By Julie Buehler
There’s no question Blake Griffin’s talent is superior to 99.99% of the humans walking the planet. He has a unique and fascinating distinction of being one of the rare few who can abuse gravity. Bully it, if you will.
See, the rest of us met the mean-spirited gravity at a ripe young age when trying to ride a bike, skateboard or climb trees. And we got a real taste of it’s power and petulance when, inspired by Superman, innocently tied a towel around our necks, pretending it to be the cape to save humanity, and leapt off the side of a couch. Thereby, receiving a hard, cold lesson from gravity; this world belonged to it and it alone.
Icing the wounds from years of attempts at defeating gravity ourselves, we finally learned: You’ll need help if you’re going to avoid painful face-planting (or arm-breaking or knee skinning).
I’m sure there were others, but no one so gracefully fought for us against the ubiquitous bullying of gravity like Michael Jordan. Because he knew what he was doing: flying for those who couldn’t fly. He made us to feel like for those brief seconds he was launching through the air, that while gravity couldn’t touch him, therefore, it needn’t bully us anymore.
There was a gracefulness to his Airness and a gentleness in his refutation of gravity’s dominance.
And there have been others that similarly create a symphony through the air, casting doubt in gravity’s greatness. But they do so with seemingly with an effortless ascent above the gravitational pulls, thus escaping unscathed.
Then there’s Blake Griffin.
He doesn’t escape gravity, he throttles it. He punches gravity straight in the face, laughing, takes it’s lunch money and enjoys the extra chocolate milk he got with it.
Griffin bullies the world’s biggest bully with a charm and thunder that makes his game uniquely compelling.
And now he’s adding some attitude.
We saw how different LeBron James became as a player once his emotional maturity caught up with his freak-of-nature athleticism and 2 NBA Titles later, the rest of the league is still wondering if they can put the genie back in the bottle.
With Griffin, it’s much the same. He’s the funny guy, the nice guy, the big guy, but many wondered if he could be THE guy.
When Chris Paul went down with a separated shoulder, Griffin had to step up. He not only did that, but did so in resounding fashion.
When Paul went down in early January, Griffin had been averaging about 21 points a game through 33 games. Through the month plus Paul was injured, Griffin improved to 26 points a game for January and then 34 points a game in February.
Not only has he been defying gravity for his career, but now he’s demanding the ball to do so.
There aren’t many things more impressive than watching a man who can make gravity cry, take so much joy in doing so.
And for the Clippers, they’ve waited a long time for Griffin to not only bully gravity, but make sure gravity, and the rest of the NBA, knows he is doing it on purpose.
Julie Buehler hosts the Coachella Valley’s most popular sports talk radio show, “Buehler’s Day Off” every day from 3-6 on 1010 KXPS, the valley’s all sports station. She’s an avid gym rat, slightly sarcastic and more likely to recite Steve Young’s career passing stats than American Idol winners. Tune in M-F 3-6 pst at www.team1010.com or watch the show on Ustream.