Q+A With Blake Griffin
The rookie talks about trading cards, summer plans and magazine covers.
by Tzvi Twersky | @ttwersky
Blake Griffin and I have at least two things in common: We both grew up collecting trading cards, and both of our older brothers had way better collections than us.
I found that out, and much, much more, recently when Panini, the exclusive trading card and sticker provider of the NBA, hooked Griffin and I up on the phone.
The occasion for the conversation? On Thursday Panini announced a multi-year memorabilia partnership and authentic memorabilia deal with Griffin. He joins the ho-hum group of Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant and John Wall as the NBA faces of Panini. Panini also took the oppurtunity to unveil the HRX (Highlight Reel Xperience), a state of the art card with streaming video on it.
We’ve come a long way from the cardboard cards my brother and I and Griffin and his brother collected years ago.
Anyway, enough from me. Here’s what the redshirt rookie sensation had to say.
SLAM: Did you collect trading cards as a kid?
Blake Griffin: Yeah, definitely. I collected all different sports, actually. I had a pretty decent collection; I wasn’t too serious.
SLAM: Who had a better collection, you or your brother?
BG: My brother definitely had a better collection than me. I won’t lie about that one.
SLAM: What was your favorite card?
BG: In basketball, I’d probably have to go with a Michael Jordan card. And I had a Ken Griffey Jr. rookie card that I was pretty big on.
SLAM: What’s it like now to have your own card and to have this exclusive deal with Panini?
BG: It’s cool. It’s cool to actually have my own trading card and to be a part of the Panini family. It’s a great product, so I’m glad to be associated with it.
SLAM: You collected cards as a kid, do you collect anything nowadays?
BG: Nah, (laughs). I stopped collecting after a while.
SLAM: I mean, do you collect anything at all?
BG: Not really. Nah, I don’t seriously collect anything.
SLAM: What about this HRX video card. Is that something you would’ve messed around with as a kid?
BG: Yeah, it’s crazy. It’s like a trading card with video on it. I just got to see it today for the first time. It’s unbelievable. I would’ve loved to have one as a kid. It’s cool that they’re able to put this out now.
SLAM: It’s the wave of the future.
BG: Yeah, definitely. It’s game changing.
SLAM: Speaking of game changing. You had a big game the other night and you guys still lost. Does that get frustrating, having huge personal games and still losing?
BG: Yeah, obviously the goal is to win. So, coming in you do everything possible, but you can’t win them all. For me, it’s just about learning and figuring it out.
SLAM: Once you’re out of the Playoff picture, what do you use to motivate you on a nightly basis?
BG: Right. It’s just finishing up the season strong for me, and making sure that I’m getting better every game. Missing my whole first year—obviously—I’ve got a lot to catch up on. So this experience is good for me and I’m trying to use it for the best.
SLAM: What are your summer plans?
BG: Man, I’m just gonna be working out. That’s about it.
SLAM: Where you gonna be working out at?
BG: L.A. for the most part.
SLAM: What do you think you need to do to get better?
BG: I’m gonna be working on my shot. Working on extending my range. Keep working on everything, and really studying the game.
SLAM: You gonna take some time off first to recuperate?
BG: Yeah, I’m gonna take a little bit of time off as soon as the season’s over and then I’ll start up my workouts.
SLAM: You know what you need to do to get better. What does the team need to do?
BG: Just come together a little bit more. We need to be able to pull out games in the fourth quarter, you know, that’s when a lot of teams win their games. You look at the Dallas Mavericks, they’re probably the best fourth quarter team in the League. All these teams that finish out games, they’re all veterans teams and they do a good job at it.
SLAM: You think the team, with more time together, can compete with the current core guys?
BG: Yeah, for the most part, a lot of our guys will be back. I’m just ready to see who the new guys will be, get with them, gel and get going next year.
SLAM: Yeah, you’ll need to get cards of everyone on the Clippers.
BG: (Laughs) Yeah, I’ll start that collection now.
SLAM: Did you get a chance to see your recent SLAM cover?
BG: Yeah, it was cool. It was great. You guys did a great job.
SLAM: What’s it like, being on the cover of magazines and things like that? Did you ever think about that when you were younger?
BG: It’s cool. Reading those magazines coming up and then to be able to be on the front, it’s unbelievable.