Grantland has a long piece today about Eddie Griffin, the Philly basketball phenom — he scored 100 points in a game! — who went on to the NBA, but died tragically young when his SUV ran into the side of a Union Pacific train. The story examines Griffin’s struggles with depression and alcohol, but also takes time to celebrate his athletic gifts. One game — Griffin’s Roman Catholic High team versus Camden High — is lovingly recounted:
More than 9,000 fans packed the arena. Scouts from the NBA outnumbered those from colleges. The Philadelphia 76ers backcourt, Allen Iverson and Larry Hughes, were there, too. And Griffin was electrifying. He dunked eight times — largely off of Wild’s timely feeds. He made 12 of his 17 shots for 29 points, to go with six rebounds and five blocks. Roman Catholic flattened Camden, 72-47.
Griffin had sprained his ankle early in the game, but he powered through the pain. “That’s when I knew he was the truth,” Jacques Griffin said. “It was red and real swollen. He couldn’t even walk. He had to lay in bed for a couple of days because my stepfather put hot compresses on it.”
“All the people were there and I had to put on a show,” Eddie told Jacques the night of the game.
It’s a long — and sad — story, but worth your time.