Happy Birthday to Blake Griffin with 25 Fantastic Career Highlights

Adam Fromal@fromal09National NBA Featured ColumnistMarch 16, 2014

Happy Birthday to Blake Griffin with 25 Fantastic Career Highlights

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    Jesse D. Garrabrant/Getty Images

    Blake Griffin's age may be transitioning from 24 to 25, but that doesn't mean he's going to stop doing exactly what he's done throughout his time in the NBA—dominating basketball games and providing fans with one highlight after another. 

    At this stage of his career, Griffin has firmly established himself as one of the most dominant highlight-producers the Association has to offer. The dunks come with ridiculous frequency, but they still aren't the only things that grace YouTube and SportsCenter whenever the Los Angeles Clippers suit up with Blake in the lineup. 

    You'll find that out soon enough. 

    So, what better way to celebrate his 25th birthday than pulling out the 25 best highlights of his career?

    It's a trick question.

    There isn't one.  

    While these highlights aren't in chronological order or counting down to the best play of Griffin's tenure with the Clippers, there's one constant: Each and every one of them should entertain you to the point that you want to click the replay button after the video ends for the first time. 

    Happy birthday, Blake. Never stop producing us with plays we want to watch on repeat. 

Just Eats Deron Williams Alive

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    Blake Griffin isn't exactly known for his defensive prowess, but don't tell Deron Williams that.

    He won't believe you after his dunk attempt against the Clippers was absolutely swallowed whole by the shot-blocking phenom developing defender. This wasn't just any block, though, because the emphatic rejection didn't even see the ball leave Griffin's hand as he fell back to earth. 

Back-to-Back Dunks, Windmill Style

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    Those poor Philadelphia 76ers

    As if the first alley-oop windmill wasn't enough, Griffin just had to throw down a second one. And to add insult to injury, it came on the very next possession. 

    Then again, the Sixers are pretty used to being embarrassed by the opposition during the second half of the 2013-14 campaign. 

Another Windmil, This Time from Matt Barnes

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    The depth of this windmill is just astounding, as Griffin effortlessly brings the ball all the way down to his knees as he continues elevating against the Orlando Magic. And it's not like he struggled to bring it back up for the dunk either. 

    Credit Matt Barnes for a pass conducive to another windmill jam, but this was still almost all Griffin's doing. 

And the Coolest Windmill of the Bunch

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    Think we're done with windmills?

    Think again. 

    Blake Griffin may have done the (flying) lion's share of the work on the previous dunk, but credit for the cool factor of this attempt has to rest with Jamal Crawford. Who thinks to go between the legs while in the air before tossing up an alley-oop lob?

Spin and Reverse over Kris Humphries

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    Poor Kris Humphries. 

    This is the first of two times he'll show up in this slideshow, and he shouldn't be proud of either moment. On this particular occasion, back when he was still with the New Jersey Nets, the former Mr. Kardashian made the ill-fated decision to contest Griffin's dunk after he'd already spun around one of his teammates and was elevating for a reverse baseline slam. 


First NBA Basket

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    It was only fitting that Griffin's first basket with the Clippers would come in such spectacular fashion, as he reached back well behind his head to corral an errant pass against the Portland Trail Blazers

    Little did we know, but the supernatural ability to hang in the air was only a small preview of what would come over the next few years. 

Highlights the Lakers' Ineffectiveness

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    See the score in that highlight video?

    It's cool to throw down a monstrous alley-oop slam like this one, even if it's something Griffin has become quite used to throughout his NBA career. It's cooler still when it comes against an intra-city rival like the Los Angeles Lakers. It's coolest when the dunk puts your team up by 48 points with time remaining in the third quarter. 

    Lakers fans, just a warning: You might want to skip the next few highlights. 

Putback over Pau Gasol

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    I've watched this play 50 times, and I still have trouble deciding which part of that highlight clip is the best part. Here are the contestants: 

    • Griffin's timing
    • Griffin's insane athleticism 
    • Griffin's dunking vigor 
    • Pau Gasol's face/flailing in the final replay 

    Can we just pick all of the above? 

We're Not Done with You, Pau Gasol

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    Pau Gasol wasn't just dunked over once during last year's highlight fest against the Lakers. This play actually happened during the same game as the previous one, and it was even more impressive. 

    The last slam was a putback jam, but this one is a flat-out poster. 

    A beautiful pick-and-roll between Griffin and Caron Butler resulted in Gasol getting a face full of forearm—he can complain all he wants, but the foul still wasn't called—and a nice thank-you note from Griffin for being the latest victim of his posterizing efforts. 

Chris Kaman Gets out of the Way

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    Thus continues the Los Angeles Lakers portion of our birthday celebration, but I'd actually like to commend Chris Kaman for his decision on this play. 

    Throughout this article, you'll see plenty of players foolishly contesting Griffin slams, but Kaman just got out of the way when he saw the big man barreling down with his sights set on the rim. 

    On one hand, kudos to Kaman. On the other hand, posters are fun. 

Reverse Style from Eric Bledsoe

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    Griffin provided a spin on his typical alley-oop dunk when Eric Bledsoe threw him a pass against the Golden State Warriors a few seasons back. And yes, I mean that both literally and figuratively. 

    The Oklahoma product has spent plenty of time completing alley-oop dunks, but the reverse-style slams with a 180-degree twist are few and far between. 

Remember D.J. Mbenga? Blake Does.

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    D.J. Mbenga is perhaps the least known of Griffin's posterization victims, both because the slam wasn't quite as emphatic as others and because it came so early in the Clipper's career. 

    But let's not just overlook it. 

    This play wasn't quite the same as most Griffin dunks, as it didn't come in transition or during a pick-and-roll play, but it still featured the same type of finish. Mbenga met Blake far enough away from the basket that he shouldn't have been able to complete a dunk, but he persevered anyway. 

Circus Shot Against Serge Ibaka

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    Every once in a while, it pays to get lucky. Scratch that. It always pays to get lucky. 

    Such was the case for Griffin when he completed this spinning circus shot against Serge Ibaka and the Oklahoma City Thunder. There was some skill involved, but it's hard to believe that the dunking machine is actually capable of making this shot on a consistent basis. 

    I'm generally against circus shots showing up on SportsCenter top-10 lists and in highlight reels, but Griffin has completed enough of them in his career that one has to be featured. 

Showing off for Team USA

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    Not every highlight has to come during NBA action. 

    While practicing with Team USA, Griffin took a little time out of his day to show off his dunking prowess, and the results were absolutely spectacular. I'm more impressed by the first dunk than the second, but you'd have to pick nits in order to look down on either of them. 

    Now let's just wait until Griffin is precocious enough to go between-the-legs during in-game action. 

Spin Cycle Against Danilo Gallinari

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    This may be the most underrated dunk of Blake Griffin's career. 

    The spin and slam against Danilo Gallinari came early enough during his time in the NBA that we had no idea just how talented the big man was with the ball in his hands, but he quickly began to change this by showing off the tight 360 and then elevating for the easy—but powerful—throwdown.

    As you'll see later on, handles are definitely in his arsenal, but this was the first glimpse the national media got of that skill.  

Embarrasses Joakim Noah

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    It's not easy to embarrass Joakim Noah, but that's exactly what Blake Griffin did with this quick pump-fake and drive to the hoop. 

    What's that? You say that Noah might have just slipped and lost his footing? 

    There's a chance that's what happened, but I choose to believe that the former Gator going down was Griffin's doing. 

Wins the 2011 Dunk Contest

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    Griffin's final dunk over the hood of a car was one of the more overrated slams in the history of the dunk contest, but it still was the finishing touch on a pretty stellar showing. Throughout the night, Griffin regaled crowds with impressive dunks, most notably his imitation of Vince Carter's honeypot jam. 

    No single dunk from the 2011 contest deserves featured placement, but the overall product certainly does. 

    Emerging from the proceedings in victorious fashion, even if he probably shouldn't have, is not something to sniff at. 

The Flying Lion

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    I'm not entirely sold on "The Flying Lion" as Griffin's official nickname, even if it's a clever play off his mythological last name. But this was still the first time he was called that during an official broadcast. 

    And boy, what a time for the nickname to be brought to public attention. 

    Griffin came flying through the lane—presence of the Golden State Warriors be damned—then showed off his incredible timing with an emphatic putback slam to extend the Clippers' fourth-quarter lead. Quite frankly, this dunk didn't receive enough attention, which is strange when it comes to this former Sooner. 

He Can Pass Too

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    Now we move into the portion of this highlight fest that features Griffin's incredible skill, not just his dunking ability. 

    This pass against the Indiana Pacers is something you might expect from Ricky Rubio or Rajon Rondo. It's a play that no player over 6'6", with the exception of LeBron James, should have the ability to make, much less the confidence to attempt while trying to fight back from a nine-point deficit in the third quarter. 

    But Griffin went behind his back anyway, and the result was a perfect lead pass that gave Reggie Bullock and easy path to a dunk of his own. 

Big Man Has Handles

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    The sequence of moves here is astounding. 

    First, the behind-the-back dribble. Then the quick spin to get around his defender and create a bit of open space. And after that, a behind-the-back pass that hit his target right between the numbers. 

    One almost has to wonder if Griffin practiced this exact sequence beforehand or if it just came to him as he dribbled the ball down the court. 

Even More Handles

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    It's a shame this bucket didn't count—NBA continuation, anyone?—because it's one of the most marvelous displays of handles you could ever hope to see from a power forward. 

    Griffin dazzled the Staples Center crowd with one behind-the-back move after another, and he threw in a few spins for good measure. Ty Lawson, quick as he may be, couldn't do anything to contain Blake, and it certainly wasn't for a lack of effort. 

    The diminutive point guard eventually game up and committed a foul, but fortunately for us, Griffin just kept going and finished the play that ultimately didn't count. 

What? More Handles Still?

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    We're still not out of the section that features Blake's amazing dribbling skills. 

    Just listen to the announcers for the commentary on this one, because they say it all. This is a talented power forward with handles that should never belong to a player his size, and he put them all on display while flat-out embarrassing the Detroit Pistons as he went baseline. 

Blake Griffin Mozgovs on Timofey Mozgov

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    You knew it was coming. 

    Whether or not you consider this an actual dunk because Griffin's hand never actually touches the rim, this was still an insane feat of athleticism. The posterization of Timofey Mozgov is what launched his career as a highlight machine, and thank goodness it did. 

    By now, we've all seen this play. But that doesn't stop us from wanting to watch it over and over...and over. 

Blake Griffin Mozgovs on Kris Humphries

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    The 2013-14 campaign just wouldn't have been complete without yet another Mozgov. 

    This time, it came at the expense of Kris Humphries (I told you he was making another appearance). And no, his hand didn't touch the rim. 

    Of the three Mozgovs, this was the least impressive, as it was more horizontal than vertical.

    But it's still a Mozgov. 

Blake Griffin Mozgovs on Kendrick Perkins

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    Griffin took Mozgoving to another level when Kendrick Perkins got in his way. 

    This was another of those his-hand-didn't-touch-the-rim throwdowns, but that doesn't make it any less impressive. If anything, it only adds to the appeal of this monstrous highlight, as the coordination required is just off the charts. 

    Oh, and there's DeAndre Jordan's reaction. Quite frankly, I'm surprised Griffin didn't miss the next few games with broken ribs. 

    Happy birthday, Blake. Just make sure you keep giving us presents.