NBA notebook: Clippers' Griffin unanimously voted top NBA rookie

Published: Wednesday, May 4 2011 12:00 a.m. MDT

Griffin faded only briefly, going through a seven-game stretch in March without a double-double, but finished strong with his second triple-double in Los Angeles' season finale.

Despite the 32-50 Clippers' struggles while missing the playoffs for the 13th time in 14 years, Griffin's fame soared as his freakish athleticism captured the basketball world's attention.

"He has matured enough to know he doesn't have to win every game," said Griffin's father, Tommy, who coached his sons in high school in Oklahoma City. "He knows it's a long process about getting better every day, and then seeing where he is in a year or two years. That's just how Blake is. He's not ever going to be satisfied."

Griffin won over fans with a humble personality and a dry wit, which he showed off when comedian Norm MacDonald showed up at Griffin's news conference and warned the Clippers star about the curse of the Rookie of the Year award: Nobody has ever won it twice in a row.

"I'll try as hard as I can," Griffin said with a grin. "That's going on top of the goals for next year."

Griffin is the first Clippers player to win the award since Terry Cummings won it with the San Diego Clippers in 1983. Adrian Dantley, Bob McAdoo and Ernie DiGregorio won the award during a five-year stretch with the Buffalo Braves, who moved to San Diego in 1978.

Griffin shares general manager Neil Olshey's optimism about the Clippers' future, which includes ample salary cap space and a talented young roster featuring Eric Gordon, centers DeAndre Jordan and Chris Kaman, and fellow rookie Eric Bledsoe.

"We're excited about where the Clippers are headed," Griffin said. "We just laid the foundation, and we can't wait until next year."

STERN WANTS TO KEEP DISPUTE OUT OF COURTS: Commissioner David Stern hopes the NBA does not follow the NFL's lead and keeps its labor dispute with the union out of the courts.

Stern said litigation is "not appropriate to making a deal."

"We understand what a chaotic situation looks like, so we won't need to give away the negotiating process to a process that is nowhere near as controlling," he added.

The NBA's current collective bargaining agreement expires June 30.

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