Gordon Hayward says he is the “best in the game”

Utah Jazz Media Day

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — Whenever an NBA player is asked if he believes he is better than another player, there’s no graceful way to answer the question. If the player says that yes, he’s the best, then people accuse of him of unbridled egotism. If he says he’s not the best, then people wonder why he doesn’t have enough confidence.

This latter scenario won’t be an issue for Utah’s Gordon Hayward, who in a post on his official website comes right out and announces that he’s “the best in the game.”

Well, almost. Here it is in Gordon’s words…

I know this sounds like bragging. That’s because it is. I’m so confident in my abilities that I would put money on myself, hypothetically speaking.

One on one versus LeBron James? He would get crushed. We would all be witnesses to a straight up annihilation.

The reigning MVP, Kevin Durant? I’m LOLing. Go ahead and put him with Russell Westbrook. Throw Blake Griffin, Chris Paul and Dwight Howard in there, just for kicks. They’d still have no chance.

Honestly, take any five NBA players you want and put them on the same squad. It doesn’t really matter. I’d beat them all. It would be like playing a bunch of kindergartners.

I repeat: I’m the best in the game. And probably in all the other major sports, too.

No athlete on earth is as good at League of Legends as I am.

Just so you didn’t miss it, Hayward is saying no NBA player is as good as he is…at the video game League of Legends.

Hey, you can’t say he’s not confident. Now we just need to find out if there’s another NBA player who’s actually as good at League of Legends.

San Antonio Spurs to give away replica championship rings

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — Last week while we were in Chicago on the Hang Time Road Trip, our co-host, Rick Fox, suddenly produced his three NBA championship rings. He gave one each to Sekou and myself to wear for a video we were shooting, and so Sekou and I temporarily put a ring on it.

The truth is, I was so nervous the entire time I had that ring on that I was not comfortable at all, and I couldn’t wait to give it back to Rick. Championship rings are one of the most prized possessions in sports, and while I was proud of Rick for winning a handful, I wanted nothing to do with being in charge of one of those things, even for ten minutes.

Now if it was a replica ring? Oh yeah, sure, hand it over. Which is exactly how the Spurs are celebrating their home opener this season in San Antonio. Every fan attending the Spurs/Mavs game on October 28 will receive a replica championship ring.

According to the Spurs, “The commemorative NBA Championship rings feature the iconic Spur logo on the front and the team’s 2013-14 regular and post-season records above the NBA logo on the left panel. The opposite panel is etched with a replica of the Larry O’Brien trophy with five studs, representing each of the Spurs’ five championships. The giveaway is limited to one commemorative ring per ticketed guest and is ONE SIZE ONLY for all.”

commemorative_championship_ring_1

We saw some cool giveaways from the Grizzlies, but this one might take the prize…

(via TNLP)

Knicks create elaborate tribute to Pharrell

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — Sometimes everything just comes together perfectly. Take, for instance, the Knicks’ locker room following their game on Saturday against the Celtics. The Knicks won the game, so you might think they’d be relatively happy. But when Carmelo Anthony stepped up to face the media, he was stone-faced, not letting his emotions show. The one fun thing about Melo was his hat, an oversized fedora that was a bit reminiscent of the huge hat the singer/producer Pharrell has been wearing lately.

So perhaps it was the hat, or perhaps it was something completely unrelated, but for some reason while Melo spoke to the media, from another part of the locker room Knicks guard Iman Shumpert broke into a pitch-perfect version of Pharrell’s “Happy.” The juxtaposition of the whole thing is just wonderful…


VIDEO: Melo Happy

Hey, I’d be happy if I was Shumpert, too, considering he’s throwing down dunks like this in the preseason…

WellgroomedWeeklyGreatwhiteshark

LeBron and the Cavs workout on the beach

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — One of the toughest parts about working out is the actual working out. I know that sounds simple, but with a busy day and things to do at work and at home, it can be hard to find an hour in the day to go hit the gym.

But what if your gym was on one of the most beautiful beaches in the world? And by that I mean, like, literally on the sand on the beach? Because with the Cleveland Cavaliers in Rio de Janeiro for the NBA Global Games, LeBron James and some of his Cavs teammates decided to just go work out directly on the beach.

Hey, I was in Cleveland just last week. The weather there was nothing like the weather in this video, so I can’t say i blame LeBron and the Cavs. If you’ve got it, use it…


VIDEO: Beach workout

(via B/R)

Bulls haze rookie McDermott in unique way

2014 NBA Rookie Photo Shoot

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — One of the first stops we made on the Hang Time Road trip was in Chicago, where we visited a Bulls shootaround early that morning. While we were there, I bumped into veteran NBA guard Aaron Brooks, who the Bulls brought in this season to provide backcourt depth. That night, when the Bulls took on the Wizards, we saw rookie Doug McDermott get some playing time, and noticed that he was an instant crowd favorite.

When I didn’t expect, however, was that Brooks and McDermott were already familiar with each other, in a very odd way. These two tweets really tell the entire story…

But let’s give McDermott some credit for not just letting this go, and instead giving Brooks a taste of his own medicine…

Ronnie Price employs novel defensive strategy

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — During last night’s Lakers/Warriors game, Lakers guard Ronnie Price had a little equipment problem: While driving to the basket, Warriors defender Andre Iguodala stepped on Price’s shoe, causing it to pop off Price’s foot. As Iguodala made the steal and sprinted the other direction, Price grabbed his shoe and did, in the moment, perhaps the only thing he could really do: He threw the shoe at Igoudala. He picked up a technical foul on the play, sure, but he did also stop the fast break.


VIDEO: Price Shoe

Damian Lillard makes most impressive assist yet


VIDEO: Lillard proposal

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — If you aren’t yet married but think that might be something you’d be interested in, here’s a pro tip: Just asking someone to marry you may not be enough. How you ask someone to marry you is just as important as the actual ask. Sure, some people come up with elaborate schemes to surprise their significant other, while other people appeal to sentiment and romance.

And then there’s this dude in Portland, who came up with a novel plan: Have Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard help him put a ring on it. Before last night’s preseason game, Lillard strolls up to the couple courtside and hands over the engagement ring, which obviously caught the man’s girlfriend off-guard. Nicely done by all…

Hang Time Road Trip — Day 5 and 6

HANGTIME_PASSENGER

By Lang Whitaker

NEW YORK CITY — Day Five and Day six of the Hang Time Road Trip are getting their own post, because at this point we’re on the way home and almost done with this whole thing.

Let’s start on the morning of Day 5. It was a beautiful day in NYC, and we were lucky enough to have the morning off before having some afternoon responsibilities. I spent the previous night at my home in NYC, so I got up and hopped in a car and rolled out to Tarrytown, New York to meet up with the Hang Time Road Trip crew, who had spent the night in a hotel.

Around noon we finally boarded the bus and hit a local diner for lunch, and then showed up at the Knicks practice facility out in Tarrytown. Whenever the bus would make a stop, Rick and Sekou and I would put together all the souveneirs we’d accumulated for the little table in the middle of the bus where we conducted interviews. So we started grabbing bobbleheads, flags, foam fingers, bags, all kinds of stuff. And the Knicks gifted us with a Carmelo Anthony and Clyde Frazier bobblehead to add to our collection.

Before long, Phil Jackson got on the bus. He’s still new at his current gig as President of the Knicks, but he’s got a rich history in New York, including winning two titles as a player with the Knicks back in the ’70s. He had also a rich history with our crew, as the former coach of our own Rick Fox. It was really cool to chat with Phil and talk Knicks and their fans and the expectations around the team.


VIDEO: Phil Jackson talks about the Knicks’ fan base and communication

Not long after Phil left, we were joined by new Knicks coach Derek Fisher, who played with Rick on some of those Lakers teams. Fish was impressive, laying out his coaching philosophy and his vision for his team. As he left he autographed the basketballs we’ve had everyone who came on the bus sign, and I asked him if it was tough to not add his number at the bottom of his signature. He said it was — he’d spent decades signing his name with his number underneath it, and now, he said, he had to make himself pause each time to remember not to put a number on there.


VIDEO: Derek Fisher breaks down upcoming season as coach

When we finished with the Knicks, Rick had to go into the city to do a radio hit to promote our Hang Time Road Trip show that will air
next week (Wednesday night at 10 ET!). Sekou and I rode with him because we’re a team like that, and we piled into a car and headed for Manhattan. And once we were in the car, it didn’t take long for Sekou to knock out.

Once in the city, Rick did a few segments on the Michael Kay show while Sekou and I sat around the control room…

The bus was on its way to Secaucus, New Jersey, where the rest of the crew was gonna grab dinner, so we found a little diner right next to the studio and grabbed a bite to eat. (Also, while we were at dinner, Rick knocked over a glass of water all over my phone. Somehow it survived unscathed.) After dinner we rode out to Secaucus, where the crew had just finished dinner and was walking back to the bus. They met us there and we headed south.

But an hour after we left, we stopped at a truck stop to refuel. While our driver, Tom Cat, dealt with the gas, Rick modeled the latest in truck stop fashion…

We got back in the bus and found the Lakers/Warriors game on NBA TV, and kicked back and talked and laughed and watched TV and laughed. Just after midnight I crawled into my bunk for the evening.

I slept great, and woke up feeling well-rested with the bus driving slowly, so I figured we were at our destination. I got out of my bunk and walked to the front of the bus and realized it was still dark, and then noticed it was still 3:15 a.m.

Around 7:30 a.m., our super producer Gregg Waigand woke me to tell me we had reached Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Because there were no NBA games on the East Coast — well, Charlotte and Washington play tonight, but we we’ve already seen both of them play. So we decided to hit UNC, where Rick played his college ball. We stopped and showered at a hotel,grabbed some breakfast, then hustled over to the UNC basketball offices, where they rolled out the Carolina blue carpet for us.

Coach Roy Williams came out and met us, and walked us through their facilities and out onto the court. He’d actually recruited Rick years ago, so we talked about that, and talked about UNC and their long history of sending players to the NBA. We also ran into assistant coach Hubert Davis, who was Rick’s roommate for three years when they were in school.

After our tour we grabbed lunch downtown and then walked around the campus some, where Rick and I put our Vine skills to work…

We finished up our time in Chapel Hill by filming the closing of our show, and then, for the final time, we boarded the bus and headed home. And of course, someone fell asleep immediately.

There are a ton of stories to tell from this trip, which has been outstanding, but really I’d say just watch the special next week on NBA TV to get the entire tale. As for me? We’re almost home, and I need a nap. Later…

NBA wants ‘Everybody Up’ for 2014-15


VIDEO: Everybody Up

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — If there was any doubt remaining that the NBA is now a worldwide sport, you can let that go. The NBA’s new ad campaign for the 2013-14 season is called “Everybody Up,” and the campaign celebrates the NBA’s global community, calling on fans around the world to get up and show their team spirit for the season ahead while featuring all 30 teams.

“We are all united by our love of the game, and the new ‘Everybody Up’ campaign captures the passion, dedication and endless contributions of the global NBA community,” NBA Chief Marketing Officer Pam El said in a news release. “With tremendous momentum heading into the season, we look forward to engaging both our avid and casual fans like never before.”

You can check out is the campaign’s first spot up above. This ad called “Roll Call,” is narrated by Common and debuts on TV during the NBA Global Games Rio 2014 preseason contest between the Miami Heat and Cleveland Cavaliers on Saturday, Oct. 11. The game will air live at 5 p.m. ET on ESPNEWS.

The music in the spot is from the legendary Ray Charles‘ (“What’d I Say Pt. I & II”) and the hyper-edited footage showcases the expansive NBA community — players, coaches, team staff, arena employees, fans, and families, among others. Throughout the season, spots will air nationally on ESPN, TNT, ABC, and NBA TV. Additionally, the commercial will run on regional sports networks, league and team social media platforms, in-arena and internationally.

Hang Time Road Trip — Day 4

HANGTIME_PASSENGER

By Lang Whitaker

NEW YORK CITY — Day Four of the Hang Time Road Trip is in the books, and man, it was quite a day.

We were supposed to arrive in Philadelphia early in the morning, with enough time to for all of us to take showers and clean up before we headed to the Wells Fargo Center to bank some more interviews. But because of an accident on the Pennsylvania turnpike, we spent an few hours stuck in traffic and rolled into our hotel in Philly with barely any time to spare. So Sekou Smith, Rick Fox and I ran in and grabbed some showers, while the crew did their best to get clean with whatever options were available to them. Here, our super producer Gregg Waigand brushed up in the parking lot.

We then hustled over to the Wells Fargo Center, where, for the first time all week, the sun blessed with us an uninterrupted presence. After the early winter in Cleveland and Chicago and the rain in Indianapolis, it felt awesome to just spend a few seconds basking in the sun.