Eddie Griffin (basketball)
Eddie Jamaal Griffin (May 30, 1982 – August 17, 2007) was an American professional basketball player from Philadelphia. He last played for the NBA's Minnesota Timberwolves, who waived him on March 13, 2007. Months later, he was killed in a car crash.
|Born||May 30, 1982|
|Died||August 17, 2007 (aged 25)|
|Listed height||6 ft 10 in (2.08 m)|
|Listed weight||240 lb (109 kg)|
|High school||Roman Catholic|
|College||Seton Hall (2000–2001)|
|NBA draft||2001 / Round: 1 / Pick: 7th overall|
|Selected by the New Jersey Nets|
|Position||Power forward / Center|
|Career highlights and awards|
|Wikinews has related news: Former Timberwolf Eddie Griffin dies at 25|
After a standout career at Roman Catholic High School in Philadelphia in which he was named Parade Magazine's National Player of the Year, he competed in the McDonald's All American Game and led Roman to the Philadelphia Catholic League Championship in his junior and senior years. However, in a harbinger of things to come, Griffin was forced to finish his senior year via correspondence courses after getting in a fight with a teammate.
As a freshman, Griffin averaged 17.8 points, 10.7 rebounds and 4.4 blocks for Seton Hall, and was at one point thought to be a potential top pick in the 2001 NBA draft. He was named the nation's Freshman of the Year by The Sporting News.
In January 2001, Griffin got in a fight with teammate Ty Shine. Griffin left the school in somewhat acrimonious circumstances after his freshman year, and made himself available for the NBA Draft. Shortly before the draft, Griffin's half-brother Marvin Powell died of a heart attack.
Despite Griffin's outstanding freshman year at Seton Hall, questions about his attitude made him slip to the seventh pick of the 2001 NBA draft, where he was selected by the New Jersey Nets, who immediately traded his rights to the Houston Rockets for the rights to Jason Collins, Brandon Armstrong and Richard Jefferson (all selected as well in the 2001 draft).
In his rookie year, Griffin played in 73 games (starting 24) while averaging 8.8 points, 5.7 rebounds, and 1.84 blocks per game (ranking 13th in the NBA in that category). He followed with another bad year in 2002–03, averaging 8.6 points, 6.0 rebounds, and 1.44 blocks per contest.
However, Griffin suffered from alcoholism, and his troubles piled up quickly over the following year. In December 2003, the Rockets released him after he missed practices and a team flight. Griffin signed with the Nets in January 2004, but missed the entire 2003–04 season when he entered an alcohol rehabilitation center.
Prior to the 2004–05 season, the Timberwolves signed Griffin to a one-year contract, and for that season he posted roughly the same numbers he had in his two previous seasons. The Timberwolves re-signed Griffin for three years (player option in the third), starting with the 2005–06 season. Griffin had a relatively significant drop off in scoring and rebounding (while suffering only a slight drop in minutes per game), while averaging a career-high in blocks per game (2.11).
On March 30, 2006, Griffin was involved in a bizarre car crash. Witnesses and friends stated that he was watching a "porn movie on a DVD in his vehicle, and was masturbating". After the accident, Griffin entered a nearby convenience store. The store's security camera recorded video of Griffin repeatedly saying he was drunk, that he didn't have a driver's license, and of him pleading with the man whose SUV he crashed into, offering to buy him a new car in exchange for not calling the police.
In 303 NBA games (117 starts), Griffin averaged 7.2 points, 5.8 rebounds, 0.8 assists, 1.7 blocks, and 22:12 of floor time per game.
Griffin died as a result of a car crash on August 17, 2007, at approximately 1:30 a.m. Houston police said in a report that Griffin ignored a railroad warning and went through a barrier before striking a moving train. The resulting fire burned Griffin's SUV and the side of a railcar carrying plastic granules. Griffin's body was badly burned and there was no initial identification. Dental records later revealed the man was Griffin. He had more than three times the legal alcohol limit in his system when he crashed, according to an autopsy report. The Harris County Medical Examiner's office said the 25-year-old Griffin died of "multiple blunt force injuries." The medical examiner's office performed tests on Griffin's bile and blood from his heart and liver and determined his blood-alcohol level was 0.26; the legal limit in Texas is 0.08. Tests found no traces of cocaine, barbiturates or any other narcotics. Former Timberwolves coach Dwane Casey said he had not talked to Griffin in five or six months, but he knew that Griffin was spending the summer trying to get back in shape to play in Europe the next season. He was buried in Northwood Cemetery in Philadelphia. At the time of his death he had a three-year-old daughter named Amaree.
- Adande, J. A. (2007-08-22). "Griffin's tragic life a story of talent and temptation". ESPN.
- "The Sporting News: Freshman of the Year". Sporting News. Archived from the original on 2009-04-17. Retrieved 2012-01-29.
- "ESPN: Griffin leaves Seton Hall in quandary". ESPN.com. 2001-09-18. Retrieved 2012-01-29.
- Jensen, Mike (August 26, 2007). "Eddie Griffin's terrible end". The Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved May 31, 2016.
- Beck, Howard (August 23, 2007). "Comeback Chance for Griffin Ends in Fiery Crash". The New York Times. Retrieved May 31, 2016.
- Tape shows T-Wolves' Griffin saying he was drunk after crash, posted June 30, 2006
- "Suit: Wolves Player Watched Porn, Caused Crash". WCCO. 2006-06-29. Retrieved 2007-03-27.
- "Wolves release Griffin". NBA.com. March 14, 2007.
- Krawczynski, Jon (March 14, 2007). "Timberwolves waive F Eddie Griffin". USA Today. Associated Press. Retrieved May 31, 2016.
- "Griffin killed when car hit train last week". Sports.espn.go.com. August 22, 2007.
- "Autopsy shows Griffin had more than 3 times blood-alcohol limit". Espn.com. October 26, 2007.
- "NBA News, Videos, Scores, Standings, Stats, Teams, Schedule – FOX Sports on MSN". Msn.foxsports.com. Archived from the original on 2007-08-24. Retrieved 2012-01-29.
- Philly.com via Legacy
- Griffin's Funeral Brings Together Those Who Knew 'A Great Kid' Archived 2007-09-27 at the Wayback Machine, posted August 29, 2007