Off The Court

Dirk Nowitzki can’t stop singing David Hasselhoff songs

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — A few weeks ago, we looked into Dirk Nowitzki‘s long interest in the pop stylings of David Hasselhoff, including a recent performance of “Looking For Freedom” on a German talk show.

Now Dirk is back in Dallas and prepping for a new season with the Mavericks. And in between stops during media day, Nowitzki was asked to drop a few bars of whatever song he would sing to audition for “American Idol.” Without pause, Dirk went for The Hoff and gave a passionate performance…


VIDEO: Dirk Sings

(via TNLP)

DeMarcus Cousins sets goal for this season


VIDEO: Kings T’s

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — One of the surprise inclusions on this summer’s U.S.A. Basketball for the FIBA Basketball World Cup squad was Sacramento’s DeMarcus “Boogie” Cousins. It wasn’t because of his talent — Cousins is one of the most versatile and skilled big men in the NBA. If anything, people we surprised Cousins made it because in the past, his attitude had worked against him.

But Cousins was terrific in Spain, even at times showing restraint. (That’s two for flinching, Valanciunas.) Now, with the Kings back together in Sacramento and prepping for a new season, Boogie has apparently set a new goal for himself. As we see in this Instagram picture from Reggie Evans, Cousins is hoping to cut down on the league-leading 16 technical fouls he received last season, by a significant amount.

As Evans noted, “Myboi @boogiecousins goal for this year. 5 Technical this season. I feel like he can do it.”

Denver Nuggets mascot makes unsanctioned political appearance

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — Sports mascots are, at their core, a conduit for fun. They are their team’s common denominators, a representative of every fan, from the front row to the cheap seats. But out in Denver, longtime Nuggets mascot Rocky the mountain lion made an off-court appearance this week that caught some people by surprise, apparently including his employers.

Earlier this week, Rocky made an appearance at a Colorado Republican rally. As the Denver Post reports

Nuggets marketing manager Graham Wincott, who handles Rocky and his appearances, said the team’s mascot showing up at the GOP event was “an unsanctioned, unpaid appearance that we had no knowledge of.”

Denver sports figures have been to political events in the past, but sports teams and organizations typically stay away from any kind of political endorsements or appearances, which is why the Kroenke brass was surprised by the appearance.

“As a sports team, we want to be apolitical,” Wincott said. “Two things we never touch on are politics and religion.”

The Nuggets’ mascot was bouncing around at the Colorado Republican Party rally Monday at Heritage High School. Top players on the Colorado GOP ticket were at the event, which included 2012 presidential candidate Mitt Romney.

Wincott said the KSE management team met Tuesday “with the actor who plays Rocky to figure out exactly how it happened and what transpired and get to the bottom of how all this occurred.”

If nothing else, this gives us a chance to check out some of Rocky’s greatest hits, like his recent dust-up with Russell Westbrook or, as in the video below, a classic run-in with his longtime nemesis, Charles Barkley


VIDEO: Rocky vs Lakers/Barkley

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

The All Ball Media Day Gallery

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — Here at the All Ball blog, we realize the NBA is more than just baskets and blocks. We like to laugh, to look beyond the court at the things that are funny and odd and just plain different. With that in mind, I spent an hour this morning digging through thousands of photos from media days around the NBA to find frozen moments that made me smile. Hope you like them too…

Nick Young’s latest invention: Poetry Fridays

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — Nick Young has given us plenty of All Ball fodder over the last year or so, and he continues innovating even on the eve of the NBA season. His latest idea? Poetry Fridays. Here is Nick in two videos rhyming about…banners or something? The highlight of the entire enterprise might be at the end of the second video, where Swaggy P’s son, Nick Jr. — an aspiring model in his own right — drops a guest verse.

How Kobe Bryant is like a cheetah

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — In yesterday’s New York Times, there was a long interview/conversation between Kobe Bryant and Arianna Huffington, the media executive perhaps best known as the founder of The Huffington Post. The two apparently struck up a friendship after Kobe reached out to her, and the entire thing is worth your time to read, as they talk about everything from process vs results to meditation.

But toward the end of the piece, Kobe reveals some insight into his game — specifically, how he figured out how to fix his fadeaway jumper…

PG: There’s your Showtime documentary, “Kobe’s Muse,” in November. What’s that?

KOBE: You’ll see all the things I do, on and off the court. Every little detail, every tidbit, every improvement. And from that, we peel back the layers to get to who I am — because you can’t understand what I do without understanding who I am.

PG: Sounds like a series.

KOBE: That’s the vision. I’m the first “Kobe’s Muse,” then we’ll build it out. I want to know how Arianna became Arianna. I had this conversation with Hilary Swank once, and I asked about acting. And she broke down her process all the way to what would the character be watching on TV, what music would she listen to, how much money in her purse, how much change. I’m so interested in all those details.

AH: People want to know those things.

PG: As a lens for understanding each other?

KOBE: Exactly. I’ll give you an example. When you watch me shoot my fadeaway jumper, you’ll notice my leg is always extended. I had problems making that shot in the past. It’s tough. So one day I’m watching the Discovery Channel and see a cheetah hunting. When the cheetah runs, its tail always gives it balance, even if it’s cutting a sharp angle. And that’s when I was like: My leg could be the tail, right?

AH: That’s amazing.

KOBE: Inspiration surrounds us.

And CBS’s Matt Moore found photo evidence — Kobe really is becoming a cheetah…

Jeremy Lin has some endorsement ideas

ALL BALL NERVE CENTERJeremy Lin is about to begin his first season as a member of the Los Angeles Lakers, but he’s played in large markets before — most notably, New York City. But despite having a high profile and playing in places where fans love their basketball players, in his latest video for YouTube, Jeremy realizes that perhaps he could step up his endorsement game. So here we see J-Lin go through several options, from being the most “Linteresting” man in the world to meeting his long-lost twin brother Jeremiah.


VIDEO: Lindorsements

Yep, Chris Douglas-Roberts Is Bringing Back Short Shorts

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — A few weeks ago, new Clippers signee Chris Douglas-Roberts made a promise via Twitter: He was going to bring back short shorts this season.

And now we know: He wasn’t kidding. Yesterday, CDR took place in a photo shoot with his new Clippers uniform, and indeed, the shorts are really short…

Mike Scott Dressed Up Like A Turkey

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — Here’s Atlanta Hawks forward Mike Scott dressed like a turkey.


VIDEO: Turkey Scott