Clippers players recoil at Donald Sterling’s claim they love him

Clippers power forward Blake Griffin reacts after being called for a foul during Game 1 of the NBA Western Conference semifinals against the Oklahoma City Thunder on May 5.
(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)

Chris Paul and Blake Griffin responded Tuesday to Donald Sterling’s comments on CNN in which he claimed his players still loved him.

Paul and Griffin let it be known that Sterling’s comments during his interview with CNN’s Anderson Cooper on Monday night were inaccurate.

“I don’t know about all that,” Paul said at the Clippers’ shoot-around. “We’re here. We’re focused. I love my wife, my kids, my family, my teammates. Yeah!”

Sterling, who has been banned by the NBA for remarks about African Americans and so is barred from having any contact with the team’s players, said they still loved him.


“Absolutely!” Sterling said. “They know I’m not a racist -- and I’m not a racist.”

Griffin, who has been with the Clippers for five seasons now, disagreed with Sterling’s comments about the players’ fondness for him.

“Throughout the past two weeks, we’re tried to make it as less as possible about that and not about what’s going on with him,” Griffin said. “If you ask every single guy on this team, they’d say they love their family. They love their teammates. That’s who we’re playing for. And that’s really the bottom line.”

Griffin said his teammates “know about” Sterling’s interviews because “it’s kind of hard not to.”

But Griffin also said it had become easier to block out the clutter and to concentrate on the playoffs. The Clippers are tied at 2-2 with the Oklahoma City Thunder in their second-round series. The teams play Game 5 on Tuesday night.

“It’s a lot easier now, to tell you the truth,” Griffin said. “In that Golden State series, it was a little tougher time. But now, we feel like we’re focused.”