Former Brooklyn Nets player Blake Griffin threw a little shade in the direction of his previous team this week as he complimented the “welcoming” atmosphere he has received in the first few days of his tenure with the Boston Celtics.
At the end of September, Griffin decided to continue his NBA career for a twelfth season by signing a one-year deal with the Boston Celtics, after a year and a half in Brooklyn playing for the Nets. The 33-year-old is in that common situation that many former perennial All-Stars reach towards the end of their career. As they take team-friendly contracts with contenders as they pursue their first or another championship.
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Griffin’s move from the Nets to the Celtics will likely be viewed as a lateral one since both are expected to be serious contenders to reach the NBA Finals in 2022-2023. However, during a media scrum at the Celtics practice facility this week, the former Los Angeles Clippers star revealed that he noticed a stark difference between the Nets and Celtics locker room despite both teams being winning groups with championship potential.
Blake Griffin has quickly discovered the Brooklyn Nets and Boston Celtics locker rooms are very different
“I’ve talked to pretty much everybody [since going the team]. I was talking to some guys [Sunday]. … I’m actually very — not surprised, but the amount of maturity and welcomingness [Celtics’ players showed]. … It’s a different atmosphere than I was sort of used to, in a good way. They were very welcoming. Everybody, one through 15. Practice today was focused, very encouraging, [and] helpful. I think you kind of take that for granted because it’s not always the case everywhere you go.”Blake Griffin on Celtics locker room
- Blake Griffin stats (career): 19.8 PPG, 8.2 RPG, 4.1 APG, .493 FG%
During his stint in Brooklyn, Griffin was able to see first-hand what a dysfunctional locker room can be like. As former his teammate Kyrie Irving frustrated the Nets for two years as he was unwilling to get vaccinated for COVID and missed a large number of games for Brooklyn. That stance led James Harden to ask for his exit from the team last season. Then, in trading Harden for 76ers All-Star Ben Simmons, the locker room took on the complicated drama of Simmons’ physical and mental health over the last six months.
While he didn’t specially compare his new teammates to his former ones, it seems rather obvious. Especially when using terms like “maturity” and “focused.” The Celtics are actually dealing with their own drama with head coach Ime Udoka suspended for the season after it was discovered he had an ongoing relationship with a member of the Boston staff, which broke organizational guidelines.