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Griffin's dunk? Two points worth gold during Super Bowl Week

by | CBSSports.com National Columnist

The Twittersphere lit up Monday after Griffin's highlight-reel slam over Kendrick Perkins. (Getty Images)  
The Twittersphere lit up Monday after Griffin's highlight-reel slam over Kendrick Perkins. (Getty Images)  

The first big moment of Super Bowl Week turns out to be as everyone predicted -- Blake Griffin dunking Kendrick Perkins all the way to ToonTown.

And there may be more distractions away from the epicenter of all sports, Indianapolis, as the week goes on. That is, after all, what Super Bowl Week is all about -- trying to figure out ways not to pay attention to Super Bowl Week.

So the opening salvo belongs to Griffin, who threw down a basketball with great force and malice over and through Oklahoma City's big man during Monday night's 112-100 Clippers victory.

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And of course, Twitter and its ancillary little wizards went bat-guano loony over it, to the point of not only debating whether it was the greatest dunk of all time (which is, of course, unknowable), but also the essential value and allure of dunking.

In other words, Twitter veers off into the philosophical from time to time, to no good end.

Basketball has always been the sport that believes most in the concept of art for art's sake. After all, Griffin's dunk, as majestically malicious as it was, still accounted for only nine-tenths of one percent of all the points scored in the game, and yet it is the one moment that will endure.

At least until the next one.

Griffin is in many ways the most fascinating new talent in a game constantly in search of them. He is force at speed, one ferocious dunk after another, and these -- rather than the depth and breadth of his game -- are the moments that make his legend.

Style, waiting for substance to come along in time. After all, Griffin's last signature dunk involved a car. And his first playoff appearance will be his first, the burden of having to help rebuild the most moribund NBA franchise ever.

He is, however, a hot item for reasons epitomized in what he did to Perk on Monday. He is the undisputed king of Highlight World, the place fans go when the games don't necessarily matter.

The universal fascination with his dunk Monday joins the awe of moments like Jerome Simpson's full-flip touchdown against Arizona in Week 16 of the NFL season. Simpson, who literally leaped over Daryl Washington and stuck his landing, was pure athletic grace in a game of physical force, while Griffin's was pure force in a game of grace.

And the highlight is its own reward.

Super Bowl Week cannot hope to compete. Super Bowl Week is standing around and listening to people say the same things they said the week before, and guessed at the weeks before that. They try to find significance in standing around, and in clips that need the 11-on-11 view to make sense of anything.

It's cramming before a final, only without the benefit of amphetamines.

And Blake Griffin slaps us from the torpor-inducing black hole of that relentless blah. Blake Griffin is the cold slap in the face that says, "This is actually what you want to see. Not significant, not season-changing, not even enduring. Just plain in-your-piehole fun."

Except, perhaps, for Kendrick Perkins.

But the news there is also good. In three days, nobody will remember Perkins' role in Griffin's moment, because Perkins didn't do anything to encourage the moment. He just happened to be the guy in the path when Griffin got up to speed. Perkins was just the innocent bystander. Even Washington was more culpable in the Simpson play for ducking his head, and nobody remembers him.

So that's Monday. Tuesday, Bud Selig will realign baseball with his bare hands ... Wednesday, Sidney Crosby will fuse his own neck with a glue gun and a bottle of gin ... Thursday ... well, stick around. You'll see.

Ray Ratto is a columnist for Comcast Sports Bay Area (CSNBayArea.com)


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