Jamal Crawford/Associated Press file photo
PLAYA VISTA – Jamal Crawford stood at the dais Tuesday afternoon at the L.A. Clippers’ training facility. He was named NBA Sixth Man of the Year for a record third time earlier in the day. At 36, he became the oldest to win the award, breaking his own record when he won it two years ago at 34.
Crawford was asked how he can still look like he’s 25 on the court.
“Well, my wife (Tori) makes me drink a lot of water,” Crawford said. There were laughs from the large gathering, which included Crawford’s wife, their two children and Crawford’s mother.
“It’s more about not cheating the game, being in love with the game,” Crawford said.
Crawford averaged 14.2 points, 2.3 assists and 26.9 minutes during the regular season for the Clippers, who are currently in the playoffs and will take on Portland in Game 2 of their first-round series Wednesday night at Staples Center; the Clippers lead 1-0.
Crawford also won the award in 2009-10 with Atlanta and 2013-14 with the Clippers, whose coach – Doc Rivers – put Crawford’s third such honor in perspective.
“To be the only guy to score a certain amount of points in the NBA – (Kareem Abdul) Jabbar – the only guy to get a lot of assists – (John) Stockton, I mean, when you become the only guy in history, that means a lot,” Rivers said.
To Crawford, his individual success is not so individual.
“It’s always weird being up here by yourself, honestly, because this is truly a team award,” he said. “If you think about it, I made some shots, but I couldn’t have done it without being drawn plays or if I didn’t get the ball in the right spot from my teammates and the picks weren’t set.”
Crawford’s teammates took in the ceremony. Blake Griffin talked beforehand about what Crawford has meant to the team.
“Jamal’s impact on our team goes so far beyond what you can actually see,” he said. “It’s the things in the locker room, it’s the calming presence on the bench, the steady hand. And in a lot of ways, this award I think means so much to guys in this position because a lot of those guys who are sixth-men could go anywhere and probably start on a lot of teams.
“So I think we as a team value Jamal so much and it’s great to see him get that recognition from other people for his impact on our team.”
Crawford tallied 51 first-place votes and 341 total points from a panel of 130 sportswriters and broadcasters. Andre Iguodala of Golden State finished second with 33 first-place votes and 288 points and Enes Kanter of Oklahoma City was third with 19 first-place votes and 182 points.