Eddie Griffin Tribute Page
Daily News photo by Steve Falk.
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widely considered the nation's No. 1 basketball player in 2000 while
playing for Roman Catholic High, as well as one of the top five in Philly history, died
August 17, 2007, in Houston, Texas, of injuries suffered in a car crash.
The "reason" for the crash, in which Eddie's car plowed through a crossing barrier
into a passing freight train, is undetermined.
Most know about the personal problems Eddie experienced during his six-year NBA
career, and those who knew him "when" were particularly saddened by the distressing
twists and turns in his life.
We welcome your comments about Eddie, and they'll be posted below.
Please email them to firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you.
Below the comments is a story about the meeting between Roman/Eddie and Camden/
Dajuan Wagner (though Wagner, a guard, was just coming off an injury) in the '00 season.
Note from one of Eddie's cousins . . .
I thank all of you who have showed
support and are keeping our family in your prayers.
Eddie wasn't a bad person, he was just fighting demons inside from when his older brother
Marvin died. If I could ask all of you to do something for me, it's to just remember the
good basketball player he was, and the TRUE person that all his friends and family knew . . .
Contributions . . .
ROMAN'S SLEEPING GIANT AWAKENS
GRIFFIN GETS HIS REST, THEN 29 IN VICTORY
Numerous friends and relatives were packed yesterday afternoon into Griffin's home in Pittville, a tiny section of Philadelphia west of Broad Street and south of Cheltenham Avenue.
Most were talking. Some were playing video games. And then, there was Eddie.
His contribution to the pregame festivities - zzzzzzzzzzz.
"Eddie slept all day, pretty much," said Marvin Powell, Griffin's brother and a former star forward at Martin Luther King (class of 1984) and Hartford. "He was relaxing, just chillin', like nothing big was going to happen.
"It didn't surprise me. That's Eddie. He doesn't get caught up in all the extra stuff. Hey, he hardly saves the articles people write about him. All he cares about is playing ball. Showing his love for the game. "
The occasion at Temple's Apollo was the feature attraction in the first Hometown Hoops Classic. Roman Catholic, the most famous program on this side of the river, vs. Camden, the most famous program on that side of the river.
A crowd of 9,339 showed up. Among the witnesses were Allen Iverson and Larry Hughes of the Sixers and ex-Sixer Tim Thomas, now with the Milwaukee Bucks and the sponsor of a North Jersey-based club team with which Griffin plays. NBA folks on various levels also were in attendance.
The 6-9 Griffin, a Seton Hall signee, made like a Flying Wallenda.
Thanks to eight dunks, most coming on passes from senior guard Michael Wild, Griffin shot 12-for-17 from the floor en route to 29 points. He also grabbed six rebounds and notched five blocks as Roman, eventually, breezed to a 72-47 win.
Maybe two of Griffin's dunks were average. The rest were sensational.
But perhaps his most impressive field goal was a non-dunk scored from close to 12 feet above the floor. When Griffin leaped, he was too far from the basket. But he calmly controlled the alley-oop pass and showed great dexterity while guiding the ball in.
On Comcast SportsNet and in newspaper ads, the game had generated two-pronged hype - Griffin, considered by many the nation's No. 1 senior, against Camden guard Dajuan Wagner, the consensus No. 1 junior.
Wagner, recently recovered from a broken pinkie on his (right) shooting hand, struggled mightily against a junk defense in his first game of the season. Covered in rotating fashion by Anthony Miller, John Huggins and Brent Welton, Wagner shot 4-for-23 for eight points, missing 17 of his first 18 and all seven of his treys.
"That was a tough way to go for Wagner," said Roman coach Dennis Seddon.
Meanwhile, when Seddon was asked whether Griffin had done anything new of a spectacular nature, he said, "No, not really. Being honest. We expect him to play that way every time he takes the floor. And he usually does. "
Outside Roman's locker room, surrounded by media members (there was a strong North Jersey presence), Griffin was his ever-calm self on the outside.
But inside, he had to be turning cartwheels.
"It was a good feeling because I was never in front of this big a crowd in my hometown," he said. "It's great to hear the noise on my dunks. These were some of my best. Mike was great at getting me the ball.
"Hopefully, I can keep doing that for the people. I don't want them saying, 'That was a boring game. ' "
Less than two minutes into the second quarter, the sounds changed from "oooh!" to "uh, oh. "
Griffin landed on someone's foot while trying to rebound and clutched his right ankle in pain. He briefly remained on Roman's bench, and then headed for the locker room with the trainer.
"I was shaking at first," Eddie said. "I had a broken ankle [a few years ago] and it felt something like that. I was hoping I didn't break it. "
Griffin was greeted by warm applause when he emerged from the tunnel and jogged to Roman's bench.
"I wanted to get right back in," he said.
About a dozen members of Griffin's family watched the action from front-row seats behind the west basket.
"And we had a dozen there and a dozen there and a dozen there," the smiling Powell said, pointing to various sections. "There were `family members' I didn't know I had until I got to the game. It was like, `Hey, I'm your uncle's cousin's aunt's sister. ' "
For Wild, the evening provided redemption.
Often a dead-eye shooter, he went scoreless last Thursday in Delaware as Roman fell to Willowridge, of Houston, in the championship game of a prestigious national tournament.
"I was real mad at myself," Wild said.
This time, Wild shot 6-for-11 (4-for-5 on three-pointers) for 16 points while adding 10 assists.
"I got help from Marv," he said, referring to Powell. "He was at our practice [Sunday]. He said before every game, when I'm going against somebody good, I should close my eyes and picture him being my sister.
"I knew Camden would have Dajuan or somebody pretty good stickin' me. I closed my eyes and pictured my sister. It worked pretty well. Good advice, Marv. "
Of his alley-oop passes to Griffin, Wild said, "I know exactly when to throw it. He knows exactly when he's getting it. I know when he wants it. . .I think we play terrific together. "
Though Roman led at halftime, the margin was slight at 27-24. Arthur Barclay had been a bear inside for Camden, notching 14 points and a whopping 15 rebounds. (He finished with 17 and 20, respectively).
Roman created a comfort zone in the third quarter, which ended, 43-29, then went berserk in the fourth. The Cahillites uncorked seven dunks in that session - four by Griffin; one apiece by Tamal Forchion (12 points, eight boards), Welton and Huggins (six assists).
In time, Eddie was being asked the reason for his daylong Rip Van Griffin act.
"Had to get my rest," he said, simply. "Had to be ready. "