Blake Griffin would never admit it, because entitlement isn’t part of his mental makeup, but he deserves to be playing professional basketball right now.
When prognosticators said he’d be a lottery pick after his freshman season at Oklahoma, Griffin bucked the current one-and-done trend and stayed for his sophomore year. The millions could wait because there was work to be done on his game.
When he was chosen by the Los Angeles Clippers with the No. 1 pick in the 2009 draft, Griffin adamantly rebuffed any and all suggestions that he was going to be playing for a cursed franchise — not because it was the company line to debunk superstition, but because he deeply believed that whatever ailed the Clippers could be cured with commitment.
When he was told that 12-foot range wasn’t going to cut it for a big man in today’s NBA, Griffin spent his entire spring working on his stroke from long distance. By the time Summer League rolled around, Griffin was knocking down 15-footers with ease and even draining bombs from beyond the arc.
When Griffin wasn’t in the gym refining his skills, he was running up sand dunes at dawn in a workout routine teammates describe as “crazy.” He’s one of those guys who subjects himself to the rigors of exercise not because he’s obligated to, but because he actually enjoys it.
When he fractured his left kneecap in the Clippers’ final preseason game, Griffin pushed his body even harder to recover. Even though the rehabilitation process was excruciating and monotonous, Griffin never missed a session and never voiced a complaint.
When the schedule for his return got pushed back beyond the team’s initial prognosis of six to eight weeks, he kept at it.
His reward for that diligence?
Griffin will have to undergo season-ending surgery on that left kneecap. The new timetable for his return is four to six months after that surgical procedure.
For the entire read, please go to ESPN Los Angeles.