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Roundtable: Favorite Blake Griffin Memories

In anticipation of Blake Griffin’s return to Los Angeles as a member of the Detroit Pistons, the Clips Nation staff shared its favorite memories of the former Clipper.

NBA: Houston Rockets at Los Angeles Clippers Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

What is your favorite memory of Blake Griffin as a Clipper?

Farbod Esnaashari: There are a lot of good ones, but it would probably have to be the Mozgov dunk, mainly because when he did that, everything changed. You knew people suddenly wanted to watch the Clippers because of him. Just seeing that little head nod that Amar’e Stoudemire gives him in approval was awesome.

Other than that, the game-winning three-pointer against the Suns is always amazing to watch. It was the first time I saw Blake Griffin shoot a game-winning three-pointer, which is a little more common now. The nature of how it went in was comical. It had to be one of the luckiest game-winners of all time, but it was so hype. I especially loved him going directly at P.J. Tucker (who was trying to hound him all game) immediately after hitting the shot.

Chris Murch: Mine is two-fold, but both against the same opponent. The first occurred in the first professional game I watched from Blake, a preseason game in his ill-fated, “real” rookie season in Los Angeles against the Lakers. He took the ball in the mid-range and ended D.J. Mbenga’s life with a dunk that screamed: “one day the Clips will be better than you.”

The next moment came against the Lakers again but this time it’s the famous “Double-Pau” game that officially made Pau Gasol look old and cemented Blake as one of the most athletic guys in the league. Both of his posters on Pau were things of beauty and had me jumping on my couch.

Shapan Debnath: Picking a favorite Blake Griffin moment is difficult since there are a litany of highlights I could pick from, but ultimately I think my proudest moment of Griffin coincided with my proudest moment as a Clipper fan.

Game 1 against the Rockets in 2015, when Point Blake was unleashed in a postseason setting. I feel like this was a moment that was so tantalizing in retrospect. Griffin had 26 points, 14 rebounds, and 13 assists, and looked like the best player in the playoffs. The Clippers lost a double-digit lead in the next game, also playing without Chris Paul, but it was these games coupled with games 3 and 4 that filled me with the most Clipper hope I’ve ever had.

Eric Patten: Blake Griffin’s tenure with the Clippers was transformative. It is hard to select one moment or even a season as my singular favorite. I attended 17 games as a fan during his rookie season and for the next four years was covering him daily as a member of the Clippers staff. Once, I was compiling a “Friday 5” video package of best Griffin dunks from the 2012-13 season, and THAT was nearly impossible. That season and the two that followed were an amazing stretch when Griffin was still at peak athleticism and taking over games as an MVP-caliber superstar. I loved the series of plays down the stretch of Game 7 against the Warriors (the last time Golden State lost in the Western Conference playoffs), including an and-1 finish that he contorted his body in traffic and somersaulted along the baseline. I loved the way he took command of the series against the Spurs a year later.

But my favorite memory of Blake Griffin in Los Angeles is not about basketball. The astonishing thing about Griffin was that at the height of his popularity and superstardom, he remained a person who would interact with people with humanity, kindness, and humor. I was fortunate enough to be around him for more than 250 days each year. And while reports that he may have been moody or sensitive are sometimes true, he also was the kind of guy who would carry on a conversation with you and ask you personal questions. He asked about a vacation I had planned during the offseason, my opinion on a random Big 12 basketball game, and spent nearly half an hour just chatting about life at a Jamal Crawford shoe event where most everyone else was mingling with other “celebrities”.

He was awesome. And I’ll never forget how awesome in multiple ways.

Robert Flom: My defining basketball memory of Blake as a Clipper will be Game 7 of the Spurs-Clippers series in 2015, which was the high point of the entire Clippers franchise. He had a triple-double with 24 points, 13 rebounds, and 10 assists, made almost all of his free throws, and just played under control from start to finish. The 2015 playoffs were the apex of Griffin’s career, disappointing ending aside, as he looked to be one of the best players in the entire NBA. Sadly, even though he’s still great, he’s never quite reached that height again, but he (and we) will always have that glorious game 7 at Staples.

As a quick aside, my favorite memory of Blake is actually one of him off the court, in that video where he was imitating Austin Rivers (I believe it was after a practice). First, because it was the kind of lighthearted, hilarious thing Blake would do, and second, because it was spot on. And now I’m watching it again.

Sabreena Merchant: In the 2011 Dunk Contest, Blake Griffin attempted a 360 dunk where he brought the ball around the lower half of his body while in the air. It was one of the most ridiculous things I have ever seen, even if he didn’t make it. It was the first time I watched Griffin and thought that this was someone who would expand the limits of what was possible for an NBA player. I loved the smile on Griffin’s face after the miss; he was so excited to be there on that stage, and he knew how incredible his performance could be. None of the best made dunks of Griffin’s career actually came in that dunk contest, and he had so many more meaningful moments as a player, but nothing has stuck with me quite like that attempt.

Michelle Uzeta: My favorite memory of Blake Griffin is his performance in the January 15, 2018 regular-season contest between the Clippers and the Houston Rockets. Griffin contributed 29 points on 50 percent shooting, 10 rebounds, six assists and one steal in the 115-102 win, spoiling any plans Chris Paul may have had for showing up his ex-teammates in his first return to the Staples Center after demanding a trade.

The game itself was electric, providing a playoff feel to all in attendance (including me) right from opening tip-off. For most, it is remembered as the game the Rockets “stormed” the Clippers’ locker room, but I remember it as the game when Griffin first appeared to embrace his role as the Clippers’ post-Lob City franchise player.

Griffin was an animated leader on the court throughout the game, in both tone and quality of play. The animosity between Griffin and the oft-chippy Paul was palpable, as was the animosity between Griffin and Rockets’ coach Mike D’Antoni and Griffin and Rockets’ then-forward Trevor Ariza. The tension made for some very entertaining moments. Among other things, Paul called Griffin an expletive, D’Antoni and Griffin were given technicals after some body contact and mouthing off, and Griffin and Ariza were both tossed with just over one minute left in the fourth quarter for not being able to keep their tempers in check.

Griffin, shorts torn and smile broad, left the floor to a standing ovation, emphatically high-fiving fans and tossing his jersey into the crowd. For that moment, Los Angeles was unmistakably Griffin’s city.

Kenneth Armstrong: My favorite Blake Griffin memory is his dunk over Kendrick Perkins. I tried my hardest to think of a more unique or underrated moment in his time with the Clippers, but I can’t deny the pure electricity of that field goal. I was also in the arena for that game, so the recurring chills have not worn off.

Max Jeffrey: My favorite memory of Blake Griffin as a Clipper was one I was fortunate enough to experience in person. It was at Staples Center on Halloween night in 2013: the Clippers versus Golden State. This was at a point in time when any Clippers-Warriors matchup was must-watch television because it had quickly become a brewing, and then-legitimate, rivalry. This was also at a point in time when walking away from the television at home, or leaving your seat at Staples Center to grab a snack or use the restroom almost certainly meant you either just missed, or were about to miss, one of the greatest highlight plays you’d ever see in your life.

On this particular night, despite leading comfortably following each of the first two quarters, the Clippers never felt too far ahead of the Warriors because Stephen Curry had one of the most absurd shooting nights of his career to that point (9-of-14 from beyond the arc). The combined buzz of Lob City, Curry, and a nationally-televised TNT game on Halloween night already had a special and almost surreal quality to it. The excitement in the building was already so heightened. Then Griffin basically said, “Hold my beer.”

Just about halfway through the third quarter, up 82-70, the Clippers initiated the greatest series of offensive and defensive possessions I had ever seen from them. As a result of a very engaged defense, Griffin threw down not one, not two, but THREE consecutive alley-oop fast-break dunks. The building went bonkers after the first. After the second, it became so incredibly loud and momentum-tilting that Mark Jackson had no choice but to call a timeout for the Warriors.

Then, coming out of a lengthy full timeout/commercial break, the high-decibel buzz of the crowd somehow managed to subside. But you could just feel that the home crowd still wanted more… and Griffin delivered. Immediately out of the timeout, Chris Paul got his hands on an errant Warriors pass and proceeded to race full-speed down the floor along with DeAndre Jordan and Griffin. Paul tossed it up and Griffin threw down an authoritative one-handed dunk. The building literally felt like it was shaking, and it was probably the loudest my dad and I ever yelled at a live event. That series of exciting plays by Griffin, the greatest 6-0 run I’ve ever seen, was an exclamation point on that night and a perfect encapsulation of the Lob City Clippers.