Blake Griffin admitted he didn’t know what to expect about playing handball. He just wanted to develop a new set of skills.
“The Crossover” is a new Web series featuring Griffin, a forward on the Los Angeles Clippers, trying his hand at different sports and exploring all his training options in order to reach his goals.
“I want a long and healthy career,” Griffin said. “I want to be quicker, be stronger and I want to be a leader.”
In the debut episode of “The Crossover,” narrated by Griffin himself, Griffin practiced with handball legend Timothy “Timbo” Gonzalez at the West 4th Street Handball Courts in New York City. Gonzalez, famous for his hand-eye coordination and speed, said the NBA player is a quick learner.
I want to be quicker, be stronger and I want to be a leader.
“He’s really good,” said Gonzalez, who taught Griffin the importance of court control in handball. “I’ve never had anyone able to hit the ball to me back as many times as he did.”
Griffin confessed he wasn’t ready for the endurance aspect of handball and the amount of footwork the sport requires. The two athletes worked out with an 8-pound medicine ball, which had Griffin breathing heavily and dripping sweat. Then, they played handball with resistance bands attached to their backs on a hot summer day in the city.
“You’re mentally being fatigued as well as physically, so that’s one thing I loved about this,” Griffin said.
Later, Griffin and Gonzalez played a game of singles to 21. At one point, Gonzalez praised Griffin for hitting a great shot.
“I wish I meant to do that,” Griffin quipped.
Though the handball expert was victorious, the hoops superstar earned his respect.
Gonzalez said, “It was great to be with a world-class athlete. It shows you how much different his training is.”
Gonzalez, a 23-year old Bronx native, picked up handball at age 8 and officially made waves when he won back-to-back titles at King of the Courts, the crown jewel of handball tournaments.
Next Monday, watch Griffin work out with track and field star Carmelita Jeter. How will the big guy fare as he focuses on stretching, running properly and fast-twitch explosion? Check back here at RedBull.com to find out.
Read a bonus one-on-one interview between Griffin and Gonzalez on The Players' Tribune, which will release exclusive weekly content featuring the athletes who train with Griffin.