Wichita native Adrian Griffin used lessons from his late father on the way to an NBA title

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In 1992, Adrian Griffin helped lead Wichita East to a state championship.

“It feels great. I’ve never felt like this before. I guess it’s a one in a lifetime opportunity,” said Griffin after winning the Class 6A State Championship in 1992.

26 years later and Griffin is holding another trophy. The Wichita native is an assistant coach for the Toronto Raptors, who just won their first title in franchise history.

“It’s been a phenomenal ride and it’s been a lot of long nights,” said Griffin.

From playing in a Finals as an NBA player to winning one as an assistant coach, Griffin has made a lot of great memories on the basketball court, but some of his favorite come from right here in Wichita.

“Winning state and holding that trophy up and seeing my mom and my dad in the stands. Man, it still chokes me up sometimes because my dad was so proud that day, and I wanted to make him proud. To do it at Wichita State, where the state championships where that year and in front of the home town. That was so special,” said Griffin.  

Griffin says growing up in Wichita equipped him with everything he needed to succeed in life and he gives a lot of that credit to his late father David A. Griffin Sr.

“He gave me the belief that anything is possible,” said Griffin. “He also taught me accountability. Growing up we didn’t have a lot but my dad never made excuses. I remember being 10 years old, we would go out and pick up cans, aluminum cans and take them and cash them in.”

After graduating from Seton Hall, Griffin went undrafted and spent three seasons in other pro leagues before getting a shot in the NBA.

While it wasn’t a lesson on the basketball court, watching his father do whatever it took to put food on the table was just one instance that helped prepare Griffin to out work others and make his mark on the league.  

“What separates you is your work ethic, and your commitment and your dedication to your craft and getting better each day," said Griffin. "That’s something that helped me persevere through the tough times because I knew that tough times don’t last but tough people do.”