Dain Blanton, the two-time U.S. Olympic beach volleyball player who won gold in 2000, knows he doesn’t have a path paved in gold as he segues into a sportscasting career that currently finds him as a sideline reporter for the Clippers’ home and road games on Prime Ticket.
Maybe that’s what keeps him pushing forward.
“I’ve loved being around sports my whole life, and with volleyball everything changed,” the former Pepperdine volleyball star told us the other day. “You’d train during the week and be gone on weekends. Every day was different. Covering a team (like the Clippers) is similar in having a consistency in a non-traditional way — some days travel, some days practice, some days off.
“I’ve never wanted to be front of the camera. The draw was more for me to be around sports. Sports has always had a positive impact on my life. And the bottom line, it’s entertainment. I’m trying to convey a message and do it in a comfortable way to bring someone closer to the game. I want to be able to tell you what happened in the huddle or what LeBron James told Blake Griffin as he whispered in his ear.”
Just prior to tipoff at the Clippers-Cavs game on Prime Ticket last Saturday, James called Griffin over for a brief conversation. Griffin had just found out he was going to have season-ending knee surgery, and was in street clothes next to the Clippers’ bench.
After their meeting, Blanton went up to Griffin and asked him what happened, then reported on it during the game.
“He told him to hang in there, get back healthy and be the player he could be,” Blanton told the TV audience. “For a guy like Blake, that must have been a pretty cool experience. That has to be encouraging.”
As week 2 of the 18th annual Best and Worst of the L.A. Media polls come out — our yearly power rankings, if you will — Blanton is in the spotlight again.
== Blanton’s website (www.dainblanton.com)
== Blaton’s Beach Volleyball Database bio (linked here)
== Blanton’s 2008 induction into the Pepperdine Athletic Hall of Fame (linked here)
== A 1998 Jet magazine story on how Blanton is attracting more African Americans to beach volleyball (linked here)