Claim: Blake Griffin smacked around Justin Bieber at a Hollywood Starbucks outlet.
Example:[Collected via e-mail, February 2014]
Did Blake Griffin (L.A. Clippers) really stand up to Justin Bieber at a Starbucks recently?
Origins: On 9 February 2013, the Empire Sports blog published an article positing that basketball star Blake Griffin of the NBA's Los Angeles Clippers had smacked around pop star Justin Bieber at a Starbucks outlet in West Hollywood when the latter "snapped" after he was denied service for being shirtless:
Justin Bieber simply can't seem to keep himself out of trouble.
Police were dispatched this morning to respond to an altercation at a Starbucks in West Hollywood involving some familiar faces.
A barista at the coffee house was apparently confronted by Bieber when he refused to serve the pop star because he wasn't wearing a shirt.
"He came in with no shirt on and his pants hanging down and underwear showing and tried to order a caramel apple machiatto,"
said Joey Goldsmith, the Starbucks barista. "I just told him he would have to put a shirt on if he wanted to order."
That's when Bieber snapped.
According to the police report Bieber started cussing at the barista and threatening to have his bodyguard, "kick his ass."
Fortunately for Goldsmith, LA Clippers star Blake Griffin had been enjoying a drink at a table when he witnessed the altercation and stepped in.
Witnesses at the scene reported that Griffin tried to calm Bieber but the Biebs wasn't having any of it. There was more yelling, and some pushing and that's when Griffin smacked Bieber, knocking him to the floor.
"He smacked the shit out of him," said one witness, "then I saw Justin stumble out of the door looking like he was crying."
By the following day links and excerpts referencing this article were being circulated via social media, with many of those who encountered the item mistaking it for a genuine news article. However, that item was just fictional spoof from Empire Sports, whose stock in trade is poking fun at sports and sports figures. Other recent satirical pieces from Empire Sports include "Russian Athlete Attempts Suicide in Front of Cheering Crowd in Sochi," "Dog Killing Debuts As New Sport in 2014 Winter Olympics,"
and "Tim Tebow Files Lawsuit Against NFL for Discrimination."