NBA Finals

Jordan Flu Game Details Emerge

1997 NBA Finals Game Five: Chicago Bulls v Utah Jazz

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — A few months ago we learned that the Jordan XII’s Michael Jordan wore during the famous “Flu Game” — also known as Game 5 of the 1997 NBA Finals — were going up for auction. At the time, there weren’t many details known, other than Jordan gave the shoes to a Utah Jazz ballboy after the game, and that ballboy had hung onto the shoes for nearly two decades now.

But in a piece in today’s Salt Lake Tribune, that ballboy, named Preston Truman, is sharing his side of the story of how he ended up with the iconic kicks, a tale that involves applesauce, graham crackers and being in the right place at the right time.

It’s a fun read, and reveals some cool details from behind the scenes of one of the most memorable NBA games of all-time. From the article…

[Truman] was one of the first in the building to know that Jordan would play that night when, as Bulls coach Phil Jackson gathered the team to go onto the court, Jordan finally got up and put his jersey on. He watched Jordan struggle back to the bench during timeouts; he ran Jordan a spoon for three small cups of applesauce at halftime; he heard Jordan tell doctors “F— no” when they suggested he sit out for a while.

Truman’s parents would later tease him because the broadcast showed him — a lifelong Jazz fan — patting MJ on the shoulder after he wrapped him in a towel.

When Jordan hit the clinching shot and leaned into Pippen’s arms, barely able to stand, Truman estimates he was 5 feet away.

“I was like ‘I think I’m going to see this again and again.’”

(via Salt Lake Tribune)

Twitter Congratulates The Heat

By Jonathan Hartzell, for

No sport has embraced Twitter as much as the NBA in the past few years and last night many NBA players made sure to give their congratulations to repeat champs:

Twitter Watches The Finals

By Jonathan Hartzell, for

After a remarkable Game 6 which saw the Miami Heat fight off elimination against the San Antonio Spurs, the 2013 NBA Finals will be determined tonight with the 18th Game 7 in Finals history.

To help you follow along with what should be an incredible game, this page will update with Tweets from athletes, reporters, analysts, and celebrities throughout the night. Let the fun begin.


What They’re Saying: LeBron’s Headband

San Antonio Spurs v Miami Heat - Game 6

By Jonathan Hartzell, for

The Miami Heat‘s season looked to be nearly over during the third quarter of Game 6 of the NBA Finals as their offense stagnated, their defense couldn’t stop fouling, and LeBron James was unable to find a rhythm. But then James took his headband off and everything began to work. He remained headband-less for the rest of regulation, overtime, and post game interviews as the Heat rallied back to beat the San Antonio Spurs 100-103.

Besides sparking the Heat’s run, James’ headband-less look also caused quite a stir on Twitter. From athletes, to reporters, to celebrities, LeBron’s bare scalp allowed us to remember everyone’s got jokes.

Twitter Watches The Finals

By Jonathan Hartzell, for

Game 6 of the 2013 NBA Finals is finally here and with one win, the San Antonio Spurs can win their fifth NBA Championship in the past 14 seasons. To help you follow the action, this page will update with Tweets from players, coaches, analysts, and reporters watching what should be an incredible game.

Watching A Heat Game The Miami Way

MIAMI — We walked briskly through the tunnels under AmericanAirlines Arena, making nothing but left turns like NASCAR drivers, as we closed in on our final location, which at this point was still undisclosed. I was a few steps behind the man dressed all in while, who was leading me to our destination. I had no choice but to follow him, because he not only knew where we were going, but he had the figurative golden tickets: a pink wristband that would open closed doors and raise velvet ropes.

I have seen my share of NBA arenas, and by that I mean the areas of the arenas that are usually closed to the public — the guts of the stadiums, where they store mascot props and spare basket stanchions and boxes of syrup for sodas. These are usually the areas where they stick sportswriters as well, so we see the parts of the stadiums that haven’t been prettied up and readied for public consumption. Yet I’d heard that there was an area in AmericanAirlines Arena that would flip my expectations — a luxury nightclub carved into the concrete under the seats, just steps away from the court. This was where the celebs in attendance at games would eventually end up. This is the ultimate Miami way to watch a basketball game being played in Miami. This is, of course, where I needed to be.

Before long we neared the portal that led out to the floor on the side of the court near the Heat’s bench. As we neared the court, we suddenly hung a turn and were met by a few large men in suits, who looked us up and down. It was the same look I’d seen in South Beach a few times when I rolled up at a club where I had no business rolling up.

My host unearthed a few wristbands, and moments later we were past security, snaking through a darkened hallway and into Hyde at AmericanAirlines Arena. Hyde debuted this season, a 250-seat “lounge” space that offers “award-winning mixology, cuisine, events, hospitality and design in a space featuring multiple bars, an array of lounge seating and a private dining room.” Moët & Chandon even serves up Moët Ice Impérial, the world’s first-ever champagne specifically created to be enjoyed on ice, as the “Official Champagne of White Hot: The 2013 HEAT Playoffs.”

It was over an hour before tip-off, so the space was still filling up. I grabbed a seat at the bar and passed on the iced champagne — I was ostensibly working, after all. But I was hungry, so I ordered the first thing on the menu and chatted with the bartender, as she explained how it works — fans reserve space online watch the game from inside Hyde, then stay after and either celebrate or drown their sorrows. A DJ was perched high above the room, spinning music, and a few huge TVs showed the pregame show. The Hyde experience is not cheap — it’s about $100 just to get in the door — but this is supposed to be over the top. You’re paying for the experience, and if you’re one of the many people in Miami for whom money seems to not be an object, it’s probably worth it to rub shoulders with VIPs and get the South Beach experience without even crossing a causeway.

Before long my food showed up, and as a foodie, I have to say I was impressed — some sort of a sushi roll with spicy tempura popcorn shrimp piled on top. This was food I wouldn’t be surprised to get at Nobu, not inside a stadium. And in the interest of in-depth journalism, I performed an in-depth investigation on about ninety-percent of the roll. My initial reaction was right on: It was delicious.

As you can see from the photos below, plenty of VIPs have been through Hyde. Forget taking your talents to South Beach — the South Beach experience is downtown now, inside, of all places, an NBA arena.

David Beckham1

Lenny Kravitz3


NBA Finals Game 3: What They’re Saying


ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — With the San Antonio Spurs blowing out the Miami Heat in Game 3, 113-77, behind 27 points from Danny Green and 24 from Gary Neal (who were a combined 13-19 on three-pointers), we thought we’d check in with some NBA players who were active on Twitter throughout the game…


Tony Parker Is Just In Time

MIAMI — “I knew it was going to be close, obviously.”

Spurs G Tony Parker accepts that his game-winning circus shot to clinch Game 1 of the NBA Finals for the Spurs will probably go down as the biggest shot of his career. But he’s also certain of one thing that seemed to be in doubt when the shot went down: He definitely got it off in time.

“Oh, yeah. I looked at the clock when I fell down, and I turned around,” Parker said with a laugh a day after the shot, while walking through a deserted hall underneath Miami’s American Airlines Arena. “I looked at the clock so I knew I had a little time to pump fake and just get it up.”

So you’re sure, Tony? Even as the refs reviewed the play and you saw the replay, you weren’t a little nervous that maybe, just maybe, the ball had not left your hand before the shot clock buzzer sounded? Even after you saw just how close it was? As the replay seemed to rock from frame to frame and we all squinted and strained to make sure the ball had lost contact with your fingers? There wasn’t even a tiny bit of doubt that you had not gotten the shot off in time?

“Ah no, no. No, no, no, no. I thought it was good. That’s why I screamed so hard — I knew that it was good.”

While the referees agreed after viewing the replay that Parker was able to get the shot away before the shot clock buzzer, it was certainly incredibly close. Just how close? According to Steve Hellmuth, the Executive Vice President, Operations and Technology for NBA Entertainment, there are sixty frames of video per second. So each frame of video represents about one-sixtieth of a second, or roughly 16 milliseconds. (One millisecond is equal to 1/1000 of a second.)

“My estimate in looking at the video,” Hellmuth said, when asked to break down exactly how much time Parker’s release beat the buzzer by, “is that it is a little bit more than a frame, a hair more than a 60th of a second. It definitely wasn’t two frames of video, so it wasn’t more than 33 milliseconds.”

What else can occur in 16 milliseconds? According to Wikipedia, that’s just enough time for a honeybee to flap its wings three times. So not much time at all.

“To me, it was a great example of the NBA being completely transparent with the fans, the people in the arena, in search for truth with the best tools that we can,” Hellmuth said “All anybody ever wants — the teams, the fans, the players — is the right answer.”

“Longest 24 seconds I’ve ever been a part of,” LeBron James said of the play after the game. Unfortunately for Bron and the Heat, tape don’t lie: It actually was only 24 seconds. Even if the Spurs and Tony Parker used every millisecond of it.

By the way, Parker sat down today with NBA TV’s David Aldridge and broke the play down in detail. Check it out tonight on “Game Time” on NBA TV at 7:00 PM EST.


Ray Allen’s NBA Finals Jordan PE Kicks

NBA Style

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — Ray Allen has worn Jordan Brand shoes for about as long as Michael Jordan, and with Ray and the Heat set to tip off in the NBA Finals tonight, the folks at Jordan Brand have released a series of images of his new player edition shoes. Here are some photos of the Air Jordan XX8s that Allen has added to his arsenal specially for the 2013 NBA Finals.

According to Jordan Brand, “On the home court, he can choose between White/Black/University Gold or White/Gym Red/University Gold colorways. On the road, the options are Black/Gold and Gym Red/Gold; both include a fractal Elephant Print on the upper. The home versions feature Allen’s logo on the inside of the shroud, while the away shoes features his logo on the tongue. The AIR JORDAN XX8 boasts an ultra-modern stealth design for elite performance, with more technological advances than any AIR JORDAN to date.”

Let us know your favorites in the comments, and don’t forget to continue the conversation online using #NBAStyle

The Larry O’Brien Trophy Is Big

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — Call it an award tour.

Before the NBA’s Larry O’Brien trophy is presented to the winners of the Spurs/Heat series in The Finals, it made a recent stopover in New York City, where it spent some time with a few celebs from the worlds of fashion and food.

What is the Larry O’Brien Trophy? Just so you know…

• The Larry O’Brien Trophy is awarded to the winning team of the NBA Finals. The trophy was designed by Tiffany & Co. and unveiled on May 16, 1977. From 1977 to 1984, it was called the World Championship Trophy. It was renamed after the late former Commissioner Larry O’Brien (the third commissioner, 1975-84) when current Commissioner David Stern took over in 1984.

• The trophy is 24.5 inches high and weighs nearly 16 pounds. It depicts a basketball in motion over a stylized segment of hoop and basket. The basketball depicted on the trophy has the regulation-size nine-inch diameter.

• The trophy is fully handcrafted in sterling silver, then vermeiled in 24-karat gold.

• Each year, two of Tiffany & Co.’s highly skilled artisans – a spinner and a silversmith in the Parsippany, N.J., workshop – labor for approximately 80 hours on the trophy.

• Following the deciding game of The Finals, the trophy is presented to the winning team’s owner(s) and team representatives. It is then returned to Tiffany workshops where the craftsmen engrave the trophy with the winning team’s name and refurbish it to pristine condition.

Check the pics…


Adriana Lima_2 (more…)