Gordon selling humble pie in L.A.

July 3, 2008
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gordonclipsIndiana guard Eric Gordon took his show—which could easily be titled Midwest Manners and Sensibility—on the road to L.A. yesterday.

And while Gordon came across a bit timid, most of the crowd loved him.

Gordon yesterday made his first public appearance in the City of Angeles since being drafted by the L.A. Clippers No. 7 overall in the National Basketball Association draft last week.

Gordon had just signed a three-year contract worth a guaranteed $8.4 million, with an option for a fourth year. But the L.A. media were just as curious to see if what they heard about the home-spun Gordon was real. Some thought it might be too good to be true—a humble athlete who has a tremendous on-court upside.

Any doubt that Gordon was the genuine article was dispelled when him mom began telling reporters about their favorite place in Bloomington to eat—Applebee’s, and how the whole family would go there after IU games.

It remains to be seen how good Gordon will be on the court in the NBA, but his demeanor is so far a big hit in the glitzy city. Gordon, noted a reporter at the press conference, didn’t arrive via a private jet nor was he accompanied by an entourage. And he addressed Clippers executives and coaches as "sir."

His Midwest manners might actually be a big hit with advertisers and the team’s corporate backers, noted one L.A. sports marketer, which could easily double Gordon’s salary in endorsements.

Gordon strolled in to the Staples Center yesterday only accompanied by a single agent, his mom, Denise, and cousin and longtime mentor Richard Bishop.

Gordon plans to live with Bishop and probably settle in Marina del Rey. Bishop was Gordon’s sixth grade teacher and assistant basketball coach at North Central High School.

“He’s a great young man for the city of L.A.,” Bishop told reporters at the press conference. “He’s the type of man you want your young boys to grow up and be like. He’s very respectful, and he’s great in the community. He almost breaks the mold of professionals who are all about me, me, me. He wants to be a good person.”

Gordon addressed the gathering wearing a sleek gray suit with a lavender-colored tie, a noted departure from the flashy suit he wore on draft night. In his comments, Gordon was all business.

“Hopefully, I’m somewhat of a missing piece in getting the chemistry of the team back together for everyone,” Gordon told reporters.

Elgin Baylor, the Clippers’ vice president of basketball operations, said he expects Gordon to contribute in his first season.
  • He's a good guy that took a very unique path through his 1 year at IU. During all the turmoil, the Illinois drama, the Sampson drama, injuries, he was calm, cool, and collected. Never loses his cool, ever. Doesn't bark at the refs, doesn't argue with players, just plays the game and plays it well. It will be a welcome change in a showboat NBA that has one (or 50) too many ego driven thugs ready to snap a ref in half or degrade another player to boost his own game.

    The Clippers are going to see solid, steady, and reliable growth from Gordon. Keep in mind how young he still is, yet built, quick, and basketball smart.

    2 Hoosiers in the first round was positive sign. Not a Pistons fan obviously, but I thought they should have kept DJ. Would have fit in well there and to take 2 mediocre 2nd round picks for DJ was suspect.

    Good luck Eric and DJ!!!
  • If Gordon is a huge success in L.A., and Pacers wheeling and dealing doesn't work out, it could be the undoing of Larry Bird. It wouldn't have been that difficult to trade up to no. 7. Time will tell.
  • I knew Gordon when he was at IU and hung out with him on occassion. I think he will continue to improess people with his midwest values and more importantly, he will be mentioning Indianapolis a low in interviews. This can only be good for the image of the city. I just hope all that glitz and glam does not wear off on him.

    I guess him living with someone whop is familiar with the area and a mentor will help. Surprised he didn't go out and buy a mansion wit his money! Good for him,
  • Who cares about Eric Gordon !!?? He mailed it in during the Big Ten tournament and then left for the NBA. A kid from Illinois who played arguably a half season for IU is not worth worrying about.
  • Steve,

    Gordon is from Indiana, not Illinois.
  • Somebody needs to tell Stuart Scott on ESPN. He went on and on during on-air draft coverage about Eric Gordon, Illinois' Mr. Basketball. Good grief!

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