There’s more than a good chance Las Vegas will have a prop bet with an over/under for how many dunks Blake Griffin has at the All-Star Game on Sunday, Feb. 16 in New Orleans. While Griffin will be taking his high-flying act to the big-easy, the superstar made it clear Saturday that he has retired from Saturday’s competitions, namely the NBA Dunk Contest.
“I wouldn’t say it was a mistake [in 2011] because it was a great experience, but it’s something I would never do again,” said Griffin, who won the dunk contest that year.
“For me, All-Star Weekend is about getting a chance to rest as much as anything. With the All-Star Game alone you still have obligations almost all day Friday and you have some kind of an event Friday night and Saturday’s practice and appearances. Saturday night for me now has become the time where I hang out with my family and hang out with my friends and take it easy.”
Griffin, who was selected to his fourth All-Star Game this year, hasn’t participated in any of the weekend’s Saturday night activities since notoriously winning the 2011 NBA Dunk Contest in Los Angeles. For Dunk Contest aficionados, the lack of motivation to repeat as the dunk champ has been, at the very least, discouraging. The contest and its fans have gotten used to players not just hoping to repeat, but actually doing so. Since 2000, familiar faces including Nate Robinson and Jason Richardson have made their way back to the big stage to cement their legacies as top dunkers.
Given how hard Griffin has worked to mold his game from a so-called highlight reel to a fundamentally sound big man, fans in Los Angeles can appreciate why he is choosing to use part of the weekend as a mini-vacation. With Chris Paul back in the lineup and healthy to go for the second portion of the NBA season, Griffin and the Clippers have much bigger tasks at hand than shining on All-Star Saturday.
The Pelicans and the city of New Orleans will host NBA All-Star 2014 from Feb. 14 – Feb. 16.
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