In Case You Missed It …

Keeping Up With Kobe

ALL BALL NERVE CENTERKobe Bryant may have walked away from his legendary NBA career, but it seems like he’s as present as ever. So let’s check in with the Mamba and catch up on the latest news…

• Kobe’s latest endorsement opportunity? A Chinese food delivery service called Ele.me. In this new spot, Kobe shows how tough it is to play ping-pong on an empty stomach…

• At the recent Kids Choice Awards, Kobe got drenched with gold slime…

Kobe Bryant gives a motivational speech to kids and then gets slimed at the Kids Choice Awards! (via TheFunChannel/YouTube)

A video posted by Sports Videos (@houseofhighlights) on

J.R. Smith was in the crowd and enjoyed the moment…

• And finally, congrats to the Bryant family, who announced via Instagram that they are expecting their third daughter…

Victor Oladipo dunks on camper

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — Just when we saw a kid sink a jumper over Russell Westbrook, and we thought that the basketball campers were done getting embarrassed by NBA players, Westbrook’s new backcourt mate decided to step up and defend the honor of NBA players. Check out this video of Victor Oladipo giving a camper a chance to block a dunk, resulting in a sky-high clash of the titans…and perhaps some vindication for the honor of NBA players…

Jeff Teague will live in parent’s basement this season

INDIANAPOLIS - JULY 11:  Jeff Teague speaks with the media after being introduced by the Indiana Pacers at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on July 11, 2016 in Indianapolis, Indiana. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and condition of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: 2016 NBAE (Photo by Ron Hoskins/NBAE via Getty Images)

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — OK, so after the Atlanta Hawks recently traded Jeff Teague to his hometown Indiana Pacers, one upside was that Teague already owned a home in the Indianapolis area. The lone downside? Well, Teague’s parents were living in that home, since Teague had been living in Atlanta. So instead of having to move them out, Teague and his parents came up with a creative compromise, as Teague explained yesterday on the Q&S Show in Indianapolis…

Stephen Curry teams up with Chance the Rapper

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — Two of the most popular performers in their respective fields teamed up last night prior to the ESPY Awards. Before the terrific Chance the Rapper took to the stage to perform a moving tribute to Muhammad Ali, Golden State’s Steph Curry showed Chance how he warms up for a big event. We saw Curry in the playoffs getting his groove on to a local ad known as “Jones BBQ and Foot Massage.” So to make sure Chance was prepped for his moment, Curry and Chance did their dance. No wonder blessings keep falling in their laps…

Craig Sager’s powerful ESPY acceptance speech

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — Last night’s ESPY Awards ceremony ended with our colleague Craig Sager being honored with the Jimmy V Award for Perseverance. The award is named for longtime North Carolina State coach Jim Valvano, whose memorable speech at the 1993 ESPY Awards in the midst of his battle against cancer is still referenced today. Sager has recently waged his own public war against cancer, and last night was another incredible step in that battle. As the award’s presenter Vice President Joe Biden tweeted, Sager’s powerful speech was a “lesson on how to live.”

To watch Sager’s entire speech, click here.

A recent history of NBA players writing open letters

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — It’s so hard to say goodbye to yesterday. And that’s never more clearly felt than of late, as we are currently in the midst of a time of change in the NBA. Free agency has seen a bunch of NBA players change franchises and cities, and while at this point we’re used to seeing guys move cities at the drop of a hat, it’s still often difficult for a player to leave behind the fans and people who have helped them reach their current status. So how better to reach out directly and let people know exactly how you feel than via an open letter?

The open letter is not a new form — athletes on the move have done things such as taking out ads in newspapers to publish open letters for years. But the advent of the internet has allowed for new forms and forums.

Here are some of the letters we’ve seen over the last few weeks…

KEVIN DURANT
In a letter on The Players’ Tribune announcing his departure from Oklahoma City for Golden State, Durant said he will always miss the relationships he built in Oklahoma City…

I’m from Washington, D.C. originally, but Oklahoma City truly raised me. It taught me so much about family as well as what it means to be a man. There are no words to express what the organization and the community mean to me, and what they will represent in my life and in my heart forever. The memories and friendships are something that go far beyond the game. Those invaluable relationships are what made this deliberation so challenging.

It really pains me to know that I will disappoint so many people with this choice, but I believe I am doing what I feel is the right thing at this point in my life and my playing career.

I will miss Oklahoma City, and the role I have had in building this remarkable team. I will forever cherish the relationships within the organization — the friends and teammates that I went to war with on the court for nine years, and all the fans and people of the community. They have always had my back unconditionally, and I cannot be more grateful for what they have meant to my family and to me.

(more…)

Pokemon Go comes to NBA and Summer League

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — Pokemon Go is one of the hottest mobile games out there, as people are glued to their phones more than ever before. And while I’ve apparently missed the boat on this one — I never played/watched Pokemon growing up, so the nostalgia is lost on me — NBA players and teams are apparently just like the rest of us and love playing the game…

NBA unveils groundbreaking integrated timekeeping system

Tissot_Shot_clock_Timekeeping

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — When you watch any NBA game, the clock is always ticking. And today the NBA announced a way to make sure that clock ticks more perfectly than ever. By teaming up with TISSOT, the official timekeeper of the NBA, the NBA is introducing a new integrated timing system

The NBA and TISSOT announced today the launch of a groundbreaking integrated timing system and a new shot clock with innovative LED glass technology developed exclusively for the league.  The new shot clock will debut July 8 at Samsung NBA Summer League and will be integrated into all NBA arenas for the 2016-17 season.

The integration of the new TISSOT shot clock and timing system marks the first time the league will use the same clocks and timing equipment across all 29 of its arenas.  The clean, sleek shot clock is visibly free of cables and conductors and equipped with TISSOT’s LED glass, making the clock nearly transparent when in use and fully transparent while turned off.  It integrates the 24-second, timeout, and game clocks in one piece of hardware – a first for the league.  Transitions between numbers are instant and undetectable even by high-speed TV cameras, resulting in definitive footage that will further assist NBA referees and the NBA Replay Center in evaluating certain critical calls.

The new system simultaneously transmits exact timing data to all in-arena scoreboards and video equipment, letting fans follow the action within fractions of a second.  Clock and scoreboard operators in all arenas will control the system with TISSOT’s proprietary software, which offers an intuitive and uniform interface.  Each shot clock will feature TISSOT branding, another sign of the company’s increasing presence at NBA games.

“TISSOT is proud of confirming its expertise in the world of basketball timekeeping by presenting this new shot clock,” said François Thiébaud, TISSOT President.  “Our collaboration with the NBA is bound for greatness.  Our shared love for precision and passion for sport is leading us to push boundaries to enhance the experience of basketball for everyone involved with new technology and innovation and this is only the first step.”

“The NBA has depended on accurate timekeeping for more than 70 years, and in all that time we’ve never had a partner like TISSOT,” said Michael Gliedman, NBA Senior Vice President & Chief Information Officer, Information Technology.  “TISSOT’s expertise and groundbreaking timing system developed exclusively for the NBA will provide us with the most sophisticated shot clock the league has ever had, enhancing our game on the court and providing a sharper viewing experience for fans.”

The NBA introduced the 24-second shot clock during the 1954-55 season as a way to speed up game play.  The league has since made a number of enhancements to shot clock technology.

It’s a far cry from the days of the earliest shot clocks…

NEW YORK CITY - 1996: A portrait of a vintage 24 second shot clock from the early days of teh National Basketball Association circa 1996 in New York City. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 1996 NBAE (Photo by Steven Freeman/NBAE via Getty Images)

Curry, Cavaliers top NBA merchandise list

OAKLAND, CA - JUNE 19: Stephen Curry #30 of the Golden State Warriors shoots against Tristan Thompson #13 of the Cleveland Cavaliers in Game Seven of the 2016 NBA Finals on June 19, 2016 at Oracle Arena in Oakland, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2016 NBAE (Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)

ALL BALL NERVE CENTERStephen Curry may have lost in the NBA Finals, but he remains on top in at least one metric for popularity: jersey sales.

In the newest rankings of most popular NBA jerseys, based on overall sales on NBAStore.com from April through June, Curry remains in the number one spot, where he’s been since the end of the 2014-15 season. Also in the top five are Cleveland’s LeBron James, recently retired Kobe Bryant, Kyrie Irving and Klay Thompson.

Meanwhile, when it comes to team sales, fans are clearly celebrating the recent title for the Cavaliers, as Cleveland is atop the most popular team merchandise list for the first time since January 2015. The Cavs are followed by the Golden State Warriors, Los Angeles Lakers, Chicago Bulls and Oklahoma City Thunder.

Also worth noting, Andre Iguodala (No. 14) makes his debut on the jerseys list while teammate Draymond Green (No. 7) earns his highest ranking ever. Also, San Antonio’s Tim Duncan (No. 11) and Portland’s Damian Lillard (No. 13) place for the first time since June 2015 and April 2015, respectively.

Top 15 Most Popular NBA Jerseys:
1. Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors
2. LeBron James, Cleveland Cavaliers
3. Kobe Bryant, Los Angeles Lakers
4. Kyrie Irving, Cleveland Cavaliers
5. Klay Thompson, Golden State Warriors
6. Russell Westbrook, Oklahoma City Thunder
7. Draymond Green, Golden State Warriors
8. Kevin Durant, Oklahoma City Thunder
9. Kawhi Leonard, San Antonio Spurs
10. Derrick Rose, Chicago Bulls
11. Tim Duncan, San Antonio Spurs
12. Dwyane Wade, Miami Heat
13. Damian Lillard, Portland Trail Blazers
14. Andre Iguodala, Golden State Warriors
15. Kristaps Porzingis, New York Knicks

Top 10 Most Popular Team Merchandise:
1. Cleveland Cavaliers
2. Golden State Warriors
3. Los Angeles Lakers
4. Chicago Bulls
5. Oklahoma City Thunder
6. San Antonio Spurs
7. Miami Heat
8. Toronto Raptors
9. New York Knicks
10. Boston Celtics

Snoop Dogg gives Kobe a sweet retirement gift

By Jeff Case

Kobe Bryant‘s NBA playing days were officially finished as of April 13 of this year, after his 60-point farewell game against the Utah Jazz. Throughout his farewell season in Los Angeles, the Lakers’ great received all manner of gifts, including a book of poetry, every pair of Jordans ever, passes for some great outdoors-y stuff to do and more.

Since he hung it up, though, Bryant has kept a low profile — especially on social media (although he did congratulate the Cavs on their 2016 championship a few days ago).

Longtime friend/famous rapper Snoop Dogg apparently didn’t get his retirement gift to Bryant just yet, though, but atoned for that recently. Bryant got a purple-and-gold painted convertible from Snoop Dogg, which he proudly showed off on social media.

The gift that keeps on giving. Enjoy it mamba 💫✨🌟👏🏾🔌

A photo posted by snoopdogg (@snoopdogg) on

Legend

A photo posted by snoopdogg (@snoopdogg) on