Why did Blake Griffin stop dunking? Brooklyn Nets forward back to high-flying best

Joshua Rogers June 8, 2021
Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

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Why did Blake Griffin stop dunking? The former LA Clippers forward is carving out a vital role for himself in the Brooklyn Nets’ rotation. However, after failing to register a single dunk for the Detroit Pistons in more than a year, people are wondering why Griffin looks (almost) like his old, high-flying self.

Blake Griffin showing out against the Bucks

All the talk heading into the Bucks vs Nets series was of Giannis, KD, James Harden, and Kyrie Irving.

However, one of the stand-out performers through the first two games of the Eastern Conference semis has been Blake Griffin.

Griffin joined the Nets earlier this season after an underwhelming stint in Detroit.

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Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images

After taking a minimum deal after accepting a buyout from Detroit, Blake joined the already formidable Nets roster. Many questioned the move, though, and thought Griffin was simply ‘ring-chasing’ towards the tail-end of his career.

But with 18 points and 14 rebounds in Game 1, and providing the defensive muscle against Giannis in Game 2, it’s clear the former founding member of ‘Lob City’ still has a lot to offer – including dunking.

Look at him turning back the clock here.

Blake Griffin dunked on his Nets debut

When Griffin signed with the Nets, much of the talk was around his dunks.

In March, after joining the Nets, ESPN’s Malika Andrews asked Blake whether fans would see any “vintage dunks” from him in Brooklyn.

He hadn’t dunked a single ball since 12 Dec 2019, which includes his 20 games with Detroit this season.

However, Blake insisted he could still do it.

And sure enough, on his Brooklyn debut, Griffin threw down a long-awaited dunk in the fourth quarter against the Wizards.

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Per TNT, in his 25 games since, Griffin has gone on to dunk the ball an additional 17 times.

That obviously begs the question – why did Blake Griffin stop dunking?

Why did Blake Griffin stop dunking?

After his final dunk with the Pistons in December 2019, Griffin underwent surgery on his left knee.

Blake’s knee has been operated on several times since breaking his kneecap on the eve of his rookie season.

When he returned for the Pistons after the surgery, he appeared to possess none of the explosive athleticism that made him such an exciting player in LA.

Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

Fans wondered why he’d stopped dunking, and in a Players’ Tribune article entitled ‘Why Ain’t He Dunkin?’, Griffin explained his reasons.

Essentially, Blake said that he was trying to dunk less because slamming it in night in, night out was taking its toll physically.

Putting in the extra effort to jump higher for a dunk just wasn’t worth it when he could easily lay it in instead and preserve his body.

However, some critics accused Blake of taking it easy in the first half of the season so he didn’t jeopardise a move away from the Pistons.

Twitter had some pretty hilarious jokes.

So why is he dunking so much now?

Of course, Blake could simply be feeling in a much better place physically than he has done in recent seasons.

That, combined with the confidence from playing with a Championship-calibre team, could explain why he’s comfortable attacking the rim so ferociously once more.

Either way, Griffin’s new role with the Nets – playing hard, chasing loose balls and adding some all-round toughness to the team – has worked perfectly so far.

If he carries on playing like this, it will be hard for anyone to stop the Nets in the postseason.

Joshua is a senior sports writer with over four years' experience in online writing. He graduated with a BA in Ancient History from The University of Manchester before receiving an MA in Sports Journalism from The University of Central Lancashire. He became a trending writer for a leading social publisher and later spent time covering the 2018 World Cup for The Mirror Online. He then moved to a social marketing agency where he acted as website editor. His specialties on The Focus include F1, tennis, NBA, NFL and combat sports.