The car dunk has been coming for a long time, Tommy Griffin said.

One day he took his sons, Taylor and Blake, to a gym near their Oklahoma City home for some shooting. Blake was about 6, so he entertained himself by jumping off the bleachers. When he got a little too high, he came down on his arm.

"He said it hurt, so we put some ice on it, and when it still hurt, it was time to check it out," Tommy said. "It was broken, but that didn't stop him from being a daredevil."

Didn't make him cry, either.

Then there was the game at Oklahoma Christian Academy, where Tommy coached and Taylor and Blake played. Blake came down the right wing, sought the lob and Taylor put it right at the top of the rectangle, on the glass.

"And Blake went and got it," Tommy said, laughing. "That's 11 feet, 2 inches. I thought, you know, he can really do this. And he was in the ninth grade at the time."

Now Tommy was at Clippers' headquarters Wednesday, to watch Blake get the NBA Rookie of the Year award, which he won unanimously.

He won it doing basketball things, like 63 double-doubles and averages of 22.5 points and 12.1 rebounds.

Dwight Howard was the only other NBA player to average as many points as Griffin and still get double-figure boards per game.

But Griffin became The Blake Show and a national sandwich spokesman and the Clippers' first real road-and-home rock star because no one had ever seen anybody that big who could sharpen his belt buckle on the rim.

He could have been an MVP candidate merely because he made people forget how decrepit the Clippers were. Although he played 82 games, they Clippers lost 50 of them and were third-worst in the West.

Ralph Lawler, the outstanding Clippers play-by-play man who has delivered more bad news over the years than a foreclosure agent, spotted Terry Cummings in the audience. Cummings was a San Diego Clippers' Rookie of the Year who averaged a double-double.