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Blake Griffin reminds George Karl of Shawn Kemp

Feb 3, 2012, 12:38 PM EDT

Reign Man II?

It’s hard to come up with a good historic comparison for Blake Griffin, because that combination of size and athleticism just do not come along very often. If ever.

But Nuggets coach George Karl had one that I liked — Shawn Kemp. Here’s his quote via the Los Angeles Times.

“I’ve talked to a couple of guys who’ve said, ‘Was Shawn as powerful?’” said Denver Nuggets Coach George Karl, who coached Kemp in Seattle, before Thursday’s game. “I think that’s the guy who’s closest….

“This kid, he gets so high above the rim. It reminds me of when I was an athlete and I could jump and we got the 8-foot hoops,” Karl said. “He does things that we used to do on 8, maybe 7-foot [hoops]. You know, throwing it down from three feet away.”

I’m not sure I could do what Griffin does on the little Nerf hoop hanging off the top of a door in my house.

For those of you younger readers who hear Kemp’s name and think of the bloated post-lockout version of the man, or joke about his personal life, do remember that he was also a force on the court. Watch the video above. You’ll see why this may be the best Griffin comparison there is. And it’s still not perfect.

  1. mjbulls45 - Feb 3, 2012 at 1:00 PM

    Kemp has some nasty highlight dunks, unreal stuff, on youtube,

    before amare got the knee injuries he was the same thing,

    i always try to watch the clips games because I know , (knock on wood), griffin is a knee injury away from losing the explosiveness and we may never see it like it is now again,

    that 1st year with Nash on the Suns, they had, marion, amare, joe johnson, quinton richardson (i think) , they were run and gun ,

    i wanted the suns to beat the spurs so bad bc amare was JUST LIKE griffin , he had a nasty dunk on duncan,

    but of course those series were fixed sometimes (Tim Donaghey) , and the suns didnt advance,

    for all the people who always seek the extra attention and credit for the spurs, thanks for ruining the excitement,

    YES the spurs play great basketball and the right way,

    but really, who did NOT want to see that 1st year suns team in the finals, come on now.

  2. jimbroney - Feb 3, 2012 at 1:09 PM

    Why, does he have 32 kids too??

    • mytthor - Feb 3, 2012 at 1:41 PM

      Why did the chicken cross the road?

      Oh, I thought we were doing jokes that millions of people had told before. My bad.

    • progress2011 - Feb 5, 2012 at 9:21 PM

      Maybe cause he’s a man and groupies wanted to see him in person. Your name is Jim but if that’s the best question you got, I think you have more estrogen like a woman than testosterone that most men have.

  3. mytthor - Feb 3, 2012 at 1:40 PM

    I remember thinking this with Griffin, and not just because of the dunks.

    Remember in ’96 when Kemp added the deadly 20-footer to his game and the Sonics took apart the Jazz on the way to the Finals? The narrative was that Kemp and Payton had simultaneously taken the mantle of best PG and best PF from Stockton and Malone, and it wasn’t crazy. If George Karl had put Payton on Jordan earlier in the finals, it might have had a different outcome. (Best perimeter defender against best perimeter offensive player? WHAT A CONCEPT!)

    But I digress — the reason this is relevant because if Blake DOES add that 20-footer to his game, it’ll be a deadly step for him. He also needs to get less robotic in the post.

    And my favorite dunk from that video? Kemp $***s on Gatling and Gatling congratulates him immediately on the ridiculous posterization. That’s something I honestly can’t say I’ve ever seen in 20 years as a basketball fan.

  4. nightrain42 - Feb 3, 2012 at 1:43 PM

    Yeah that is a good on the court comparison. Except Kemp was tough, Griffin is a momma’s boy who acts tough, after his teammates get in between him and his opponent

  5. phintasm - Feb 3, 2012 at 3:06 PM

    While I always liked Shawn Kemp, I completely forgot how nasty his ball-handling skills were. I used to LOVE using the Sonics on NBA Jam. Shawn Kemp, Gary Payton & Detlef Schrempf = AWESOME!

    • ss3walkman - Feb 3, 2012 at 5:24 PM

      Hersey Hawkins

  6. cosanostra71 - Feb 3, 2012 at 7:53 PM

    hopefully BG isn’t as into cocaine and loose women as Reign Man was or Lob City won’t be for long

  7. progress2011 - Feb 5, 2012 at 9:30 PM

    I lived in Seattle during the ” Super Sonic ” days !!! That’s when guys got to play b-ball. It was a show, most nights. Fans got what we paid for.

    Most of his dunks over guys, putting the sack in guys faces, would be called as offensive fouls today.

    Today’s NBA is too feminine !

    Watching these highlights made me reminisce about why I fell in love with b-ball.

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