Blake Griffin: ‘I didn’t deserve a summer break’

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Blake Griffin is still trying to make amends after punching a Clippers equipment staffer, breaking his own hand and sideling himself for months. It didn’t help that the Clippers had a better record without him than with him (even if level of competition and sample size affected that).

He expressed remorse, risked aggravating a quad injury to play in the playoffs (and paid the price), used his comedy to improve his likability and saw his camp leak that he plans to re-sign with the Clippers next summer.

Now, he’s touting his work ethic.

Griffin on The Vertical Podcast with J.J. Redick, as transcribed by Rowan Kavner of Clippers.com:

“I took a week off after I had surgery and then started rehab a week after that, and I’ve been going all the way through,” Griffin said. “I actually just got back from vacation, so I took a week off there, so basically two weeks (off) this whole summer. I kind of had in my mind, I’m just going to go all the way through. In my mind, I didn’t deserve a summer break.”

“My parents, I’ve always said, are two of the hardest working people I know,” Griffin said on the podcast. “My dad, I used to watch him get up at 7 a.m. and he taught and coached in high school, which is kind of a thankless job. So he’d be gone all day teaching, coaching, then come home and he had a second job.

“My parents had a small trophy company we ran out of the back of our house, so I’d watch him come home 8 o’clock at night, eat dinner really quick and then work until 2 o’clock in the morning every single day most of my childhood, just to provide for my brother and I and our family. My mom was the same way, tireless work ethic; my brother was the exact same way. When he started getting recruited, I watched him get serious about basketball. He’d go to the gym and spend four hours in there, and I just thought that’s what I was supposed to do.”

Griffin screwed up. He battered a friend and team employee and let his teammates down. They certainly noticed that they were competing every night while he sat on the sideline.

Griffin’s image took a justifiable hit last season, even if the Clippers’ early success without him allowed some people to wrongly downgrade his playing ability. It appears he’s doing everything he can to change the perception of him, and that’s great.

The proof will be in sustaining it.