Don't you ever question Blake Griffin's toughness or commitment to the game. Or the kids that he nearly destroyed, for that matter.
During the third quarter of the Los Angeles Clippers' January 4 game against the Los Angeles Lakers, Griffin chased down a loose ball. While saving it from going out of bounds, he dove over the announcer's table and landed in the crowd.
He risked physical harm to himself and ended up landing on two young children sitting in the front row.
Griffin checked to see if the fans he jumped into were OK before he came back onto the court.— Arash Markazi (@ArashMarkazi) January 5, 2013
Instead of running back to get in on the play, Griffin checked on the kids to make sure they were OK. Chris Paul would proceed to call a timeout and allow Griffin to do just that.
One young fan got a head rub for good measure. The other came up in apparent pain and was helped away.
Either way, Griffin made sure to apologize to the child and check in on his well-being.
As for the comical side of things, Twitter wasted no time in targeting the child Griffin crashed into. Specifically the fact that he looked like a younger version of him.
Could his Kia Optima have played a role in this?
Blake Griffin's Kia Optima took him back in time to take out....himself.— Lakers Nation (@LakersNation) January 5, 2013
It didn't stop there.
Uvo, tackle younger me. RT @marcel_mutoni: The kid that Blake Griffin landed on top of looks like a young Blake Griffin.— Zach Harper (@talkhoops) January 5, 2013
Through all of the comedy, what should be taken away from all of this is the passion Griffin displayed on that play.
During an age in which players would rather scrap the art of competition to find the easy route to success, Griffin reminded us that the love of the game remains strong. Whether star or scrub, players will put their bodies on the line for their team.
Just as importantly, they will display the same care for a fan as the fans show for them.
Although Griffin came up with far less cuts and bruises, the play was eerily similar to one of the many that we will remember New York Yankees great Derek Jeter by (via YouTube). Fortunately, the LAC All-Star isn't the only player to display this fire.
He's just the latest one to do it.
My hat's off to you, Mr. Griffin. You play the game as it should be played.
With fire, passion, love and appreciation for your opportunity. One that every fan wishes they could have.
One that Griffin does not take for granted.