Nick Young can’t stop the swag

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — We love Lakers guard Nick Young around these parts — the man known as Swaggy P who is at the very least always interesting. And for all his exploits, which you can read about here, he’s not afraid to take the big shots.

Last night in Portland, for example, after the Blazers tipped a ball into the backcourt, Nick trotted back, picked up the ball, took a couple of dribbles and drained the impossibly long Swaggy three at the shot clock buzzer…

VIDEO: Swaggy 3

NBA ode to Christmas Day

VIDEO: NBA TV narrates the season through Christmas lens

Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the Garden
Ticket holders asked: “Why can’t we just take James Harden?”
The jerseys were hung in the lockers with care,
In hopes that one day a real team would be there;

Across town the Nets were nestled all snug in their beds,
Visions of D-Will’s 40 percent shooting torturing their heads;
And Sam Presti in his kerchief and Chris Wallace in his wrap,
Had just settled down to brush up on the salary cap.

When out on Seventh Avenue there arose such a clatter,
They sprang from their beds to see what was the matter.
Away to the window they flew in a flash,
Tore open the shutters, ready to do something rash.

The moon on the breast of the new fallen snow
Seemed as far away as the Larry O’Brien Trophy to Spike
and his pals on the high-priced front row,
When what to their wondering eyes should appear,
But a stretch limousine pulled by eight tiny reindeer,
With a tall, slow driver who’d long lost his quicks,
They knew in a moment he must be from the Knicks.

More rapid than a 20-second timeout his coursers they came,
And he whistled and shouted and called them by name:
“Now Gasol! Now Monroe! Now DeAndre! up above,
“On, K.D.! On LaMarcus and Butler! On Kawhi and Love!
To the top of the scoreboard!  To the top of the wall!
Come with me now to save New York basketball.”

As dry leaves before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle mount to the sky,
Over in Brooklyn, Queen B’s land with Jay-Z,
Lionel’s team was still driving him crazy.

So up to the house top the coursers they flew,
The limo filled with millions, and James Dolan, too.
And then in a twinkling, on Presti and Wallace’s roofs
Was the prancing and pawing of designer hoofs.

As they drew in their heads and were turning around,
Down the chimney came Zen Master came with a bound.
He wore a green suit of Benjamins, sewn out of cash,
Ready to recruit his own Brothers of Splash.

A bundle of promises he was ready to dangle,
At anyone not named J.R., who could grasp a triangle.
His eyes — how they twinkled!  Not the face of a meanie;
Of course, the fall-back plan was still the beach with Jeanie.

His droll little scheme, turn around a team soft as a cushion,
And do it all faster than Brooklyn’s rich Russian.
He piled stacks of cash from their feet to their teeth,
And blew smoke till it encircled their heads like a wreath.

He had a wise, knowing face, hardly hint of a belly,
Not at all like Charles Barkley’s each night on the telly;
He was as haughty and sure as a blackmailer with pictures,
Even though his team’s record was down with the Sixers.

A wink of his eye and a twist of his head
Was supposed to give the entire NBA something to dread.
He had played in the glory years with Reed, Frazier and Bradley,
Now these days in his sack just a hollow team playing badly.

He’d spoken all the right words, said he’d soon make them perk,
But without Jordan and Shaq, this might be too much like work.
And laying a finger aside of his nose
And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose.

He sprung to his limo, to his team gave some whistles,
Nothing he couldn’t clean up with one or two missiles.

But I heard him exclaim, ere he soared over walls of adobe:
“By this time next Christmas, I’ll even settle for old Kobe.”

Tracy McGrady is back to being a rookie?

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — There was speculation this week that Tracy McGrady wanted to return to the NBA, a rumor that McGrady himself debunked yesterday on Facebook. But two years ago, McGrady spent a season in China, and even though he was in his 30s at the time, he was still a rookie. And as we see in this new commercial from Foot Locker starring McGrady and Portland’s Damian Lillard, rookies have to do their rookie duties, no matter how old they may be…

VIDEO: Rookie Life

Dante Exum and Joe Ingles play football on the basketball court

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — Besides being teammates on the Utah Jazz, Dante Exum and Joe Ingles have something else in common — they are both Australian. As such, they both would seem to be experts at Australian Rules Football. At least, I assume they are, because they’re Australian. I don’t really know anything about it, not because I don’t want to know, but because I just didn’t grow up watching it and even now I’m not sure when/where it’s on TV. (Holla at your boy, Leigh Ellis!)

Anyway, at a recent Jazz rehearsal in Salt Lake City, Exum and Ingles met up with a few members of the North Melbourne Football Club and found out what happens when you take an AFL ball to an NBA court.

VIDEO: Exum Ingles AFL

(via TNLP)

The Sacramento Kings are really into ugly sweaters


ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — Last week while I was on vacation, my intrepid colleague Jeff Case served up a link to a story about NBA-themed “ugly” sweaters, which you can order from the NBA Store. Yes, these sweaters are ugly, but intentionally so, as they mock/pay tribute to the tradition of wearing “festive” garb around the holiday season.

One team has decided to aggressively embrace the ugly sweater. The Sacramento Kings recently announced plans for an ugly sweater night when they host the Milwaukee Bucks a week before Christmas.

The best part is how the Kings players seem to be all-in on the ugly sweaters. They produced a stunning photo gallery of their players knitted out in the sweaters, and Ben McLemore even wore his to last night’s TNT game. Take that, James Harden!

The latest round of Spurs HEB commercials are here, and they are hilarious

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — In what has become a fun annual tradition, each fall the San Antonio-based supermarket chain HEB releases a series of commercials starring members of the Spurs. While traditionally these starred the big three of Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker, last year we saw Kawhi Leonard added to the mix. In this new batch of ads, Patty Mills (and his accent) get involved…

VIDEO: Spurs toga


VIDEO: Spurs organic

Nike introduces the LEBRON 12

9.15.14 Nike LeBron 12 Launch

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — It wouldn’t be a new NBA season if LeBron James didn’t come out in a new pair of kicks. Yesterday in Portland, at Nike World Headquarters, Nike and LeBron debuted his latest signature shoe, the LEBRON 12.

According to a release from Nike…

The LEBRON 12 was born in the lab, where scientific data and analysis substantiated the need for next-generation cushioning, support and flexibility.

This science-led insight was maximized for James while accounting for the diverse needs of athletes worldwide. The lead colorway, the LEBRON 12 NSRL, was inspired by the new shoe’s genesis in the lab.

Five visible, hexagonally-shaped Nike Zoom Air bags in the outsole of the LEBRON 12 enhance natural motion while providing accelerated explosiveness with each step. Nike Zoom Air delivers the same great cushioning it brought to footwear when first introduced to basketball in 1995; now the hexagonal Nike Zoom Air is mapped to the pressure points of the foot where it’s most needed for basketball performance.

In tandem with the sole, the lightweight and breathable Megafuse upper is designed to act as a molded second skin that minimizes weight and amplifies breathability and comfort.

James runs approximately three miles per game, and the average player changes directions about 1,000 times over that distance, requiring supportive, comfortable footwear to withstand tremendous impact and torque. Dynamic Flywire cables provide lockdown support for James’s unrivaled combination of speed and strength. The upper is constructed for a precise fit, with Hyperposite wings that deliver targeted support and protection.

The first colorway drops October 1 in China and October 11 globally. Check below for images of the shoe in several colorways…

Weddings in Ohio incorporate LeBron’s powder toss

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — For most people, their wedding day is the greatest day of their lives, a time to celebrate and make memories for the future. And how better to do that than by incorporating a signature move from LeBron James?

That is what is happening in Ohio, at least. As our friends at Ball Don’t Lie have pointed out, more than one wedding in Ohio has ended with a celebratory powder toss, the move LeBron just recently said he couldn’t wait to bring back this season. So why not help him by bringing it back a bit early?

Here’s two examples. First, at a wedding in Cleveland…

VIDEO: Wedding toss

Then, at a wedding in Akron, where everyone gets involved…


(via BDL)

DeMar DeRozan leaps over Kyle Lowry for dunk

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — Toronto’s DeMar DeRozan has always been one of the most athletic players in the NBA, though he doesn’t show off his leaping ability as often as he used to during his first few years in the league. But last week, while in the Philippines, DeRozan caught an alley-oop from his Toronto teammate Kyle Lowry and finished the dunk while jumping completely over Lowry…

#nba #exhibition with #AQA #family ;)

A video posted by Faye Arellano (@goddess_faye) on

(via TNLP)

CJ sits down with the deputy commish

There have been a lot of personnel changes at NBA headquarters, most notably Adam Silver being promoted to NBA Commissioner. So who filled in his spot as NBA deputy commissioner, and what exactly does that job entail?

Meet Mark Tatum.

Portland Trail Blazer guard CJ McCollum spent a few minutes with Tatum backstage at the NBA Draft last month at Barclays Center in Brooklyn as the deputy commissioner was preparing to announce the Second Round for the first time.

Mark Tatum (left) and CJ McCollum

Mark Tatum (left) and CJ McCollum

CJ McCollum: As NBA deputy commissioner, a lot of people are not familiar with the responsibilities of that position. What are some of those?

Mark Tatum: In my position as deputy commissioner I’m largely responsible for the business of the NBA. It includes the sponsorship group, the global merchandise group, international business, events and marketing of the NBA, the communications department, as well as the WNBA and NBA D-League. The last area is our team marketing and business operations. So, it’s all the business operations of the league.

CJ: So you’re the guy to talk to for my endorsement opportunities?

MT: Absolutely. In my previous role as the head of global sponsorship, I spent a lot of time working with players and facilitating discussions between them and corporate sponsors. The Kia/Blake Griffin deal was a result of discussions I had with Blake’s representatives.

Prior to the 2011 NBA Slam Dunk contest in L.A., they called me and said, “Blake wants to jump over a car,” and I said, “That’s great. You know he has to jump over a Kia car, right?” That led to a longer term relationship with Blake. So, yes, we can talk. I can help facilitate the right introductions.

CJ: OK, great, that’s something we’ll save for later. A lot of people may not know you played a little bit of baseball back in the day, and you also worked for Major League Baseball, as well.

MT: That’s right I did. I see you did your research. I love it.

CJ: Tell me a little bit about your baseball experience and what you did for MLB.

MT: I grew up right here in Brooklyn, New York, not too far from here, in East Flatbush. I went to high school around the corner from the Barclays Center, Brooklyn Tech, and we won a New York City Public High School Championship. I played in the parade grounds, played my whole life and played in college as well at Cornell.

I ended up going to work for Major League Baseball after I graduated from business school and worked in their Corporate Sponsorship group. I thought that was going to be the dream job for me because I played baseball growing up. When the NBA was coming out of the lockout in 1998-99, I received a call. I had always been fascinated by the branding and marketing of the NBA, the globality of the NBA, and when they called me and said that they were interested in talking about positions, I decided to have that conversation.

I just loved the proposition that the NBA had. I loved the idea that the NBA was going to continue to grow on a global basis and they were going to continue to do great marketing. Joining the NBA was one of the best decisions I ever made.

CJ: Well, I’m glad you made that transition. For selfish reasons, I appreciate it! Just two more questions before I let you go. Obviously technology is big in the NBA now. What do you think the status is with technology integrating into the game, and where do you see it fitting in and advancing?

MT: It will be a big part of the game, technology, and particularly with the NBA, because our players and fans are early adapters of technology. We as a league have to be on the cutting edge of that technology and we are looking at all kinds of ways to continue to incorporate technology into our game.

Whether it’s tablets courtside or more sophisticated instant replay capability, technology can be used to speed up decisions on the court and provide data and analysis to help our players improve their game, to help our coaches and general managers and the entire NBA family improve. We view technology as an enabler to the game. It will continue to be a big part of it.

CJ: Lastly, I asked Adam how he felt about announcing the first round of the Draft and maybe not hearing as many boos. However, you may be the one on the receiving end of the those boos, so he told me to give you advice. You know he supports you no matter what, whether you get booed or not, and if you need a shoulder to lean on he’ll be there for you.

What advice do you have for the rookies?

MT: Well, my advice for the rookies is to, one, enjoy this night. All of our players who are here tonight have dreamed of this moment. They had a dream of growing up and making it to the NBA, and to have that dream fully realized is an amazing thing so appreciate that, put that in perspective, and then work hard. This is a league that values hard work, and if you work hard and invest time in your game and in getting better and improving, you will reap the rewards on the court and off the court.

CJ: I appreciate you taking the time to do this, I have to leave you with this last question. What is your favorite book? You know I was a guy who was into magazines growing up. My mom told me, “You need to expand your knowledge a little bit, you need to step outside your realm.”

What is your favorite book to read or do you have one that you can recommend?

MT: I like business books. I also like books that just kind of take you out of the realm of reality. I enjoy Malcolm Gladwell’s work, I think he’s an amazing writer. He wrote Outliers and Tipping Point. Those are some of the more recent books that I’ve enjoyed because he frames things in a very interesting way and I think that it’s a very provocative way of thinking about things. Gladwell makes you think about a different perspective, and so that would be one of the writers I would recommend.