Blake Griffin

Moderator: A lot of people consider you the best Power Forward in the game in the game today. Do you see yourself as the best Power Forward? If not, who do you think would take that mantle?

BG: You know that isn’t my position. I’m not here to rank players, rank divisions, rank any of that I’ll leave that to everybody else. My job is to go out and play basketball and that’s about it.

Media: The Clippers home form is something you have your hats over this past few seasons. Looking ahead this second half of the season how important is that for you guys to climb into the important top 4 seeding?

BG: It’s very important. The home court advantage in the Playoffs is huge. Last year we are fortunate enough to have home court advantage in the first round. It really helped us when it went to 7 games and having that 7 games was huge. For us it’s about how we perform in the second half of the season and if we play the right way and make that jump. Like I said earlier there are so many great teams in the West. We are all bunched up there, from like 2 – 7 seeds are all around each other by a couple of games.  We can definitely make that surge. The most important thing for us is to concentrate on how we are playing and executing and doing the things that we need to take care of.

Media: You said previously that defense is something you guys need to work on. Do you feel that there are any other smaller areas that the team needs to improve on heading in to the Playoffs?

BG: Yeah there’s tons of areas that we can improve on. Sometimes those things come throughout the season.  I think right know like I said, defense is the biggest one. I think the pace of our offense, how we move the ball whether we are in transition or not. I think if we keep a good tempo in our offense it really helps us out

Media: You are undoubtedly one of the most exciting players in the league right now. How would you measure your career when you look back in 10 or 20 years from now? And what would be that benchmark and why?

BG: When I look back in my career, hopefully, everybody’s goal is to win a championship and mine is no different. So when I look back in ten years or so, I hope that there’s a championship and more championships. We’re in the running for championship every year. When it comes down to it winning is the biggest thing for me.

Media: How would you like to play for an Olympic gold?

BG: Absolutely I would love the chance to play for a gold medal. A couple of years ago, I was on the team but unfortunately, I got injured and missed out the opportunity and experience but hopefully, I will get another chance coming up in 2016. I’d be honored to play and compete against the rest of the world and represent my country.

Media: You got Spencer Hawes over the off-season to your team. How has he been able to ease the workload in the front court with you and DeAndre and also complement in your games?

BG: Spencer is a unique player. Being seven foot and being able to defend and blocks shots and do all those things and stretch the floor. And also at the same time, he can put it on the floor and he can make plays. We look to him to do a lot of things for us and it’s really helped add that depth in the front court that we needed this year. We really missed him when he was injured and now having him back has been great and we’re going to look to him a lot to play heavy minutes and give us a different look down low.

Media: I just want to touch on individually, you spoke about what Doc Rivers has given you guys, from a team’s perspective with the fact that he’s gone through different things as a player and coach, could you pinpoint one specific factor that he helped you with over the last couple of years? Because your game has evolved so much over the last two seasons.

BG: I think it’s the mental battle of basketball and finding ways to be successful and be a great teammate and to help your team even if you’re not scoring the basketball. Whether it’s doing all the little things like screening and passing. It’s just doing your job and I think the thing about Doc, he tells you your role and he tells you to be a star in your role. By him saying, we want you to do this and this,  he isn’t hindering you from doing anything. That’s just what the team needs and that’s what we need to concentrate on. The whole idea of being a star in your role is you don’t have to do everything. You don’t have to be too much and try too hard but you really have to master those things that he asks you to do and I think that it simplifies the game for everybody.

Media: I know it’s still early in your career but is staying with one franchise, in this case Los Angeles Clippers is something that you want to have by the time you retire?

BG: Yeah I love playing for Los Angeles, I love playing for the Clippers. I proudly represent them. But as you know, basketball is one of those things that is sometimes out of your control. I love the opportunity to play for one franchise and play for this franchise and play for these fans and for this city for my career.

Media: How does it feel to be a part of the Jordan brand, and how did the partnership come about? Did MJ actually recruit you?

BG: Being a part of the Jordan brand for me was special just because I grew up watching him play, grew up wearing Jordans. He had such a huge impact on the game and he still does. The Jordan brand, I’ve always viewed it as a unique and elite group of athletes, so I’m very proud to be wearing Jordans. It’s been fun to be a part of that family and to represent the brand.

Media: You’ve had some physical encounters with Andrew Bogut over the years, and in that Christmas game, of course a year ago. Is there any bad blood there or is it just you guys just being competitive, or do you think he purposely tries to get under your skin?

BG: I couldn’t tell you what his motives are or anything like that. But you know, those games are always heated. There’s a strong competition between the two of us, you know. Being in the same state, being in the same division, playing each other four times a year, playing each other in the Playoffs, it’s really heightened that. I wouldn’t say bad blood, but I definitely think every time we play that it’s going to be competitive, it’s going to be physical.

Media: Would you prefer that when it gets to the Playoffs that he’s healthy and that the Golden State Warriors are at their best?

BG: Oh yeah, absolutely. You always want to play teams when they’re firing on full throttle. As a team, we don’t hide from anybody, and personally I don’t hide from anybody. You never wish for anybody or any team to deal with injuries.

Media: You mentioned earlier that you don’t want to rank any player in any position, but with all the great power forwards in the league, who’s the hardest matchup for you?

BG: Oh man, there’s a lot of tough matchups. In the West, guys like LaMarcus Aldridge, Anthony Davis, Dirk [Nowtizki], guys like that. And in the East, there’s Kevin Love, Paul Millsap—for me the list goes on and on, you can’t really overlook anybody, but those are some of the tough matchups to go against at the power forward spot.

Media: The Clippers was the weaker team in Los Angeles compared to the Lakers. You were part of the group of players that have been instrumental in making the Clippers such a strong team, and the Clippers have exceeded the Lakers’ performance in the past few seasons. How does it feel?

BG: When I first got to the Clippers, that matchup was definitely very one-sided. Just to be a part of it—the change of the franchise— you’re not only matching up head to head with the Lakers, but just being a franchise that’s capable of winning and being in the Playoffs year in and year out, I’m proud to be a part of that. There’s nothing better than being a part of something bigger than just yourself. You know, the Lakers will always be the Lakers, and they have tons of history and tons of championships and all that. We’re not trying to take any of that away, we’re just trying to make a name for ourselves and I’m proud to be a part of this era of Clippers basketball.

Gopalakrishnan R
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