It's not every day that a 22-year-old NBA sophomore makes the cover of a major magazine like Men's Health.
Then again, Blake Griffin is hardly your typical bouncy basketball young gun. In the span of a year, he rose through the ranks of NBA power forward, was named an All-Star and Rookie of the Year and won the Dunk Contest during All-Star Weekend in Los Angeles while averaging 22.5 points and 12 rebounds per game and lifting the Clippers from perennial laughing stock to potential title contender.
Without Griffin's on-court heroics, there would be no Chris Paul in red, white and blue. There would be no talk about Kobe Bryant and the Lakers suddenly playing second fiddle to their Staples Center co-tenants. There would be no loosening of the notoriously tight purse strings of team owner and noted miser Donald Sterling.
Oh, and did I mention Griffin accomplished all of this just a year after undergoing major knee surgery and sitting out what would've been his rookie season as a result?
That's a lot for one kid from Oklahoma to accomplish in such a short span of time, naturally giving way to expectations for him and the Clips that few could've ever imagined even just a month or so ago.
But if there's any youngster in the NBA today who's ready, willing and able to meet, if not exceed, such lofty goals, it's Griffin.
And not just because he's a chiseled 6'10" and 250 pounds with a vertical leap of 38 inches, though those attributes certainly don't hurt his chances of further success. Griffin credits much of his early prosperity to the relentless energy that he brings to everything he does, telling Neil Janowitz of Men's Health:
"Energy is something you can control. In everything you do, you're going to face people more talented than you. I set myself apart by bringing more energy than they do."
That should come as little surprise to anyone who's followed Griffin's rapid rise to NBA stardom. His game is as much about freakish athleticism as it is fearless physicality and furious hustle—almost to the point of reckless abandon.
Not that Blake is at all one-dimensional, nor is he trying to be. He spoke particularly fondly of a game against the Indiana Pacers this past January, during which he piled up 47 points with only a single dunk mixed in:
"Most of my baskets came from midrange jumpers. I was the finesse player people said I couldn't be. I'm excited to show how I've added to that part of my game."
It's that burgeoning aspect of his repertoire that will ultimately put him over the top, from a human highlight reel to a bona fide NBA superstar. Griffin has already drawn favorable comparisons to Karl Malone, the 14-time All-Star and two-time league MVP who ranks as arguably the greatest power forward of all time.
And with CP3 as his John Stockton, there's no telling how many winning seasons and (dare I say it?) championship rings the second coming of The Mailman will deliver to the moribund Clippers and their long-suffering fans, including Billy Crystal, Bill Simmons, Penny Marshall and, of course, Clipper Darrell.
For now, Griffin will have to settle for having his face and frame mailed out on the cover of Men's Health, though with the tremendous trajectory of his pro career, don't expect this first feature story to be his last.
Or even his most noteworthy.
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!