Comedian Norm Macdonald died at 61 on Tuesday after a reportedly long battle with cancer, and many who knew or admired him went to Twitter to share their fondest memories of him. Brooklyn Nets forward Blake Griffin, an aspiring comic himself, joined the group.
After ESPN producer Mike Goldfarb posted a video of Macdonald cracking a joke in his signature deadpan style during Griffin’s 2010-11 Rookie of the Year press conference, Griffin quote-tweeted it with the caption, “my favorite press conference moment ever.”
“There’s kind of a curse with Rookie of the Year,” Macdonald joked to Griffin in the video. “Nobody’s ever repeated it.”
“I didn’t think about that,” Griffin, now 32, responded in an equally deadpan manner, “but I’ll try as hard as I can next year.”
Macdonald — who grew famous from the “Saturday Night Live” Weekend Update news satire segment — was involved in the sports world long before his viral moment with Griffin. He gave one of the most memorable ESPY Awards speeches of all time, taking shots at Michael Jordan’s baseball ability, the Winter Olympics, non-Tiger Woods golfers and more. And in 2011 Macdonald hosted the “Sports Show,” which showcased online videos blending sports and comedy, on Comedy Central.
Griffin, who’s entering his 14th NBA season, is doing the inverse of Macdonald by crossing into the comedy world. The five-time All-NBA selection and six-time All-Star has appeared on Comedy Central’s “Roast of Alec Baldwin” and “Roast Battle.” Griffin also hosted his first ever comedy charity event, “Comedy by Blake,” last October.
Comedians John Mulaney, Phoebe Robinson, Whitney Cummings and Jim Jefferies performed at the event benefiting the Team Griffin Foundation. Macdonald, one of Griffin’s comedy idols, was also one of the headliners.