Lily Batum wants the league to know that her husband, Los Angeles Clippers forward Nicolas Batum, is capable of great things on the basketball court — particularly when he’s utilized properly.
After L.A.’s 117-109 win over the Portland Trail Blazers on November 9, Batum’s wife, Lily, took to Twitter to put the league on notice: “This is what happen when you let him play and be himself,” she tweeted shortly after the Clips’ win over the Blazers.
Batum finished that game with a season-high 22 points, but his wife was likely commenting on situations in his not-too-distant past. Was it a knock on her husband’s former team, the Charlotte Hornets? It very well could have been, particularly considering Batum’s history with Michael Jordan’s team.
Batum & Hornets Didn’t End Well
Batum originally signed a five-year, $120-million contract with the Hornets before the start of the 2016 season, and while it went well in the beginning of his tenure in Charlotte, it didn’t end well. He was benched for 15 straight games in February of 2020, and was a healthy scratch from the roster for a solid chunk of that season. The Charlotte Observer even called him “the world’s most expensive cheerleader” back in March of 2020. The 14-year vet played only 22 games for the Hornets that season, averaging 3.6 points, 4.5 rebounds and 3.0 assists.
“I didn’t live up to expectations the last 2-3 years,” Batum told the Observer in 2020, when he was still with the Hornets. “I understand that. I know that.” The Clippers signed him as a free agent in December of 2020, and he has seen a bit of a resurgence since then.
After averaging 6.4 points a game in 27.2 minutes of action in his final two seasons with the Hornets, Batum is averaging 9.8 points a game in just over 28 minutes since joining the Clippers.
Batum Has Become Key Role-Player for Clips
Batum has become a fan favorite in L.A., and the feeling is mutual. It’s clear Nic and Lily Batum are fond of L.A. and Clippers Nation. “Whatever happens, Clippers fans will remain my favorites and in my heart forever,” Lily wrote on Twitter a few days before her husband re-signed with the team, as translated by Mirjam Swanson of The O.C. Register.
Batum signed a two-year deal to remain with the Clippers this summer, and he admitted last season that even he was a tad surprised by his resurgence in L.A. last year.
“When you start like listening all the noise outside, then you say, ‘Maybe I am done, for sure.’ And you come back and you’re playing that well and the team, you’re playing for something,” Batum said this summer, via ESPN’s Ohm Youngmisuk. “I was kind of surprised like, ‘Oh, maybe I’m not that bad, actually.’ So I was kind of surprised sometime and maybe people were wrong about me, and I was wrong about myself maybe.”
The Clippers couldn’t be happier he stuck around a few more years.
“Nico is a terrific player, a selfless teammate and a consummate professional, who lifts us in a lot of different ways,” Clippers president of basketball operations Lawrence Frank said, via NBA.com. “He fit in perfectly from the beginning, and we’re grateful he’s chosen to return.”