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Clippers’ Jamal Crawford wins first Elton Brand Media Recognition Award

Clippers’ Jamal Crawford wins first Elton Brand Media Recognition Award

A fan high-fives Clippers guard Jamal Crawford (11) after a game against the Utah Jazz on Apr. 8.

(Rick Bowmer / Associated Press)

Jamal Crawford remained in character Sunday when a reporter congratulated him for being the first winner of the Elton Brand Media Recognition Award, given by the local chapter of the Professional Basketball Writers Assn. to the Clippers player most accommodating with reporters.

“That’s on you guys too, so thank you,” Crawford said. “I really appreciate that.”

Crawford is one of the most friendly, engaging and accessible players in the NBA, almost always available at his locker before games while many other teammates remain in a players’ lounge.

He thoughtfully answers even the most inane questions and enjoys engaging in historical debates involving NBA greats.

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Perhaps the only time in his career Crawford had a significant run-in with the media came during his one season playing for the Portland Trail Blazers, the Clippers’ first-round playoff opponent. ESPN reported that Crawford was part of a player mutiny that resulted in the firing of Trail Blazers coach Nate McMillan in March 2012.

Crawford recalled being taken aback by what he read.

“The whole me quitting or whatever or starting a mutiny or whatever was written, I’ve never had that attached to me ever in my life,” Crawford said. “That caught me off guard and sometimes once a person reads something in the paper and thinks that’s what it is, I thought that was a little unfair.”

Leave it to Crawford to praise Portland even after his forgettable season there.

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“I always looked forward to going there being close to home,” said Crawford, who grew up in Seattle. “My family and friends always come down over the years while I’m playing there. It’s a great arena and great fans, so it will be a fun series.”

Money matters

An NBA championship isn’t the only thing the Clippers are chasing. Their bonuses experience a significant bump with each round they advance as part of the league’s $15-million playoff pool.

The Clippers earned $178,501 for finishing with the fourth-best record in the Western Conference, which breaks down to roughly $11,900 for each player on the team’s 15-man roster. They also received $223,864 just for qualifying for the playoffs ($14,924 per player).

There’s a lot more money to be made. Teams that make the second round get $266,369 ($17,757 per player) and teams that qualify for the conference finals get $440,173 ($29,344 per player). The losing team in the Finals gets $1,760,210 ($117,347 per player) and the winning team gets $2,656,422 ($177,094 per player).

Add it all up and each Clipper could earn as much as $251,019 on top of their salary and other bonuses. Players rarely take home the full amount of their playoff bonus, however, typically sharing a portion of their windfall with trainers, video coordinators and other team employees.

That’s the ticket

The Clippers are one of the hottest playoff tickets on the secondary market.

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According to Vivid Seats, a Chicago-based ticket reseller, tickets for the Clippers’ four potential home games against Portland had a median price of $207, trailing only the Houston Rockets ($245), Toronto Raptors ($258), San Antonio Spurs ($312) and Golden State Warriors ($717).

The get-in price for Game 1 was $33, with a median price of $180. If the series goes the full seven games, the get-in price for Game 7 on May 1 is $70, with a median price of $297.

They can afford it

Clippers Coach Doc Rivers joked that Clippers owner Steve Ballmer and Portland counterpart Paul Allen, the longtime Microsoft executives, would have wagered on the series if it was permissible under NBA rules.

“I don’t know if an owner can bet,” Rivers said, “but I’m sure there’s a $1-billion thing here somewhere.”

ben.bolch@latimes.com

Twitter: @latbbolch


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