Posts Tagged ‘Amir Johnson’

Amir Johnson takes fans to Medieval Times

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — Toronto Raptors center Amir Johnson is one of my favorite people in the NBA, because he honestly and openly is thankful for his fans. Earlier this season, for instance, Johnson showed up at a Toronto record store and bought all the Drake albums and handed them out to fans.

For a few seasons now, Johnson has put together occasional events he calls “I Roll With Amir,” where he covers the cost for group of Raptors to catch a game and then grab a meal or hang out with him. This year, though, Johnson really went all out, taking 70 of his biggest fans last night to a Toronto-area Medieval Times restaurant, one night after giving them tickets to the Raptors/Sixers game. As Johnson told the Toronto Star

“It’s just a token of appreciation for my fans because we have the greatest fans in the world,” Johnson said before the show began, a black velvet cape trimmed with gold threads and sparkles draped around his hulking frame. “The fans are what makes our team.”

He picked Medieval Times for this year’s party because he has fond memories of coming to the show as a child.

“It looked a lot bigger when I was a kid,” said Johnson, now six-foot-nine.

Here are some images of Amir’s big night/knight out…

The 2013-14 All Ball YOLO All-Stars

j.r.-tucker

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — If there’s one thing I’ve learned from attending a dozen All-Star Weekends, it’s that at its core, All-Star Weekend is about the fans. The fans actually select the starting line-ups, and fans travel from near and far to hit up Jam Session and All-Star Saturday Night and the Rising Stars Challenge and, of course, all the parties.

In some broader sense, the All-Star Game is about recognizing the best players from each conference. Sure, there are a couple of rim-rattling dunks and the occasional long-range shot that falls. And if you’re lucky, really lucky, the game is close down the stretch, and then everyone’s competitive juices kick in and you might just get a memorable finale. The main purposes of most participants in the actual All-Star Game? They wear funky uniforms, get a little run in, hang out with their buddies, and then they go back to their own teams for the stretch run and the Playoffs.

But that’s not why I’m watching the All-Star Game. And I think most people tuning in or even attending All-Star are looking to have a similar question answered: Are we not entertained? No matter what the Fun Police tell you, at All-Star weekend, nobody is looking at efficiency stats or plus/minus ratings. We want to see Shaq playing point guard. We want to see Gilbert Arenas joining the Elvis impersonators and dunking off of a trampoline. Simply put: We want the All-Star Game — and the entire weekend, really — to be fun.

So you can argue all you want about who does and who doesn’t deserve to be named to the actual Eastern and Western Conference All-Star teams. Instead, I present to you my annual YOLO All-Stars. (If you didn’t know, YOLO is an acronym for You Only Live Once.) These are the guys who deserve to be All-Stars based on my own vague All Ball Blog criteria. I considered all of the following elements: hilarity; social media proficiency; general swag; likelihood the player will do something memorable; dunking/dribbling/shooting ability; previous Shaqtin’ A Fool appearances; mentions on the All Ball Blog.

To be clear, those categories are listed in no particular order, with no importance or weight to any given specific category. These are just the players I think it would be fun to see in an All-Star Game. If we want to be entertained, these are the players that will give it to us. Meet your 2013-14 NBA YOLO All-Stars…

EASTERN CONFERENCE
Starters
C – Roy Hibbert, Indiana Pacers — Always a blast on Twitter, and a man who appreciates good humor.
F – Chris Bosh, Miami Heat — Will be in charge of all videobombing.
F – LeBron James, Miami Heat — Not only is he a force on Twitter, which is good enough to qualify for the YOLO All-Stars, but he’s also the reigning MVP, so that wins him an invite.
G – J.R. Smith, New York Knicks — In the YOLO All-Star Game, untying shoes will be encouraged.
G – Kyrie Irving, Cleveland Cavaliers — UNCLE DREW!

Bench
Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee Bucks — The Greek Freak is perhaps the most unconventional athlete in the league, so you never know what he’s going to pull off next. He also loves smoothies, and with the All-Star Game being played in the newly-named Smoothie King Center, what could be more perfect?
Amir Johnson, Toronto Raptors — One of my favorites on social media.
Andray Blatche, Brooklyn Nets — Eurostep!
Andre Drummond, Detroit Pistons — Will be in charge of Vine videos throughout the weekend.
Metta World Peace, New York Knicks — Still the best.
Lance Stephenson, Indiana Pacers — He may not have made the actual All-Star Game, but I can’t knock his hustle. Besides, he dunked on a ref, which is awesome.
Kevin Seraphin, Washington Wizards — Anyone with a pet snake named Snakey and a skeleton that rides a Segway is a lifetime YOLO All-Star.

WESTERN CONFERENCE
Starters
C – Robin Lopez, Portland Trail Blazers — He’s a nerd and he’s proud of it.
F – Kevin Love, Minnesota Timberwolves — We’ll have him making coffee for everyone.
F – Kevin Durant, Oklahoma City Thunder — If LeBron is on the East, we might as well put KD on the West.
G – Jamal Crawford, Los Angeles Clippers — My favorite dribbler in the NBA.
G – James Harden, Houston Rockets — The beard is fun on its own, but Harden’s also made a heavy push into social media the last few years. Maybe he can perform at halftime.

Bench
Nick Young, Los Angeles Lakers — You can’t have a YOLO game without Swaggy P.
Damian Lillard, Portland Trailblazers — Founder of #4BarFriday.
Tony Allen, Memphis Grizzlies — Perhaps my favorite NBA player to challenge his team owner to a game of one-on-one.
Matt Bonner, San Antonio Spurs — Broken nose and all, Bonner is always entertaining.
Harrison Barnes, Golden State Warriors — Always a candidate to dunk on someone. Or to review an episode of “Breaking Bad.”
DeMarcus Cousins, Sacramento Kings — Hard not to select someone who’s nickname is “Boogie.”
JaVale McGee, Denver Nuggets (Injured) — Really the perfect player for this game.
Nate Robinson, Denver Nuggets (Injured) — Go long, Nate will throw you the pineapple.

So there’s my YOLO All-Stars. Who would you put on your YOLO All-Star team? Let us know below in the comments!

Drake Handles Toronto Raptors Introductions

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — The Toronto Raptors have been utilizing their newly formalized relationship with hip-hop star Drake in various ways, but over the weekend they had their very first “Drake Night.” This meant things like Drake taking over the team’s Instagram account so he could show off the custom old-school Raptors suit lining on his jacket…

Drake also wore a Raptors t-shirt in his OVO Brand colors of black and gold, just in case you were wondering what the Raptors might look like if they do, in fact, change their team colors

But perhaps my favorite aspect of Drake Night was when Drake introduced the Raptors on the public address system. How often do you hear a PA guy refer to a player as “a good friend of mine?” (Then again, Drake has good reason to be friendly to Amir Johnson.)


VIDEO: Drake Intros Raptors

Amir Johnson Walks Like A Zombie

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — Last year was Raptors center Amir Johnson‘s first time taking part in a Toronto tradition, the Zombie Walk, in which people dress like the un-dead and stagger through the streets of downtown Toronto. Because he wanted to do it the right way, Johnson went out and hired a professional makeup artist to transform him into a frightful zombie, as we can see in the video below from last season’s festivities…
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VIDEO: Amir Johnson walks like a zombie in 2012

Having apparently enjoyed last year’s experience of waking like a zombie, Johnson recently again joined a crew of half-humans and wandered the streets of Toronto, as we can see from his Instagram account…

Amir Johnson Really Likes Drake

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — The Raptors started from the bottom, now they’re here. And earlier this week, one of the music world’s most popular artists, Drake, dropped his newest album, Nothing Was The Same. Drake, who hails from Canada, has been getting well-wishes from across the NBA for the release, such as this note from, oh, this LeBron James guy, who posted the album cover and wrote in the caption, “Congrats fam with this project. I know how much work u put into it and to see it all come together like this is incredible!! We’ll celebrate it when it goes Platinum for sure!!!”

But is anyone a bigger Drake fan than Toronto Raptors C Amir Johnson? Over a year ago, Johnson posted to Instagram a shot of his late night hoops crew working out at the Raptors training facility, a group that included not only Drake but Justin Bieber as well…

This week, to celebrate Drake’s new record release, Johnson went to two record stores in Toronto and bought every copy of the album…

And what’s a man to do with thousands of copies of Drake’s CD? How about give them away to fans who show up at the store…

Good on you, Amir.

(via FTW)

Amir Johnson Loses Tug Of War To Elephant

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — Our unofficial social media MVP, Toronto Raptors center Amir Johnson, has been on what seems to be a vacation in Thailand the last few days. He posted a photo a few days ago of himself perched atop an elephant. And it’s not just any animal that can make the 7-foot-tall Johnson seem small…

Later, he went one-on-one against an elephant on the basketball court …

And finally, Johnson joined a group of people in match of tug of war against an elephant. Amir took the all-important “anchor” position at the back of the line, but as he hashtagged the photo, “didnthaveAchance”…

(via TBL)

Amir Johnson Competes In Karaoke Competition

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — We’ve talked before about Toronto Raptors C Amir Johnson being our (unofficial) social media MVP, and just because it’s the summer doesn’t mean he’s taking any time off. He has already, for instance, visited Disneyland and taken the requisite roller coaster photos, where he, as always, kept it cool.

This week we get a video that involves Amir and a couple of other athletes who ply their trade in Canada, including hockey’s P.K. Subban and baseball’s J.P. Arencibia. (And shoutout to my main man Cabbie, hosting.)

The trio of athletes are working for Kit Kat, as part of a series of videos trying to tell us something or other about new flavors (or flavours) of their chunky candy bars. (To be fair, I think I’ll need to test all these flavors to be the judge of that.)

Anyway, to decide who reps the best flavor between them, the guys take to the karaoke stage. Which means one thing: The Amirettes.
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Amir Johnson Throws First Pitch, Asks For Do-Over

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — Part of what I do each week during the season on NBA TV’s “The Jump,” is I keep a focused eye on the NBA’s Social Media scene. Tweets, viral videos, Instagram posts — all of these are things that I constantly consume in order to find the best and brightest.

Last season, Toronto forward/center Amir Johnson emerged as a force on the NBA Social Media scene, so much so that by the end of the season I was referring to him on air as the NBA’s “Social Media MVP.” It wasn’t just that Amir was active on all these different fronts, it was that he obviously put thought and planning behind his posts, in order to ensure all the content he put out on the Internet was entertaining and interesting.

A few months back I got the chance to sit down with Amir and talk about his season both on and off the floor…
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So it should come as no surprise to those of us who monitor such things that Amir’s latest viral adventure is just about perfect: It’s funny, it’s cringe-worthy, it has real drama. And it may or may not have a redemptive ending…
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(via @iamamirjohnson)

Raptors Take A Liking To Serge Ibaka

by Zettler Clay IV

The Oklahoma City Thunder beat the Toronto Raptors earlier, 104-92. Kevin Durant scored…blah, blah, blah. KD and Russell Westbrook’s daily/nightly heroics are never not appreciated around here. It’s just that — from the vantage point of this observer — the game didn’t belong to them.

It belonged to the Raptors and Serge Ibaka. To wit, how many times have you seen Ibaka posterized twice in a game?



Ibaka got over just a bit late and Amir Johnson gladly made him pay.

And then in the fourth quarter:


To add insult to injury, Ibaka was on the wrong side of a four-point play:


I’m sure Ibaka (19 points, eight rebounds) would take the win, but I’m also sure he’d rather not get doubly posterized and four-point played in the process.

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Amir Johnson Gets Late Christmas Gift

by Zettler Clay IV

The refs decided to get a bit generous in last night’s Raptors-Blazers game. Presented without further comment:



This has been quite an interesting season for Amir Johnson, to say the least.