The details were worked out, the contract signed for one year and the veteran’s minimum. Chris Douglas-Roberts was a Clipper.
There was only one thing left to determine: the size of his shorts.
Douglas-Roberts requested mediums from the equipment manager. Uh, mediums? No NBA player had worn that size in recent seasons, so a special order had to be placed.
The short-shorts movement was reborn.
“They can’t get any shorter,” Douglas-Roberts said, his tights protruding a few inches below the bottom of his shorts. “This is the shortest they make these days.”
This will be the first time in his six NBA seasons that the small forward has worn shorts this short. He’s wanted them before but was never able to get them.
Douglas-Roberts wants his fashion to make a statement about his role on the Clippers. He says the shorts will give him the freedom to be an elite perimeter defender.
“They want me to check the best guy and you have to have stamina, you have to be able to move,” Douglas-Roberts said. “I’m not saying you can’t move with bigger shorts, but I feel more comfortable in these.”
Douglas-Roberts, 27, seems fully at ease in what is easily the best opportunity of a journeyman’s career. He’s made four previous NBA stops, never staying for more than two seasons, and has modest career averages of 7.4 points and 2.2 rebounds in 210 games.
This season represents the first time he’s had the security of a yearlong contract since the 2010-11 season in Milwaukee. It’s also the first time he’s played for an NBA title contender.
He spent last season as a lockdown defender for the Charlotte Bobcats while also making a career-best 38.6% of his three-point attempts. He says he made 10,000 three-pointers over the summer to maintain his shooting stroke.
A sprained left ankle that limited Douglas-Roberts over the weekend is not expected to keep him out of the Clippers’ exhibition game against the Golden State Warriors on Tuesday night at Oracle Arena.
He’s brought a fascinating look to the competition to join the Clippers’ small forward rotation alongside Matt Barnes. Douglas-Roberts’ dreadlocks flap as he hunkers into a defensive stance and his goggles protect a previously torn retina in his right eye. His shorts complete an ensemble that produces an instant smile from teammates.
“Guys that are just themselves and believe in themselves,” forward Blake Griffin said, “it’s pretty refreshing in a word full of people who are trying to follow the norm and just trying to fit in.”
Douglas-Roberts’ shorts have sparked admirers among the young, and Olden Polynice, the 49-year-old former Clipper, recently told Douglas-Roberts he liked the revival of a look once made famous by Hall of Famer John Stockton.
“These are the modern-day Stocktons,” Douglas-Roberts said. “We don’t have the real Stocktons. They don’t even make those anymore.”
Sterling drops lawsuit
Former Clippers owner Donald Sterling has withdrawn his lawsuit in Los Angeles Superior Court that accused his wife, Shelly, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver and the league of fraud in the sale of the team.
The move last week came as Sterling’s federal antitrust lawsuit against the NBA continues.
“We believe that we can more efficiently address all the issues in our pending federal action,” Bobby Samini, one of Sterling’s attorneys, wrote in an email Monday.
Sterling filed the Superior Court lawsuit in July in the midst of the probate court trial that eventually cleared the path for Steve Ballmer to complete his $2-billion purchase of the Clippers.
The lawsuit, which claimed the sale process inflicted “severe emotional distress” on Sterling, sought unspecified damages and an injunction to halt the transaction.
A scheduling hearing in Sterling’s federal lawsuit and the NBA’s counterclaim against him is set for Nov. 6 in U.S District Court in Los Angeles.
Bolch reported from San Francisco, Fenno from Los Angeles.