Blake Griffin is one of the five or six best players in the NBA, and certainly the funniest, which you know if you’ve seen the deadpan ads he does with sidekick (and bunkmate) Jack McBrayer from 30 Rock. The 25-year-old forward for the Los Angeles Clippers grew up in Oklahoma, raised by a black father and a white mother, and has made the all-star team in all four of his pro seasons. In 2011, he won the slam dunk contest as a rookie, by famously leaping over a car. Since then, he’s reportedly beaten up Justin Bieber, and had an important three-second appearance in a Sacha Baron Cohen movie.
I don’t ever see any NBA players with chest hair or back hair. Are guys going to the salon?
You know, that’s a good question. I’ve definitely seen some back hair. It’s always a little gross when you’re guarding someone and you can see, like, hair coming from underneath his jersey. One of the hairiest guys I’ve ever played with or against – and if I name him, because we joke about it all the time – is Chris Kaman. He owns it, though. I think he’s given up trying to groom.
On a scale of one to 10, where one is a newborn baby and 10 is a werewolf, where is Kaman?
If there’s no upkeep, no manscaping or anything like that, he’s maybe an eight-and-a-half. He’s not on the Clippers anymore, but I had to guard him in practice. And I had to change next to him in the locker room. Obviously, everybody’s walking around with their shirts off, so it was tough to concentrate at times. But I managed.
I’m going to count backwards from ten, and I want you to name some products that you don’t represent on TV. Ready? Go.
Oh, man. Gatorade, uhh, Nike, Adidas, Reebok, uhh, Under Armour, Right Guard…
Time’s up. In 10 seconds, you could name only six?
[Laughs] I think I got a late start, but whatever.
If you’re at home and one of your commercials comes on, do you watch it?
I normally change the channel, and if other people are in the room, I change it as fast as possible. If I can’t change it, I try to distract them. You know how when you hear yourself talk or leave a voice mail, it bothers you? That’s how it is for me. I’m not a fan of seeing myself on TV.
Your ads are hilariously deadpan. Where’d you get that style?
I’ve always had a very dry sense of humor, and I’ve pretty much grown up on Will Ferrell, first on Saturday Night Live, then Old School and Wedding Crashers.
Seems like maybe you modeled your basketball game on him, too.
The first step was getting my hair cut like Will. Once I got that down, I just slowly dissected his game and his look.
You had a small role in Sacha Baron Cohen’s movie The Dictator. How did that happen?
One day after practice about two years ago, I got a text and a voice mail from the same unknown number. The text said, “It’s Sacha, give me a call when you get a chance.” I don’t know anybody named Sacha. And then I listened to the voice mail, and it was him.
How did he explain your role in the movie?
He said, “I’m playing a dictator who comes over to America, and has been very privileged. He’s never even jerked off. So now, he’s finally learning to jerk off, and right before he climaxes” – and this is all in Sacha’s accent, which makes it 10,000 times better – “right before he climaxes, we show an eagle soaring overhead and then we want to show your dunk over the Kia.” I was dying with laughter, and said it was fine, but I guess Kia didn’t approve it, so they used a different dunk of mine. It’s flattering that he thought of me as he was writing the script of his character climaxing.
I thought you were a pretty cool guy, until I heard that your first concert was Creed.
I’m gonna delegate the blame for that to my older brother. When he said, “I’m gonna go to the Creed concert,” I was like, “I want to go too.” No one told me, “Hey Blake, this isn’t cool,” so I was all in on Creed. Somewhere along the line, that changed. Not to just completely shit on Creed, that music’s just not my style anymore.
Why not completely shit on Creed?
[Laughs] That’s a question that’s been asked for a long time, by many people. Great question.
The NFL might let players use medical marijuana to treat pain. If you had a vote, would the NBA do the same?
It doesn’t really affect me, but so many guys would probably benefit from it and not take as many painkillers, which have worse long-term effects. So I would vote yes. I just think it makes sense.
There was a Twitter rumor last month that you’d slapped Justin Bieber because he threatened a barista at Starbucks. We know it’s not true. But if you got the chance, would you slap Justin Bieber?
If he was tormenting a Starbucks barista, yeah, I’d have to. As a citizen, you do your part. Also, it’s a way of giving back to the baristas for never really leaving a tip.
Do you ever have stomach problems during a game?
There have been several games where I just had the worst gas. This game against the Knicks my rookie year, one of my teammates was shooting a free throw and I couldn’t help myself. A guy on the Knicks went, “Oh my gosh,” and covered his nose. The guy next to me said the same thing, so I had to act like it wasn’t me. Like, “Oh man, who was that?” I’m sorry, but I did what I had to do. The past is the past. Just like the Creed concert.
You had a spectacular dunk over the Knicks’ center, Timofey Mozgov in that game. Did you get some extra propulsion from the gas?
I’m not gonna say, ’cause I don’t know if that would be considered cheating. But when I had that dunk, I definitely was, uh, a little lighter.
Farts are your performance enhancing drug? I hope that catches on with kids.
[Laughs] “Yo, Mom, did you not read the article? Why can’t I fart like Blake?” I might start a PSA campaign. Something for the people.
You were home-schooled until the seventh grade. Are you Team Creationism or Team Evolution?
I was raised in a Christian household and went to a Christian high school, so I believe in creationisim, for sure.
So you think the Earth is only 6,000 years old?
I don’t want to do the math, but somewhere around there.
Anything you want to tell me about Kate Upton?
No, I plead the fifth on all that. No comment.
There’s some confusion about your hair color. Is it red?
My hair is brown, with a tinge of red. The lights in NBA arenas are extremely bright, and that makes my hair look red.
Does the carpet match the drapes?
[Laughs] It’s a different shade, but it’s close. This is great, I’ve never talked about this before. Sometimes the drapes are open, and the sun hits the carpet just right, so it’s a little worn. You wouldn’t say, “Wait, those are two completely different colors.” It’s more like, “OK, the carpet’s been there for a while. I get it.” Like there’s been some water damage, you know?
Who’s the greatest rapper of all time?
Can I give you a top three?
No. That’s a cop-out.
You’re right. I’d have to go with Marky Mark.
If NBA players had walk-up music, like baseball players do before at-bats, what would yours be?
It’d probably change a lot. Just take Creed’s greatest hits and put it on shuffle. You can’t go wrong, really.