The first boos DeAndre Jordan heard Wednesday came from a familiar voice.
Longtime Clippers broadcaster Ralph Lawler booed Jordan as the Clippers center boarded the team bus on the way to American Airlines Center. Lawler was kidding, of course, his way of preparing Jordan for the onslaught of fan vitriol Jordan was sure to hear a few hours later in his first game against the team he famously spurned in free agency.
“Thank God he laughed,” Lawler said later.
The Clippers did not hold a customary shootaround before their game against the Dallas Mavericks, although Coach Doc Rivers contended it was solely because his team was playing the first game of a back-to-back situation with a two-hour time change, not to protect Jordan from prying media.
Rivers said he did not see the picture of Jordan with devil horns in the Dallas Morning News that fans could cut out and wear to the game featuring the player who backed out of a commitment to the team in July after five days.
“When did D.J. decide? What was that date?” Rivers said with a laugh when asked about the picture in the newspaper. “It’s a long time ago, that’s all I’ll say.”
Jordan seemed like his fun-loving, easy-going self about an hour before the game but did not speak with reporters.
Mavericks owner Mark Cuban said he decided not to show some parody videos the team had made during the game.
“Entertainment is one thing, but the league is kind of finicky about that stuff,” Cuban said as he spoke with reporters in front of an exercise machine in the back of the Mavericks’ locker room, a towel wrapped around his neck after a workout. “I thought it would have been funny, but there’s just no point. It will stand on its own and the fans have enough to have fun with.”
Cuban said he was not mad or bitter about Jordan’s change of heart but acknowledged he liked to have fun with the situation. Asked about an ESPN promotional commercial featuring Jordan, Cuban said, “That was DeAndre Jordan? You’ve got to introduce me. I don’t know, maybe some day somebody will introduce me to that guy. I don’t know his name. You can tell him I said that.”
Cuban said he would release the texts he saved from Jordan over the summer “if there’s ever a good reason to.”
And what would constitute a good reason?
“You know there’s reasons that make your wife mad,” Cuban said. “Who knows?”
Cuban said he also received texts from other Clippers players over the summer “and those were even more interesting,” but he deleted them.
Rivers reiterated his stance that Jordan’s only responsibility in free agency was to make the right decision, not go about it in a particular way.
“We can argue over how he did it and which way,” Rivers said. “But I have to ask you, if you’ve made a decision and thought, you know what, I want to go to the other place, but you still had time, would you?
“If this was our kids, we would tell our kids, ‘Please get over this. This happened.’ ”