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Clippers announcers Lawler, Smith meet with Iranian player

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Clippers announcers Ralph Lawler and Michael Smith, who were suspended for one game this month for comments they made about Iranian player Hamed Haddadi, met with the Memphis center before today’s game between the Clippers and Grizzlies at Staples Center.

The two announcers walked into the Grizzlies’ locker room and held a brief meeting with the 7-foot-2 Haddadi, who last season became the first Iranian to play in the NBA.

Lawler could be heard telling Haddadi that ‘you know we care about you,’ Smith told him that ‘we meant only the best,’ and Haddadi replied through a translator that he appreciated the gesture.

When Haddadi entered the teams’ prior game Nov. 18, Lawler and Smith had a brief exchange about the player in which they included, among other things, a reference to the fictional movie character Borat. After a Clippers season-ticker holder complained about the dialogue, Lawler and Smith were suspended.

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After their meeting with Haddadi today, Lawler said, ‘I reached out to Hamed through his manager a couple of days ago and they said they’d like very much to meet and say hello.’

‘We were really trying to, like, welcome him into the league,’ Lawler said of the broadcast. ‘It just came out awkwardly, was misinterpreted by some, so I just really appreciated the chance to meet with him.

‘He’s a good young man and it’s quite an accomplishment to come from Iran to wind up being in the NBA,’ Lawler said. ‘It’s rather extraordinary. He’s to be congratulated and I appreciate his goodwill here today.”

-- Jim Peltz


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