Blake Griffin Q&A
Clippers star talks playoffs, pop culture, dunks and cups
With the Clippers leading the Grizzlies 2-0 in their first-round playoff series, SI.com’s Jimmy Traina spoke to Los Angeles superstar Blake Griffin on Tuesday afternoon about the NBA playoffs and much more.
SI.com: You guys are coming off a buzzer-beating win in Game 2 on Monday. Take us through Chris Paul‘s game-winner.
Griffin: That was unbelievable, man. With Chris Paul, you know he’s going to get a good shot. It was our job to spread the court and let him do his thing and be there for a rebound, but it wasn’t necessary.
SI.com: This is the second year in a row you’re facing Memphis in the first round of the playoffs. Last season, your series went seven games. Are the teams developing a hatred for one another?
Griffin: Not hatred. We have a mutual respect for each other with the battles we’ve had going back to last year in the regular season. Like you said, the seven-game series was a battle. It’s become one of these well-known physical games where everyone’s taking the hits. It’s actually a lot of fun. There isn’t hate, though. On the court, there’s animosity. But off the court, everyone’s cool.
SI.com: Do you pay attention to other playoff series? Are you keeping a close eye on Houston-Oklahoma City, since you will face the winner if you advance? Are you rooting for the Rockets to get the easier matchup?
Griffin: I watch pretty much all the games — the Western Conference games a little more closely, for obvious reasons. As for Houston-Oklahoma City, it’s one of those things that you can’t control so you just watch for tendencies and to see how the teams execute in the playoffs. This is my favorite time of year for NBA basketball because of the intensity, so I watch it all.
SI.com: Give us a guy in the playoffs who isn’t a top-level superstar who could be a big difference maker.
Griffin: It might be a little obvious after Game 1, but Andre Miller for Denver. As far as underrated players go, he’s up there. I don’t know how many years he’s been in the league now, but it’s a lot. [Miller, 37, is in his 14th season.] He had 18 points in the fourth quarter the other night [against the Warriors], and that’s tough to do. We talked about him in the locker room the other day and he’s not one of those guys who is super fast and can jump super high and is a great shooter, but he somehow always gets baskets and makes big plays.
SI.com: Who are the guys around the league you enjoy watching?
Griffin: The premier guys, like everyone else. I feel like I can learn from those guys. The year LeBron has had has been unreal. Not just from a scoring aspect, but everything.
SI.com: You have a strong presence in the sports blogosphere, you have more than a million Twitter followers and you told me you’re a Hot Clicks fan. However, you also told me that you’re not tweeting during the playoffs. Are you still keeping up with the blogs and surfing the Internet?
Griffin: During the playoffs, I tone down the Internet usage. I spend the most time on the Internet and Twitter and the blogs during the offseason, so I don’t have to see myself at all.
SI.com: I asked that previous question because you’re all over the blogs today thanks to an incident Monday in which it looked like Memphis’ Zach Randolph grabbed you in a sensitive area.
Griffin: [Laughing] I didn’t even realize it at the time, but I was told his hand got pretty close. I don’t remember him grabbing it. I don’t think he did it on purpose. When I was watching the film last night, I saw it, but there wasn’t grab.
SI.com: You were involved an incident earlier this season in which Serge Ibaka hit you below the belt. You said after you were going to start wearing a cup. Do you wear a cup?
Griffin: No, but maybe I should now. That was all a joke, but as this series goes on, I might think about it. Maybe if we make it to Oklahoma City, I might actually have to bring it out.
SI.com: Besides Ibaka’s low blow, another Clippers memorable moment this season was DeAndre Jordan‘s dunk over Brandon Knight. Tell me how you remember it.
Griffin: It was crazy. I was on the bench at the time and it felt like it happened in slow motion. You kind of saw it coming. You knew D.J. was coming down the middle, you saw C.P. [Paul] throw it up and I saw poor Brandon Knight jump. To his credit, he was trying to break up the play, but D.J. has a foot-and-a-half and a hundred pounds on him. Honestly, that was one of the best dunks I’ve seen in my life. How hard their bodies hit and how hard he hit the ground and how hard he dunked it was crazy.
SI.com: Last year, you signed a five-year, $95 million contract. What was something extravagant that you purchased after inking that deal?
Griffin: I bought my parents a house. Then I bought myself a Rolex. My brother forced me to do it, but I’m glad he did.
SI.com: Did you see Kobe Bryant live-tweeting during the Lakers’ game Sunday? Would you ever live-tweet a Clippers game?
Griffin: I saw his tweets. Obviously, Kobe has his own style of doing it. If I was going to do it, I’d have to hold back a little more than him. But he can get away with saying what he’s thinking.
SI.com: Ryan Lochte has a new reality show.
Griffin: Oh, wow.
SI.com: Would you ever do a reality show?
Griffin: No, I never would.
SI.com: Liverpool forward Luis Suarez bit an opponent on Sunday. Have you ever been bitten or bitten anyone during a game?
Griffin: No one has ever bitten me and I’ve never bitten anyone on the court. But I did see that and it was hilarious.
Griffin: I met her some time last year, before the playoffs started. We became friends.
SI.com: It must be nice to hear that a Playmate wants to meet you.
Griffin: It wasn’t a bad thing. I wasn’t upset about it.
SI.com: Did you know that when you Google “Blake Griffin,” the first two related searches that come up are “Blake Griffin Girlfriend” and “Is Blake Griffin Black?”
Griffin: [Laughing] I don’t know about the girlfriend one, but the other one is hilarious. I get that question almost more than any other. Once people feel a little comfortable, they’re always like, “So, what, uh, uh, what, um, what’s your ethnicity?”
SI.com: What do you say?
Griffin: “My dad is black. My mom is white. She has red hair. They created this,” and I point to myself.
SI.com: Now for some rapid-fire questions. Celebrity crush?
Griffin: Toss-up between Jennifer Lawrence and Mila Kunis.
SI.com: Celebrity whose popularity annoys you?
Griffin: The Jersey Shore people.
SI.com: If you could meet any celebrity, who would it be?
Griffin: Denzel Washington.
SI.com: Song you hate the most?
Griffin: Gangnam Style.
SI.com: Song you’d sing at karaoke?
Griffin: Don’t Stop Believin‘.
SI.com: Song on your iPod you’re ashamed of?
Griffin: I Knew You Were Trouble by Taylor Swift.
SI.com: Best boy band of all time?
Griffin: Boyz II Men.
SI.com: TV shows you DVR?
Griffin: Modern Family, Shameless, House of Lies, The Office, Californication, Saturday Night Live.
SI.com: Favorite TV character of all time?
Griffin: Michael Scott from The Office.
SI.com: Movie you’ve seen the most?
Griffin: Either Superbad or Old School.
SI.com: Favorite chick flick?
Griffin: Crazy Stupid Love.
SI.com: Biggest Twitter pet peeve?
Griffin: People who tweet about their workouts and how hard they worked out that day.
SI.com: Favorite people to follow on Twitter?
Griffin: I follow a lot of comedy writers. I like Rob Delaney. I like following Darren Rovell, too. He has a lot of interesting tweets.
SI.com: First websites you check after logging on to the Internet?
Griffin: ESPN.com and Hot Clicks –for real.
SI.com: Have you ever gotten caught looking at an adult website?
Griffin: [Laughing] No, I never have, actually. Well, not by anybody that I’d get in trouble with.
SI.com: Most annoying question reporters ask you?
Griffin: “What were you thinking during a certain play?” Or, “What goes through your mind when you’re about to dunk?”
SI.com: Game-day superstitions?
SI.com: Do you have any fears/phobias?
SI.com: If you could trade places with one athlete, who would it be?
Griffin: Derek Jeter.
SI.com: Funniest athlete you know?
Griffin: DeAndre Jordan.
SI.com: Worst thing a fan has ever said to you?
Griffin: Well, this isn’t that bad, but it’s the funniest bad thing. We were playing in Portland [last season] and I was standing next to Kurt Thomas on the free-throw line and a guy yells out, “HEY, BLAKE, THE COOLEST THING YOU’VE EVER DONE IS LITERALLY STAND NEXT TO KURT THOMAS!”
SI.com: Best perk of being an athlete?
Griffin: All the free food. And the private travel.