Thursday, March 3rd, 2011 at 12:00 pm  |  59 responses

SLAM 147: On Sale Now!

Blake Griffin takes a bite out of the League.

by Tzvi Twersky | @ttwersky

It’s possible that no one’s gotten as much ink in SLAM Magazine this season as Blake Griffin.

In our Season Preview issue, we showed him love. In the next book, SLAM 144, he was the dunker featured in the SLAMadamonth section. A short month later, Jake Appleman wrote a profile on him that ran in the mag. His dunk over the Denver Nuggets earned him SLAMadamonth honors again in SLAM 146. And he’s been mentioned in pretty much every single NOYZ.

Still—and this has been made clear via Facebook, SLAMonline, Trash Talk and Twitter—no matter how much we’ve covered Blake Griffin, it hasn’t served to satiate our readers’ ravenous Blake Show appetite.

This cover should help fix that.

Sixty-two games into his redshirt rookie season, every NBA fan already knows that Blake Griffin is a Vince Carter-ian dunker. Every fan with access to the internet knows he’s a living, breathing Top 10 Play. Every fan knows he’s got better springs than a brand new mattress. There’s more to the man than meets the highlight reel, though, as he reiterated during our late-winter cover shoot at the Clippers’ gleaming steel, blue and red training center in Playa Vista, California.

“[It’s] not just about dunks,” said Griffin moments after the shoot wrapped. “I take pride in being an overall player and not just being one-dimensional. That’s something I would like to be recognized for. But that’s gotta come.”

After spending some time talking with Blake’s friends, family, teammates and League-mates I’m now certain that recognition for more than rim-rattling is gonna come sooner rather than later.

A few weeks ago, before our photo shoot and a few half-hours after practice, two-thirds of the way through his first grueling jaunt through the NBA calendar, Blake Griffin was hard at work, trying to diversify his already surprisingly diverse game. He worked on his mid-range jumper for a little while. He worked on his stripe-game for a little while. He worked on his post moves for a little while. And, yes, he worked on his three ball for a little while. It’s this work ethic, this Get Better or Die Trying attitude, that has Blake Griffin poised to produce monstrous numbers well after he stops dunking on the regular.

Don’t believe us; believe Griffin’s teammate Craig “Rhino” Smith who is effusive in his praise for the rookie: “At the end of his career, he’s going to end up being one of the best power forwards to ever play—if not the best.”

As Tommy Griffin, Blake’s father and high school coach says, “I don’t know if there is a limit [to what he can accomplish].”

The cover story—one of two; check Adam Figman’s Amar’e Stoudemire post for more on that cover—ultimately is one about misconceptions. As partially demonstrated above, contrary to popular opinion, Blake Griffin’s game isn’t solely what fans think it is. Likewise, his personality isn’t, either.

Every time he takes the court, thousands watch him play live. Another million-plus watch on TV. Beyond a bevy of dunks, what these rabid fans see is a nearly 22-year-old man who stalks around the court looking a little bit like a monster: focused and scowling to the point of intimidation. And, for 48 minutes on game night, he is all of those things and more. But off the court, away from the crowds, away from a quote-hungry media contingent, Blake Griffin transforms into a totally different dude.

“I’m laid back,” Griffin assured me during our time together. “People see me on the court and think I’m real intense. But off the court, when I’m around my friends and people that I’m close with, it’s nothing like that.”

As I found out firsthand, and as people found out before, during and after All-Star Weekend, Griffin is open and gregarious and possesses a dry sense of humor to boot–as long as there’s no basketball in site.

“He enjoys life,” laughed Tommy Griffin when asked about the dichotomy between Blake’s on- and off-court personalities.

“He enjoys life, let’s say that. He enjoys it.”

Still raw and on the upwards slope of his learning curve, Blake Griffin is currently fun to hang with and impossibly fun to watch play. According to a slew of knowledgeable people, given time and opportunity, Blake Griffin may soon be impossible to guard, too.

“He’s got the ingredients to be great, to be a champion,” Clippers assistant coach Marc Iavaroni said. “His drive and natural ability encompasses everything.”

Aside from a Griffin cover story that delves deeper into some of the things I touched on in this post, SLAM 147 is jam-packed full of other goodness. It all starts with the alternate cover story on Amar’e Stoudemire and ends with an exclusive Tim Duncan Q+A, a Michael Beasley/Kevin Love joint feature, a dose of basketball in China with Alan Paul, a Jared Sullinger profile and plenty of the usual college, high school and NBA goodness.

So, feel free to cop Blake Griffin’s first SLAM cover—and Amar’e’s first one as a New York Knick—now!

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  • jdj

    firsttttt bg is a beast!!

  • http://dodgers.com Joey E.

    BLAKE!!!! L.A. thanks you SLAM

  • Flud

    He’s not really chewing. Kinda vacant with a lump of plastic hangin’ out of his mouth… coulda-shoulda been snappier

  • Flud

    nevertheless…. A Clipper on a the cover! jaysus

  • http://nba.com EJ

    What’s wrong with his face?

  • http://www.slamonline.com Eboy

    Well deserved for the rook. This and the Amare cover have the Classic SLAM feel…..love it.

  • http://www.slamonline.com/online/category/blogs/farmer-jones/ Ryan Jones

    The mouthpiece is winning. I’m not gonna hashtag that, but it is.

  • http://bulls.com airs


  • http://slamonline.com Adam Fleischer

    Mouth guards are about to be the sh*t. Like this cover.

  • http://www.slamonline.com/ niQ

    Blake and Amare, Duncan, Love Beasley, Humphries.. .Enter the Big Man Issue.

  • http://slamonline.com Ghost

    At first glance I thought Griffin had some stitches or something. But nope, just a mouth guard.

  • Will Lee

    Earthquake Griffin

  • http://www.slamonline.com Jahmai

    YEESSSS!! Too awesome.

  • mike

    Vanilla thunder!!!

  • richard

    so which one will overseas readers get

  • richard

    so which cover will overseas readers get

  • http://slamonline BossTerry

    If Daniel Tosh had a retarded twin brother… J/K, Well deserving on both covers..

  • Dirtybird

    Time for a new issue already!

  • Jer Boi

    Please tell me suscribers get the Blake cover

  • http://sdfklf.com Jukai

    Long overdue SLAM, but mint nonetheless. This is my favorite cover since, well, a long long time. I love the “chew on this” tagline, I love the old feel the issue has, wow, just beautiful.

  • http://sdfklf.com Jukai

    This makes up for forgetting Gail Goodrich in your top-500.

  • http://slamonline.com/ Ryne Nelson

    ^Glad we got that straightened out now. ;)

  • Jer dawg

    I bet being out west I’m going to get Amare cover, but f@*# that! Copping the Blake cover at newsstand! Worth the wait, Slam. Definitely earned cover. Unlike John Wall his rookie season…

  • http://nicekicks.com meloman2.0

    Melo cover coming next?

  • http://Philosophervision@blogspot.com The Philosopher


  • http://slamonline.com Ben Osborne

    Very pleased with this one!

  • Maurice Bobb

    This does have that vintage SLAM Cover feel. These dual covers are the definition of “winning”

  • Jesse

    Clipper faithful since day 1 bandwagons need not apply GOO CLIPPS!!! LA’s future team

  • http://www.kb24.com The Seed

    Lamarcus Aldridge needs a cover, at least his team is winning when he dominates. The Blake gets highlights, but his team sucks with him. Maybe he should work on defense. Just saying…….

  • blake saiontz

    @ the seed. Aldridge sucks he never dominates or gets any highlights or anything

  • http://360special.blogspot.com dev0

    I’m a Blake fan… but he looks gross on this cover. Glad I will be receiving the Amar’e one

  • rik

    Again a double cover… really?!

  • http://slamonline.com big_ticket

    blake should use some proactiv…im exctited when this comes to my house

  • Bruno

    hey rik what’s wrong with that???

  • rik

    It seems like a cheap way to get more money out of an issue… dont you think?!

  • rik

    cant post….

  • Ken

    Ugh. I love Blake, but this is a terrible cover. You have the most dynamic, athletic PF in years…and you have him standing still with a mouthguard hanging out his mouth?

  • http://www.TheBreakdownShow.com Audley

    Whenever I think of Blake’s potential, I can’t help but feel good for Clippers fans!

  • http://www.slamonline.com c_cantrell

    bout time dude got his own cover!

  • http://www.slamonline.com Wayno

    The mouth gaurd is kinda wack in that pick…but other than that it’s a sweet cover.

  • http://airtsinelas21.blogspot.com Roy

    Dope cover. Can’t wait for this to drop on Mag stands here the Philippines.

  • Rodolfo Herrera

    does anybody have the complete collection of slam basketball magazine?

    because i do and i want to sell it.

    yes, all of them.

  • Jasmine

    Yay!! Blake Griffen!!! Finally Its Not Kobe Bryant!

  • Dale griffin

    Best dunk ever… Do you anyone from the philippines

  • http://slamonline.com GlobeTrotter

    Wow! SLAM is stepping up! I was so happy to see Griffin get his cover but living in Japan, knew I had to wait 2-3 weeks for the ish to be delivered. What a surprise when it turned up in the post today, just one day after seeing it online!!! How????

  • al

    chuck norris named hide and named his firts kin after his first kid after balke griffen, wait..blake norris is chuck girffen’s real kid…WTF

  • http://www.slamonline.com c_cantrell

    oh and btw, i finally got the SLAM top 500 mag.. and im totally f*ckin lovin it!

  • http://twitter.com/BeezKneezy LA Huey

    well deserved

  • http://yahoo Robsales16


  • http://Boom Aaron Laucke


  • Toronto

    This guy’s got tiger blood. WINNING!

  • http://www.slamonline.com jumpman3224

    Who is the other cover (says 1 of 2)?

  • http://www.twitter.com/TheDiesel Anton


  • David

    Is Blake on the poster?

  • griffin fan

    For those of you complaining or making rude comments about Blake’s face…maybe you should have some history…his father is African American and his mother is Caucasion…those are freckles on his face…do your research before making rude comments about someone’s face.

  • http://slamonline.com everything

    @Rodolfo Herrera – Il get your issue #62 and #71. where you from btw?

  • jessie

    How tall is Blake Griffin

  • Keke

    BLAKE! :)

  • Brado

    @Jessie 6’10 baby