- Marc Stein, ESPN Senior Writer
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NEW ORLEANS -- Blake Griffin is not necessarily walking away from the dunk contest forever.
At least not formally.
His stance on returning to the All-Star Weekend dunk stage was among the highlights from Griffin's conversation with host Marc Kestecher, P.J. Carlesimo and I that will air on ESPN Radio's "Meet The All-Stars" show which starts at 6 p.m. ET on Saturday.
Blake on his improved free-throw shooting from 52.1 percent two seasons ago to 70.5 percent this season
"Once they start to fall, that confidence comes along with it. And now I look forward to going to the free throw line. In years past, I kind of shied away from it a little bit. I didn't want to put my team in a bad situation. But now I feel like, in my mind, every time I go to the free throw line I'm gonna make two shots. It's really about my mindset."
Blake on comparisons with fellow All-Star Weekend participant Karl Malone
"I'm humbled by that. That's a honor. He was one of the best power forwards to ever do it, so obviously I have a lot of work to do to get to where [I can approach] what he accomplished. That's not a bad person to be compared to … I've watched a lot of tape of him. I've watched mostly [from] his later years after he had really developed and had really become a force scoring the basketball. And the thing I love about him is everyone I've talked to about him talks about his work ethic and how hard he worked. And then on top of that just how he put together a complete game and used his strength to his advantage but also could step out and knock down shots."
Blake on his future in the dunk contest
"I haven't retired officially. It isn't something I’ll never, ever do again. But for right now, I try to take my rest when I can. And this year I really wanted that Saturday night rest. So not this year."
41dMarc Stein and Mike Mazzeo