David Griffin called a news conference with a specific goal in mind.
Advocate for Zion Williamson.
Just minutes after the New Orleans Pelicans released news of their All-Star’s fractured left ring finger, which will likely sideline him for the rest of the season, the Pelicans executive vice president spoke to the gathered media and delivered a message fit for a political stump speech.
The goal was to drive home a single conclusion: Zion Williamson deserves more respect.
“We told the NBA through every means available to us, through sending in film, through speaking to everybody in the officials department, everybody in basketball operations that the way they were officiating Zion was going to get him injured,” Griffin pleaded in his opening salvo. “Quite frankly, he’s injured because of the open season that there’s been on Zion Williamson in the paint. He has been absolutely mauled in the paint on a regular basis to the point where other players have said to him, ‘I’m going to keep doing this to you’ because they don’t call it.
“There is more violence encouraged in the paint than any player I’ve seen since Shaq. It was egregious and horrific then. The same is true now.”
It was an attention-grabbing moment. Griffin arrived at the news conference with a purpose, not merely an update to provide.