Lob City Origins: Blake Griffin and the Dunk Galore in the NBA

Blake Griffin and the Dunk Galore in the NBA image

📖 Published on: April 22nd, 2024

✍️ Updated: April 23rd, 2024

⏳ 9 mins read


Blake Griffin announced his retirement from the NBA last week, wrapping up a promising career full of impressive achievements, top-notch performances, and high-flying dunks that have set the bar for dunking in the league. Looking back, it is only fitting that we go through the standard that Griffin has set in the NBA when it comes to slamming the ball into the ring over the years.


Griffin’s Career in Retrospect


Griffin was a great prospect out of Oklahoma image


The Los Angeles Clippers drafted Blake Griffin with the first overall pick in the 2009 NBA Draft. He was brought in as one of the most promising prospects in the league, a known icon in Oklahoma for his impressive exploits over the years. Griffin would become the Summer League MVP, before going down with an injury in his final preseason game with the Clips, where he injured his kneecap after a dunk. Later on, it was confirmed that Griffin’s season debut would be delayed for seven weeks, before it was revealed that he was not recovering properly from the knee injury, which led him to get another surgery, effectively missing the 2009-10 season.


Blake Griffin had a standout rookie year image

Griffin would go on to break records in his rookie year in the 2010-11 season. The forward set the record for most consecutive double-doubles at 27. He was also voted to the 2011 NBA All-Star game as a reserve – becoming the first rookie to play in the ASG since Yao Ming in 2003, and the first to be voted by coaches since Tim Duncan in 1998. Perhaps the most iconic achievement for Blake Griffin was his success in the 2011 Slam Dunk Contest. No one would ever forget the fact that Griffin just dunked over a KIA sedan, which garnered him 68% of the votes to win the said award. At the time, it was also the most creative dunk seen in the contest over the past few years.


When Chris Paul was traded to the Clippers, that’s when things began to shift for the team and Griffin’s career. The two became dynamic all-stars, and they would go on to lead the Clippers to the next level, winning the Pacific Division, but never making it out of the second round of the NBA Playoffs, no matter the opponent. In 2017, Griffin signed a new deal with the Clips for five years, only to be traded to the Detroit Pistons a year after. Injuries would soon plague Griffin’s career, preventing him from coming up with a promising rise to dominance in the coming years, eventually playing for the Brooklyn Net in 2019-21, and the Boston Celtics in 2022-23 before finally announcing his retirement from the NBA.

Griffin played the second half of his career in Detroit image


How Good is Griffin in Dunking?


A lot of people know Blake Griffin for one thing: His impressive dunking ability. While mostly played as a power forward, he also had what it takes to play center, averaging 19.0 points 8.0 rebounds, and 4.0 assists per game for his whole career. That being said, Griffin is one of the most effective and efficient players in the game. His dunking ability was praised as he became the face of the league when it comes to that sense, pulling off some impressive slams at the rim.


So how exactly good Blake Griffin is when it comes to dunking?


A Slam Dunk Contest to Remember

We have to go back to the first scenes of Griffin’s dunking, which was the 2011 Sprite Slam Dunk Contest. Griffin had to go against JaVale McGee, Serge Ibaka, and Brandon Jennings. The Clippers star was mentored by Kenny Smith, and at the time, Griffin had 137 dunks in the season, which was the second-most behind Dwight Howard. Griffin scored a total of 95 points in the first round with a two-handed 360 dunk, jumping from the free-throw line. His second dunk in the same round saw him slam down a bounce pass off the backboard with a windmill dunk.


Griffin dunked over a KIA sedan in the 2011 Slam Dunk Contest image


The finals were a much more promising scene for Griffin. He made a Vince Carter tribute by throwing the ball off the board and dunking it before hanging his elbow at the rim like the Toronto Raptors star did. Griffin and Smith turned up the level by bringing a KIA sedan into the court, and Griffin went on to dunk over the hood of the car to score the big win in the Slam Dunk Contest. While many saw it as a fluke win, it cannot be denied that Griffin’s dunk was such a display of his athletic ability to slam the ball.


A Handful of Posters

Griffin had a massive set of posterizing dunks in his career image

If you aren’t impressed with the Slam Dunk Contest that saw him leap over a car, then you should definitely be impressed with the way he has dunked over a lot of people in his career. Over the years, Griffin has definitely delivered many players to their Kodak moments with a posterizing dunk, even dunking over multiple players at once. This came from fastbreak plays, lobs, off-the-glass passes, or even a standing dunk from the post. He has been a dominant force in the paint, and he can even create dunking opportunities on his own.


This isn’t just dunks on free plays where the floor is wide open. These are heavy jams with an opposing player coming to defend him, with the hopes of blocking the shot, and it sometimes happens to be players who are even considered good defenders with enough size to contest the shot. From the likes of Pau Gasol, Serge Ibaka, Kendrick Perkins, Giannis Antetokounmpo, and many other icons, you can definitely be sure that he is a promising dunker to remember.


Lob City and its Prominence

Well, if you’re still not convinced, there’s still one last chance to bring you into the Blake Griffin hype train. The Lob City, as it is called, has its origins from Blake Griffin. Back when the Clippers had brought in Chris Paul, the duo was instantly the building block for the dunk fest that has been present in Los Angeles from 2011 to 2018. The Clippers were essentially the home of alley-oops and slam dunks, with Griffin and teammate DeAndre Jordan being at the forefront of those huge jams. Chris Paul and the rest of the guards in the team were capable of putting up highly accurate passes, hence strengthening the consistency of Lob City.


Griffin was the spearhead of the Lob City along with Chris Paul image


The Clippers became promising contenders over the years, putting up promising campaigns in the Western Conference and becoming a staple team to look out for one year after another. This just showed how Griffin had a huge impact in the game and the Clippers’ identity at the time, which proves how prominent he has been at the height of his career.


Bet on the Los Angeles Clippers in the NBA Playoffs


While he’s already retired, you can be sure that Griffin will be rooting for the Clippers to make their push to the NBA Finals. The franchise has never reached the biggest stage for its whole run in the NBA, but this Playoffs may be the biggest chance that they will ever get to do so. Make sure to bet on the Clippers’ hopes of winning big in the postseason today!


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