“I saw how much Blake was determined to become a consistent shooter and a consistent player, from that standpoint,” said Del Negro, who coached Griffin for three seasons with the Clippers. “But at the end of the day, there’s really nothing physically Blake can’t do on the basketball court.”
Griffin’s evolution has come off the court, too. He, along with fellow N.B.A. stars Trae Young and Russell Westbrook, has been campaigning for clemency to be granted to Julius Jones, who was convicted in 2002 of first-degree murder and is on death row in Oklahoma. Jones, who was 19 when he was arrested, has maintained his innocence. He used to play basketball for Griffin’s father.
In recent years, Griffin has also started a production company and a podcast, while delving into stand-up comedy. He has long been known for his charisma, which translated into amusing commercials and a larger-than-life personality in the locker room.
“I walked in one time, and he was doing me in the locker room,” said Caron Butler, who played with Griffin for two seasons in Los Angeles, said, adding: “I walked in, and he looked at me and I was like, ‘Bro, you nailed it.’ It was an awkward moment. Crazy. But at the same time, that’s who Blake is.”
Griffin takes his comedy seriously. He has performed at the Just For Laughs festival in Montreal, which is known as a sort of comedy Shangri-La, and has said that he can see comedy as a “second career” after basketball.
“With comedy, I never want to go to The Store and take somebody’s time slot,” Griffin said, referring to The Comedy Store, the famed Los Angeles club. “I prefer to do something where I’m hosting a show and I get to bring people on.”