last year but lost in six games to the Golden State Warriors, purchased the Spanish-style residence in 2017 for a bit more than $9.5 million. A quick comparison with online listings at the time of his purchase show the four-bedroom and 5.5-bathroom home, located in a prestigious guard-gated enclave, was subsequently renovated in a relaxed, contemporary style that offers panoramic coastline and endless ocean and sunset views.
Storyline: Real Estate
Not long after billionaire Steve Ballmer purchased the Clippers in 2014, coach Doc Rivers still was getting to know his new boss. “What do you do now,” Rivers asked the former chief executive of Microsoft, “other than own the Clippers?” “His answer was incredibly simple, but shocking,” Rivers recently recalled. “He said, ‘I give money away.’ It made me sit up, like, well, pardon me?”
The money went to education, Ballmer told him. That led to the topic of inequity in schools, which led to racial injustices felt nationwide. Helping find solutions for such systemic issues had become the “life’s work” for Ballmer and his wife, Connie, Rivers was told. It was unlike any conversation Rivers had with a team owner in his previous three decades in the NBA. “Wow,” Rivers recalled thinking. “This guy is really invested.”