The Clippers power forward, who sealed his 2011 dunk contest victory by jumping over a car, leads all rookies in scoring and rebounding.
Dan Patrick:What's your favorite among the nicknames people have given you?
Blake Griffin: I just like to keep it simple. I don't like it when people get too far out there: "Dr. Dunkenstein," "Rim Reaper." I don't want to be mean, but no. People are saying "Human YouTube Reel." I think we can do better than that.
DP:How about the Poster Child?
BG: Yeah, but am I going to be a child my whole life?
DP:How about the Poster Man?
BG: No, I don't really like that one either.
DP:Was dunking over a car in the slam dunk contest enough? Have you considered jumping over a truck?
BG: I was supposed to do something else with it in the air. But at the last minute I panicked and didn't feel like I could pull off what I had planned to do.
DP:What were you going to do?
BG: I can't tell because I may use it in the future.
DP:Did you at least get a Kia out of it?
BG: Actually we sold [the car] and donated the money to the charity Stand Up to Cancer.
DP:How about a nice layup instead of dunking?
BG: I've thought about it. I'm actually working on a power tap on the glass. Lay the ball up and just tap the glass.
DP:Are you concerned that playing as physically as you do could affect the longevity of your career?
BG: Right now, that's my game. As my game develops offensively, it is going to evolve. I feel like I should always attack the rim. But a lot of times right now I use my athleticism or play a little harder to make up for some of the things lacking in my game.
DP:Best team you've faced?
BG: Either the Spurs or the Celtics. The Lakers are up there too.
DP:How hard is it to guard Tim Duncan?
BG: It's tough. You never know what he's going to do. Sometimes he's all about passing and getting his teammates involved. At certain times of the game he wants to score. It's a guessing game. He just gets it done. It almost seems like he's not trying very hard, which is kind of demoralizing.
DP:Best player you've faced this season?
BG: Up close, playing against Carmelo is tough. You know what he's going to do, and he still does it.
DP:How important is the Rookie of the Year award?
BG: I said from the beginning of the year, that's not something that's going to make or break my season or my career. It's an accomplishment, but a small one.
DP:How impressed are you with Kevin Love's record 53 straight double doubles?
BG: It's very impressive. The rebounds thing is what's impressive to me. Because he's having 20-plus rebound games. It's not like he's getting 12--10 every night.
DP:Are you a Clipper for life?
BG: It's not something I'm worried about right now. As long as things keep moving forward, and we're making the right decisions here and things are positive, I don't see why not. It's a great place to play. But [that decision] is somewhere down the road.
• Sob Story
Heat players were ridiculed when they cried after a loss to the Bulls on March 6, but Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard could relate. "I used to cry after all my basketball games," Howard said. "Then one of my teammates said, 'Dwight, you're in the NBA now. You're going to have 82 games plus the playoffs, just get it back next game.'" Howard added that losing in the postseason is an acceptable excuse for shedding tears.
• Gear Fear
Danica Patrick is building a résumé as an IndyCar and NASCAR driver, but she admitted she's not an expert on what makes either type of car go. "When people are telling me about their cars and say they have a hemi-6 or -8 block, I don't know what they're talking about," Patrick said. When she gets her personal car fixed she tries to "throw some lingo out" from racing so the garage doesn't rip her off. But, she adds, she's never quite sure if the mechanics are being completely honest.
• Line of the week
Former Duke guard Bobby Hurley, commenting on the ESPN documentary Fab Five:"There was a high level of bitterness there, particularly directed at us. I wonder why. We were 3--0 against Michigan."
Now Hear This
Listen to the podcasts at danpatrick.com/interviews
1. Bradley Cooper on movies and being a Philly sports fan.
2. John Calipari talks about Kentucky's tournament chances.
THE FINE PRINT: A Minneapolis commission voted to put a new $17.9 million roof on the Metrodome. This one will have a retractable plow.
MICHAEL J. LEBRECHT II/1DEUCE3 PHOTOGRAPHY (PATRICK)
JOHN GREEN/CAL SPORT MEDIA (HOWARD)
PAT SULLIVAN/AP (HURLEY)
JOHN W. MCDONOUGH (GRIFFIN)