Blake Griffin's new tag as a 'villain' is nothing but crazy talk

At the suggestion that Griffin had turned to the dark side, Clippers teammate Chris Paul nearly choked on his post-practice energy bar.
by Jenni Carlson Modified: April 11, 2012 at 12:54 am •  Published: April 10, 2012

Now, I will admit that some of Griffin's on-court antics can grate on you. He glares at opponents. He stares down defenders. He stalks around the court like he owns the place. And this season, he definitely complains about calls and no-calls more than he did a year ago.

But really, aren't there a lot of guys around the NBA who you can say those things about?

What makes Griffin any different?

It's the way he plays the game.

No one else in the league has a skill set quite like Griffin. He is so powerful and explosive yet so controlled and agile. I know that he hasn't developed into a complete player — his mid-range game is lacking as is his consistency at the free-throw line — but what he can do is machine-like and almost impossible to defend.

Add in his cool, steely demeanor, and it's no wonder he was once dubbed “The Terminator.”

Not exactly a good-guy nickname, is it?

But none of that makes Griffin a villain.

I mean, there are plenty of sports figures that deserve that tag. Even recent headlines abound with possibilities. Dwight Howard. Gregg Williams. Bobby Petrino. Ozzie Guillen.

But putting Blake Griffin in that group?

Absurd.

(I seem to remember him enduring a full-speed takedown a few weeks back in New Orleans and walking away from the assault instead of escalating the situation. That doesn't seem very bad-boy-like to me.)

“Shoot, everybody loves him,” Paul said, getting fired up as he talked. “Shoot, don't nobody love him more than my son.

“I don't know nobody that don't like Blake.”

He paused.

“Except for the guys he dunks on.”

Paul might've gotten a little feisty at the idea of Griffin as a villain, but for Big Blake, it's just the latest in a long line of opinions from outsiders that have been off base.

“I never think, ‘Oh, everybody loves me' or ‘Everybody hates me,'” he said. “You just keep hearing it your whole career.

“It's not something I'm worried about.”

Nor should he be.

by Jenni Carlson
Columnist
Jenni Carlson, a sports columnist at The Oklahoman since 1999, came by her love of sports honestly. She grew up in a sports-loving family in Kansas. Her dad coached baseball and did color commentary on the radio for the high school football...
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