Can They Kick It?

Kevin Durant likes good apples

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — In a Sports Illustrated story a little over a year ago, Kevin Durant talked about the importance of picking apples. As he said at the time…

To Durant, basketball is an orchard, and every shot an apple. “Let’s say you’ve got 40 apples on your tree,” Durant explains. “I could eat about 30 of them, but I’ve begun limiting myself to 15 or 16. Let’s take the wide-open three and the post-up at the nail. Those are good apples. Let’s throw out the pull-up three in transition and the step-back fadeaway. Those are rotten apples. The three at the top of the circle — that’s an in-between apple. We only want the very best on the tree.”

Nike has run with that thought with a new colorway of Durant’s signature shoe, the KD7. The colorway is called Good Apples, and has hits of red and green. In this new spot below, Durant explains his philosophy. Also, he eats an apple. A good one, I suppose.


VIDEO: Good apples

This guy really likes Kevin Durant’s Nikes

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — A rumor built over the last week or so that Kevin Durant was considering leaving Nike to wear Under Armour sneakers. UA had made a huge offer, and it was up to Nike to match that offer. After a few days of considering the options, Nike matched KD’s deal, which made KD happy…

By now, Kevin Durant has had seven different signature shoes, and almost every shoe has come in not only a colorway that matches the Thunder’s uniforms, but then also several other colorways. Last year’s shoe, the KD VI, came in a bunch of colorways. And one man in Oklahoma City, Chris McCord, bought them all. Twenty-five designs released, twenty-five pairs purchased. Check the video below to see how it all came about, and read the full story here.

Can he kick it? Yes, he can…

Buy a pack of NBA cards, get a piece of a game-worn shoe?

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — Basketball cards have long been more than just photos and text. Years ago companies started inserting cards with little authentic game-worn keepsakes built-in to the card — swatches of jerseys, a piece of a court, etc. But this season cards are going where they’ve never gone before.

In Panini America’s 2013-14 Immaculate Basketball collection, releasing on Friday, they’ve managed to incorporate cards that have pieces of game-worn shoes from everyone from Kobe Bryant to Kevin Durant to Larry Johnson inside the cards. Panini wrote about the genesis of the idea on their official blog

“The idea to create the Sneak Peek memorabilia cards came while we were looking at a pair of Kobe Bryant game-worn sneakers in the Panini Authentic memorabilia room,” said Jim Stefano, Panini America’s Senior Director of Product Development. “NBA players, more so than any other athletes, wear sneakers that reflect their personalities. Their sneakers are an extension of who they are. It’s all about the swag.”

That swag, of course, takes various forms. Shaquille O’Neal’s Reebok Pumps. Blake Griffin’s Jordans. Kobe’s Kobes. Larry Johnson’s Converse Reacts. LeBron’s Nike Lebron Xs. It was one thing to create a wishlist of game-worn sneakers to target for Sneak Peek; it was another thing altogether more complex to actually acquire them and then figure out how best to incorporate them into a trading card.

But Panini America acquisitions officials worked their relationships with exclusive and non-exclusives athletes alike to turn a wishlist into a checklist; from there, the game-worn sneakers made their way through Panini America HQ, with each department — Product Development, Production, Design — helping shape the masterful finished product.

“This was truly a great experience to develop and execute with the various departments within Panini America,” Stefano said. “It was a true team effort that resulted in one of the most singularly spectacular sets of trading cards ever created. The sheer amount of different swatch colors, materials and patterns is a unique and exciting development for the entire trading card category. We believe these cards will not only be sought after by basketball collectors but by sneaker heads as well.”

To see some examples of the cards, check below…

panini-america-2013-14-immaculate-basketball-sneak-peek-kobe-bryant-2panini-america-2013-14-immaculate-basketball-sneak-peek-larry-johnson-1  panini-america-2013-14-immaculate-basketball-sneak-peek-kevin-durant-4 panini-america-2013-14-immaculate-basketball-sneak-peek-derrick-rose-1

What if Damian Lillard was a bust?

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — In this latest spot from adidas, we catch up with Portland’s Damian Lillard. His latest shoe is the Crazylight Boost, which features adidas’ new Boost cushioning technology. From the press release…

In the video, Damian Lillard shows us he would be great at anything in life by portraying a popcorn-slinging, movie theater employee serving customers before show time. In a dramatized portrayal of the world without Boost, Lillard is interviewed by Turner Sports sideline reporter Rachel Nichols after completing an intense session of serving concessions. Following his interview, the world of “Bust” transforms into the world of “Boost,” where Damian is back to All-Star form on the court.

Have to admit, he’s pretty quick on the popcorn…


VIDEO: Boost or bust

Nike reveals new USA Basketball uniforms

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — The FIBA Basketball World Cup is still a few weeks away, far enough away that Team USA doesn’t even have a roster set, but today Nike dropped images of the new uniforms Team USA is going to wear. According to a press release…

The angle of USA graphic on the new uniform was inspired by the chevron of the classic Nike Windrunner track jacket that was born in 1978.

Both the USA home and away uniforms feature red, white and blue hues meshed together in the 26-degree speed graphic – crossing the front of the game jersey, fading into a representation of the USA flag, and extending across the side of the game short from the front to the back. The speed graphic represents a distinctive basketball point of view, based on the roughly 1,000 directional changes, or “cuts” that a player might make in the course of a game.

NIKE HYPER ELITE JERSEY

A flocked lining at the inside of the neck allows the athlete to comfortably wipe excess moisture from the face. Ultra-lightweight stretch mesh in the back of the jersey serves to regulate the temperature of the player along the spine, where athletes tend to heat up the most. Redeveloped, lightweight sphere fabric in the front of the jersey helps to maintain a comfortable body temperature by wicking moisture, while eliminating cling from excess sweat.

NIKE HYPER ELITE SHORTS

A perforated, vented waistband in the Nike Hyper Elite shorts provides a level of cooling, while maintaining the comfort and security that athletes require. A new, performance flex vent placed by the knee allows the game short to flex when the player moves. The addition of a flocked “wipe zone” at either hip allows a comfortable spot to dry hands as sweat builds up.

The new uniform will be available beginning Aug. 7 on nike.com, in Nike stores and selected shops, and will debut on-court when the USA Basketball Men’s National Team takes on the Brasil Men’s National team on August 16, in an exhibition game at Chicago’s United Center.

To check them out, click through the gallery below…

 

The time Jim Jackson talked trash to Michael Jordan

ALL BALL NERVE CENTERJim Jackson had a tremendous NBA career, playing for 15 years and scoring almost 13,000 points. But he was not Michael Jordan. Yesterday during a summer league game on NBA TV, Kendall Gill recalled a story about a time when he was teammates with Jackson, and they ran up against Jordan. And we’ll just let Kendall take it from there…


VIDEO: Kendall Gill remembers when Jim Jackson talked trash to Michael Jordan

Adidas introduces new Derrick Rose shoe

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — While Derrick Rose continues his comeback from injury and tries to help the Bulls add an impact free agent, adidas today dropped info on Rose’s next signature shoe, the D Rose 773 III.

According to adidas…

The D Rose 773 III features Rose specific detailing such as three stripes on the heel with an architectural pattern and premium finish inspired by Chicago’s landmarks. The lace jewel highlights the 773 area code that inspired the shoe’s name while the D Rose logo is featured on the side and the tongue.

The D Rose 773 III also draws on collaboration with adidas’ collegiate teams to build on previous D Rose 773 models. The latest D Rose 773 utilizes a perforated pattern to increase breathability, an improved collar shape to enhance fit and performance and adiprene+ cushioning for comfort and responsiveness during quick cuts and drives to the basket. The SPRINTWEB upper dawns a color contrasting overlay while the zoned traction pattern on the bottom of the shoe offers optimal grip to fit all styles of play.

The D Rose 773 III is available now for $115 at adidas.com where you can also customize your own colorway with miadidas for $135.

For images, check the gallery below…

Robin Lopez customizes his shoes

By Lang Whitaker, NBA.com

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — Turns out Portland’s Robin Lopez isn’t just a fan of comic books and nerd culture, he’s an artist himself. Thoughout the playoffs, he’s been posting pictures of his adidas shoes, which he’s been customizing for each game — often this means drawing intricate shapes and designs on the shoes. Lopez is a talented artist, and he’s been chronicling his work on Instagram…

(via FTW)

Gilbert Arenas has more shoes than you

By Lang Whitaker, NBA.com

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — We have previously established in this space that NBA players often have a lot of pairs of shoes. It’s simply a part of the gig, like Richard Hamilton showed us a year ago. And now we see in this Instagram video from Gilbert Arenas, sometimes you have so many shoes you have no idea what to do with them all. I’m pretty sure he could find some takers if Gil is really looking to give all of those away…

(via TNLP)

Jordan Brand unveils Air Jordan XX9

By Lang Whitaker, NBA.com


VIDEO: Tinker Hatfield on the Air Jordan XX9

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — At a press conference yesterday in Manhattan, Jordan Brand unveiled their latest signature sneaker, the Air Jordan XX9. Michael Jordan and designer Tinker Hatfield were in attendance, and they talked often about how the new kicks, which will be available in September, is the best shoe they’ve created yet.

The shoe is woven together using a technology they found in Italy, so it’s both light and strong. As a press release explains…

The performance-woven upper delivers superior abrasion resistance, along with an entirely new look on the outside of the shoe. The structure and fit of the shoe are engineered through Flight Web tunnels, and strategic panels of stiffer and softer flex to enhance natural motion. The absence of numerous layers and adhesion technologies creates an incredibly comfortable, sock-like interior lining with superior breathability. Using webbed straps that wrap the foot and integrate with the laces, the Flight Web fit system offers superior mid-foot lockdown that moves with the athlete. Woven channels in the upper enhance the Flight Web fit system, while a double-lasted heel helps dampen the impact on hard landings. Articulated padding in the collar adds to the premium, signature feel of the shoe and helps prevent the heel from slipping.

While the shoe isn’t out until the fall, you’ll probably start seeing it on some feet in the playoffs. In the meantime, check out some images of the first two colorways in the gallery below…