LA Times- Matias Testi would appear and Jordan would invariably ask the assistant equipment manager to fetch a piece of clothing or maybe some lotion. Testi faithfully retrieved the item, even if he did occasionally dawdle or mutter something under his breath.
To the uninitiated it might have resembled a mild hazing ritual, but there was always a playful undercurrent between Testi, Jordan and teammate Blake Griffin. Their relationship felt like something out of the buddy comedy "Entourage," with Testi playing the role of the relative nobody along for the ride with his celebrity friends during dinners and other outings.
That friendship unraveled Saturday when Griffin repeatedly punched Testi during an altercation at a Toronto restaurant, resulting in a broken bone in Griffin's right hand that is expected to keep the All-Star forward out for an additional four to six weeks at a time when he had already missed a month because of a quadriceps injury.
Would you look at that, this story really care together perfectly. Okay well, not for Blake Griffin, Matias Testi, or the Clippers, but it definitely came together perfectly for me. Turns out this was just an emotional eruption between friends. That doesn't make Blake Griffin right. He's a professional athlete that lives a blessed life, and he can't be compromising that by injuring himself fighting with team employees. Seems like an easy enough agreement to adhere to. Make millions and don't punch people half your size. Blake Griffin should be ashamed of himself. He let his temper get the best of him -again- and it has resulted in another 6 weeks (at least) on the bench in a suit. He deserves all the criticism he is undoubtedly receiving and hopefully it helps him to change his ways in the future.
With that said, the fact that these guys weren't just friendly but actual friends makes this story far more relatable. Friends fight sometimes. That's nothing new. Generally there is a decidedly smaller difference in organizational power between two people that choose to engage each other physically, but that doesn't mean the same dynamic isn't at play. You spend the better part of a year interacting with someone you're close with and that someone is bound to piss you off. The friendship that exists between an equipment manager and a professional basketball player is unlike any that we have experienced. If your friend gets on your nerves you just don't call him for a week or two. If Matias Testi pisses off Blake Griffin, or vice versa, he has to hop on a private plane with him and begrudgingly cater to all his wants and needs. Nothing creates animosity like a master/servant relationship, especially one where the parties know each other so well. If you don't think Matias Testi knows exactly what to say to get under Blake's skin when he feels like he is being taken advantage of then you are outside your mind. It doesn't justify Griffin's actions. There is no doubt he looks like a moron, and he should feel like a moron too. However, if you can't understand what it's like to want to punch a close friend then you've never truly had a close friend.