Clippers Host Special Olympian; LA Hosting World Games

Rowan Kavner

PLAYA VISTA, Calif. - A Special Olympian got to meet the Clippers and receive a pair of signed Blake Griffin shoes prior to Saturday’s practice.

Head coach Doc Rivers and the players enjoyed their time interacting with Special Olympian Tairek, in advance of the Special Olympics World Summer Games that’ll take place in Los Angeles beginning this July.

“It’s just cool to see a smile on his face,” Griffin said. “It’s the same for our guys, anyone who walks over there and talks to him walks away feeling better. It’s really cool. It’s a neat thing.”

The Special Olympics mean a lot to Rivers, who’s been involved with them for a long time and was a flag carrier when the Special Olympics took place in Connecticut.

“We need the excitement in this city, and we need people to come out,” Rivers said. “Kids from all over the world are coming. We’ve got to get our hands in this, I think everybody in L.A. This is a really neat thing for the city of L.A., to showcase the city of LA, but more importantly for these kids.

“The neatest thing is the pure stuff you get from the kids. They tell you the truth. There’s no filter, and their joy is amazing. They want to win, but a lot of them want to finish. It says a lot. I’m deeply involved, and I think it’s awesome that it’s coming to LA.”

Tairek’s last name wasn’t provided because the Special Olympian is only 14 years old. He said the players were bigger and taller than he could’ve imagined.

He not only got to meet the players, but he got to gather the team together before practice and guide the players in putting their hands together to break the group down with a “Special Olympics” chant.

“Meeting Tairek is nice,” Rivers said. “Meeting all those kids; every time you meet a kid. At our golf tournament, they had a kid doing putts for us. He actually happened to make our putt, which is amazing since we all missed it. They’re amazing people. They have an amazing spirit and they have amazing toughness.”

Chris Paul said it’s a privilege to get to meet a child such as Tairek, and Paul looks forward to the World Summer Games coming to Los Angeles.

“The kids that are going to be here, they have dreams just like us all,” Paul said. “Just an honor and a privilege to get a chance to spend some time with (Tairek) and talk with him. It puts everything in perspective.”

The 2015 Special Olympics World Summer Games open on July 25, featuring competitions in aquatics, gymnastics, track and field, basketball, soccer and many other sports, involving 7,000 athletes with disabilities from 170 different nations. The most recent World Summer Games took place in Athens, Greece in 2011.

Omaze will also soon be offering a raffle for a VIP Clippers experience. By donating a minimum of $10 supporting the World Games, a fan will have the chance to win VIP seats to a game, meet the team and receive apparel. The Games are expected to bring as many as half a million people to the greater Los Angeles area from late July to early August.