My favorite Harry Truman quote, and one of my favorite quotes generally, is
“It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit.”
It is a fair assumption that Los Angeles Clippers forward Blake Griffin has never heard of it, or if he has, he has no idea what Harry was talking about.
The 2011 NBA Slam Dunk Contest over the weekend featured a spectacular dunk by Griffin, jumping over the hood of a car and slamming the ball through the hoop after it was fed to him, mid-air, through the sunroof. His contest winning dunk was a sensation, and Griffin can be expected to reap both publicity and dollars from it over and above his contest prize.
But fan Michael Scrivner is calling a foul on Griffin, telling the media that he gave the star the idea for the dunk and deserves some thanks and credit. And he is 100% right.
Griffin told CNN that he came up with the idea himself long ago, and doesn’t have to share the credit with anybody. As Scrivner has pointed out, however, Griffin specifically asked his fans via ESPN to send him ideas for a creative dunk via Twitter. In response, Griffin tweeted…
“@blakegriffin Seen you want dunk ideas on ESPN Park a car on the court Jump over the car while the driver throws you oop through the sunroof.”
Maybe Griffin never read the tweet. Maybe he really did already have the idea. It doesn’t matter: when you ask your fans for ideas, and one of them suggests the exact same stunt you end up doing, you are obligated to give him credit, if not more.
Griffin, to be blunt about it, is behaving like a selfish, ungrateful jerk…not that this isn’t the norm among NBA stars. What does he lose by acknowledging a fan’s response to his supposedly sincere call for ideas? He has his stardom, his millions, his fame, his dunking contest prize, and yet he refuses to sent a little bit of gratitude and fifteen minute of fame to Griffin?
There is no recovery from this. Scrivner is making national headlines and interviews for his messages posted on Twitter, like…
“@blakegriffin Wheres the love on my dunk idea.””
@blakegriffin You know you got that last dunk idea from me! Wheres the love? Check your @ ‘s February 8th.”
“@daveandjimmy Blake Griffin snubbed me All Star weekend. I gave him the idea for his last dunk. My story made TMZ. Im in Cbus hit me up!”
Griffin can’t recant at this point, and say, “Well, yes, I guess I did get the idea from Scrivner; I just wanted all the credit for myself and thought it would diminish my greatness if I was generous and grateful to one of the little people who pay my kingly salary.” That won’t remove the stain of jerkism, it will just confirm it. The best Griffin can do at this point is say, “I’m sorry I’m a self-centered jerk.”
We’re sorry too, Blake. Doing the right thing and acknowledging a fan’s suggestion should have been the easiest, most painless act imaginable, if you had a functioning ethics alarm and some generosity, respect, humility and fairness to back it up. But you didn’t, and you don’t.
And now everybody knows it.