Tommy Lasorda answered his calling to be Los Angeles Dodgers manager nearly 40 years ago. He was the right man, at the right time, for the job. But even now, at 86 years old and pushing 20 years since he was a skipper in the big leagues, he's still got it — no matter the sport.
Lasorda shared his gifts with the Los Angeles Clippers at Phoenix on Tuesday night, and it helped them beat the Suns 104-96 after turning the game around with a 37-18 third quarter.
The Dodgers train in nearby Glendale, Ariz., so Lasorda and others — such as players Matt Kemp and Joc Pederson — went to the game at U.S. Airways Arena. During a timeout shortly after halftime, Lasorda made his way from his courtside seat to where the Clippers were huddled near their bench. Emboldened by the friendship he has with Clippers guard Chris Paul, who sits near him at Dodger Stadium for baseball games, Lasorda broke into an impromptu pep talk.
Not one for brevity, Tommy’s speech lasted a little longer than the timeout would allow. With the game beckoning, Dodger fan and All-Star Chris Paul escorted Tommy to his seat, so that the game could continue.
We asked Tommy what he said to the Clippers. While he wouldn’t give us his exact words, here’s what we got:
“I just kind of said something to them,” Lasorda related. “I told them I’m proud of them. I said, ‘The second half belongs to us!’ I talked to (Blake) Griffin, I told him he’s a star and he hasn’t scratched the surface yet. People pay a lot of money to see you play, so you better come out and play!”
Lasorda was right. And it's a good thing the Suns listened to Tommy. Asking Lasorda what he would have thought of the Suns performance, had they won, would have gotten a NSFW response.
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