Blake Griffin of the Los Angeles Clippers is the recipient of the Eddie Gottlieb Trophy as the 2010-11 T-Mobile NBA Rookie of the Year, the NBA announced today. Griffin is the first unanimous Rookie of the Year selection since David Robinson in 1989-90! Read more after the jump.
The Clippers called a news conference at 4:30 p.m. ET – There’s a Rookie of the Year, and it’s Blake Griffin. He’s just the fourth guy in NBA history to win the award after not playing the year he was drafted:
-In 1962, the Cincinnati Royals drafted Jerry Lucas out of Ohio State. But instead, he signed with George Steinbrenner’s Cleveland Pipers of the American Basketball League. When that league collapsed, Lucas had to wait to join the Royals, but won Rookie of the Year in 1964.
- The Celtics drafted Larry Bird out of Indiana State in 1978. But when Bird returned for his senior year, Boston kept his rights up until the 1979 draft. That rule was later changed, but Bird signed before the deadline, and edged out Magic Johnson as the 1980 Rookie of the Year.
- In 1987, the Spurs took David Robinson out of the Naval Academy with the Number One overall pick. But “The Admiral” missed two seasons to fulfill his duty as a civil engineering officer. But in 1990, he led the Spurs to a 35-game improvement and was named Rookie of the Year.
- Griffin was the top pick by the Clippers in 2009. But he injured his knee in the preseason when he landed awkwardly after a dunk. It eventually required surgery and delayed his rookie season a year. He came back to win the dunk contest and now the Rookie of the Year award.