I've waited roughly seven months to really write anything about the homie Blake Austin Griffin. There was only one post that vaguely dealt with the young man, and truthfully, it didn't have as much to do with him as it did for who the victim was. As you may have figured out by being a long-time reader of this site, following me on Twitter or Facebook, or just knowing me in real life, you'd know that there might not be a bigger Blake Griffin Stanley than Ed. the III.
However, the narrative that has been spun about Blake Griffin is one that I've waited for seven months to react on. The physical beastitude that Blake has displayed in his "rookie" season has been nothing short of absurd. The 40" vertical, the willingness to rebound, and the sincere desire to dunk on people at will has made for awesome television. The Clippers have essentially become must-see television...which has given me cause for concern.
Some of you have started treating Blake as a sideshow, and as a Blake Stan, there's no way in life I can let this happen.
First off, please be aware that the Blake Griffin gospel has been preached here on ETSF since the inception of the blog. When the media first started seeing the hype that was "The Blake," I wanted to join in, but I couldn't do it. The poetic that was being spit was interesting to me. Maybe its because I was too close to Blake. Maybe I took some of this stuff personal. Truthfully, I didn't want my words not to matter when it came to Blake. I haven't wanted to see someone succeed more than Blake. So yeah, it's personal.
I remember hearing about these brothers, Taylor and Blake, at Oklahoma Christian when I still lived in Oklahoma. Oklahoma Christian's a private school, and therefore I didn't really pay them much attention. The homie Aaron Jones told me though, "Keep an eye on 'em. They're your light-skinned brothers...trust me."
Okay, Aaron Jones...okay.
So when Taylor Griffin got to the University of Oklahoma in 2005, I was mildly impressed. Dude could ball, no doubt. Didn't think he was going to change the world for OU though, and as soon as I was ready to not pay attention to little brother Blake, the homie Aaron Jones told me once again, "Keep an eye on the 'little' homie Blake; he's more real than Taylor."
Okay, Aaron Jones...okay.
Blake Griffin arrived at Norman and started doing things that I'd never expect from a light-skinneded brother from Oklahoma to do. Yes, that sounds weird to hear, but you have to understand that its weirder to write. I'm born and raised in Oklahoma, and being a hoop fan since age five, I remember seeing these freak athletes come from all regions of the world. The homie Charles Barkley came from Alabama, the homie Shawn Kemp came from Indiana, the homie Amare Stoudemire came from Florida, the homie LeBron James from Ohio. I would've never thought a freak of nature athlete would ever come out of my homestate. It's never happened since Jim Thorpe.
So obviously when it came time to boast about the greatness of Blake Griffin at Oklahoma, I was assaulted with the demeaning statements and incredulous insults:
"What in the hell is a Blake Griffin?"
"Man, is the homie Albino?"
"Man, ain't nothing good came out of Oklahoma since the play."
OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO-KLAHOMA where the wind comes sweeping down the plaaaaaaaaaaains!
(Hangs head in shame, sorry...I had to do it).
So I had to have an imaginary conversation with Blake. Here's how it went:
Ed: Blake, what's going on homie?
Blake: Man, just trying to make it as a high-yella brother in America. By the way, here's that LSC application you asked me to fill out.
Ed: Thanks, man (stows application away). Can you do me a favor?
Blake: Yeah, what's up?
Ed: Look, man. I'm trying to put on for Oklahoma, and I need a little bit of reinforcement...can you just dunk on a couple of people and make it on SportsCenter for me? Folks don't think you're real out here.
Blake: I got you, Ed. Man, I might even try to hit my head on the backboard.
Ed: Word? Hey, man. I wouldn't suggest that, but...
Blake: Don't worry. I got this under control.
Ed: (shrugs) Okay.
Blake: I gotta roll, man. This tan-struggle is real. I got to get outside for a few. Later.
So Blake started YUUUUUUUUUUUULE'n on folks in college, started hitting his head on the backboard, grabbing 20 rebounds a game, getting into unnecessary scraps on the court and leaping over tables with a single bound. Dude was like a superhero out here, man.
A lot of you still didn't believe, still thought he was nothing for real. Just another guy.
Watching Blake Griffin at Oklahoma was like watching Kelly Lee play baseball for the Bad News Bears. He had no help whatsoever other than long-sleeve wearing Tony Crocker and his brother Taylor. Blake Griffin had to literally do everything and had virtually no help whatsoever. It was absurd to watch yet was fascinating simultaneously. When he took Tyler Hansbrough to the woodshed in the Elite Eight, it was downright embarrassing for Psycho T. #50 had been propped up by the masses as the best player in college basketball, and in the span of 40 minutes, he essentially had his pants pulled down in front of all of America.
Blake started finally getting his respect, and left the University of Oklahoma as arguably the second-greatest hooper in Sooner history (all hail The Wayman).
Unfortunately, after he left Norman...he got brought into indentured servitude by the Los Angeles Clippers.
One broken kneecap later, out for his first season. Damned Clipper curse.
First off, let's all just agree that its a miracle that Blake came back with a full bill of health and being able to play basketball again. I really thought the Clipper stench was going to tear him down before he could ever get started. However, what we've seen in Blake's first year is EXACTLY what we've seen from Blake in his two years at Oklahoma. Dunking on cats, getting 20 rebounds, and achieving feats of athletic ability that could only be appreciated with "Oooohs!" "Aaaaahs!" and "Got damns!"
Oh, and he brought out the choir, leaped over a Kia Sorrento, and somehow got Baron Davis traded in a single dunk at All-Star weekend.
The man can do no wrong.
At 22 years old, Blake's final numbers are going to be 22 points/game, 12 boards/game, and 4 assists/game. Rookie of the year is locked up. Blake might already be one of the 3-4 best power forwards in basketball. The homie doesn't get enough credit for being a great passer. People love playing ball with Blake, and yet with all that being said...
...Blake's still got a long way to go.
Watching Blake play has always been a tad infuriating. Let me be the one to say this right now: the homie takes plays off. If he's not loafing up and down the court, or arguing with the refs, or looking lost...dude's sometimes a half-step behind. The man plays matador defense (I can't totally blame him for it. He's had to play basketball for seven years and try not to foul out so he can stay on the court), and he hasn't figured out how to make an impact on that side of the ball (I think he's got a short wingspan, if that means anything). For being a good shooter, his free throw shooting is ridiculous. Blake doesn't really have a post move either. It's either face the rim and explode to the hole, or shoot a 17-footer. Okay, my bad; he has the almighty alley-oop.
In short, he's got a lot to work on. However, let me remind you of his numbers again...
22, 12 and 4.
Blake Griffin will be the best power forward in the game real soon. He works too hard for this not to happen. He could legitimately be the best player in the league in 4-5 years, yep...even better than John Wall (what up, AB...lol). He's either going to turn the Clippers into a legitimate franchise, or he's going to smarten up (Nas) and go to an organization who can hone his skills and put him into a position to succeed long-term (come on home, Blake. Oklahoma City loves you). However, if (hopefully when) the narrative changes (Tillery) on Blake, it's going to have to be that one thing that I fret Amar'e is never going to figure out, that Kemp scratched the surface on, and Barkley figured out too late, and that it's got to be more than just about you; that being a winner is the only thing that matters.
If Blake figures that out, then the sky's the limit. For selfish reasons, I'll be able to brag about my home state producing one of the finest talents known to man, and I'll rep 'em to the end. LSC 4 Life.
P.S. As a reminder, checkout the livest sports talk show around, "The Unsportsmanlike Conduct Show" as we are live Wednesday's at 9pm Eastern at http://www.blogtalkradio.com/edthesportsfan! Download our podcasts if you missed the live show as well!