NBA training camps have convened, exhibition games are underway, and we all know what that means: The return of MUSCLEWATCH.
Before we get to the muscles, what, you may ask, is MUSCLEWATCH? Basically, it began decades ago when my friend Matt and I noticed our local paper would always report that players had gained 15 pounds of MUSCLE in the off-season. No matter the sport, it was never 12 pounds, never 16, never 9, never 18, but it always seemed to be “15 pounds of muscle.” So we began keeping an eye on the papers looking for references to the magic 15 pounds of MUSCLE. Eventually, MUSCLEWATCH became about more than just the “15 pounds of muscle” and more about guys who had either gained or lost a lot of weight. Previous winners include Thaddeus Young and Rudy Gay.
And remember, MUSCLEWATCH cannot be successful without your help. The most effective way to let us here at MUSCLEWATCH HQ know if you see any MUSCLEWATCH news is to tweet and use the hashtag #MUSCLEWATCH.
Also, for what it’s worth, we need numbers. If you’re going to be vague, that’s not MUSCLEWATCH. I’m talking to you, Bulls GM Gar Forman…
Forman on Rose: "Physically, he looks terrific." #MuscleWatch?
ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — What can’t New Orleans Pelicans big man Anthony Davis do? Seems like there’s nothing he can’t do, if you’ve seen him play. And maybe that list of things he can do should extend to bending the laws of nature.
In this photo shoot for Red Bull, Anthony Davis posed for a bunch of photos for photographer Dustin Snipes, who managed to make these images without the use of Photoshop or any other computer tricks. (Snipes explains some of the behind-the-scenes technical challenges they faced here.)
ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — The leaves are going from green to shades of red and gold and brown, as summer drifts into fall and the weather becomes more accommodating. But that doesn’t mean MUSCLEWATCH stops. Because MUSCLEWATCH never stops.
Before we get to the muscles, what, you may ask, is MUSCLEWATCH? Basically, it began decades ago when my friend Matt and I noticed our local paper would always report that players had gained 15 pounds of MUSCLE in the offseason. No matter the sport, it was never 12 pounds, never 16, never 9, never 18, but seemed to always be 15 pounds of muscle. So we began keeping an eye on the papers looking for references to the magic 15 pounds of MUSCLE. Eventually, MUSCLEWATCH became about more than just the 15 pounds of muscle and more about guys who had either gained or lost a lot of weight. Previous winners include Thad Young and Rudy Gay.
Whenever you come across MUSCLEWATCH news, please let me know! You can either email me via the link in the header above, or you can send me a tweet, and make sure you use the hashtag #MUSCLEWATCH.
I received several MUSCLEWATCH alerts on Twitter the last few days, and with not much news happening around the rest of the NBA, I thought we would check in with another round of MUSCLEWATCH.
• We don’t have any exact information here, but someone tweeted me a picture of Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade post-workout, with Bosh looking surprisingly muscular…
• The New Orleans Pelicans have always embraced MUSCLEWATCH, so let’s thank them for this recent article about Anthony Davis putting on a dozen pounds. It doesn’t specify whether this is muscle or something else, but considering the accompanying photos feature Davis pumping iron, let’s assume it’s MUSCLE…
• Toronto’s Kyle Lowry apparently felt the need to take some weight off, and he’s posed for a few photos showing off a more slender physique…
ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — New Orleans big man Anthony Davis was a guest last night on “The Late Late Show with James Corden,” and he admitted that while he turned down the opportunity to be on “Dancing With The Stars,” he still considers himself a dancer. To that end, Davis got up and tried to teach Corden a few moves. Not bad, AD…
ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — Having a pet can be a full-time job. I have a pet dog, for instance, and I have to feed and walk the dog several times a day. Taking care of a pet is a real commitment, but weighed against how much we love our dog, it’s well worth the effort.
Taking care of a dog is one thing, but what about a marmoset? First of all, what is a marmoset? According to Wikipedia, a marmoset is a species of monkey that is usually about 8 inches long. It is also a monkey that many people keep as a pet.
One month ago, New Orleans Pelicans big man Anthony Davis posted a photo on Instagram of a marmoset, with the caption (apparently the name of the monkey), “Meek!”
There was no further explanation given, however. Until now. This weekend, Bleacher Report’s Ric Bucher apparently came across the marmoset at Las Vegas Summer League, and was able to reveal a little more detail…
For what it’s worth, Davis isn’t the first NBA player to have a pet monkey. Years ago when he played for the Miami Heat, Mike Miller had a pet monkey named Sonny.
Fernando Medina /NBAE/Getty Images
I don’t know whether or not Sonny is still part of the Miller household, but once upon a time, as the Washington Post reported, Sonny did provide a classic NBA story…
Sonny had his own bedroom, but “I didn’t have no kids, so he got to post up wherever he wanted,” Miller said. He would get food from the fridge whenever he was hungry; grapes were a particular favorite. He loved playing billiards, though “he wouldn’t use a pool stick, he’d just throw the balls,” Miller said. “He had a nice jumper, too,” he added, though he said he was joking about that. But at this point, I wasn’t totally sure what was a joke or what wasn’t. Like, the oft-told tale about when Miller got a phone call saying his monkey was on the loose?
“Oh yeah, that was a trip,” Miller said. “You would always put him in his room, and then we’d lock the door, and then we’d put the dogs out, and then we’d lock the front door. Well, he found out how to unlock doors, unlocked his door, went downstairs, let the dogs in the house and opened the front door. About an hour later we got a call from our neighbors, saying, ‘Your monkey is riding your dogs around the neighborhood.’…I said, ‘C’mon y’all, y’all got to get in the house.”
ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — It took them almost every minute of every game, but last night the New Orleans Pelicans beat the San Antonio Spurs and qualified for the NBA playoffs. This was cause for celebration, and while the Pelicans celebrated on the court, they were able to cut loose a bit more in this video from inside the locker room, which also includes coach Monty Williams’ congratulatory speech as well as their postgame prayer. Great stuff…
ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — One of the most exciting players in the NBA this season has been New Orleans big man Anthony Davis, who has one of the most versatile games the NBA has seen in years. Davis may be able to do many different things, but one thing he hasn’t done — yet, at least — is post a quadruple-double: racking up double figures in points, rebounds, assists and blocks or steals in the same game.
This is has only happened four times in the NBA since the league began tracking blocks and steals in 1973. Twenty-five years ago tomorrow, one of those instances happened, when Houston’s Hakeem Olajuwon went for 18 points, 16 rebounds, 10 assists and 11 blocks against the Milwaukee Bucks. How dominant was Hakeem back then? Earlier that month, he had a game with 29 points, 18 boards, 11 blocks and 9 assists.
So while Hakeem’s old Houston Rockets franchise plays a national TV game tomorrow against the Washington Wizards (12:30 p.m. EST on ABC), and we can watch Dwight Howard and Marcin Gortat man the middle for these teams, but check out these highlights of Hakeem dominating twenty-five years ago…
ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — Tonight in New Orleans, for their game against the Boston Celtics, the New Orleans Pelicans will celebrate ’80s Night. I’m not sure how this will be manifested during the game — slower tempo? worse statistical analysis? — but they Pelicans are getting people fired up for ’80s Night with this video showing some of the players, including Ryan Anderson and Anthony Davis, getting their ’80s on to the smooth sounds of Technotronic’s “Pump Up The Jam”…
Anthony Davis has done it all for the Pelicans in this very impressive breakout season … well, almost everything, until Friday night. Scoring, rebounds, blocked shots, steals, assists? The only thing missing from his resume in 2014-15 was a buzzer-beater, and that was signed, sealed and delivered in the nick of time to bail out the Pelicans and, more importantly, keep the Thunder at bay in the race for one of the final playoff spots in the West.
Yes, it was only fitting that his first buzzer-beater happened in a big moment and a big game. The Pelicans came to OKC with a one-game lead over the Thunder for ninth place, and this was designated, at least by folks in OKC, as the game in which the Thunder would make their move in the standings. They used much of the last two months digging out of a tough start this season caused mainly by injuries to Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. With the season nearly two-thirds over, time is of the essence, not only for OKC but New Orleans, since both are sitting on the playoff bubble.
Something had to give … and did with no time left on the clock.
Davis isn’t the first player you’d choose to shoot the ball from 3-point range. Actually, what was he doing so far away from the basket, with the score tied? A more reasonable spot for Davis would be near the basket for a tip-in off the inbounds pass. Oh, well. He was checked closely by Durant, but wiggled free and took the pass from Tyreke Evans with 1.2 seconds left. Davis was moving to his left from the top of the key, then leaped in the air, hanging about a split-second longer than Durant. He double-clutched just to make sure and created just enough air space to release a shot beyond the reach of Durant. Not many big man are athletic enough to pull off the mid-air gymnastics that Davis did. The game-winner was Davis’ first made 3-pointer since March of last season and only his third career make in 24 tries. You know what’ll happen this March? Davis turns 22.
The Pelicans nearly choked this game away. Evans missed a pair of free throws on New Orleans’ next to last possession that could’ve iced the game. And then, up three points, Quincy Pondexter ran out to guard Westbrook beyond the three-point stripe, which is really a defensive sin. Pondexter couldn’t stop his momentum and made contact with Westbrook, who released the shot quickly, on the way down. Westbrook had a monster night with a career-high 48 points with 9 rebounds and 11 assists (after scoring 45 points against these same Pelicans his previous game), and calmly hit all three free throws to tie the game with 1.2 ticks left.
Davis finished with 41 points and 10 rebounds in the 116-113 win and, as we already mentioned, the Pelicans are in a fight with OKC and the Suns for the eighth spot, which Phoenix is clinging to at the moment. OKC and the Pelicans met two nights earlier in New Orleans and Westbrook torched the home team in the win. And so: Westbrook scored a combined 93 points in back-to-back games against the Pelicans and OKC only managed a split. The Pelicans are on their best roll of the season, losing only twice since Jan. 19. In their next 12 games, they’ll only see teams with winning records three times. With a soft schedule, it’s the best time for New Orleans to make a strong move. The Pelicans also now hold a 3-1 head-to-head tiebreaker over the Thunder, who have have lost five of their last eight and no doubt hear the clock ticking.
Davis was mobbed by his teammates, with two potential goats, Evans and Pondexter, leading the charge. Seriously, had that shot missed, it would’ve been a long flight out of OKC for two players who only needed to do the right thing to avoid the last second drama.
This shot wasn’t exactly heavy on theatrics, but it did involve Davis, and it was a rare three-pointer from him, and the game carried a fair amount of importance for February. Therefore, the Brow Beater was better than most. We’ll give it four Horrys.
ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — The New Orleans Pelicans have an exciting young team, lead by All-Star starter Anthony Davis, who is just 21 years old. And to make sure the people of New Orleans keep coming out to see them play, the Pelicans have introduced a new ticket plan: For $24, you can get tickets to any three games. Heckuva deal, for sure.
What’s really interesting is how the Pelicans are promoting this deal. We love local ads here at All Ball, and the Pelicans have chosen to recreate an old local ad for this new local ad. According to a press release from the Pelicans…
The spot included Anderson as the lead role, re-creating Frank Trapani’s persona in the original television spot for his store, Frankie & Johnny’s Furniture. Trapani, who stood just 5’ tall compared to Anderson’s 6’10 frame, passed away in July of 2012. Pelicans center Omer Asik and guard Tyreke Evans also make appearances in the series of spots.
Davis, donning a Stetson-looking hat and holding a plastic Mardi Gras cigar, reprised “The Special Man” role originally performed by Lester Love, Sr., a salesman at Frankie & Johnny’s who passed away in 2001.
“It was a lot of fun recreating the ‘Special Man’ commercial and I hope the employees and owners of the store would enjoy us reprising their roles,” said Davis. “At first when I saw it, I thought it was funny, but didn’t really get it. Some of the Pelicans staff who are from here were explaining to us how popular it was and it was fun to see their reactions as we were filming. We hope the fans enjoy it – it was fun for us to do.”
Here’s the Pelicans ad, starring Ryan Anderson, Anthony Davis and Tyreke Evans…