Blake Griffin - Men's Fitness (September 2010)

In the September 2010 edition of Men's Fitness... A busted kneecap ended his rookie season before it began. Now Los Angeles Clipper Blake Griffin is back—thanks to a rigorous regimen that includes“down dogs” and “warrior twos,” staples of a hoops-centric yoga workout that is gaining popularity in the NBA.

Flashback to Oct. 23, 2009: the Los Angeles Clippers’ final preseason game prior to the 2009–10 season. During one fast break, rookie Blake Griffin demonstrated just why L.A.’s other team drafted the powerful 6'10" power forward out of Oklahoma with the No. 1 overall pick in the draft. After blocking a shot by Hilton Armstrong of the New Orleans Hornets, Griffin raced up the court at the Staples Center, caught a shovel pass, and launched himself toward the rim from just inside the free-throw line. Then, in a thundering instant, he slammed a singlehanded, rafter-rattling dunk. The crowd erupted. Finally, long-suffering Clippers fans, who had endured 24 losing seasons in 26 years, had reason to rejoice.

Cue the bursting bubble.

Griffin landed, and the Clippers’ catharsis crashed with him. He grabbed his left knee, wincing. “I came out of the game and sat on the bench for a while, hoping it wasn’t anything serious,” Griffin recalls. “Then my knee swelled up over the next couple of days and gradually got worse. That’s when I knew something was wrong.” The diagnosis was a broken kneecap requiring season-ending surgery.

Today, “frustrating” and “disappointing” are words you’d expect Griffin, still just 21, to use when describing his first months as a pro. But “ positive”? “I learned a lot the past year, the importance of being patient and finding the positive in every situation,” he said, during the summer. “My mind-set was to not just sit around, but to also get better and try out some new things.”

Those new things included new methods of getting stronger. One of them was yoga.

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