By JOHN SHINN
NORMAN — There were a lot of great players at Lloyd Noble Center Saturday afternoon. Only one, however, was still in his prime.
Blake Griffin made a surprise appearance in front of the crowd of 3,500 at the Legends Alumni Game.
“Earlier today I was talking to someone today about the NBA and all the travel and how fun that was. It’s something that I’ll never forget,” the Los Angeles Clippers’ all-star forward said. “I’ve played in a lot of cool places with a lot of great players. But my time here is something I’ll never forget.”
The game featured several of OU’s all-time greats. It served as a capstone to the alumni weekend, which was used to honor the program’s 2,000-point scores and All-Americans.
Griffin joined former All-Americans Hollis Price, Eduardo Najera and Harvey Grant and 2,000-point scorer Darryl “Choo” Kennedy in actually getting on the court Saturday.
The Cream, led by Ebi Ere’s 34 points, beat the Crimson, 102-99. Ere, who played on the Sooners’ 2002 Final Four team, still plays professionally in Europe. He flew in specifically for the game.
So did Griffin. He scored 13 points, including four crowd-pleasing dunks in the first five minutes. He had to leave at halftime to catch a flight back to Los Angeles. But threw his shoes in the crowd for souvenirs and signed autographs for anyone that asked.
It was important for him to get back to Norman for the game if only for less than an hour.
“It’s a lot of fun,” he said. “I think Coach (Lon) Kruger’s doing an amazing job when it comes to really getting the tradition back into the program and getting guys from past years to come back. So I definitely wanted to come back and be a part of it.”