Grin and bear it: Griffin takes it all off

By Beth Harris

Associated Press

Published: Thursday, Oct. 6 2011 12:00 a.m. MDT

Griffin is interested in playing on the U.S. team for next year's London Olympics, although he said USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo has yet to contact him.

"There's no greater stage than playing for your country," he said. "At the same time, there's a lot of great players that deserve to be on that team. I'll definitely try out."

Unlike others who have signed deals or are considering playing overseas, Griffin is staying put for now.

"I'm not saying I would never go over there and I'm not saying I'm absolutely going to go over there if this continues," he said.

At 22, Griffin has played in just 82 NBA games. A knee injury caused him to miss his entire first season. Now the lockout is threatening to derail another one.

He was a 9-year-old kid growing up in Oklahoma the last time the NBA endured a lockout in 1998-99, which led to a reduced 50-game schedule.

Back then, Griffin didn't understand what the fuss was about, and this time, he's not sure the fans do, either.

"They see it as just a whole bunch of guys that are getting paid to play basketball complaining that they're not getting paid," he said. "To a certain extent they're right, but at the same time, we just want what we had."

When he's out and about in Manhattan Beach, where he and a number of pro basketball and hockey players live, fans ask Griffin what's going to happen with the season and say they hope it gets figured out.

"I wish I knew better how the majority of fans really felt," he said. "Nobody is going to say how they really feel to you in person."

The reaction to Griffin baring it all in the magazine has been clear.

"I've already gotten a lot of good feedback," he said, citing Dwight Howard's previous appearance in the magazine as a reason for doing it himself. "Most athletes don't really pose like that. I thought it was cool. It's always tastefully done."

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