If one was to play a quick game of word association, it's likely that "Blake Griffin" would elicit responses like "great slam," "crazy dunk" or maybe even "dunk of the year" or "dunk of the century." Of course, all of those responses are warranted, given Griffin's continual assault on the rim and unsuspecting defenders who happen to get between Griffin and the basket.
While Griffin's athleticism is now world-renowned, it only takes a quick glance at his background to notice that Griffin's penchant for outlandish and overpowering jams has been around for years, stretching all the way back to his tenure at Edmond (Okla.) Oklahoma Christian School.
Like plenty of other top prospects, Griffin came up playing for his father, Oklahoma Christian School head boys basketball coach Tommy Griffin. Like a number of those other prospects, the younger Griffin was told by his father that he would have to stand out from the rest of the team for him to get on the court.
Clearly, Tommy Griffin was trying to light a fire under his son's rear end. Instead, he created a monster. Blake Griffin emerged as the constant hustle, floor-burn half of a Griffin brothers duo that initially focused on his older brother, Taylor Griffin. When Taylor went off to the University of Oklahoma, Blake followed in his prep footsteps, asserting himself as the dominant force on his team and, eventually, in the state.
A big part of that physical dominance was predicated on Blake Griffin's physical gifts, which allowed him to go around, through and above just about anyone who got between himself and the basket. That was never more apparent than in the highlight reel above, where Griffin rattles off a series of impressive dunks from his senior season, as recently cobbled together as part of a tribute piece from Oklahoma High School Sports Express, a high school highlight program broadcast throughout the state.
The youngest Griffin then capped off that dominant senior season with the preposterous long jumping slam you see in the video below, which was taken from the Oklahoma small schools all-state game in 2007, just months before Griffin arrived on campus at the University of Oklahoma.
The rest, as they say, is history. Blake Griffin joined Taylor in Norman and the two helped turn Oklahoma into a legitimate national contender, if only briefly. After two seasons, Blake announced for the NBA draft just as his brother completed his eligibility, with both eventually taken in the draft, Blake at No. 1 overall by the Clippers; Taylor was selected in the second round by the Phoenix Suns, for whom he still plays.
That selection by L.A.'s other team now seems incredibly prescient, with Griffin providing the foundation of what may be the Clippers' most promising team since, well, just about ever. Along with Griffin, the Clippers boast All-Star point guard Chris Paul and emerging center DeAndre Jordan, a fellow former Big 12 South superstar (Jordan starred at Texas A&M).
Throughout it all, Griffin has kept dunking, taking his acrobatic act to higher and higher levels, both literally and figuratively. The rise has culminated in Griffin's emergence as one of the top basketball players of the past decade and almost certainly the best dunker.
Given his past highlights, perhaps we all should have seen it coming.
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