Griffin left college after two seasons to enter the 2009 NBA Draft; he was selected first overall by the Clippers. In his first season, he broke his left kneecap during the final pre-season game, had surgery, and missed the entire 2009–10 season. He made his NBA debut as a rookie the following season, in which he was selected as an All-Star, won the 2011 NBA Slam Dunk Contest, and was named the NBA Rookie of the Year. In 2011, Sports Illustrated called him one of the NBA's 15 Greatest Rookies of All Time.
Griffin was born on March 16, 1989, in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, to Tommy and Gail Griffin. His father was a basketball center and track standout at NAIA Northwestern Oklahoma State University. Griffin and his older brother, Taylor Griffin, were home-schooled by their mother from first grade until Taylor was in the tenth grade and Blake was in eighth. The Griffin brothers are biracial, as their father is African-American and their mother white. Growing up, he was good friends with Sam Bradford, who currently plays for the St. Louis Rams and played on the same Athletes First AAU basketball team with Xavier Henry, now with the New Orleans Hornets. Griffin’s parents owned a trophy company that Bradford’s father would use and Bradford’s father owned a gym where Griffin and his brother Taylor played basketball. He also played baseball as a first baseman and football as a wide receiver, safety and a tight end.
In 2003, Griffin followed Taylor to Oklahoma Christian School, where they played under their father, who was the head coach. They played together during the 2003–04 and 2004–05 high school seasons, winning two state basketball championships. In his freshmen year, the Oklahoma Christian Saints posted a perfect 29–0 season and won the Class 3A boys state championship game at the State Fair Arena against Riverside Indian School, 55–50. In his sophomore year, the Saints repeated as Class 3A state champions, defeating Sequoyah-Tahlequah 51–34, where he scored 12 points to go along with nine rebounds. The team finished the season with a 24–2 record, with Griffin averaging 13.6 points per game. He was later named to the Little All-City All-State team in what was his final high school season with his brother. After his sophomore year, his brother accepted a scholarship to play college basketball for the University of Oklahoma Sooners. During the summer of 2005, he was a member of the Athletes First AAU team, where he played against Kevin Durant and and Ty Lawson's AAU team, the DC Blue Devils.
During his junior season, the Oklahoma Christian basketball team was moved down to Class 2A from the Class 3A. As he began his third season with the Saints, he was quickly developing into a strong and athletic player, as he led the Saints to a third straight state championship, scoring 22 points, 9 rebounds and 6 blocks, defeating Washington High School 57–40. He was named the state tournament MVP, and the Saints finished the season 27–1, with Griffin averaging 21.7 points, 12.5 rebounds, and 4.9 assists. For his efforts, he was named The Oklahoman Player of the Year and to the Tulsa World Boys All-State First Team. His play attracted the attention of the new basketball head coach for Oklahoma, Jeff Capel, who first heard of him through his brother Taylor. That spring, Capel saw him play for the first time and was impressed with his combination of size, strength and athleticism. Capel liked the fact that Griffin had not yet become a household name among recruiters and recruited him because he felt he was the player he needed to rebuild his tenure with the Oklahoma men's basketball program. He had been considering Duke, Kansas, North Carolina and Texas, but his brother eventually sold him on joining Oklahoma when he raved about the direction of the Sooners and the chance to play together again for his home state.
Griffin committed to Oklahoma before the start of his senior season and averaged 26.8 points, 15.1 rebounds, 4.9 assists and 2.9 blocks per game as a senior while leading the team to a 26–3 record. In a game against Oklahoma City Southeast, he finished with an eye-popping triple-double, 41 points, 28 rebounds, and 10 assists. The Saints advanced through the playoffs, defeating Crescent in the quarterfinals and Foyil in the semifinals to earned a berth in the Class 2A state championship. On March 10, 2007, he played his final high school game in the state title game against Pawnee High School. He registered 22 points, 9 rebounds, 6 assists and 2 blocks, as the Saints defeated Pawnee 81–50, winning their fourth straight state title. He was named the Class 2A state tournament MVP for the second consecutive year after averaging 26.6 points per game in the tournament, winning its three games by an average of 30.3 points. During his four-year run, the Oklahoma Christian Saints posted a 106–6 overall record.
Griffin was named the Player of the Year by both the Tulsa World and The Oklahoman and named an Oklahoma Boys All-State First Team, EA Sports All-American Second Team and a Parade Third Team All-American. He was ranked as the nation's #13 high school senior by HoopScoop, #20 by scout.com and #23 by rivals.com, and as the country's third-best power forward by HoopScoop, sixth by rivals.com and the seventh by scout.com. Additionally, he was the Gatorade Oklahoma Player of the Year and was selected to the McDonald's All-American and Jordan Brand All-America teams. At the McDonald's All-American game in Louisville, Kentucky he won the Powerade Jam Fest slam dunk contest.
Griffin was one of the highest rated and most decorated recruits ever at Oklahoma. As a freshman at Oklahoma, he averaged 14.7 points and 9.1 rebounds in 28.4 minutes per game and led the Sooners to a 23–12 record. He ranked ninth in scoring, fourth in rebounding and third in field goal percentage in the Big 12 Conference. In a game against the Kansas Jayhawks, he suffered a sprained medial collateral ligament (MCL) in his left knee five minutes into the Sooners game. Less than two months after injuring his left knee, he injured his right knee in a home victory against Texas A&M. The injury this time was torn cartilage, and he had arthroscopic surgery on March 2, 2008. He missed the following game, a victory over in-state rival Oklahoma State Cowboys, but was back on the court a week after the injury with 14 points and 8 rebounds in 28 minutes versus the Missouri Tigers, a win for the Sooners on their home floor. He was a first-team all-district pick by the USBWA and NABC, and was named to the Big 12 All-Rookie Team and to the first-team All-Big 12 selection by league coaches and Associated Press. He became the first Sooner to make the conference All-Rookie team since Wayman Tisdale in 1983 for the Big Eight Conference. He was expected to be a lottery pick in the 2008 NBA Draft but decided to return to college for a second season to give himself time to mature physically and make Oklahoma a contender for the NCAA championship.
In his sophomore season, the Sooners started out the season winning their first 12 games before falling to the Arkansas Razorbacks. In the third game of the season against the Davidson Wildcats, he scored 25 points and grabbed 21 rebounds, after which he scored 35 points and 21 rebounds against Gardner–Webb, becoming the first player in Big 12 history to record back-to-back games of at least 20 points and 20 rebounds. This earned him three consecutive Big 12 player of the week honor and finished the season with a record-tying six player of the week honors. In a home victory against the Texas Tech Red Raiders, he set career bests for both points and rebounds with 40 points and 23 rebounds, becoming the only player in Big 12 history and the third player in the history of the University of Oklahoma men's basketball program to score 40 points and get 20 rebounds in the same game, joining Wayman Tisdale (61 points and 22 rebounds in 1983) and Alvan Adams (43 points and 25 rebounds in 1975).
On February 21, he received a concussion in a loss to the Texas Longhorns, when he caught an inadvertent shot to the face from the open hand of Texas center Dexter Pittman. He sat out the second half during the Sooners loss with a bloody nose. It was the Sooners' first loss of their conference schedule for the season. After sitting out the next game, a loss to Kansas Jayhawks, he was cleared by the medical staff and returned a week later to get 20 points and 19 rebounds in a victory over the Texas Tech Red Raiders. Oklahoma finished second in the conference with a 13–3 record but fell short in the first game of the Big 12 Tournament to the Oklahoma State Cowboys. In the "Big Dance", Oklahoma was seeded No. 2 in the South Region with a 27–5 record. In the second-round win over the Michigan Wolverines, he scored 33 points and grabbed 17 rebounds, just the second player in the 2000s (decade) with at least 30 points and 15 rebounds in the NCAA tournament. However, the Sooners lost to the North Carolina Tar Heels in the South Regional final.
Griffin averaged 22.7 points, 14.4 rebounds and 2.3 assists per game during the regular season and earned All-American First Team honors. He led the Big 12 in scoring and rebounds, and recorded at least 20 points and 15 rebounds 15 times, which is a Big 12 record. He also set school and Big 12 single-season records for most rebounds (504), rebounding average (14.4), and double-doubles (30), and his free throw attempts (324) were the most by a Sooner in a single-season. With 30 double-doubles during the season, he was one short of the NCAA record of 31 set by David Robinson in 1986–1987. His total of 504 rebounds were the most in a season by an NCAA Division I player since Indiana State's Larry Bird had 505 in 1978–79 and his rebounding average of 14.4 was the highest since Wake Forest's Tim Duncan averaged 14.7 in 1996–97.
For his sophomore year performance, Griffin swept all six of the national player of the year awards. He was a unanimous choice by voters in all nine geographical districts for the Oscar Robertson Trophy and was named Associated Press College Basketball Player of the Year, receiving 66 of the 71 national media panel members' votes. Griffin was announced as the winner of the prestigious Naismith College Player of the Year on April 5 in Detroit. Three days after announcing that he would turn pro, he won the John Wooden Award as college basketball's top player. He became the first Oklahoma player in school history to win the Naismith Award, Oscar Robertson Trophy, Adolph Rupp Trophy, John Wooden Award and the Associated Press player of the year. He was also named Player of the Year by the Big 12, Sports Illustrated, The Sporting News and FoxSports.com.
Los Angeles Clippers (2009–present)
2009–10: Injured season
On April 7, 2009, Griffin announced that he would give up his final two years of eligibility and declared for the NBA Draft after his sophomore year. A press conference announcing his decision was aired nationally on ESPNews. He was selected as the first overall pick by the Los Angeles Clippers in the 2009 NBA Draft. Griffin played for the Clippers' Summer League Team and was named Summer League MVP. In their final preseason game, he injured his kneecap as he landed after a dunk.The day before the 2009–10 season started it was confirmed that Griffin had a stress fracture in his left knee, delaying his NBA debut for seven weeks. After resting the stress fracture for several weeks, tests revealed that his knee was not recovering properly. In January 2010, Griffin had surgery on his broken left kneecap, missing the entire 2009–10 season. In the off season Griffin spent a great deal of time working out with a San Francisco-based trainer.
2010–11: Rookie of the Year and Rookie All-Star
Since he missed the entire 2009–10 season, Griffin was still considered a rookie during the 2010–11 season. In his debut for the Clippers against the Portland Trail Blazers, Griffin scored 20 points and registered 14 rebounds. He set a franchise record for most consecutive double-doubles with 23 in a home game against the Golden State Warriors. His streak of consecutive double-doubles was the longest rookie double-double streak since 1968, which ended at 27 games on January 19 in a win against the Minnesota Timberwolves where he scored 29 points and grabbed 8 rebounds. On January 17, 2011 against the Indiana Pacers, Griffin scored a career-high and set a Clippers record for most points scored by a rookie with 47 points and grabbed 14 rebounds. He became the first rookie to have two 40+ games in his rookie season since Allen Iverson during the 1996–97 season.
Griffin was voted to the 2011 NBA All-Star Game by coaches as a reserve on the Western Conference squad, becoming the first rookie to play in the All-Star game since Yao Ming in 2003 and the first rookie voted to the game by coaches since Tim Duncan in 1998. He also participated in the 2011 Rookie Challenge and won the Sprite Slam Dunk Contest during the All-Star break. On March 23, 2011, in a double overtime win over the Washington Wizards, Griffin recorded his first career triple-double, 33 points, 17 rebounds, and 10 assists. He recorded his second triple-double with 31 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists, in the final game of the season against the Memphis Grizzlies.
During the season, he captured all six of the Western Conference T-Mobile Rookie of the Month, the first time a rookie has swept an entire season of Rookie of the Month awards since Chris Paul during the 2005–06 season. He played in all 82 regular season games and became the first rookie to average at least 20 points and 10 rebounds since Elton Brand did it in the 1999–00 season. He led all rookies in points, rebounds and double-doubles, earning him the Rookie of the Year award, and was the first unanimous winner for the award since David Robinson in 1990. He was also the only unanimous selection to the All-Rookie First Team. In October 2011 Griffin was rated the 10th best player in the NBA by ESPN and the collective TrueHoop Network.
2011–12: First playoff appearance
Griffin was voted to play as a starter for the 2012 NBA All-Star Game, along with teammate Chris Paul. He was also selected to participate in the Rising Stars Challenge. Griffin was selected as the #1 pick for Team Shaq, which was a mix of rookies and sophomores. In the first round of the 2012 NBA Playoffs, Griffin helped the Clippers eliminate the Memphis Grizzles in a game 7.
Before the 2012–13 NBA season, on July 10, 2012, Griffin signed a contract extension reportedly worth $95 million for 5 years. The deal will keep him under contract until the end of 2017–18 season. He was also selected to compete for Team USA in the 2012 London Summer Olympics, but was removed after he injured his knee during a practice.
NBA career statistics
|GP||Games played||GS||Games started||MPG||Minutes per game|
|FG%||Field goal percentage||3P%||3-point field goal percentage||FT%||Free throw percentage|
|RPG||Rebounds per game||APG||Assists per game||SPG||Steals per game|
|BPG||Blocks per game||PPG||Points per game||Bold||Career high|
|1||02011-03-23March 23, 2011||vs. Washington Wizards||W 127–119||33||17||10||1||1|
|2||02011-04-13April 13, 2011||vs. Memphis Grizzlies||W 113-110||31||10||10||1||1|
|3||02013-03-06March 6, 2013||vs. Milwaukee Bucks||W 117-101||23||11||11||1||1|
|Points||47||vs. Indiana||02011-01-17January 17, 2011|
|Offensive rebounds||9||vs. Portland||02010-10-27October 27, 2010|
|Defensive rebounds||16||vs. Detroit||02010-11-12November 12, 2010|
|Total rebounds||20||vs. San Antonio||02012-02-18February 18, 2012|
|Assists||11||vs. Milwaukee Bucks||02013-03-06March 6, 2013|