Forget the slam dunk contest—the talk of free agents actually considering the Clippers or *gasp* discussions about a deep playoff run, today's announcement that the Clippers will play Christmas Day is the greatest testament to the power of the B.G.A. (Blake Griffin Affect). Several great players have worn Clipper jerseys in the clubs existence, but neither Dominique Wilkins, Bill Walton, Elton Brand nor any other Clippper wore that jersey on Christmas.
This is huge, and it's all due to the B.G.A.
It's funny to think back on the hush of guarded optimism when the Clippers made the pig power forward their number one pick. Before that pick, the Clippers had a fairly poor history in the draft. OK, it was flat out lousy. Even when the team seemed to guess right, like when they selected Danny Manning, the dreaded "Clipper Curse" would kick in and ruin a promising career. Writers were lining up ready to throw darts at the Clippers 2009 draft pick soon after it was made for no other reason than because it was the Clippers that made it.
Then, during the kids first preseason, a preseason in which he displayed more than a few glimpses of what was to come, his knee gave out. Before Griffin's patella decided to fracture, Spurs coach Greg Popovich had proclaimed Griffin, "a Monster." The NBA would have to wait a full season to see the Monster roar.
That year off was a tough one for the Clippers. They had to endure another round of ridicule from the press and basketball fans. "Same ole Clippers" was the mantra of that 2009-2010 season. They ended that season 32-50, in fourth place in the Pacific division and not even withing sniffing distance of the playoffs.
Another typical Clipper season. Same ole Clippers indeed.
Then, the monster woke up and the league hasn't been the same since. I realize this doesn't compare to what Larry Bird and Magic Johnson did for the league in the early 80's; that duo saved the NBA, but the league has been lacking a superstar with personality to match since Magic Johnson.
Blake Griffin is that superstar.
Not only does he do things on the court that the league has never seen from a power forward, but he exudes confidence and charisma away from the game. Who was the last basketball star that was so engaging? LeBron James? Too polarizing, Dwight Howard? Too childish, Shaq O' Neal? Too combative. It's like the story of Goldilocks and the 3 bears. Remember how the bear took issue with the porridge? One was too hot, one was too cold, but one was just right.
Blake Griffin is just right.
He has the monster game, the charismatic personality and the winning smile. And now, he has his team playing on Christmas Day.
It may be too early to heap so much praise on the young man. After all, he has played only one NBA season. It's not too early however to recognize and appreciate the power of the B.G.A. It is clear, powerful and while it hasn't revived the NBA, it has revived a franchise that was more moribund in 2009 than the NBA was in 1978.
So, in that way, Blake Griffin's impact is even more powerful than that of Magic and Bird.
Long live the B.G.A.!