ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — Maybe the most fun part of this Clippers run has been getting to see their alwaysintense owner Steve Ballmer sitting courtside, where he is pretty much constantly FIRED UP. LIKE, REALLY FIRED UP.
Last night in San Antonio, the Clippers hung on to win a close Game 6, 102-96. But it was a close game throughout, which meant it wasn’t easy for Steve Ballmer…
ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — Welcome to an occasionally recurring feature here on All Ball, in which we celebrate the birthday of an NBA great by delving into the highlight vaults. And today we recognize the birthday of one of the greatest point guards in NBA history, Isiah Thomas.
Born in Chicago, Thomas played college basketball at the University of Indiana, winning the 1981 National Title. A 6-1 point guard, Thomas’s competitive drive was unmatched. He was drafted second overall by the Detroit Pistons, with whom he played his entire professional career. By the late ’80s, the Pistons had adopted their “Bad Boys” identity, and they went on to win back-to-back NBA championships in 1989 and 1990. Thomas retired in 1994 as a 12-time All-Star and was enshrined in the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame in 2000.
To celebrate Isiah’s big day, let’s go to the video…
ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — These days, flopping during an NBA game will get you a fine and a public rebuke from the NBA. But a few decades ago, it was a different world, when flopping wasn’t as reviled and was instead looked at more often with a wink and a smile. And there was nobody better at it then Sacramento center Vlade Divac. But now that Vlade is in the Kings front office, he’s pulling back the curtain and admitting which plays were flops and which plays were actual fouls. (Spoiler alert: They’re all flops.)
ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — Being an NBA mascot is like belonging to an elite fraternity, where you and a few dozen furry friends are responsible for the happiness and joy of tens of thousands of fans. But what is it like inside the costume? Chicago Bulls mascot Benny the Bull wore a GoPro camera recently and filmed what it’s like inside the costume for a night. The coolest part might be how many people smile at you. Also, how easy it seems to be to scare people.
Welcome to Throwback Thursday here on the All Ball Blog. Each week, we’ll delve into the NBA’s photo archives and uncover a topic and some great images from way back when. Hit us up here if you have suggestions for a future TBT on All Ball. Suggestions are always welcome!
Today’s Topic: Bucks win lone championship
Oscar Robertson came to Milwaukee via a trade before the start of the 1970-71 season and had already amassed a career full of accolades, including an MVP, a triple-double season and more. What had eluded him, though, was a championship and he was hoping that a move to the Bucks — which paired him with young center Kareem Abdul-Jabbar — would fill that hole on his resume.
Robertson ended up being right as the Bucks rumbled over the entire NBA in 1970-71, amassing 66 wins and reaching The Finals in just their third season of existence. Once on the NBA’s championship stage, Milwaukee didn’t waste any time and swept the Baltimore Bullets, beating them 118-106 in Game 4 on April 30, 1971. That victory gave the city its first (and only) NBA title.
In honor of the Bucks’ championship-clinching win, we take a look back at them and several other great teams from the 1970s:
ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — I only started watching “Game of Thrones” a few years ago, but I managed to plow my way through every episode and catch up quickly. And one thing you notice is each house, or family, has their own sigil, or logo. Well, Reddit user ninetythrees did the logical thing and created a series of NBA-related sigils, as if each NBA team was involved in Westeros or somewhere over there. Cool stuff.
ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — One of the annual traditions of postseason basketball is companies rolling out new commercials starring various NBA players. The drive-in restaurant chain Sonic just dropped a couple of new commercials starring Oklahoma City’s Kevin Durant. I’m guessing they assumed these would air during Thunder playoff games, but injuries brought the Thunder’s season to an early end. Still, funny stuff from KD…
ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — Paul Pierce is on a roll. The Washington Wizards may have underwhelmed in the regular season, but Pierce and the Wiz swept the Toronto Raptors in four games in their first round series, which gave Pierce the chance to troll our neighbors to the north.
And now, with some time on their hands before the next round of the playoffs, Pierce and his Wizards teammates went to last night’s Washington Capitals vs. New York Islanders hockey game. And since they were in the front row, when given the chance to taunt the visiting Caps Islanders, Pierce couldn’t help himself…
And whether it was Pierce’s influence or not, the Caps won and advanced to round two, the first time the Caps and Wiz have both been in the second round in the same season.