LOS ANGELES -- Just as he has to wait to come into games, Jamal Crawford had to be patient about receiving the NBA Sixth Man Award.
The 34-year-old guard was honored on Thursday, a week later than usual. The delay was caused by the controversy involving team owner Donald Sterling, who was banned for life by the NBA after a recording surfaced in which he made racist comments.
"We’ve known it for a while, but obviously with all the stuff going on we decided to try to let it die down before we gave him the award or he would never be able to talk about the award," Clippers coach Doc Rivers said. "I’m glad we’re finally able to do this."
Crawford became the oldest recipient and the first to win with different teams. He also was honored as the league’s best player off the bench while with the Atlanta Hawks in 2009-10.
"It’s pretty cool," he said during a presentation at the team’s practice facility, with teammates including Chris Paul and Blake Griffin cheering him and poking fun of his suit and tie.
"I didn’t know what a family was on the court until I got with these guys," an emotional Crawford said.
Crawford led the league’s reserve players in scoring this season, averaging 18.6 points. He came off the bench in 45 of 69 games he played in, helping the Clippers to a 57-25 record, their best regular-season mark in franchise history.
Crawford went so far as to say he hopes to spend the rest of his career with the Clippers, an organization roiled by Sterling telling his friend V. Stiviano that he didn’t want her to bring black people to Clippers games.
"As long as I’m with this group of guys and with Doc leading us, everything else will work itself out," Crawford said.
The Clippers had a 31-14 record when Crawford came off the bench this season.