ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — It’s a big week for Dominique Wilkins, the Hawks legend who is having a statue made in his honor unveiled today in Atlanta. For those of us who grew us in Atlanta, Nique was everything, as I wrote about today here on NBA.com. But before the statue is unveiled, the Hawks broke out a lo-fi but equally cool tribute to The Human Highlight Film: artwork made from characters. It’s no statue, but it’s a lot easier to copy and paste…
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: NBA Statues
The Atlanta Hawks will immortalize legendary forward Dominique Wilkins with a statue unveiling at Phillips Arena on Saturday. Wilkins was a 9-time All-Star and averaged 26.5 points, 7.0 rebounds, 2.6 assists and 1.4 steals during his 12 seasons with the Hawks.
As Atlanta prepares to set Wilkins’ history in stone, this Throwback Thursday, we look back at other NBA legends who have been immortalized through statue.
ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — With the score tied, the Clippers had the final shot last night, and a chance to beat the Portland Trail Blazers in regulation. Chris Paul missed a shot, and the ball fell to DeAndre Jordan, standing under the basket, and Jordan… didn’t shoot?
I think what happened was Jordan heard the buzzer and thought the game was over. Only it was the shot clock buzzer instead. Either way, Jordan didn’t get a shot off. (And the worst thing? The Clips ended up losing in overtime.)
But it wasn’t for a lack of trying from Chris Paul. Check out Paul here in slow motion doing his best to urge Jordan to shoot…
Just try overlooking Jazz at Celtics now. Lottery team vs. lottery team, the season down to the final full month of the regular season, a matchup that easily could have blended into the background, and then this.
Some night for the Boston point guards. Newly acquired Isaiah Thomas, named the Eastern Conference player of the week two days before, had a game-high 21 points, and then Marcus Smart delivered the last of his three assists with a perfect pass in a difficult situation — from out of bounds, finding his man in a seam of the Utah defense — that Tyler Zeller turned into the winning basket at the buzzer.
Not merely the highlight of the night, it will undoubtedly become one of Smart’s best passes of the entire season.
Smart had the hard part. Inbounding the ball at the three-point line extended to the right of the basket, with 1.7 seconds remaining, and taking advantage when 7-foot-1 Rudy Gobert gave Smart room, even though the Jazz put Gobert on him to supposedly make life difficult for Smart, the Celtics rookie delivered a two-hand overhead pass almost directly under the basket after Zeller got behind defender Rodney Hood. Zeller had to corkscrew to get free as Gordon Hayward and Gobert converged to help, increasing the degree of difficulty beyond the typical banking lay-in.
Utah led 84-83 after Hayward’s jumper with 1.7 seconds to go. Boston called timeout, needing a response not only to the late Jazz basket but to 31-point loss at Cleveland the night before. The Celtics had already lost an eight-point lead with 2 1/2 minutes remaining. They were on the verge of losing the game, too, when coach Brad Stevens drew up the play in the huddle. Smart and Zeller could not have executed it any better.
Pride. That’s it. Otherwise, it was a team winning to improve to 23-35 and a team losing to drop to 24-35. It was a fun moment for the Celtics, not an important one.
It matched the importance. Some of the Celtics charged from the bench, at the same end as the winning basket, to party with Zeller, but there was no mob scene. The best part may have been Stevens embracing Hayward, the former Butler coach with his former Butler star player, at midcourt. The Boston faithful who haven’t had much to cheer this season gave an appreciative loud response.
Points off because of the lack of importance. But the pass was special and Zeller had to work to get the shot off with about two-tenths of a second remaining. Three Horrys.
ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — So there was Kevin Durant, standing there after an Oklahoma City Thunder practice, chatting nicely with the media, when all of a sudden Serge Ibaka wants to know if Kevin Durant took his water. It’s a valid question, I suppose, although Durant doesn’t really have the answer. Keep searching, Serge.
ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — Phoenix Suns swingman Gerald Green has been pretty vocal about wanting to be known as more than just a dunker. Which is understandable — we all want to be known for having many, varied talents and abilities. The thing is, Gerald Green is an incredible dunker, even if these days he mostly restricts those dunks to practice sessions instead of contests at All-Star Weekend.
But that doesn’t mean he still can’t accomplish the amazing. Check out this Instagram video of Green in socks, with no run-up, showing off what he can do…
ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — Shane Battier may have retired and moved into a career in broadcasting for ESPN, but he is still involved in Miami, where his charitable foundation, the Take Charge Foundation, is based. And once a year, Battier holds a charitable fund raiser in the form of an event called Battioke, where the Heat throw their pride to the wind and perform embarrassing karaoke in front of a crowd.
Last night was the most recent version of Battioke, and it provided some real gems. Let’s start with Heat president Pat Riley, who performed an ear-splitting rendition of the classic “Twist and Shout”…
ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — Last night’s Wizards/Bulls game was close down the stretch, close enough that every possession was important. So with the Bulls clinging to a three-point lead, 95-92, with about 9 seconds remaining, and the shot clock near the buzzer, the Bulls ran a play for Tony Snell. Washington had Otto Porter defending Snell, although if you watch the clip below, Porter doesn’t react very quickly — or at all — as Snell sprints across the lane to come off a pick on the other side. I like how Porter stands rock-still until someone yells, “OTTO!”
And I know Snell misses the jumper, but watch closely: With Snell breaking wide open, Marcin Gortat leaves his man, Pau Gasol, to cover Snell. Snell misses the shot, but who gets the rebound, gets fouled and makes both free throws to seal the game for the Bulls? Pau Gasol.
ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — Mark Cuban is the owner of the Dallas Mavericks, but he’s also much more — he’s a cast member on “Shark Tank,” he’s a tech innovator, he owns an entertainment company, etc. So it shouldn’t be a surprise that Mark Cuban is now going to act in an upcoming film.
Now sure, Cuban may not really be an actor, but at the same time, the movie he may be appearing in may not actually be a movie. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Cuban will play the President of the United States in the upcoming Sharknado 3. If you’ve seen the first two Sharknado “films,” as I have, then you know that these movies are more focused on entertaining than they are on changing the norms of filmmaking.
Cuban joins a cast that includes Bo Derek, Jerry Springer and Chris Kirkpatrick.