Blake Griffin Says He Was Pitied After Trade To Pistons: "Ohh, Sorry, Man. How's Detroit?"

In reality, the move reconnected him with his roots.

Will Burchfield
August 14, 2019 - 6:09 pm
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When Blake Griffin got traded from the Clippers to the Pistons midway through the 2017-18 season, he went from a perennial contender to a team with just one winning season in the prior 10 years. And he went from Los Angeles to Detroit. 

Not the most glamorous swap.

And Griffin heard about it from sympathetic outsiders, who mostly wanted to know if he was going to be okay in his new city. 

"The one thing I haven't talked about, it's kind of funny," Griffin told the How Neal Feel Podcast. "When I got traded, everybody's thing was like, 'Ohh, sorry, man. How's Detroit?' I'm always like, 'It's cool,' and they're like, 'No, really.' And I'm like, 'No, it's okay. It's fine.'

"I was thinking about that because there was a friend of mine that was traded from a city that I won't say to the Lakers at the trade deadline, and you look at his Instagram, everybody's like, ‘Congrats, bro! Happy for you! You did it!’ All this stuff. He gets the same salary, they didn't make the playoffs and now he's not on that team.

"But those two scenarios were the same flipped. I still make the same salary, I played last year, made the playoffs, had a solid year, but the stigma and the idea behind that for people was like, 'Oh, man, you did it!' He was in LA for two months and didn't make the playoffs." 

(Safe to say Griffin is talking about former Piston Reggie Bullock.)

In reality, Griffin has very much enjoyed his new life in Michigan, where he owns a home in Franklin. As he's said many times, Detroit is far more similar to his hometown of Oklahoma City than Los Angeles ever was. 

"I try to tell people this and no one actually believes me because it's mostly people in LA. They're like, ‘This is awesome,'" said Griffin. "During the season, I go to practice, I come home, I eat, I take a nap and I watch basketball, almost every single day. And I love it. And in Michigan it is awesome because I have an awesome backyard and I don’t feel trapped. I can go drive places.

"I grew up in Oklahoma. When I got drafted to LA, people were like, 'Ohh, how is it? Are you used to a city like that?' And then I get traded to Michigan and everybody’s like, 'How is it, man? It must be so different.' And I’m like, 'No, it’s just a place, man.'"

With a contract that runs through 2022 (and has about $110 million remaining), Griffin will likely be in Detroit for at least three more years. It's something he's embraced as the Pistons try to build a consistent winner. His commitment to the team, which for years was desperate for a bonafide star, has already earned him the love of the fans. 

And Griffin felt them from the moment he was traded. 

"The fans from day one, this is a true sports town. They really embrace sports, and that’s not something I’ve been used to for the past nine years," he told 97.1 The Ticket last year. "It’s really nice to be in a place where fans are knowledgeable and they really are diehard fans."

Same goes for the people of Detroit. 

"The people remind me much more of people from back home in Oklahoma," he said. "Everyone’s genuinely interested in just being nice." 

For people from, say, Los Angeles, that might be hard to understand.