FanHouse was fortunate enough (thanks to the kind folks at EA Sports) to talk with likely No. 1 overall 2009 NBA Draft pick -- and current cover superstar for EA's NCAA Basketball 10 -- Blake Griffin. That's right, as of Tuesday, it was announced that Griffin would grace the cover of everyone's favorite college basketball game.
We talked to Blake about the upcoming draft, what it's like to be on the cover, the fear of being thrown into a losing culture like that of the Clippers, what kind of suit he'll be wearing on draft night, and, of course, his favorite video game of all time.
Will Brinson: Hey, Blake, what's up man, how you doing?
Blake Griffin: I'm doing good, man, how about you?
WB: Doing well -- thanks for talking to FanHouse. And let's dive right in with the big question: What kind of suit are you rocking on draft day?
BG: [Chuckles] Um, I'm trying to keep that a little bit of a secret ...
WB: Haha, well are you going traditional or are you doing something a little off the wall?
BG: Oh no, it's definitely not going to be off the wall. It's hopefully going to be a classy look -- I don't want to do anything too out there.
WB: Right on, well, is Taylor [Griffin, his brother] going to be in the green room with you?
BG: Yeah, he's going to be there. I think he might have a workout sometime this week, but he's going to try and get in as soon as he can and he'll be with me most of the week.
WB: Cool deal. Alright, Los Angeles has kind of a crowded frontcourt. Is that something that concerns you about possibly ending up with the Clippers?
BG: No, you know, I'm just going to try and fill a need that they don't have and come in and do my best to learn from the guys that are already there. And they do have a lot of great players which, you know, helps me, because I can learn from those guys.
WB: Do you envision a scenario where you come in and start from day one, or are you willing to kind of come in -- like Michael Beasley last year -- and take on a "learning role," if you will?
BG: It's really whatever they ask of me. Obviously a big goal would be to start and help the team out as much as possible, but if they feel like it's better for me to come off the bench wherever I am, I'm going to accept my role and go with it.
WB: I think it's kind of fair to say that the Clippers have a "losing attitude" around that franchise. Is that something that concerns you and what kind of attitude do you come in with, thinking you can change it or trying to be part of a movement to change it?
BG: Nah, to be honest, it doesn't concern me at all. It's all in the past and it's not something that I'm a part of. And hopefully whatever team I'm with, we're just going to move forward in the future, and if it is the Clippers, we're just going to work on getting better and putting that behind us.
WB: Alright, I'm from a small town in North Carolina and every time I go to LA or New York I freak out a little bit [Laughter all around] ... talk about the change in size and spotlight and how that will affect you.
BG: The size doesn't really bother me. Oklahoma City's not real small, it's got a good amount of the people ... The spotlight might be a little different, there's always stuff going on and that's different, but I think I'll be able to handle that alright, and I just need to stay focused and understand why I'm there.
WB: The other thing that LA really provides is the ability to "brand yourself." Do you look at going to as LA as a possible place to increase your name and your brand as you're moving forward in your career?
BG: Yeah, the market out there is great. And I've already been able to partner with a lot of great companies. You know, partnering with EA Sports and being on the cover of NCAA 10 is very exciting. And to be on the list of guys who have been on the cover before me is exciting. And I definitely think LA will help with that and the marketing standpoint.
WB: [Laughs] Clearly. You already beat me to the punch on the segue. So along those lines, you're on the cover of NCAA 2010 and that's a huge thing -- as someone who's grown up playing sports video games, the cover's a big deal. How high does that rank in terms of accomplishments and cool things you've gotten to do because of your career?
BG: Oh man, it's definitely up there. Like you said, I grew up playing video games. Mostly sports games, like you said, but to be on that cover, most every college player in America plays that game so to be on the cover is definitely exciting and very cool.
WB: Let's say hypothetically you can't be on there -- who would take your place as the second best prospect in this draft?
BG: Umm, I think James Harden is really talented, he can do a lot of different things. I'm also a big fan of Jonny Flynn.
WB: How about Tyler Hansbrough? He's a tricky one -- how does his game translate to the NBA?
BG: I think he'll be alright, man. He's one of those guys who works hard and is gonna outwork a bunch of guys, so he'll be alright.
WB: Word. Back to video games, my favorite game of all time is NBA Live 2000 -- what's your favorite game of all time?
BG: You know, I actually had NBA Live 2000. One of my favorite games of all time was on Nintendo 64 -- NFL Blitz. I don't know why, I just loved that game -- being able to hit people after the play and stuff was always fun.
WB: Alright, Blake, well thanks a lot for taking the time to talk with FanHouse, congrats on the cover and best of luck in the draft and in the NBA, man.
BG: Not a problem, thanks for having me.