That time Draymond Green tried football

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — We’ve seen that Warriors center Draymond Green has no problem being physical on the basketball court, but when he tried to take that physicality to the football field? Maybe it wasn’t such a great idea.

Back in 2011, as Green was entering his senior season at Michigan State University, he suited up and played tight end for the Spartans in their spring scrimmage game. He got in for two plays, which you can watch here…

As Green said at the time, he almost scored a TD…

The 6-foot-7 Green, wearing No. 83 in the April scrimmage, played tight end for two plays. On the first, he was called for a false start. On the second, Andrew Maxwell’s pass flew over Green’s hands, but MSU defensive back Johnny Adams — eight inches shorter than Green — was called for pass interference.

“It would have been a touchdown if it wasn’t for pass interference,” Green said Saturday at LaMarr Woodley’s free football camp at Saginaw High.

“It was just for fun, something I wanted to do. I thought it would be my only chance to ever do it at that level.”

Paul George named his new dog Kobe

ALL BALL NERVE CENTERKobe Bryant may be gone from the NBA, at least as an active player, but he has not been forgotten. Indiana Pacers forward Paul George took to Instagram last night to post a photo of his new dog. And what did he name his new dog? As George wrote in the caption, he named the dog as a tribute to Bryant…

Huge mural of Steven Adams unveiled in Oklahoma City

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — Oklahoma City center Steven Adams had a breakout postseason for the Thunder, establishing himself as one of the best young centers in the NBA. And now he’s being recognized on a larger-than-life scale. The New Zealand artist Graham Hoete, a.k.a. Mr. G, who is known for his wall-sized murals of various celebrities, turned up in Oklahoma City and today is unveiling a huge mural of his countryman Steven Adams. The mural is about as intimidating as Adams himself…

STEVEN ADAMS | MR G | OKLAHOMA CITY | 2016 | AOTEAROA REPREZENT Thank you Lord 🙏💪🙏

A photo posted by mrghoete.art (@mrghoete.art) on

A photo posted by mrghoete.art (@mrghoete.art) on

LeBron James plays volleyball during the NBA Finals

ALL BALL NERVE CENTERLeBron James turned in a dominant performance in Game 5 of the NBA Finals, contributing 41 points, 16 rebounds and 7 assists along the way to Cleveland’s 112-97 win. He also had 3 blocked shots, including one against Golden State’s Stephen Curry where James soared through the air and spiked the basketball. If it reminded you of someone spiking a basketball, you aren’t alone: Here’s a version of Bron’s block that’s been photoshopped to make it a volleyball highlight…

Catching up with Boban

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — Spurs center Boban Marjanovic had a breakout campaign this season, not only establishing himself as a solid NBA rotation player, but also becoming a breakout social media star. After taking a few weeks off following the end of the Spurs season, Boban stopped by Spurs.com to answer some twitter questions (he likes listening to Drake) and talk about what he’s done this offseason (he visited the zoo, among other things)…

Story of a photo: Capturing LeBron’s Game 3 dunk

CLEVELAND, OH - JUNE 8: LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers goes up for a dunk against the Golden State Warriors against the Golden State Warriors in Game Three of the 2016 NBA Finals on June 8, 2016 at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2016 NBAE (Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images)

(Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images)

CLEVELAND — The frozen moment happened with just under 3 minutes remaining in the third quarter of Game 3 of The 2016 NBA Finals. After knocking loose a pass from Golden State’s Stephen Curry to Festus Ezeli, Cleveland’s LeBron James grabbed the basketball and raced the other way to start a fast break.

Just past halfcourt, James collided with Curry and stumbled, his right knee and hand going to the floor to help him retain his balance, while James used his left hand to slap at the ball and keep his dribble alive. One second later, his bearing renewed, James resumed his dash to the hoop.

Curry was the lone defender between James and the basket, and as James neared the rim, Curry slid one step to his left, to truncate James’s angle of attack. LeBron quickly fired the ball to his left, where his teammate Kyrie Irving was streaking toward the rim. Curry and the basketball reached Irving at nearly the same time, and just as quickly as Irving caught the ball, he sprang off his right foot and immediately flipped the ball back up and over Curry, in the general vicinity of the hoop, where it figured that James would be arriving shortly.

“I knew he was going to throw it up there,” James said later. “And I had to go get it. He threw it, I had to go get it.”

It was not a perfect pass, but it was good enough. It was up to James, then, to do his part. And did he ever.

During the ball’s brief dalliance with Irving, James took five steps in the direction of the basket and then, leveraging his left foot against the court, James launched himself skyward, soaring up and at least equal to the rim.

As he flew, James twisted his torso and reached back with his right hand past the edge of the backboard, corralling the ball, and then he fired it though the hoop with a breathtaking combination of equal parts improbability, power, force and grace.

It was the play of The 2016 Finals thus far, a moment tailor-made to immediately go viral and embed itself in our brains for posterity as one of the signature plays of the 2016 postseason, if not James’ career.

***

But James and Irving weren’t the only one who did great work on the possession. As LeBron stole the ball and turned toward his basket, sitting a few hundred feet away and a couple of rows up in an arena seat in Quicken Loans Arena’s Section 106, Jesse Garrabrant was also preparing to try and create a different type of NBA Finals history.

A photographer for NBA Photos since 1994, Garrabrant lives on the New Jersey shore and shoots every Philadelphia 76ers home game. As the playoffs build toward an ultimate finish, NBA Photos brings all hands on deck to cover every game from every angle. In Cleveland for Game 3, Garrabrant rigged multiple remote controlled cameras around Quicken Loans Arena, which he could control from a button in his seat in Section 106. While Garrabrant could make the cameras click, he wasn’t actually looking down the viewfinders as the shutter snapped. So Garrabrant was, quite literally, firing blind.

“You want to take chances and if it works, there’s a big bonus,” said Garrabrant a day later. “You get a guy like LeBron who can create an incredible play, and if he’s in the exact right spot, it can totally work. At the same time, it could have also completely struck out, especially when you’re doing directional lighting like that.”

The lighting Garrabrant referred to is a special technique known as “spotlighting.” Garrabrant’s remote cameras for Game 3 were geared to take advantage of this method, which can give action photos a dramatic flair, adding depth and richness. But again, with the reward came a risk. “The lighting covers the paint,” Garrabrant explained, “because that’s where the majority of the action happens. LeBron is going to go to the hole sometime, and you just hope the lighting is going to cover it.”

For Game 3, Garrabrant had a camera clamped to the edge of the set ESPN uses for their live pre-and postgame broadcasts, which is assembled on a platform in a corner of The Q, near Section 113. Unless you looked closely, you wouldn’t notice Garrabrant’s camera. Luckily for the rest of us, this camera saw everything. As it turned out, this was the ultimate angle, from which Garrabrant captured the photo you see at the top of this post.

Within seconds of James’ dunk, Garrabrant’s picture was made available for download via NBA Photos on Getty Images, and it quickly started popping up all over social media. It was tweeted and re-tweeted and shared tens of thousands of times, as fans and other media members expressed their amazement. ESPN’s Don Van Natta tweeted that it was the picture of the year. It “belongs in the damn Louvre,” noted Mashable’s Sam Laird.

***

While the rest of us marveled over Garrabrant’s image of James’ Game 3 dunk, Garrabrant’s mind drifted back to 2008. As it turned out, Garrabrant may have been the perfect person to capture this dunk from this player from this angle, particularly when you consider he’d done almost exactly the same thing before.

“[James] had almost the same dunk in the ’08 Conference semifinals against Kevin Garnett, in the same spot on the court,” recalled Garrabrant. “Same angle, he threw it the same way, everything, except this was an alley-oop and that one was just him driving to the basket. I shot that game and I got the same angle on that particular dunk.”

CLEVELAND - MAY 12: LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers dunks over Kevin Garnett #5 of the Boston Celtics in Game Four of the 2008 NBA Eastern Conference Semifinals on May 12, 2008 at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright: 2008 NBAE (Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE/Getty Images)

(Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE/Getty Images)

We may live in an age where video is increasingly available, streaming at us almost inexorably every time we open a browser window. But there’s still something magical about the perfect photo, which freezes a moment in time in a way that we never want to forget.

Following Game 3, Kyrie Irving was asked about his pass to James on the play. “I wanted to see something great,” Irving said. “I threw it very, very… you know, some people may say it’s a bad pass, but I wanted to see something great.”

At least on this night, we all got to see something great.

Thirty seconds of Warriors history

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — Tonight the Golden State Warriors try to win their third game on their quest for back-to-back NBA titles. While the Dubs are currently flying high, they have a long, rich history including 54 years in The Bay. This video from the Warriors celebrates that history…

DeMarcus Cousins plays golf with Kings coach Dave Joerger

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — Sacramento Kings center DeMarcus Cousins is one of the most talented young post players in the NBA, and the Kings have spent the last few seasons trying to capitalize on their talented young core. Their latest move came this summer, as they hired former Memphis Grizzlies coach Dave Joerger. And from the looks of Cousins’ Instagram account, Joerger and Cousins are trying to build some chemistry even though the season is months away. Cousins posted a couple of videos of the duo at Top Golf in what looks like Las Vegas, working on their swings…

Who's better?

A video posted by DeMarcus Cousins (@boogiecousins) on

Who's better?

A video posted by DeMarcus Cousins (@boogiecousins) on

Stephen Curry plays a video game on the bench

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — There are times when the Golden State Warriors offense starts really humming, when the ball is flying around from player to player in search of an open shot, that the Warriors’ offense can look like something out of a video game. Last night against the Cavaliers, for instance, as the Warriors were on their way to a 33-point win, there were a few moments when the Golden State offense looked like someone was controlling them from the sideline. And actually, upon a closer examination of Steph Curry on the bench, perhaps that’s exactly what was happening…

https://platform.vine.co/static/scripts/embed.js

Neymar attends the NBA Finals

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — With a little bit of downtime on his hands before his home country hosts the 2016 Summer Olympics, Brazilian soccer star Neymar showed up last night in Oakland to take in Game 2 of the NBA Finals. He spent some time with his countrymen Leandro Barbosa and Anderson Varejao, and got to hang with the Splash Brothers, Klay Thompson and Stephen Curry, as well. Neymar also brought along a gift from his club team, FC Barcelona…