Budding superstar Griffin exactly what NBA needs

I honestly don’t even care about anything else in sports right now; I just want to talk about Blake Griffin’s dunk from Monday. Oh my God, right?

If you haven’t been on Facebook, Twitter or any sort of ESPN, Griffin leaped over a 6-foot-10, 270-pound center who started on a championship team and brought down the ball with what had to be 8 billion pounds of force, sending the Staples Center, and Twitter, into a frenzy.

Kendrick Perkins dwarfs other centers because he is a huge person. If I was a child (or viewing him in person), I would be scared of Perkins’ patented scowl. He is a tough defender, and I give him props for sticking his grill in Griffin’s wheelhouse. After all, it made the dunk all that much more pretty. It doesn’t have to be an embarrassment, Perk, it’s just like photobombing, but with posters.

The slam drew comparisons to Griffin’s abusive dunk over Timofey Mozgov from last season and immediately entered the realm of the best dunks of all time.

I’ll take it as the best dunk I’ve ever seen. Vince Carter’s dunk over 7-footer Frédéric Weis in the 2000 Olympics was great, but Weis was flat footed and ducking his neck, as opposed to jumping to try and block the shot.

Reaction ranged from awe to defensiveness, with basketball fans praising Griffin’s power jam, and Griffin defamers (usually Kobe and LeBron fans) saying it wasn’t that great.

Griffin’s stardom and the arrival of Chris Paul in Los Angeles have made the Clippers a more fun team to root for than the Lakers for the first time ever. After suffering a knee injury in the preseason before what was supposed to be his rookie year, Griffin accrued doubters that likened his situation to that of Portland Trailblazers center Greg Oden, who has missed significant time due to injury in every season since being drafted in 2007.

Instead, Griffin bounced back and wowed spectators, exploding ahead of the Rookie of the Year race last season and never looking back. While critics will say Griffin lacks a half-court game to be considered great, his crowd-entrancing highlights are enough to give his team more than most power forwards around the league.

It’s not like Griffin is talentless when he’s not throwing down — he’s shown potential in the halfcourt and has plenty of time to develop it. Give the best passer in the league to Griffin, and he’s in a great position to live up to his lofty expectations. And if not, we still have years of watching Griffin’s lofty dunks, not to mention the best professional athlete spokesman since Peyton Manning dominated television advertising circa 2008.

The NBA needed a star like Griffin to grab the attention of fans. LeBron James had sold out, Dwyane Wade along with him, Derrick Rose and Kevin Durant aren’t charismatic enough to thrive in the spotlight, and with stars like Kevin Garnett, Tim Duncan and Kobe Bryant in the twilight of their careers, the NBA finally has a face to give the public and say, “Hey, you, you’d be foolish not to watch this guy.”

I remember looking up clips a couple years back of Josh Smith highlight reels and gaining satisfaction. I remember looking for Gerald Wallace’s top 10 dunks on YouTube, and considering Rudy Gay at the top tier of dunkers in the league. My, how far we’ve come.

Now Blake Griffin stands alone on that top tier, and it’s not close. If the second tier isn’t empty for the purpose of separation, Griffin’s teammate DeAndre Jordan is the only one on it.

Griffin has a beautiful style to his high-flying act. He dunks so hard, it’s stress relieving. He dunks with a merciless grace that has never been seen before. He’s a one-man show whose team arguably has two other one-man shows on it in Jordan and Paul.

He doesn’t withhold, either. Griffin will happily unleash one of his trademark punch-dunks (I made that term up, and trademarked it for him) in any arena in front of any crowd. Finally, someone has replaced The Rock as the most electrifying man in sports.

Griffin is must-watch television, and while Michael Jordan is still His Airness, and LeBron is still The King (I guess), Blake Griffin is establishing himself as the next member of high-flying NBA royalty. And fortunately, as amazing as Monday’s dunk was, Griffin’s reign is only just beginning.

_Eliot is a sophomore in Media. Contact him at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @EliotTweet._