Off The Court

Are The Spurs The Ultimate Team?

San Antonio Spurs Championship Celebration

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — The San Antonio Spurs won last season’s NBA championship, but are they the ultimate team in all of the major North American sports leagues? A new poll from ESPN the Magazine says yes, they are.

According to ESPN, they surveyed over 1,000 fans to form 25 areas of criteria, then polled over 100,000 fans and asked them to rate their hometown teams in each of those categories. From there they created a weighted average and incorporated “bang for the buck” and…well, you can read all the criteria for yourself.

As it turned out, out of the 122 teams considered, the San Antonio Spurs finished first overall. And they weren’t the only NBA team to rate highly: the Memphis Grizzlies finished fourth, the Oklahoma City Thunder finished seventh, and the Dallas Mavericks ninth. If you want to dig deeper, check out the entire poll here.

Chris Bosh Shows He Can Score On Himself

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — When LeBron James departed Miami for Cleveland, the Heat quickly signed Chris Bosh to a max contract extension, signalling that they expect a big season out of Bosh. He’s played the alpha dog role before, in Toronto, but since arriving in Miami, Bosh was mostly a complementary player, even developing into a stretch center.

But this week on the Ellen show, Bosh made an appearance and showed he can still put the ball in the basket. Especially if it’s a small basket on his own head…


VIDEO: Bosh on Ellen

Dirk Nowitzki Covers David Hasselhoff

ALL BALL NERVE CENTERDirk Nowitzki is a talented dude. He’s a franchise player, an MVP, and as we see below, he does a mean David Hasselhoff cover.

The backstory for this clip below starts nearly a decade ago, when Dirk admitted that to help himself relax at the free throw line, he would sometimes sing to himself. The one song he singled out as a nerve calmer? David Hasselhoff‘s “Looking for Freedom,” which was a hit in Germany in 1989, when Dirk was growing up. The Hoff performed the song at the Berlin Wall as it was being dismantled, and the song stayed at number one in Germany for two months.

So this week, while on a German talk show to promote a documentary about himself, Nowitzki was presented with a guitar and asked to sing along. The Hoff must be proud…


VIDEO: Dirk Freedom

(via TNLP)

James Harden visits the Beard Guru

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — Before getting your picture taken or appearing on TV, you get a haircut to make sure you’re presenting your best self. But before having your face scanned to appear in a video game, such as NBA2K15? If you’re James Harden, you call the only man who understands, the Beard Guru.

Harden has one of the world’s great beards, but it apparently doesn’t just grow on its own. It takes some finesse, some cajoling. And apparently, it takes a visit from Fritz, the Beard Guru (with a cameo from Anthony Davis)…


VIDEO: Beard Guru

Catching Up With Nick Young

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — It’s impossible to have too much Nick Young on the All Ball blog. I’m thinking about giving him his own category at this point. In the meantime, he does have his own tag, and you can get your Nick Young fix here.

Or, you can just watch the video below, where Lakers.com caught up with Swaggy P and found out how his summer has gone and various other swaggy tidbits…

VIDEO: Nick Young

SLAM magazine recreates classic cover

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — Before I got hired here at NBA.com by The Powers That Be, I spent over a dozen years working at SLAM magazine. I had several different jobs during my time there, including helping come up with cover concepts, and I learned a ton about how to make a magazine cover that matters. That rectangle of real estate on the cover will sit there on the newsstand and be the best bit of advertising you can create, so you need to be creative, and informative, and memorable, and about a dozen other things. (My favorite cover I worked on? I can’t pick. I was there from issue 46 through issue 156. You choose.)

One of the most famous SLAM covers ever was issue 15, well before my time, which featured a gatefold cover of the 1996 NBA rookie class. Here’s what that cover looked like…

oldcover

This was shot at that year’s rookie photo shoot day, outdoors against a brick wall. By the way, notice the way Kobe Bryant is standing, with his left hand behind his back? He had a cast on his wrist so they had him hide it with his pose.

Yesterday, SLAM announced their newest cover, and with such a stacked rookie class, it only made sense to pay homage to another awesome class and, in turn, an amazing cover.

newcover_1920x1200_v3

This image was shot at this year’s NBA rookie photo shoot, during a lunch break when they pretty much kicked everyone but the players out of the gym and confiscated cell phones so there wouldn’t be any image leaks, and then hustled everyone onto the set and got this great frozen moment.

Charles Barkley throws out turrible first pitch

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — I noted the other day that there have been a ton of NBA-related first pitches thrown at Major League Baseball games this summer and fall. And while I’m still planning on a massive post rounding up all these pitches, I wanted to wait as late as I could so I wouldn’t miss any of these first pitches.

And then Sir Charles comes along and forces my hand. Last night in Chicago, Charles Barkley threw out the first pitch at a Cubs game. And, first of all, it was juuu-ust a bit outside. OK, I’m being generous: It was way wide right and it bounced all the way to the backstop. But, hey, it was better than his golf swing?


VIDEO: Barkley throws out the first pitch at Wrigley Field

Beard-Off: FIBA Edition

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — We noted earlier that Team USA had little trouble with Serbia in the final of the FIBA Basketball World Cup, winning 129-92. Team USA was excited, breaking into dance moves and making snow angels on the floor.

Serbia may have lost, but the players weren’t completely defeated. Just check out this quote from Serbia center Miroslav Raduljica

Now, if you’re not familiar with Mr. Raduljica, you should get familiar. As part of looking alarmingly like The Starters co-host Trey Kerby, Raduljica has a thick, cultivated beard, as you can see below…

Serbia v France

Now, this isn’t to say James Harden, who has made commercials about his beard, doesn’t have something significant happening on his own…

2014 World Cup Finals - Serbia v USA

But what we are here to uncover is, Who wore it better? And for that, we could only turn to you, All Ball readers, and ask for your input.

So tell us, who had the better FIBA beard? Cast your vote below…

Tim Duncan to appear in The Punisher comic book

ALL BALL NERVE CENTERTim Duncan may be one of the NBA’s quietest players on the floor, which means fan don’t know much about him off the floor. But in actuality he’s a fun guy, who loves videos games and cars and, as we’ve seen from his knee braces, comic books. And now it’s all coming together.

According to a post from Black Jack Speed Shop, the garage/shop Duncan owns in San Antonio, Tim is going to appear in a special upcoming issue of a The Punisher comic book. Here’s a preview image below, where it looks like Tim is giving over his car key to the Punisher…

(via Project Spurs)

Milwaukee Bucks tailgate at a Green Bay Packers game

jabari

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — A group of Milwaukee Bucks players hopped a bus and went out to historic Lambeau Field for the Green Bay Packers/New York Jets game on Sunday. The Bucks produced a video of the day, which features several of the players (Brandon Knight, Larry Sanders) talking about how much they enjoyed the experience, but what you really need to watch for is the end of the video, when Jabari Parker dons a cheese head. Welcome to the NBA, rook…


VIDEO: Bucks at Green Bay