SBD/February 21, 2011/Events and Attractions

Clippers F Blake Griffin Highlights NBA All-Star Weekend Festivities With Slam Dunk Win

Griffin was the only player to participate in all three days of this year's festivities
Clippers F Blake Griffin on Saturday won the NBA's Sprite Slam Dunk Contest "with arguably the best finish" in the event's 26-year history, according to Bill Plaschke of the L.A. TIMES. Before his final dunk, Griffin summoned a “choir to serenade his attempt” with "I Believe I Can Fly."  Then, taking a pass from Clippers G Baron Davis “through the sunroof of a silver 2011 Kia Optima, Griffin soared over the hood to slam the ball in the basket before landing back on that hood with his arms raised in triumph.” On a night that was “set up to crown Griffin as the NBA's most entertaining flier, the flourish was amazing.” Plaschke writes the “legend of Blake Griffin has just gone turbo.” He is now "capturing the national imagination with every squeak of his sneakers" (L.A. TIMES, 2/20). SI.com’s Lee Jenkins wrote Griffin’s “legend continues to rise” after the dunk contest (SI.com, 2/20). In L.A., David Wharton wrote Griffin’s win was “another memorable moment to an All-Star weekend that has become a Griffin love fest” (L.A. TIMES, 2/20). USA TODAY's David Leon: "The fans went a little nuts in the dunk contest. ... It is not every day they see a guy jump over a car on a basketball court, and not every day they see a Clipper taking center stage for the NBA" (USATODAY.com, 2/19).

RISKY BUSINESS: The AP’s Greg Beacham wrote Griffin’s “inventive dunk demonstrated why many in the NBA believe the 21-year-old has the raw athleticism and entertaining flair to be the league's next big star.” But the move “could have petrified the Clippers since Griffin -- the top pick in the 2009 NBA draft -- broke his kneecap in a preseason game in 2009 and missed all of last season.” Griffin: "I could have clipped my foot, I guess. That's what I was afraid of -- just clip my foot on the side and smash my face into the car. Fortunately, it worked out" (AP, 2/20). The L.A. TIMES’ Plaschke wrote, “How on the earth did the Clippers allow this?” Griffin said, "I noticed when I went in for my rehearsal Thursday night, everybody from the Clippers was there … and then I realized, everybody is kind of nervous about this. So I jumped over it and I kind of looked at them and they are like, all right, you can do it" (L.A. TIMES, 2/20). In L.A., Phil Collin wrote you “didn’t have to be owner Donald Sterling to know this could be another cursed moment in Clipperland” (L.A. DAILY NEWS, 2/20).

PUTTING ON A SHOW: YAHOO SPORTS’ Kelly Dwyer wrote this year’s dunk contest “wasn't exactly a return to form -- the 1988 and 2000 competitions won't be shaking in their respective slammin' boots after watching tape from Saturday night's affair -- but the Blake Griffin-led show was a fun time out” (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 2/20). In Oklahoma City, Jenni Carlson wrote, "The dunk contest has become dull and boring in recent years. The stars have been few, and the intrigue has been nil. Catching the highlights was enough. Now, the dunk contest is must-see TV. Credit the Talented Mr. Griffin” (DAILY OKLAHOMAN, 2/19). But in Toronto, Doug Smith wrote the dunk contest “will never be the same,” as the event “has abandoned all pretense of being anything but a show” (TORONTO STAR, 2/20).
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