All-Star

Kobe Bryant plays Gregg Popovich one-on-one

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — Here’s something you may not have known: Long before he became known as one of the greatest coaches in NBA history, San Antonio Spurs head man Gregg Popovich spent years as an actual basketball player. Pop played college basketball while at the Air Force Academy in the late ’60s, serving as team captain his senior season.

Since then, of course, Pop has gone on to become the wonderfully grumpy leader of the Spurs, and this weekend he’s been running the Western Conference All-Stars. And while Pop’s teams have squared off against Kobe Bryant dozens of times over the years, we’ve never actually seen them go head-to-head…until now. Saturday morning during the Western Conference’s All-Star practice, Pop tried to play some D on the Mamba before his last All-Star Game. As Pop learned, that can be easier said than done…

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Shaquille O’Neal can still throw it down

ALL BALL NERVE CENTERShaquille O’Neal is one of the most physically impressive specimens in NBA history, and back when he was an active player, he was able to viciously throw down on opposing players at a moment’s notice. But that’s when he was an active player — Shaq retired five years ago, and we haven’t seen him on a basketball court since. Which made Shaq’s “Inside the NBA” cohost Charles Barkley wonder publicly whether or not Shaq could still dunk the way he used to throw it down. So last night, before All-Star Saturday night really got underway, Shaq snuck on the court to let everyone know…yep, he’s still got it…

Zach LaVine dedicates dunk contest win to Flip Saunders

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — It’s been an emotional season for the Minnesota Timberwolves, who unexpectedly lost coach Flip Saunders to Hodgkin’s lymphoma just before the start of the season. And to pay tribute to his late coach, after winning last night’s dunk contest, T-Wolves guard Zach LaVine took to Instagram to remember the man who meant so much to him and Timberwolves fans everywhere…

adidas unveils 2016 All-Star uniforms

2016 NBA All-Star Uniforms

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — The All-Star Game will be played north of the border this winter, and today adidas unveiled the uniforms teams will wear in Toronto for the 2016 NBA All-Star Game. [photo gallery]

According to a release from the NBA and adidas:

“This is the first NBA All-Star Game to be played outside the United States, and it is a very exciting time for basketball in Canada,” said Chris Grancio, adidas global basketball general manager. “To honor this global celebration and pay tribute to Toronto — the site of the NBA’s first game — we’ve incorporated design elements that are inspired by the city’s basketball history, sports culture and unique fashion scene to make an All-Star collection that players and fans will love.”

The red-and-white Western Conference and white-and-blue Eastern Conference uniforms feature a maple leaf overlay on the front of the jerseys as a tribute to the national symbol of Canada, while Toronto’s cityscape is featured across the back to represent the host city. Clean, single-layered fonts are a nod to the NBA’s early days in Toronto, where the first NBA game was played on Nov. 1, 1946, between the Toronto Huskies and New York Knickerbockers.

A star patch that incorporates the maple leaf and NBA logo is displayed on the upper back of the uniforms, while black-and-gold jock tags display the Toronto Raptors’ alternate team colors and claw logo. Featured on the jersey’s neck liner and shorts’ draw strings is a mosaic of flag colors that represent the multinational makeup of the league’s players.

The NBA All-Stars will sport warm-ups that embrace Toronto’s winter fashion and style. Black and heather gray fleece jackets include star patches that acknowledge the number of NBA All-Star appearances for each player, while patches on the right zipper pocket call out the game’s top accolades, including: Kia NBA Most Valuable Player, Kia NBA Rookie of the Year, NBA All-Star Game MVP and NBA Championships. The on-court warm-ups also include a performance fleece shooting shirt and tapered pant with white and gold trim.

All this gear will be available on NBAstore.com starting in January. For images, check below…

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A super slo-mo look at All-Star Weekend

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — Everything about All-Star Weekend happens at a fever pace — there are events all over the city, all happening at the same time, and you can’t slow down for a second without fear of missing the next great moment. Which is why this video is so great: The NBA broke out their super slo-mo phantom camera and caught some terrific footage during the weekend. Check this out…


VIDEO: Phantom ASW

Talk Show: Hailey Clauson

Hailey Clauson 2

photo credit Getty Images // Michael Stewart

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — With the NBA All-Star Weekend about to tip-off in New York City, we decided to talk to some celebrities who know both basketball and New York, to chat about what’s happening in the NBA, their advice for people visiting New York, and whatever else happens to come up in discussion.

Today we catch up with the model Hailey Clauson. A native of Los Angeles, Hailey has been the face of several brands, and she’s about to make her rookie debut in the new Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue. You can keep up with her on Instagram.

We spoke last week during a snowy day in Manhattan…

HAILEY: I just got to New York late last night, and I just went outside to walk my dog and it’s pretty rough.

ME: Yeah, I just went outside a little while ago and it’s pretty brutal today.

HAILEY: It’s quite a shock for me.

ME: Right, because you’re from California, right?

HAILEY: Yeah, and I just got back last night from California, and I’ve been gone for like a month-and-a-half.

ME: You must travel a lot, right?

HAILEY: I do, I’m all over the place. I’m actually back and forth to L.A. a lot, which is nice but yeah, I’m all over the place.

ME: Were you a basketball fan growing up?

HAILEY: Yeah, I was always a Lakers fan. My dad was always super into basketball, so when I was a kid that’s all we did was watch Lakers games.

ME: Wait, you must be relatively tall if you’re a model. Did you ever play basketball?

HAILEY: I did play basketball. I played for five years. I’m six feet tall and I’ve been six feet since I was twelve.

ME: So you were like the Shaq of the league you were in?

HAILEY: Pretty much (laughs). I was towering over all the other girls. I had long arms.

ME: Did you like playing basketball?

HAILEY: Yeah. I was definitely a good defensive player, but wasn’t that good on offense. I was good at blocking… (her phone cuts off; we reconnect a few minutes later).

ME: You OK?

HAILEY: I’m sorry. My phone is all messed up, and when my face touches it, it hangs up. So now it’s on speaker so that won’t happen again.

ME: It seems like being able to touch someone’s face should be one of the main jobs of a phone.

HAILEY: Well, it’s because I dropped it in the toilet and somehow it’s still working.

ME: You were saying you were a defensive specialist when you used to play. When did you stop playing basketball?

HAILEY: I stopped when I was about 13, which was when I started modeling. So I started to use my tallness for something else.

ME: At least you’ve always been able to put it to some use.

HAILEY: I know, I took advantage!

ME: So when you were growing up back then in L.A., did anyone like the Clippers? They weren’t as good then as they are now.

HAILEY: No. I mean, we would go to Clippers games because the tickets were reasonable. No the Clippers are killing it, and that’s cool. I’m kind of sad for the Lakers, but everyone has their moments.

ME: Were you Team Kobe or Team Shaq with those Lakers teams?

HAILEY: I was Team Kobe And Shaq. We had a signed Shaq jersey framed in our house. My Dad washed cars and he washed Shaq’s car, and Shaq gave him the signed jersey, which was pretty cool.

ME: Who was your third-favorite player on those teams?

HAILEY: Um, Derek Fisher probably.

ME: OK. I co-host a podcast with Rick Fox so I was going to see if you happened to mention him. I’m actually glad you didn’t choose him.

HAILEY: I liked Rick Fox! He was always like, in movies and stuff, too, so I thought he was cool.

ME: So are you still a Lakers fan now even thought you moved to New York?

HAILEY: Yeah, I’m still a Lakers fan. I’ll always be a Lakers fan.

ME: If somebody was coming to New York for All-Star Weekend, where would you tell them to go visit?

HAILEY: I feel like New York’s known for its good restaurants. My favorite restaurant is called Lovely Day, and it’s a little hole-in-the-wall Thai restaurant. When it’s not snowing, New York is super fun to walk around, and the Highline and everything is super cool.

ME: Last thing before I let you go, who will win a championship first, the Lakers or the Knicks?

HAILEY: Um…Lakers? Yeah, Lakers. I had to think about it but I have to stick with the Lakers.

Talk Show: Stella

STELLA

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — With the NBA All-Star Weekend about to tip-off in New York City, we decided to talk to some celebrities who know both basketball and New York, to chat about what’s happening in the NBA, their advice for people visiting New York, and whatever else happens to come up in discussion.

Today we catch up with recording artist Stella. A native of the Bay Area and daughter of the legendary guitarist Carlos Santana, Stella is a singer/songwriter now based out of New York. You can keep up with her adventures on Instagram and check out her latest music on her Soundcloud.

We spoke last week during a snowy day in Manhattan…

ME: I am sorry to interrupt your snow day.

STELLA: Yeah! Really busy snow day. I went outside for a second and then I came back in. I might go back out again, and I’m gonna wear different shoes this time so I don’t fall. I didn’t fall but I was pretty close to falling, I’m not gonna lie.

ME: You grew up in California but now you live in New York City. It’s such a part of life here, but I’m guessing you didn’t get a lot of snow growing up?

STELLA: I grew up in the Bay Area and no, no snow then. Snow is kind of novel now. It’s still kind of exciting, like, “Look, it’s snow!” I still like it. I feel like I like seasons more. We don’t really get seasons out there. We get rain and sun and that’s pretty much it.

ME: I watched your latest video, and really enjoyed it. And I caught the Streetcar Named Desire reference.

STELLA: Yeah (laughs), some people are noticing it and some people are not noticing it, and it makes me realize I’m older. That video we just did and I’m working on another one for another song that I have out right now, that we’re gonna shoot here in New York.

ME: So the All-Star Game is coming up here in New York City. What would you tell people not to miss when they come to New York?

STELLA: I like museums. This may also make me seem old (laughs). I can’t be in them for too long, but there’s just so much cool art, and the museums and the galleries that are in Chelsea and stuff like that. I love art and seeing people create, and it’s just a great place to explore all different kinds. So I would say that, because you can pick and choose what your style is. There’s so many options, and the Brooklyn Museum is really cool, too. I’m an artist so I love the arts stuff. Also, the top of the Empire State Building is fun, if you don’t mind freezing for a little bit. It’s pretty cool at night, especially. It’s open until 1:30 A.M.

ME: Growing up in the Bay Area were you a fan of the Warriors?

STELLA: Yeah, Warriors for sure. We have the Raiders and the Niners, and the Bay is very separated over the two teams. Or the Giants and the A’s. But everyone kind of comes together over the Warriors. Which I really like, because I feel like we’re from the same place so we should support everyone. So yeah, I’m a big Warriors fan.

ME: You must have grown up during the Run TMC era, when they had Tim Hardaway, Chris Mullin and Mitch Richmond?

STELLA: Yes, I remember my brother had all the little figurines.

ME: The Starting Lineup figures? That’s great. So now that you’re an East Coaster, do you still pull for the Warriors? Or did you transfer your allegiance to the Knicks or Nets?

STELLA: No, no, no, no. I’m definitely still a Warriors fan. I don’t have League Pass, so that’s my excuse to go out to a bar and watch the games. I’ve always loved watching basketball. I remember growing up and my dad would always watch sports on mute, and then would be practicing guitar while watching the games. I remember laying in front of the TV listening to him play. So I’ve always loved, loved, loved watching basketball.

ME: Is your Dad a Warriors fan?

STELLA: Yeah, he’s definitely a Warriors fan. He was also a Bulls fan, because, like, Jordan and stuff, but he’s definitely a Warriors fan. I think he’s played the National Anthem a couple of times. He goes to the games sometimes.

ME: Do you think Klay Thompson should start alongside Steph Curry in the All-Star Game?

STELLA: Yeah, he had that amazing third quarter when he scored all those points.

ME: Right, he scored 37.

STELLA: Yeah, 37! That’s my number!

ME: Wait, is that really your number? That seems like a non-traditional favorite number.

STELLA: I mean, I just see it a lot in places. It just always shows up.

ME: It just seems like a very random number. No offense.

STELLA: It is a random number. That’s why it’s so weird.

ME: So the Warriors are basically destroying the rest of the NBA this season. You think they can win a title this season?

STELLA: Yeah, they’re killing it. I definitely think they can win a title. They’re doing so great, they’ve only lost two home games and have been amazing against the East Coast teams. I mean, come on. I have a lot of faith. I just feel like the Bay Area, when we have our teams that are doing well, there’s just a good spirit there. We’re scrappy and kind of hippie and peace-and-lovey, but we’ll come together and I feel that way about the Dubs.

ME: Maybe you were having a premonition with the number 37, and you were seeing it everywhere because you were foreshadowing Klay’s big quarter. And now maybe you’ll start seeing the number 1 all the time now for the Warriors winning a title.

STELLA: (laughing) Yes! Yes!

Hawks, Warriors look to get out All-Star votes

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — In case you missed the news, voting for the 2015 NBA All-Star game began yesterday. The 64th annual game, which will take place here in New York City on February 15, takes it starting line-up from fan voting. That’s nothing new, but the new wrinkle this year is that thanks to the online voting, every NBA player is eligible to be voted for. You want to vote? You can do so right here.

To help get out the vote, teams have started releasing videos designed to raise awareness about the voting process. In Atlanta, for instance, we see Hawks players Mike Muscala and Kent Bazemore discussing how they want to vote and #which #hashtags #they #might #use in the process.


VIDEO: Hawks Vote

Meanwhile in Golden State, the Warriors have released a video demonstrating just how easy it is to vote, even to a collection of NBA legends like Jerry West, Al Attles, Nate Thurmond and Jim Barnett. It’s so easy, in fact, even a couple of kids can do it…


VIDEO: Warriors Vote

NBA and adidas unveil 2015 All-Star Uniforms

adidas NBA All-Star Group, Sq

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — Today in New York City, the home of the 2015 NBA All-Star Weekend, the NBA and adidas unveiled a first look at the uniforms for the 64th annual All-Star Game, to be played on February 15, 2015. To see more images, check the gallery at the bottom.

But first, a bit more on the design of the uniforms, via a press release from the NBA and adidas…

The jerseys feature a side panel of five stars, each representing New York City’s five boroughs with a unique pattern:

*Queens: a pattern inspired by the stainless steel orbit rings of the borough’s iconic Unisphere that was built for the 1964 World’s Fair at Flushing Meadows – Corona Park

*Staten Island: a wave pattern to signify its surrounding waters

* Manhattan: a taxi-cab checkered pattern represents the pace and energy of the world’s most cosmopolitan city

*The Bronx: a vinyl record pattern to pay homage to the birthplace of hip-hop and the rich musical legacy of New York City

* Brooklyn: a brick pattern inspired by the iconic brownstone houses and buildings that make up the neighborhoods of the city’s most populous borough

“The NBA All-Star Game is a celebration of the host city and basketball culture, and this year we created our most detailed and sophisticated uniforms to date that pay homage to New York and All-Star weekend,” said Chris Grancio, adidas global basketball general manager. “We took inspiration from all five boroughs, in addition to the rich basketball and cultural heritage of the city, to provide a memorable collection for players and fans.”

The Eastern Conference NBA All-Star uniforms feature black name lettering and blue numbers while the Western Conference uniforms bear white name lettering and red numbers. Herringbone detail on the East/West patch and jock tags pays homage to the Barclays Center court, and the New York Knicks font is used for player name and number. For the first-time in an NBA All-Star Game, player first and last names are featured on the back of the jersey.

The All-Stars will wear black, gray and white fitted warm-ups that feature satin accents and military-style star patches to celebrate the number of NBA All-Star appearances for each player. Each player’s jacket will be customized with patches to represent the game’s top individual accolades including NBA Most Valuable Player, NBA Rookie of the Year, NBA All-Star Game MVP and NBA Championships.

The on-court warm-ups also include a three-quarter-sleeve shooting shirt and tapered pant. NBA All-Star jerseys ($80 – $110) will be available on NBAStore.com and NBA Store on Fifth Avenue in January in addition to a full range of NBA All-Star apparel from adidas including adult and youth t-shirts ($22 – $30), track jackets ($80 – $250) and headwear ($16 – $26). Select NBA All-Star merchandise will also be available internationally on NBAStore.eu, NBAStore.cn, NBA.JD.com and LojaNBA.com.

 

To see more images, check the gallery below…

Check Out This Animated Version Of John Wall’s Winning Dunk

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — A few weeks back, Paul George rocked the NBA by unleashing a 360 dunk during a game. As great as that dunk was, just as neat was an illustrated version of the dunk that quickly went viral, created by Portland-based artist Patrick Truby.

After the success of Truby’s George drawing, our colleagues at Turner Sports asked Truby to illustrate John Wall‘s winning dunk from the Sprite Slam Dunk Contest exclusively for Turner Sports/NBA Digital. Before we get to the animated image, however, I checked in with Truby this morning to find out exactly how he puts one of these animated illustrations together…

ME: How do you do/make these animated gifs?

TRUBY: It’s actually a pretty simple — though time consuming — process. Basically I make a gif from video in Photoshop, then I look through all the individual frames and remove the ones I don’t need or are too blurry. This happens a lot when players are moving really fast or are out of focus. Then I illustrate every frame using a drawing tablet. I posted a quick Instagram video that shows a little bit of the process.

Making gifs #NBA

A video posted by Patrick Truby (@patricktruby) on

ME: How long does it take to make one of these illustrations?

TRUBY: It depends on how long the highlight is and how complicated. When there’s only one player involved, the process goes a lot quicker. If a highlight has more than one player or is from slow motion video, it can take a lot longer. It’s usually between 4 and 8 hours.

ME: Where did you get the idea to commemorate memorable dunks in this way?

TRUBY: I honestly don’t remember. I’ve been drawing for pretty much my whole life but had kind of stopped for a few years. I started an NBA drawings blog just to get back into drawing more. Then I bought my first drawing tablet about a year ago. I was probably playing around with some NBA drawings just to get used to drawing on a screen instead of paper when I realized the gifs would be a fun thing to try.

ME: Who is your favorite dunker of all time?

TRUBY: That’s a good question. I have no idea. I’m way more into great passes. I love a good bounce pass more than anything, they just take way more time to animate. For example, this is my favorite NBA play ever, and it took close to 9 hours to animate. I will say one of my favorite dunks ever is JR Smith flying over Gary Neal.

Very cool stuff. And now, here’s Patrick’s version of John Wall’s most memorable dunk from the Sprite Slam Dunk Contest…

John-Wall-USE