Eddie Griffin Tribute Page

Daily News photo by Steve Falk.

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    Eddie Griffin, 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 silaryt@phillynews.com. 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 . . .
Thank you,|
The Family

Contributions . . .

  Couldn't believe it. Even with all the craziness that happened, I still think he was one
of the nicest kids I have ever met. A great teammate.
-- Joe McCourt
  my name is jim wright and i used to coach eddie when he was around 10-11 and still
kept in contact with him. i also attended the draft with him and john huggins. i am deeply
saddened to hear that has passed away. i am going to miss him. i knew him and loved him
before he became eddie griffin superstar basketball player. my thoughts and prayers go out
to his mom, brother jacques and his daughter whom he loved so much.
-- Jim Wright
  Eddie Griffin will always be the face of Roman Basketball, and one of the most known
names in the Catholic league history! He will be missed! RIP kid!
-- Bryan D Green, SrA, USAF
My Dad and I went to the McDonald's All Star Basketball Game in Boston in 2000.
Eddie was playing and was kind enough to explain the event to me and show me around,
as well as pose for pictures with me. Not to mention, he answered the dumb questions
that I asked! He was a truly nice guy, and he didn't seem at all impressed by the fame he
was getting. He seemed to truly love the game. My prayers go out to family and friends.
-- Kristen Silary
  Like everyone else, I had read about his troubles and hoped he'd deal
with them more successfully as he grew older. But it really hit hard
last night, especially hearing his age, 25 years young.
He was a pleasure to watch on the court...so fluid. And you had to love
that smile!
I guess as Coaches, this really underscores even more so, that we can't
try hard enough to keep these kids on the straight and narrow, as much
as we possibly can. This is very sad. My heart goes out to his family.
-- Jack Glacken
Assistant Coach, Monsignor Bonner High
  What a tragic story and sad ending. My recollection of Eddie Griffin took place his junior
year ( I think) at Roman when my niece's husband Rick Pergolini took his Academy Park
team to Roman for a Sunday afternoon game. Griffin was spectacular and got a put back
at the buzzer to win one of the greatest high school games I have seen.
-- Ted Rauch

  I'm shocked by this news about Eddie Griffin.  I remember when i was a sophomore
walking into that gym and seeing him and he was just larger than life.  We lost by 56 and
I got into that game.  It seems like everyone from my age group keeps dying: Micheal
Blackshear, Tyree Wallace, Kyle Ambrogi, who i was friends with, and now Eddie Griffin.
It's really sad. I was at the gym when I read it on ESPN and I was in shock.
-- Vince Taraborrelli
Bonner '02
  Our thoughts and prayers are with Eddie's mother and brother and all of his family since we
have learned of Eddie's untimely passing. We watched him play against St Joe's Prep and the
Catholic League championships as he thrilled us with his wonderful performances. My heart
goes out to you as our family also understands the pain of losing a wonderful son. He graced
us with his presence for so brief a time.  Eddie will be with you in your heart always. I pray
for your peace and strength. May you be comforted by the prayers and assistance of friends
and family. May they help carry you through this most difficult time.
Peace to you
-- Donna Ambrogi
(Ted's note: Donna is Kyle's mother. Here is the Tribute Page for Kyle. Thank you so much
for taking the time to offer comforting words to Eddie's family and friends, Donna.)


by Ted Silary, Daily News Sports Writer

It was going to be the biggest basketball night of Eddie Griffin's young life and the excitement was building by the second.

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. "