Blake Griffin is incredible. He is a great athlete. He is a great dunker. He is exciting to watch. I even think his KIA commercials are enjoyable. He has done something I never thought possible, he has legitimized the Clippers. The Clippers! I will never deny what he is capable of is amazing. But, he needs to corral something that will help him in the long run.
Let me explain…
Griffin dunks on people all the time. He stares them down and makes them look silly. He is embarrassing very proud professionals. He is beginning to get a reputation around the league as an ass for doing this. A few weeks ago he dunked on Pau Gasol and really abused him in the process. Gasol was really angry and pleaded with the refs to do something about this. They did nothing. This is not the first time or last time Griffin has or will do this.
The NBA loves this. People watch these videos over and over on Youtube and NBAtv.com. They love when your friend in the office says, “Did you see that Blake Griffin dunk over (insert name) last night”. It gets ratings. Turner Sports announced some early TV ratings info, including this tidbit: three L.A. Clippers games from this season now rank in the top five rated games in NBA TV history. (SBnation.com) The Clippers haven’t been on national TV 35 times this season because of Mo Williams chucking up 3’s. People want to see Blake jump out of the gym, come flying down from the rafters, and embed his jock on and around some poor player’s chin.
I am not naïve. I know what the game has become. I remember watching when a hand-check was not a hand-check foul. David Stern and the NBA refs know that stars need to be allowed to be stars. Stern knows that scoring and dunks gets ratings (I will leave my Stars Players Get Special Treatment article for a different time. Probably when the Bulls are down 2-1 against the Heat and LeBron and D-Wade are getting every call and I am about to blow a gasket). Though David Stern loves Blake Griffin dunks and Griffin loves dunking on people, one or the other must change their tactics or someone will get hurt. I will explain this argument with a few video examples.
Here is Blake Griffin dunking on people without getting called for charges or over – the -back, while completely embarrassing his opponents.
(Watch at 1:11, Andrew Bynum’s reaction…Way to support your teammate)
The players have started to police themselves. This is where he is going to get himself hurt. Here are some examples of some vicious hits put on Griffin. Players do not like to be the butts of twitter jokes. They do not like it when their face is in someone’s crotch on ESPN 30 times a day.
If David Stern does nothing and the refs don’t start calling these fouls on Blake Griffin and/or he stops starring people down, there will be a brawl. There will be a major injury. There will be a 24 hour, 2 week, non-stop discussion on ESPN that I know we can’t take much more of. (See NHL playoff penalty/suspension/fine discussion 2012)
(This is what should be called. Watch his reaction)
As I said, Blake Griffin needs to change his actions after dunks. He is also being enabled by David Stern and the league by not being reprimanded for his transgressions. Unfortunately, I think he is currently on a collision course with some scrubs shoulder while he gets under-cut on a future dunk attempt. In the Robin Lopez clip above, Chris Webber talks about this being a possibility. I hope this doesn’t happen because I like what Griffin brought to the Clippers and I think he is good for the game. He is exciting. I would hate for that to be cut short.