blake griffin

Originally published in SLAM 144

A year to the day of the announcement he had a fractured kneecap—an injury that would cause him to miss the entire 2009-10 NBA season—redshirt rookie Blake Griffin donned Bill Walton’s old No. 32 for the Los Angeles Clippers and found out what he could do. Which, as it turned out, was quite a lot. But let’s go back a year.

October of 2009. Griffin is in the doctor’s office to see what’s up with his injured knee. He knows it’s bad, just doesn’t know how bad. The doctor’s expression of intense puzzlement doesn’t help.

“Here’s the thing, Blake. Your bones don’t appear to be bones at all. We wondered why the MRI didn’t work until we took the X-rays. They’re some sort of alloy that we can’t even identify. Yet somehow you managed to break one.”

Continues the doc, “The good news is that it seems to be healing itself. So, we can’t do much, and it might take time. The better news is we have no idea how you did it, and it should never happen again. We have no idea what your limits might even be. Go out there and dunk on everyone. Just, um, try and make it look natural.”

Russ Bengtson