“The Last Dance” has commanded the NBA community’s attention over the past few weeks, the perfect storm of nostalgia combined with a captive audience. A new documentary series about a pivotal moment in Clippers history has a chance to make its own mark next week.
The Quibi series “Blackballed” premieres on May 11, as you may have noticed from multiple commercials during Sunday’s airing of “The Last Dance”. “Blackballed” doesn’t center around a legendary individual, however; its focus is on the infamous Donald Sterling, specifically the five days after the audio of him speaking to V. Stiviano leaked.
Sterling was widely known to be a repugnant human being who presided over a truly awful stretch of basketball in Clippers franchise history. But the audio that surfaced on that fateful April 25 proved to be a turning point, as Sterling was banned from the NBA within five days. The documentary will track what happened in the time between those two events.
The Clippers were in the midst of a playoff series against the Golden State Warriors and contemplated boycotting Game 4 to make a statement against the racist attitudes put forth by Sterling in the leaked audio. They ended up making a silent protest by warming up with no Clippers logos visible on their gear, but the actions of Doc Rivers and the players resonated around the league. It was a moment in time I’ll never forget, and I’m sure many Clippers fans feel the same.
ESPN released “The Sterling Affairs” in 2019, a five-part podcast series about the scandal that brought down Sterling. Hopefully, this documentary shines some new insight into what the Clippers organization went through during that climactic period.
On to the links...
- While the NBA works to bring the 2019-20 season back, they still haven’t figured out how to protect older individuals who are at greater risk for illness from COVID-19.
- The league has officially postponed the NBA Draft lottery, originally scheduled for May 19, and the Draft Combine, which was to be held from May 19 through May 24. The NBA Draft is still scheduled for June 25.
- The NBA G League will have improved travel conditions in the 2020-21 season, including separate rooms for each player and a $15 increase in per diem. In related news, the G League was reportedly voted on the creation of a union last week.
- The Clippers are reportedly working with the other California NBA teams to be a part of Stage 2 of Governor Gavin Newsom’s plan to re-open the state.
- With “The Last Dance” on everyone’s mind, Hoops Habit considers if Paul George is the new Scottie Pippen.
- And speaking of gambling, Lou Williams stands to win some money during the quarantine. Make sure to read the whole thread.