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Kevin Durant doesn’t believe Jimmy Butler would be a great NFL wide receiver

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — Team USA finished their journey yesterday in Rio, beating Serbia 96-66 to win the gold medal. And as they return home, here’s a fun video that surfaced that shows the camaraderie that developed within that team. Chicago’s Jimmy Butler said that given the chance, he could be the best wide receiver in the NFL. When he heard about Butler’s comments, Kevin Durant had something to say…

Shaq got dunked on by his son

ALL BALL NERVE CENTERShaquille O’Neal has a son, Shareef, who is a sophomore in high school and is evidently already one heck of a basketball player. In this video Shareef posted, here he is working out with Shaq, and learning how to “dunk through contact.” I think he’s just trying to get Shaq onto Shaqtin’ A Fool…

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar meets LeBron, sits down with Cavs legends

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — Cool stuff from last night in Cleveland, where the NBA’s all-time leading scorer, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, was in town to watch Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Finals in person. Not only did Abdul-Jabbar sit down with Cavs legends Austin Carr and Campy Russell, as you can watch in the video above, but Kareem also got to share a moment with LeBron James, who last night passed Shaquille O’Neal for fourth place on the NBA’s all-time postseason scoring list. As LeBron said after the game

“I was actually … jogging into the locker room like we usually do off the floor, and obviously I saw a legend outside of our locker room, and I slowed my pace up drastically just to embrace a legend being in our building, watching us play. What he did for the game, the championship runs that he had with the ‘Showtime’ Lakers and him being the all-time leading scorer in NBA history and so on and so on and so on, it’s just respect.

“When you see a guy like that, when you put him in a class with like Jim Brown and Muhammad Ali and Oscar Robertson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, those guys all laying that same thing, Bill Russell. It was a pretty cool moment.”

Can someone check on the Atlanta Hawks mascot?

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — At one point during last night’s Game 2 of the series between the Atlanta Hawks and the Boston Celtics, the Hawks’ mascot, Harry, took a stroll through the stands, as a mascot may do from time to time. Except Harry, being less than human, chose to walk along a railing instead of the floor, which in hindsight was probably his first mistake. It may also have been his last mistake…

Rookie Diary, Volume 6: Myles Turner


VIDEO: Turner touches on variety of topics

Myles Turner of the Pacers and Kristaps Porzingis of the Knicks will alternate on a weekly diary for NBA.com covering life as a rookie, from challenges and success on the court to adjusting to their new world off. This week: Turner discusses the pressures and emotions of stepping into a playoff race in his first season.

I definitely feel it starting to ramp up. Every game means something now. Not like it didn’t mean anything before, but it’s like every game now, especially within the Eastern Conference, can really determine how far you go. In one day you can go from sixth place all the way to like 10th.

The change is most likely coming from the coaches’ perspective, the coaches’ point of view. They’re really on us a lot more about little things, whether it’s being in certain spots on defense or picking up our intensity on offense. The coaches are on us a lot more.

It can be a little hectic just knowing that the team is depending on you to fill your role and do stuff that’s never really been asked of you in your life. It can be a little tough. But at the same time it can be fulfilling as well.

It really depends on how you look at it. My approach is I take it day by day. You can’t let it be too straining on you. But you’ve got to make sure you approach it the right way.

I think the only thing that really needs to change is the way you look at your preparation, to make sure you get as much rest as you need. It’s completely different than college when the NCAA tournament was getting close. The difference in talent on the court speaks for itself. But I think it’s different in your preparation, how the coaches view things. In March Madness it’s almost like you can make a mistake and get away with it because you’re not playing as strong of a team all the time, especially in the first round. But in the NBA, anything can happen. You’ve got to be ready for anything. You can’t really make mistakes like that because one mistake can be very detrimental.

I know without a doubt this is a personal test. Hopefully I’m in this position a lot in my career with making that playoff push. But I’m pushing myself and I’m hoping to see the results from it.

My teammates haven’t really said anything to me about what to expect. I think it’s something you have to go through by yourself. But everybody’s remaining positive with me, telling me every time I make a mistake to keep my head up, to keep working, keep learning, keep growing. Things of that nature.

The coaches haven’t necessarily told me not to get caught up in the emotions, but I’m pretty sure that’s their mindset. They might be a little nervous. But I’m pretty sure everybody’s been here before.

I think my teammates are starting to establish that trust a little bit more, but they know I’ve never been here before so it’s still a work in progress. I know I’m very confident in my abilities. I’m a very confident player.

And, yes, I’m starting to get some flashbacks as the NCAA Tournament is about to start. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to be in it very long last year – we lost in the first round – so I didn’t really get to feel that true intensity. But right now, that same mentality I had to get prepared has stayed with me.

Rookie Diary, Volume 6: Kristaps Porzingis


VIDEO: Porzingis shows kids some of the finer points

Kristaps Porzingis of the Knicks and Myles Turner of the Pacers will alternate on a weekly diary for NBA.com covering life as a rookie, from challenges and success on the court to adjusting to their new world off. This week: Porzingis discusses the transition from playing in Spain with fewer games and much more practice time to the NBA with several games a week and occasional struggles to find chances to practice.

We would almost scrimmage every day in Europe. That’s how it is. And then you play once a week, on the weekends, usually on Sundays. It’s way different over here. You don’t have as much time to work on your game individually and you don’t have as much time to practice. The good thing is that you have a chance to play every other day and that helps a lot to get better. But you don’t have that much time to spend working on your individual skills.

At first, I wanted to do so much work that I would just tire myself so much that I got worn out. Now the Knicks have started to control me more and they don’t want me to practice that much. That was the thing at first. I wasted a lot of energy trying to do a lot of work and not really being smart about and not knowing what the schedule is like. Now I think I’ve gotten used to it.

Before, I would come in early, work out, then have the team practice, and then try to shoot after practice as well. There were moments some days I was just really tired. It got to me. But the team helped me out. They’re taking care of me and making sure I get enough rest. They wouldn’t say anything to me at first, but they saw that some days I was just so tired. They had to control it, what I’m doing and how much I’m shooting. Now it’s a little more controlled.

It’s a challenge to find time to get extra work without wearing yourself out. Especially when you come in in your first year and you know you’ve got to work on your game and you want to become a better player every day. For me, it’s almost anxiety that you want to work, you want to get better, you want to prove something every day. But you’ve got to be smart because the season is long, a lot of games, and you don’t want to wear yourself out before the season’s over.

I would do the work before and after the regular practice but I also like to go on those days when you don’t have a practice and get to the gym, be by myself, set up the shooting machine and just shoot and be by myself. I’ve said this in interviews before, that’s like a church to me. I go the gym and there’s no one there, you can just be working on your skills by yourself.

Usually the team is not too happy if I go too late so I try to go at normal times. Sometimes a little late – 8, 9 p.m. – but not usually later than that. I’ve tried to be there later, but the key doesn’t work. I think it stops working at 11. They want us to get rest obviously. They want us to be smart about getting rest.

I’ve talked to the assistant coaches and they’ve been telling me that they’ve seen a lot of growth in my game from the beginning of the season. I don’t see that much. I think I’ve gotten better at reading the game and what is coming. They’re seeing a lot of improvement, but I only see the weaknesses. I only see what I need to work on. I don’t really focus on what I’m doing well. The way I view things is different.

I just know there are a lot of things I see that I need to work on during the offseason. I want to keep working on my post game. I have some post moves. But I want to be the guy who you can give the ball to and know that I can score or at least draw a foul. Obviously I want to get stronger. This will be a big offseason for me to work on my strength, my mobility. I want to be a guy who can switch on guards and play defense on small guards on the perimeter. There are a lot of things I need to work on. There’s nothing I do perfect, so there’s a lot of work to do.

Stephen Curry and Kent Bazemore are pumped about the Carolina Panthers

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — Last night, Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers defeated the Arizona Cardinals in order to qualify for Superbowl 50, where they’ll face Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos. And at least two NBA players, Golden State’s Stephen Curry and Atlanta’s Kent Bazemore, are huge Panthers fans who used social media to celebrate the big game.

As the Warriors prepped for tonight’s big game against the Spurs (10:30 p.m. ET, NBA TV), Steph Curry went through yesterday’s practice wearing a Panthers jersey…

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And Steph was appropriately fired up by the win…

Meanwhile, Bazemore basically live-tweeted the NFC title game…

Cam Newton dances courtside at Hornets game

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — The Carolina Panthers have been one of the NFL’s surprise teams, as QB Cam Newton has put up an MVP-type season. He’s also drawn some criticism for his on-field celebrations, criticism he’s laughed off. So when you’re courtside at a Hornets/Cavs game and it’s time for the Dance Cam, who better to feature than Newton? Look at his dab!

Cleveland Cavaliers join Raptors dance squad

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — When an NBA dance team is on the court doing their dance routine, not much is going to make them get off the floor before they’re supposed to leave. Even if the opponent finishes their huddle early and strolls onto the court to take part in the opening tip-off. And even if that opponent is LeBron James and the Cavs. Turns out a dance team and an NBA team can co-exist…at least for a few seconds…


VIDEO: Cavs join the Raptors’ dance team

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(via SBNation)

LeBron James’ mustache is spectacular

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — The month of November has been re-branded as Movember, a month when men are encouraged to grow beards and mustaches as a way to raise awareness of prostate and other cancers. (You can read more about the movement here.) Several members of the Cleveland Cavaliers appear to be embracing the cause, such as Kevin Love, who has a full-on ’70s-cop-TV-show ‘stache…

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A photo posted by @kevinlove on

But perhaps the greatest mustache in Cleveland belongs to LeBron James, who has managed to grow his mustache out long enough that yesterday he posted a selfie with the ends of his mustache waxed and curled up, Snidely Whiplash-style. It’s quite a look…

Mooostash on deck! #Movember #StriveForGreatness

A photo posted by LeBron James (@kingjames) on