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Blake Griffin Rebounds From Injury to Win Rookie of the Year Award Unanimously

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There was no doubt that Blake Griffin was going to win the NBA’s Rookie of the Year award. That he did it unanimously was about as impressive as any of his highlight reel dunks this season. Griffin became the first player since David Robinson to win the award unanimously. And why not? Griffin, who had to sit out his entire first season in the league with a knee injury, returned and took the league by storm. Let’s put it this way, he actually made me want to sit down and watch a complete NBA regular season game for the first time in a long time. And he nearly led the lowly Los Angeles Clippers to the playoffs. Griffin made the All-Star game as a rookie, won the Slam Dunk Contest and averaged 22 points and 12 rebounds per game. And, perhaps most impressively, he did it all while never worrying about his knee. The Oklahoma product played in all 82 games and never appeared to have any scare of re-injuring that knee, leaving hope that this season was only the beginning. Blake Griffin joined KLAC in Los Angeles with the Petros and Money Show to discuss his expectations entering the season, if he was ever worried about his knee, becoming a media darling, what he needs to work on most, what All-Star weekend meant to him, how he feels about the Clippers going forward and what he’s been impressed with most while watching the playoffs.

What were his expectations coming into the season?:

“Personally, just to honestly play in all 82 games and be healthy throughout the year. Rookie of the Year was definitely a goal and, as a team, obviously to make the playoffs should be a goal every year. So, I mean, it was a good year, a great year, but at the same time, that biggest goal of making the playoffs slipped away.”

How is the knee and were their moments during the season he was worried about it?:

“Nah, to be honest with you, not at all. My knee felt great all year and I put in a lot of work last summer, a lot of rehab to get to this point. A lot of work that we did — my trainer, strength coach, everybody involved did a great job. I didn’t even really think about it this year.”

What was it like when he exploded onto the YouTube and advertising scene?:

“I wasn’t really caught up in the moment, to be honest. Obviously the season takes such a precedence over everything else and that was my main focus. Now that the season has ended, it’s been crazy. … But it’s definitely not something you can complain about.”

What does he need to work on the most?:

“I’m definitely going to do a lot of shooting and just get to the point where I’m completely comfortable and then use that as one of my go-to weapons offensively. I’ve got a lot of things to work on, but that’s definitely one thing I’m going to concentrate on.”

Where does All-Star weekend fit on the list of his accomplishments?:

“It was definitely cool, but at the same time the dunk contest wasn’t something I put a whole lot of time into. Besides that car dunk, I hadn’t really thought of any of the dunks yet. … I think the best part about All-Star weekend for me was being able to play in the big game.”

How does he feel about the Clippers going forward?:

“I’m excited about our team, excited about the pieces we have. Obviously no team stays the same over the offseason so we’ll get some new pieces and see where we are at the beginning of next year. But I’m definitely excited about the pieces we do have and pieces that are coming back.”

His opinions on the NBA Playoffs up to this point:

“I’d definitely have to say Memphis has impressed me the most, playing the Spurs as tough as they did and coming out with the win. I thought that was great and great for basketball. In general, just watching the playoffs has been a lot of fun. I think the Celtics-Heat series is going to be a good one even though it’s 2-0 right now.”

Being from Oklahoma, does he act and dress like a cowboy when he goes back home?:

“First of all, there’s no streets, there’s only horses. We’ve still got the Pony Express out there so it takes a while to get information. But it’s cool, we make it work.”

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