It’s no secret that Blake Griffin is a big comedy nerd. He does standup during the offseason, appears in funny commercials, acts occassionally and has all kinds of famous, funny friends.
Recently, he appeared on Pete Holmes’ podcast You Made It Weird for a wide-ranging discussion about comedy, sports, near-death experiences, fitness and religion. It’s a true peek inside the real Griffin, as even the Pistons’ power forward admits one of the biggest reasons he likes doing podcast appearances is because you can’t be fake for that long.
Still, for those unfamiliar with Holmes, it’s an acquired taste. He has one of the biggest comedy podcasts out there, and I count myself as one of his fans, but this isn’t the for the feint of heart. First, Holmes knows nothing about basketball (he doesn’t know who Steph Curry or Kevin Durant are). Second, his abrasive laugh and conversational ADD can rub people the wrong way.
Like I said, though, I’m a fan of the Crashing star’s style and obviously a fan of Griffin so I not only listened to the podcast, but I grabbed the best bits. For me, the biggest takeaway is that Griffin truly is that leader we all thought/hoped he was. It’s honest to God refreshing to have a No. 1 player who is an actual leader for the first time since Chauncey Billups was traded a decade ago.
While it can be frustrating that the Pistons are still fighting for relevance, it’s comforting seeing a player like Griffin in a Detroit uniform.
What follows are the top 11 moments from the podcast.
1. Griffin breaks down his comedy the same way he breaks down his game – by watching the tape
Griffin’s work ethic stretches beyond basketball as he craves criticism and feedback, even about something as subjective as comedy. He also films his sets and almost immediately fires up the tape and start breaking down the footage. He’ll take notes about what he needs to improve on and says if you’re not telling him what he did wrong you are doing him a disservice.
2. Blake Griffin has never smoked a cigarette in his life
For some reason I always find it fascinating and a little admirable when someone manages to go their entire life without at least trying some stupid vice at least once whether it be cigarettes, alcohol or the occasional illicit substance. We were all dumb teenagers once, but I guess some were dumber than others.
3. Blake is starting a health and wellness podcast
“health and wellness has always been a big thing for me. … I take it very seriously.” Griffin had a passion for nutrition instilled by his mother. He spent every morning drinking barley green, the green drink of its day, since he was six years old. He took fish oil. His mom provided a home-cooked meal six nights of the week and kept the processed food to a minimum. Griffin is especially thankful for his upbringing having come from Oklahoma with huge portions and greasy, fatty foods.
Today, Griffin gets regular blood tests to precisely does the intake of what his body needs through vitamin blends.
4. Blake Griffin recounts the Malice at the Palace
This is a minor one, but several times Griffin explains pretty basic concepts and NBA history to basketball dunce Holmes, and that includes a nickel summary of the infamous Malice at the Palace. It’s interesting to hear the story recounted, especially as someone who not only saw it live but also described it and written about it in detail several times over the years.
5. Griffin is progressive Christian
Blake talks about his faith and belief in God but from a decidedly progressive perspective. I’ll dip my toe into these waters only briefly because nobody knows less about religion than I do, but Griffin talks like a lot of my friends who I would deem modern or progressive while also deeply religious. He talks about his desire in believing about something beyond our mortal experience, and also his struggle to understand those who demonize others, whether they be poor, gay or other.
6. Griffin intentionally plays calming music right before a game
This one didn’t surprise me too much because Griffin seems like such a laid back dude, but he says he’s careful about playing calming music so he can put himself in the right mindset right before a game. Too many hours of intense hip hop followed by the same played during a game is too much of a good thing. Instead, he recalibrates with a change of pace. No word on whether it’s Pure Moods or something else.
7. Killing on the stage is as big of a rush as playing great in a game
When Griffin is missing that adrenaline rush that comes with playing a game he does comedy in the offseason. The high is the same, the satisfaction is the same. It’s the best way to get that feeling all over again. I guess it’s better than a lot of alternatives.
8. Griffin is the leader we always thought he was
“[My dad] always stressed to me if you are the best player on the team … it’s your job to lift people up. It’s your job to know that this guy doesn’t do this well, don’t put him in that position. Or, if you are going to put him in that position, put him in the best position to succeed.”
“It’s your responsibility. You’ve been given this gift to be very good at this thing and you have to bring everyone along with you. … You have the ability to make those people better.”
9. Blake on humility is spot on
“Your talent level and your level of humility have to match. … When your talent level and your level of humility, or, I guess, self-awareness at the same time, match, you will continue to get better.”
“The guys who are very, very good and get better, for the most, part tend to be humble.
10. His work ethic is no joke
Blake Griffin’s definition of athletic work ethic involves being dedicated and meticulous in the training. The more detailed and specific the thing you’re working on the better you’re spending your time. It’s not about working hard to Griffin, it’s being detailed to the specific movements of his body.
11. Griffin felt like he was close to death during the NBA lockout
“I was messing around on a surfboard when I shouldn’t have been. The waves were super hard and I came crashing down. I was underwater, I don’t know how long I was underwater for. It might have been just five seconds but it felt like eternity. I was trying to reach to feel the bottom, and I was reaching, reaching, reaching … and couldn’t find [the bottom]. And then all the sudden when I stopped trying to I finally landed on the bottom, like my butt hit the sand. And I get to my feet and I just pushed up as hard as I could not knowing how deep it was and got to the top and was gasping and just sat down on the sand and just sat there and thought. That’s the closest I ever felt [to dying].”