Featured Gallery, Latest News, NBA / Feb 25, 2011 / 12:30 pm

Blake Griffin Is Challenging Kobe For King Of L.A.

Blake Griffin

Blake Griffin (photo. Rob Hammer)

Few things in life are as certain as death, taxes and the L.A. Clippers’ misfortunes. So excuse me when I say with the most sincerity that a kid from Edmond, Oklahoma, has effectively taken that last tidbit of certainty, cupped its face to his nether regions and slam dunked all over it. I know this, because Blake Griffin showed me so.

From Dime #62:

Time heals all wounds. It must, because in only one half of an NBA season, Griffin has proven any lingering doubters – those that believed he wouldn’t be the same explosive player after last year’s freak, season-ending knee injury – to be certifiably insane. He’s made the second-best team in his new city one of the hottest attractions in the League. He’s must-watch programming, a cultural phenomenon to a nation that has largely seen him only through a SportsCenter/YouTube highlight filter. The Clippers rarely play on national television and anyone outside of Southern California without a League Pass subscription has had to mostly scrape by on TV recaps alone.

Blake is also one of the first NBA megastars born into the Twitter era of instant highlight gratification. In a social media sphere that wants everything as fast as it happens, Griffin is delivering the goods in real time. And in doing so, he has been donned the rookie savior to the basketball badlands that is the Staples Center’s “other” locker room. There was the 31-point, 13-rebound performance in a win against San Antonio, 24 and 18 against Houston in late-December, and the now infamous dunk-a-thon against New York in November where Blake finished with 44 and 15. As our issue went to press, the young fella was putting up 22 points, 12.7 boards and three dimes a game for the Clip Show. The Clippers are set to emerge from the wilderness of futility, and Blake Griffin is the one to lead them.

But maybe we’re asking too much of the kid. The Clippers are cursed after all, right? In 1988 they drafted Danny Manning No. 1 overall, who tore his ACL his rookie season and was never quite the same. Ten years later the Clips took Michael Olowokandi No. 1 in ’98 over the likes of Vince Carter and Paul Pierce. Then the Clippers next franchise No. 1 pick, Mr. Griffin, missed his entire first season to a broken left kneecap. And it’s not unfathomable to think that Blake might be one dunk attempt over the wrong defender away from adding further to the team’s cursed injured list. Yet, none of that potential doom and gloom seems to matter right now. Because in just over three months time, Blake has made one of the unluckiest franchises in all of sports relevant again on a national stage. The guy has one speed when he plays – all out – and he goes at it from the opening tip to the final buzzer. And he’s gotten so good, so quickly, and has been so exciting, that by January he’d moved past Rookie of the Year talk and into the All-Star discussion. He’s on a mission to make people watch, to make them care about Clippers basketball again.

*** *** ***

“Turn towards the camera like, ‘I gotcha bitch!’” says photographer Rob Hammer, who’s running point on our cover shoot with BG in mid-December. Rob’s direction makes everyone in the room laugh, including Blake. Hammer then flips on an old Jay-Z cut in the background – Blake’s feeling the track. Okay, we’re in.

“Oh, you get music for your photo shoot?” says Griffin’s teammate and one of his closest buddies, DeAndre Jordan, adding another layer of sarcastic humor and friendly comfort to the situation.

“Yeah, it’s Jay-Z; no big deal or anything,” quips back Griffin without missing a beat.

The more time you spend with him, the more you see the same 21-year-old hilarious wise ass that his friends and L.A. family are graced with every day. His soft-spoken demeanor is innocent at first, but as Griffin’s dry sense of humor begins to flow, you catch a glimpse of his relaxed self coming through – at least one that’s not hell bent on cramming a basketball down your throat. For one, Blake gave the whole Dime crew a very informative lesson in how to practice raising one eyebrow at a time.

“Blake’s a funny guy,” says Jordan. “He’s a great friend, a great teammate and he’s a hard worker on and off the court. He’s really always there for you. He’s a big kid; he’s definitely a big goofball.

“Blake Griffin’s one of a kind, man.”

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  • LakeShow84

    NOW

    This is the problem with the media..

    GIVE IT TIME.. Wait until Kobe is on the decline phase of his career (the actual decline not the media imposed one) THEN we will where Blake is at as far as accolades and how far his game has come..

    The media always needs something to write about so they try to reach into the F’in future like they Nicholas Cage or something..

    Blake is challenging Kobe for king of LA with NO POSTSEASON games under his belt????

    Blake is challenging Kobe withOUT having finished a whole season????

    You guys can write as many paragraphs as you want but its F#$KING ridiculous to even state something like this.. Media attention and winning are 2 different things.. Just because the media wants to hoist someone on us (Lebron anyone) so they can get more cash for ads.. fuckers lol

    Cracks me up man.. Kobe answered like 80 of the same questions this past AllStar break about how his time has passed and its time to pass the torch..

    Media is a bunch of drones who at this point are trying to make up their own stories because its all a slime bag f’in rat race..

    Thats my rant for the day thank you :)

  • http://www.dimemag.com Aron Phillips

    @ LakeShow84

    It’s just a headline. Read the story.

  • LakeShow84

    LMAO @ talkin about what his teammates think of him..

    Who gives a fuck what anyone thinks of anyone..

    It all boils down to GOLD RINGS..

    Aint no one going to call Blake the king of LA because hes a F’in nice guy.. be real lol

  • LakeShow84

    NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

    Im just ranting towards the media in general lol

  • Ian

    lakeshow
    buddy are you ok??

  • LakeShow84

    @ Jack J

    Good read dude.. The headline got me going i cant lie lol that story wasnt what the headline made it out to be so i apologize if i bashed ur article.. like i said im tired of the media PERIOD.. everything nowadays is someone trying to make a story…

    Next time ill probably try to read it first.. thats my bad..

    But seriously good read.. i always knew Griffin was humble but to see someone who is humble to the CORE is refreshing..

  • LakeShow84

    @ Ian

    Aye u pickup MvsC3???????????????

  • Stunnaboy2k11

    Damn Lakeshow you Kobes secretary or something?

  • http://uoregon.edu sans

    lol….before ranting “next time Ill probably try to read it first” that’s hilarious

  • K Dizzle

    Wonder what Baron thinks of Blake now lol

  • JBaller

    Blake’s good for the NBA, and an incredible talent, but he has a long way to go before he brings the Clips anywhere near relevance. I am far more interested in watching a good team play well together and collect wins than than seeing a dismal performance by a team with one thoroughbred.

    His dunks are ferocious, now how do the clips translate them into wins?

  • hakasan

    i’ll say it again…
    blake’s dunking over that kia (albeit the hood of the car) is a statement made in contrast to that commercial kobe made where they used computer graphics to show how kobe dunked over a car… that was a fighting dunk!

    no question that kobe is the more accomplished player… and unless something truly spectacular happens to blake, his career will not come close to kobe’s…

    but… just the fact that some people, media or fans or otherwise, care to debate the question of who’s the best baller in la right this moment (and i think that still goes to kobe) is a testament of how incredible of a player blake is… i just hope he learns a few moves that take less of a toll on his body and lengthen his pro career… would love to be a blake fan if he can be productive into his mid thirties…

  • Real Talk

    Blake Griffin? The King of LA? LOL, Maybe the king of the Clippers. He’s an overrated dunk machine that’s on a team that isn’t even above .500 yet. Kobe has been the king for years and he has the hardware to show for it. Lets be real now.

  • Hakasan wake up

    @hakasan be real with yourself. Jumping over the HOOD of a car is like jumping over a school desk. Give me a break. Any ball player with any sort of hops can do that. In essence it was an ally oop. Bake Griffin didn’t deserve to win. McGee did.

    It’s not even a debate who the best player in LA is. It’s Kobe. It’s only the media outlets like this webisite and Clipper fans that are trying to push Blake as if he’s a God. Sorry but it’s not even close.

  • BRUCE

    Blake can’t own LA till he get some rings! Right now, dude ain’t nothing but a highlight reel.

  • hakasan

    @14
    1. i dare to say that less than 50% of the players in the nba can pull off that dunk…
    2. i don’t see anyone attempting it, so point for creativity
    3. if you don’t see the symbolisms, i can’t help you
    4. if there isn’t a debate, i’m not sure where this post/these comments come from… i agree, kobe is still the king of la… my point was that for blake to be mentioned in the same breath as kobe is an achievement in and of itself
    5. when was the last time a rookie posted 20+pts and 10+ rebounds/game? tim duncan…
    6. blake made the all star team his first year as a reserve… because coaches thought he was worthy…

    i agree that blake’s not at kobe’s level, but in a league of more than 400+ pro ballers, i find it hard to argue that he’s not in the top 10%

  • A.R.

    Kobe must of read this story during halftime cause he came out blazing! And with a bad arm. So much for this argument, I vote this story be retracted immediately!

  • A.R.

    Well at least the title be changed.

  • QQ is an idiot

    man the clippers are still horrible. theyve won like 10-15 games. People need to stfu. There has been no turnaround in this team…

    And the best player on that team is Eric Gordon, not Griffin