Blake Griffin: Why the Clippers' Superstar Is the Fakest Tough Guy in the NBA

Joye Pruitt@hoopselectSenior Analyst IApril 8, 2012

LOS ANGELES, CA - APRIL 04:  Blake Griffin #32 of the Los Angeles Clippers is fouled grabbing a rebound by Andrew Bynum #17 of the Los Angeles Lakers at Staples Center on April 4, 2012 in Los Angeles, California.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Harry How/Getty Images

There are times when you look out onto the court and you see players jostling up and down the court shoving each other out of the way and creating space for plays to be executed. It’s all a part of the game. That is, until someone gets a little more serious than intended and spouts off to the media.

It makes for great entertainment and the postgame cameras are there for a reason. Not to just get the feedback of the winning players or the losing coaches, but to rabble-rouse.

The media is there for an emotional reaction to a possibly hard-fought or embarrassingly failed game. Between DeMarcus Cousins and Blake Griffin, the cameras got exactly what they came for as Cousins released his angst about how the officials and the league in general, treats the sophomore forward out of Oklahoma.

"He's babied," Cousins told after the Kings fell to the Clippers 93-85. "He's the poster child of the league. He sells tickets, but he's babied. Bottom line."

Babied by whom, Cousins was asked.

"The refs, the league -- period," he continued. "He gets away with [everything]. He taunts players. Nothing is done. He's babied."

Deep down in our hearts, we recognize the special treatment Blake gets from a mile away. Has he earned it? The answer is easily no. All that Griffin has to tout about his athleticism are his dunks on huge players in the low post, but when it comes to actually winning games and propelling the Clippers in playoff contention, he cannot take the credit.

That’s where players like Chris Paul step in to grab the glory, but right now Griffin is settled into his role with the franchise as the attention-grabber, the diversion and the ticket-seller. Griffin has not been forced to develop his game any more than that which relies solely on his athletic ability, so for now, that is all we will see from the young forward.

However, something else seems to be rubbing players the wrong way about Griffin’s game.

While the no-calls from the referees are not enough to make Griffin one of the most targeted players in the league, his whining sure set out to be the icing on the cake.

"If they're going to let it be physical, it's usually physical on both ends," Cousins said. "You saw the game, so I don't really have to say much."

Asked about the fifth foul he received for a play on Griffin with a little more than a minute left in the game, Cousins indicated he believed Griffin was faking.

"I guess the wind from my hand hit him in the eye and I guess he got fouled by the wind," Cousins said. "I'm not sure."

Flopping has become a wider publicized problem in the league as leagues are becoming more privy to realizing what’s real and what’s exaggerated. Still, Griffin seems to believe that a little flop and a pouty face will lead the officials to call fouls in his favor. So far, that has been exactly the case.

However, the flops seem to almost negate the scowls and taunts he perpetuates after posterizing a fellow leaguer. You can often seem Griffin walk up slowly to his competition if they are on the ground and standing over them or stomping towards an offender who he thinks fouled him a little too hard or at all for that reason.

It’s all an act, though. There is nothing tough about Griffin as he joins the infamous list of the league’s fakest tough guys.

Yes, the men you see with those rock-hard faces on the court but wouldn’t bust a grape in a fruit fight.

Last year, we heard the term used in reference to Chris Bosh. After a back and forth between him and Kevin Durant in a meeting between the Miami Heat and the Oklahoma City Thunder, Durant let it be known that he did not think highly of Bosh's tough-guy act.

"I was talking to my teammate and he decided he wanted to put his 2 cents into it. I'm a quiet guy, a laid-back guy, but I'm not going to let nobody talk trash to me. He's on a good team now, so he thinks he can talk a little bit," Durant said.

"There's a lot of fake tough guys in this league and he's one of them," Durant added.

Then you have another meeting this season where Udonis Haslem used the term to reference former Boston and current OKC player Kendrick Perkins. 

As reported by ProBasketballTalk's Ira Winderman:

Recall, earlier this season Perkins derided James for drawing attention to Blake Griffin‘s highlight-of-the-season dunk on Perkins. Perkins also has a push-come-to-shove history with the Heat dating to his tenure with the Boston Celtics.

That had Haslem firing back on his radio appearance.

“I think sometimes people just use the TVs and the cameras and the crowd, you know, to put on a show,” Haslem said of Perkins. “I don’t think he’s all that he shows out there on the court.

Neither of these men compare the actor that is Blake Griffin. There have been more than several occasions in which Griffin has proved that his bark is so much bigger than his bite. 

Jan. 13, 2011 – Blake Griffin vs. Mario Chalmers

A fight that did not last that long and really didn’t result in the exchange of fisticuffs. A scrappy Mario Chalmers attempted to elude his teammates to get to the obviously bigger Griffin as Big Blake treated the smaller opponent to a simple stare-down. That’s a tough guy if I’ve ever seen one! Sorry, couldn’t even pull that one off with a straight face.

Feb. 7, 2011 – Blake Griffin vs. Eddie House

On a fast break to the hoop, Baron Davis lobs up a pass to Blake Griffin and Eddie House senses a poster moment, so to put a stop to it, he shoves Griffin a bit, mid-stride, and Griffin goes flying across the court. Griffin just waits a moment as his teammates come to his rescue, trying to find a way at House’s neck as Griffin sits quietly on the floor, composing himself, I assume.

Jan. 5, 2012 – Blake Griffin vs. Samuel Dalembert

I guess when it comes to picking on someone his own size, Griffin is lackadaisical in that category as well. After a play was whistled dead, Griffin attempted to put the ball over Dalembert’s head anyway. Dalembert went up to defend it, as if the play was not over and Griffin did not like that too much. After a shove from Dalembert, the two were separated, not as if he was expecting much from the young star anyway.

Jan, 25, 2012 – Blake Griffin vs. Metta World Peace

This is probably the last guy Griffin would want to try his big man chops on. Which is why he did not and DeAndre Jordan took the pleasure of handling Griffin’s light work. He and Peace were fighting for a loose ball and on the way up, Griffin got caught in a melee that resulted in Jordan becoming the primary aggressor. Not Griffin who was toppled over by Peace in the first place, but Jordan.

Then there are instances of Griffin’s obvious flops and/or collapsing moments.

March 23, 2012 – Hornets Jason Smith flagrant foul on Blake Griffin

Not to say that this play was not a hard foul on Smith’s behalf, however, the way Griffin just lies on the floor as if he was knocked out of the air is ridiculous. He was hit, but not hard enough to merit a 10-second moment of silence where Griffin is just laid out on the floor as if the wind was knocked out of him.

If he is going to attempt to play the way he does night in and out, he has to be a bit stronger when it comes to drawing contact.

These are only a couple of instances where Griffin tumbles and overreacts to a foul on him. While DeMarcus is right about Griffin being an actor, he left one thing out.

For a player as grand in size and stature as Griffin is, he sure does play the victim role a lot. Flopping all over the court and whining when he doesn’t get the call.

Then again, doesn’t Cousins do the same?


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