Blake Griffin has showcased his outstanding talent on-and-off the court throughout his decorated career as a professional basketball player. From Rookie of the Year to perennial All-Star to TV personality, he's proven himself as a player to watch.
Griffin grew up in Oklahoma, with basketball talent in his genes. He played baseball and football as a kid, but his dad, Tommy Griffin, was a standout collegiate basketball player and coach, and Blake found his calling in basketball at a young age.
He and his brother both played basketball in high school at Oklahoma Christian School, where their dad was their head coach. Blake helped lead his team to high school state championship titles all four years.
"Having my dad as my coach taught me at an early age the values of hard work," Griffin says. "My parents are two of the hardest working people I know, so that was a big foundation for me and something I really cherished. It helped me to grow up in that kind of household."
After high school, Griffin got recruited to play ball for the Oklahoma Sooners at the University of Oklahoma, but after two years of college ball, the NBA came calling.
In 2009, after his sophomore year in college, Griffin was selected first overall in the NBA draft by the Los Angeles Clippers.
"I felt in my mind that this was the right decision," Griffin says. “I remember talking to my coach and he said if I had the chance to be in this position I should take it. Turns out, he was right."
But his first year in the big leagues didn't go as planned: He suffered a knee injury during a pre-season game in 2009 and had to undergo surgery, benching him for the remainder of the year.
So he pushed his rookie season back a year and officially made his debut in 2010. He quickly made up for lost time. That year, he was chosen as a reserve in the 2011 All-Star game – a rarity for a rookie – plus he was named NBA Rookie of the Year, and won that year's Slam Dunk Contest. Sports Illustrated called Griffin one of the top 15 Rookies of All Time.
"When I got injured, I just decided I had to come back even better," he says. "I had to keep improving while I couldn't play, and I dedicated myself to that."
In 2012, Griffin signed a five-year contract to play for the Clippers and he's earned All-Star status every year he's been in the NBA.
"My first few years in the league, I was relying on my athleticism to get me by, because that's what got me to the NBA," he says. "I've actually been working on changing my shooting technique for about three years to grow as a player. It's all about hard work and consistency."
When he's not owning the court, you can find Grifin in TV commercials for brands like Kia, Subway, and others, revealing a sense of humor and talent in front of the camera akin to a Hollywood star. "It allows me to explore a different side of myself and they are always fun," he says about the commercials. "I have a lot of respect for actors and the things they do and I'd explore a career in entertainment after my basketball career."
Blake is a budding philanthropist, too: He launched a slam dunk fundraiser that raises money with every dunk to combat childhood obesity and he's been known to support and raise money for cancer foundations, too.Read more