A true measure of Blake Griffin's popularity, and the appetite to see him dunk and dunk some more, was revealed in the first quarter Sunday against the Phoenix Suns.
Griffin already had put down an instant YouTube.com classic dunk a bit earlier. Then he was the trailer on the fast break with teammate Eric Bledsoe. Bledsoe took it in for himself and was booed at home for not passing back to Griffin. Yes, booed.
It was hardly a selfish play. And Griffin was the first to agree.
"I told him after that, 'Don't pass that ball to me,' " Griffin said. " 'You've got that steal. Take it. I was just down there to be down there.' "
Griffin added, coyly: "If he had [passed], I would have taken it."
Gentry sees great future for Griffin
Former Clippers coach and current Suns Coach Alvin Gentry said that Griffin reminded him of Amare Stoudemire when Stoudemire was a young player.
"I thought it was impossible for him to fail," Gentry said of Griffin. "I don't think anyone with that kind of athletic ability that plays that hard … I don't think people realize how hard he plays and how competitive he is. All the other parts of his game are going to come.
"He'll improve his shooting, his free-throw shooting. His post moves. If you are asking me how good he is going to be, I think he's going to be a perennial all-star. I think it's going to be hard for him not to be."
Maybe it had something to do with Griffin once going to Stoudemire's camp. Gentry didn't quite go with that line of thinking.
"I think he could have gone to my wife's camp," Gentry said. "…He could go to any camp in the United States; it is not going to matter. His talent level is what is going to make him great."
Gentry said that Griffin will add elements to his game each year.
"And you see him running up that hill with the ninja trainer," Gentry said. "It's refreshing to see a guy like that. He just plays and he loves the game. Every night, he makes about five highlight films."
The Clippers had their own gift exchange, and the player responsible for Griffin's gift was Baron Davis.
What did Davis get for the kid?
"A money clip," Davis said, smiling. "Duh."