Detroit Pistons star Blake Griffin spent the first part of his NBA career with the Los Angeles Clippers, and last season signed what he thought was a contract that would keep him with the Clippers for life. But it all changed when the sports world was stunned by the news of Griffin being dealt to the Pistons in January of 2018 in exchange for Tobias Harris, Avery Bradley, Boban Marjanovic, a protected first-round pick and a future second-rounder.
All Griffin has done since then has take on the role of leader and mentor for the Pistons players, and helped lead them to their first playoff spot since 2016 with arguably the best season of his career.
During an inteview with Ric Bucher of Bleacher Report, Griffin had plenty to say about how he feels right at home with the Pistons, and feels more appreciated than he did out west.
“As far as getting settled and feeling at home here, it was so easy, because it feels so much like Oklahoma,” he says. “You live 20 miles from somewhere, it takes you 20 minutes to get there. It’s not like L.A., five miles takes you 30 minutes. I’m used to this type of flow, this type of feel. For the first 19 years of my life, this is all I knew until I went to L.A. And even then, when I needed to get away and really recharge, I’d go home to Oklahoma. I don’t think people saw that.
Everybody is, like, ‘OK, we could see somebody at any second.’ And when one person sees you, it doesn’t matter if people know you or not. It’s ‘Hey, can I get a picture—and who are you?’
“Here, people always say, ‘We appreciate what you’re doing.’ No one ever said that in LA. Which is a really cool thing to hear.”
“People believe me now; they didn’t believe me at the time,” he says. “I was looking forward to a fresh start, doing something different. It was time … I still feel pride in being part of the group of players that went to six straight playoff appearances. And that’s the same way I look at this situation. Even if they traded me this summer, I always like that challenge and it’s something coach [Dwane] Casey and I talk a lot about, which is building the foundation of this franchise.”