All-Star

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

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

Inside The NBA Meets The Justice League

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ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — Moviegoers have seen Shaquille O’Neal in costume as Steel, the super-sized member of the Justice League. Now, in a special All-Star weekend collaboration, the entire crew from TNT’s “Inside the NBA” is teaming up with the rest of D.C. Comic’s Justice League to … play basketball? That’s right, they all link up in this special issue to fight dastardly enemies and get buckets. Will they be faster than Kenny “The Jet” Smith? More powerful than Charles Barkley playing “Who He Play For?” Able to leap Ernie Johnson‘s bow tie in a single bound?

To see all the “Inside” crew with some of the NBA’s biggest stars, check out TNT’s All-Star coverage this weekend, all weekend long. To see them with D.C.’s biggest stars, including Superman, Flash and Green Lantern, it’s all in the free comic book. How can you get one? If you’re in New Orleans for All-Star weekend, you can pick up a free copy of the comic at Jam Session.

And if you can’t make it to New Orleans? We’ve got you covered: You can download the entire comic here.

Kevin Love Thanks Timberwolves Fans For All-Star Votes

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — When it became obvious that Kevin Love had a chance at being voted in as an All-Star Game starter, the Timberwolves decided to try and get out the vote. Lo and behold, it worked, as Love moved past Dwight Howard and into the starting five with a surge in votes over the last few weeks.

To show his appreciation to the Timberwolves fans who took the time to vote for him, Love took out a full-page ad in Sunday’s Minnesota Star Tribune

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The 2013-14 All Ball YOLO All-Stars

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ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — If there’s one thing I’ve learned from attending a dozen All-Star Weekends, it’s that at its core, All-Star Weekend is about the fans. The fans actually select the starting line-ups, and fans travel from near and far to hit up Jam Session and All-Star Saturday Night and the Rising Stars Challenge and, of course, all the parties.

In some broader sense, the All-Star Game is about recognizing the best players from each conference. Sure, there are a couple of rim-rattling dunks and the occasional long-range shot that falls. And if you’re lucky, really lucky, the game is close down the stretch, and then everyone’s competitive juices kick in and you might just get a memorable finale. The main purposes of most participants in the actual All-Star Game? They wear funky uniforms, get a little run in, hang out with their buddies, and then they go back to their own teams for the stretch run and the Playoffs.

But that’s not why I’m watching the All-Star Game. And I think most people tuning in or even attending All-Star are looking to have a similar question answered: Are we not entertained? No matter what the Fun Police tell you, at All-Star weekend, nobody is looking at efficiency stats or plus/minus ratings. We want to see Shaq playing point guard. We want to see Gilbert Arenas joining the Elvis impersonators and dunking off of a trampoline. Simply put: We want the All-Star Game — and the entire weekend, really — to be fun.

So you can argue all you want about who does and who doesn’t deserve to be named to the actual Eastern and Western Conference All-Star teams. Instead, I present to you my annual YOLO All-Stars. (If you didn’t know, YOLO is an acronym for You Only Live Once.) These are the guys who deserve to be All-Stars based on my own vague All Ball Blog criteria. I considered all of the following elements: hilarity; social media proficiency; general swag; likelihood the player will do something memorable; dunking/dribbling/shooting ability; previous Shaqtin’ A Fool appearances; mentions on the All Ball Blog.

To be clear, those categories are listed in no particular order, with no importance or weight to any given specific category. These are just the players I think it would be fun to see in an All-Star Game. If we want to be entertained, these are the players that will give it to us. Meet your 2013-14 NBA YOLO All-Stars…

EASTERN CONFERENCE
Starters
C – Roy Hibbert, Indiana Pacers — Always a blast on Twitter, and a man who appreciates good humor.
F – Chris Bosh, Miami Heat — Will be in charge of all videobombing.
F – LeBron James, Miami Heat — Not only is he a force on Twitter, which is good enough to qualify for the YOLO All-Stars, but he’s also the reigning MVP, so that wins him an invite.
G – J.R. Smith, New York Knicks — In the YOLO All-Star Game, untying shoes will be encouraged.
G – Kyrie Irving, Cleveland Cavaliers — UNCLE DREW!

Bench
Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee Bucks — The Greek Freak is perhaps the most unconventional athlete in the league, so you never know what he’s going to pull off next. He also loves smoothies, and with the All-Star Game being played in the newly-named Smoothie King Center, what could be more perfect?
Amir Johnson, Toronto Raptors — One of my favorites on social media.
Andray Blatche, Brooklyn Nets — Eurostep!
Andre Drummond, Detroit Pistons — Will be in charge of Vine videos throughout the weekend.
Metta World Peace, New York Knicks — Still the best.
Lance Stephenson, Indiana Pacers — He may not have made the actual All-Star Game, but I can’t knock his hustle. Besides, he dunked on a ref, which is awesome.
Kevin Seraphin, Washington Wizards — Anyone with a pet snake named Snakey and a skeleton that rides a Segway is a lifetime YOLO All-Star.

WESTERN CONFERENCE
Starters
C – Robin Lopez, Portland Trail Blazers — He’s a nerd and he’s proud of it.
F – Kevin Love, Minnesota Timberwolves — We’ll have him making coffee for everyone.
F – Kevin Durant, Oklahoma City Thunder — If LeBron is on the East, we might as well put KD on the West.
G – Jamal Crawford, Los Angeles Clippers — My favorite dribbler in the NBA.
G – James Harden, Houston Rockets — The beard is fun on its own, but Harden’s also made a heavy push into social media the last few years. Maybe he can perform at halftime.

Bench
Nick Young, Los Angeles Lakers — You can’t have a YOLO game without Swaggy P.
Damian Lillard, Portland Trailblazers — Founder of #4BarFriday.
Tony Allen, Memphis Grizzlies — Perhaps my favorite NBA player to challenge his team owner to a game of one-on-one.
Matt Bonner, San Antonio Spurs — Broken nose and all, Bonner is always entertaining.
Harrison Barnes, Golden State Warriors — Always a candidate to dunk on someone. Or to review an episode of “Breaking Bad.”
DeMarcus Cousins, Sacramento Kings — Hard not to select someone who’s nickname is “Boogie.”
JaVale McGee, Denver Nuggets (Injured) — Really the perfect player for this game.
Nate Robinson, Denver Nuggets (Injured) — Go long, Nate will throw you the pineapple.

So there’s my YOLO All-Stars. Who would you put on your YOLO All-Star team? Let us know below in the comments!

T-Wolves Hope To Send Pekovic To All-Star Game

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — Getting a player into the All-Star Game, at least as a starter, is a fairly straightforward proposition — you get enough votes and you’re in. So teams are able to campaign for their guys and hope that a democratic process will deem their player a winner. In many ways, it’s a popularity contest, plain and simple. Getting into the All-Star Game as a reserve is a trickier procedure — coaches vote, based on some vague criteria, and the list of reserves always generates conversation.

Kevin Love made a late run at the polls to get voted into the All-Star starting lineup, and the campaign video from the Timberwolves surely didn’t hurt his chances. Now the T-Wolves are hoping to work the same magic for center Nikola Pekovic, who apparently is positioning himself Kevin Love’s running mate with this campaign, #PEKGOESTOO…
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VIDEO: Pek Goes Too

Paul George Isn’t Out Of Dunk Contest Yet


VIDEO: George’s 360 Dunk

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — Indiana’s Paul George has become one of the best all-around players in the NBA, but it wasn’t long ago that he was known for his dunking — he finished second in the 2012 Slam Dunk Contest. And of course, just a few days ago he threw down one of the best dunks of the season (see the video above).

So it was a bit disappointing late last week when it was reported that George would be skipping this year’s Slam Dunk Contest at All-Star Weekend in New Orleans.

But not so fast my friends! As George clarified yesterday to Pacers.com, he may still throw down after all…

The chances of him competing are slim, as he would prefer to rest and enjoy the weekend in The Big Easy. He is still open to the idea of taking part in at least one event and plans to decide in the next few days.

When asked whether he had declined the offers, George said, “No, I haven’t declined. I’m keeping my options open.”

In particular with the dunk contest, George, who fans would love to see be involved after he showed off a 360-degree slam in Saturday’s win, would like to see it taken more seriously.

“It would all depend on who’s in it,” he stated. “I want to be in it when the competition is good.”

(via EOB)

Adidas Debuts 2014 NBA All-Star Uniforms

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — The NBA and adidas today dropped an early look at the uniforms for the 2014 All-Star Game, on February 16 in New Orleans.

According to a press release from adidas, “the uniforms are inspired by New Orleans’ rich and unique culture, featuring vibrant Mardi Gras colors and shiny brass and silver accents on a short-sleeved silhouette. The NBA All-Star logo appears on the chest of the blue ‘East’ and red ‘West’ jerseys in the shape of the fleur-de-lis, the official symbol of Louisiana, with a purple ‘W’ or green ‘E’ cut out to identify the conference of each player.”

“Each year, we look forward to developing a unique on-court look for the players that pays homage to the host city and adds to the excitement of this highly anticipated game,” said Chris Grancio, adidas head of global basketball sports marketing. “This year’s All-Star collection reflects New Orleans’ festive musical history while also providing the premium performance elements that NBA athletes have grown accustomed to.”

Also, the All-Stars will rock “varsity-style” warm-ups that are customized to “represent individual career accomplishments such as NBA All-Star Game appearances and NBA All-Star MVP awards, NBA Championships, regular season accolades and scoring titles. Players will also wear shooting shirts that feature a colorful primal print.”

NBA All-Star jerseys ($80 – $130) will be available at NBAStore.com in addition to a full range of NBA All-Star apparel from adidas including men’s and women’s T-shirts ($22 – $30), track jackets ($80 – $120) and headwear ($16 – $26).

Check the gallery below for images…


Gallery: New 2014 All-Star Game jerseys

Wolves Out To Prove Kevin Love Is An All-Star Starter

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — There are only a few weeks of All-Star voting left, and the Minnesota Timberwolves are doing their best to get out the vote for their power forward Kevin Love. According to the most recent returns, Love was just a few thousand votes behind Blake Griffin for the third starter spot in the West. With this new video posted today, the Wolves are trying to round up any last-minute votes…


VIDEO: Kevin Love For NBA All-Star

Golden State Warriors Get Out The All-Star Vote


VIDEO:
Kid Warriors Get Out Vote

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — The best way to get fans to vote for your players for the NBA All-Star Game? Use kids to get out the vote, obviously. Because everyone loves kids. The Golden State Warriors are clearly a step ahead of some other franchises when it comes to mobilizing their base.

NBA Style: Spike Lee Talks Fashion, MJ



There isn’t a basketball event if Spike Lee isn’t closeby. All-Star fashion correspondent Monica finds him and gets his cents on his clothing ensemble and another Michael Jordan milestone: