ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — Despite an early exit from the Playoffs, the Brooklyn Nets had a successful inaugural season in their new borough and new arena, the Barclays Center. They may not have been quite as good on the court as they hoped, but at least they came out of the season smelling like roses. Or cologne. Or cotton candy. Or something.
According to a story on DNA Info, the Barclays Center has a “signature scent” being pumped into the air. The smell, “a fresh-smelling fragrance with citrus notes,” is thought to be the work of a company called ScentAir, which exists to change consumer’s aroma experiences. Places like hotel lobbies, fitness clubs and department stores are all fair game, so why wouldn’t sports arenas be as well?
This is more than just lighting a couple of candles or spraying some Febreeze into the air: This is integral to the space, emanating from the air ducts and wafting throughout. And as a person who has spent a great deal of time in the bowels of various arenas over the last dozen years, I have to say that some of these arenas could use a little olfactory upgrade.
We’ve spent a lot of time this postseason spotlighting what players have been sporting off the court. Now it’s time to show some of the best options for fans, straight from the NBA Store. One key aspect of these collections is the ability to transition from the court to your everyday wardrobe.
And a special NBAStore.com offer for our NBA.com readers: For the next two days, receive 10 percent off your order, plus free shipping on any US order. This offer is valid from 5/8 through 5/9 (deal ends @ 11:59pm EST on 5/9). Use promo code NBASTYLE. (Exclusions apply. See website for details.)
Take a look at some of the items we’ve highlighted, and send us your favorites using #NBAstyle.
ALL BALL NERVE CENTER – Stadium Journey is a web site that is dedicated to making “every trip to the ballpark, stadium, or arena the very best it can be.” This is a noble goal, with results that can be incredibly useful to fans interested in attending NBA games in various arenas.
Stadium Journey recently released their 2012-13 NBA Arena rankings, listing the arenas in terms of the overall fan experience while attending a game. Their criteria includes “food and beverage in the arena, overall atmosphere, the neighborhood, the fans, access (which includes parking, traffic, restrooms, and concourses), return on investment, and an “extras” category for any unique or bonus points.”
You can check out the full rankings at the link, but their top five goes like this:
AT&T Center in San Antonio
Staples Center (for a Lakers game)
Amway Center in Orlando
Barclays Center in Brooklyn
Toyota Center in Houston
I have attended games in 25 of the 29 current NBA arenas, but as a media member I don’t get to have the fan experience. (Although if Stadium Journey would like details about the various arena freight elevators, utility closets and media facilities, I’d be glad to chime in.)
But for those of you who’ve been to games in various arenas, please chime in? Where’s your favorite place to experience an NBA game?
ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — As someone who considers himself one of the world’s biggest Atlanta Hawks fans, I spent the better part of the last seven NBA season watching Joe Johnson ply his trade for my Hawks. It wasn’t always highlight central — despite him being 6-7, I’m not sure I ever recall seeing Joe dunk on anyone — but it was incredibly effective and consistent. (Joe played at least 2,500 minutes every season he was with the Hawks but one, and that season was when he missed time with a bum shoulder.) I always appreciated Joe’s professionalism, even if the Hawks never were able to get past the second round of the Playoffs before they traded Joe to Brooklyn.
NBA commissioner David Stern prides himself on the runaway globalism of the NBA—of the League’s vast worldwide reach and appeal. And if you need yet another example of this, check out this remarkable story from Sporting Life Arkansas, which details the life of the Chinese Joe Johnson Fan Club.
Roughly 500 members strong, the Chinese Joe Johnson Fan Club was founded by a man who calls himself Yonsan Johnson (though his birth name was Zhu Yan-Qing) in honor of Joe. Inspired by a random magazine cover, Yonsan latched on to Joe and dedicated himself to being Johnson’s biggest fan. He’d never actually seen Joe play, but it didn’t matter, and before long the Chinese Joe Johnson Fan Club was born.
The story goes on from there and contains twists and turns involving game worn jerseys, care packages, twitter exchanges and hundreds of emails. I just wish I’d known about this club when Joe was on the Hawks, when I, a Hawks fan exiled to New York City, was looking for a like-minded community of people pulling for Joe Johnson. I would have loved to have been a member then. Actually, I’d still be open to exploring some sort of honorary membership.
While many NBA players have brought their unique style to the podium during the 2013 playoffs, some trends have popped up multiple times throughout the first week.
DENIM: This postseason, players have embraced the utilitarian fabric to make bold statements. In the gallery below, Blake Griffin and Raymond Felton wear tailored denim button down shirts, while James Harden has an edgier take with a distressed shirt and plaid vest. Brandon Jennings looks summer-ready with a faded chambray shirt and white ankle pants, while LeBron James mixes it up by pairing a crisp denim button down with a black tie under a shawl collar sweater.
PINK: The color has range. Brandon Jennings spruces up a classic tan blazer with a warm pink button down, and Deron Williams wears the same shade under his gray jacket. For bolder variations, Caron Butler’s pink shirt pops under a gray suit and muted blue tie, while Matt Barnes pairs mauve pants with a black jacket and tie.
Let us know who wore these trends best, and if you could imagine them in your closet, tell us about it on Twitter using the hashtag #NBAStyle… -
ALL BALL NERVE CENTER – One of the NBA’s most venerable mascots is Benny the Bull, Chicago’s longtime fuzzy cheerleader. And as part of being an NBA mascot, it is important to have no fear of the opposition, as saw earlier this season with Denver’s Rocky and Russell Westbrook.
Just because we’re in the postseason, the mascot’s responsibilities don’t change. With the Brooklyn Nets in Chicago over the weekend for Game 4 of the Playoffs, Benny the Bull wandered onto the Nets’ end of the floor during pregame warmups. We’re not sure what Benny was doing out there, but if he was looking for a rumble, he found one at the hands of Brook Lopez and several of his teammates… -
ALL BALL NERVE CENTER – With 7:30 to play in regulation during Game 4 of the Bulls/Nets series, Brooklyn was sitting on a 93-86 lead. The Bulls were having trouble scoring, and the Nets seemed to have the game in hand.
Then, after an inbound pass, Bulls point guard Nate Robinson decided to defend Nets point guard C.J. Watson full-court. Nets forward Gerald Wallace saw this happening and decided to set a pick for Watson, so Watson could get a little breathing room. And then this happened: -
Ouch! But after getting de-cleated, Nate hopped back up and went off: He scored 25 points in the rest of regulation and overtime, and basically carried the Bulls to the amazing win in triple-overtime. -
As Nate said after the game, “I tease coach a lot. It seems every shot I take, he is mad. But I always feel like I’m on fire.”
It felt really good to have a big game and an opportunity to show what I could do right before All-Star. Since Deron Williams was out for two games, I had an opportunity to play. In one of the games, I played 34 minutes (the whole fourth quarter and all of overtime) and we beat the Indiana Pacers at Indiana in a real close game.
I am confident in my game and it felt good to remind myself I can play this game and I can do it in this league. My teammates and coaches got the chance to see that I could really play, especially in an environment like that, and handle it well. I felt really comfortable out there on the court, and my teammates did a great job of helping me out. I was smiling the whole game. I also got a lot of good feedback on Twitter. Of course though I realized when I watched the game tape that I could have made better plays.
I felt good going into All-Star break because of our win against Indiana, and I wanted to enjoy the time off with my family and friends. I went to Kansas for Mario Chalmers’ jersey retirement. We both went to the University of Kansas, and even though we never played together, we have worked out a lot together and are good friends. Some of my college teammates came out for the jersey retirement too, and it was good to chill with them. We all went to the game to watch Mario get honored. When you go to Kansas, and learn about all of the tradition that comes before you, it’s cool to be at something like that, especially since Mario is one of the better point guards to come out of Kansas. Maybe they will retire my jersey one day.
NBA Season: Act II
It was right back to business after All-Star. D-Will was back playing after the break, but I’m still working hard to improve and observing really good basketball from up close. I’m also getting the inside scoop on how to be a professional in this league. Most of my teammates have been in the league for double-digit years, and I really learn from them. When you come into the NBA, you think talent is enough, but it takes a lot more than that. It’s really good for me to be around all these veterans.
February, Black History Month, has always been very important to me. I can remember that while we were growing up, in February, we always learned about Martin Luther King, Malcolm X and Rosa Parks in school. Black History Month is especially important to my family because my great uncle, my Mom’s uncle, was one of the original Tuskegee Airmen. I don’t know the whole story behind it, but my family always talks about it, and it’s a cool thing to have in your family. As a young African-American man, I think it’s very, very important to know our history.
A Real Honor
A couple Saturdays ago, I was honored at the 14th Annual Richard Hicks Black Youth Empowerment Luncheon at the Boys and Girls Club in Hoboken for my work with the kids there. It was really cool, especially because it came from the people in Hoboken, where I grew up. That made me feel good because it’s important for me to show people that even though I’m in the NBA, I’m still around and do what I can to help. Like I’ve said before, when I found out I was playing in Brooklyn, I never thought of moving anywhere but Hoboken.
I really try to help out there. I did a back to school giveaway during training camp. I also go to the basketball games and hang out with the kids whenever I can. I hear the kids are running around the gym at the Boys and Girls Club saying they are Tyshawn Taylor when they shoot the ball. It’s cool to hear that, but I also want them to know that Tyshawn Taylor worked very hard.
The biggest inspiration I can give them is for them to see that I’m a real person and that I grew up in the same neighborhood as them with the same chance and opportunities. And even though there were plenty of times I had my back up against the wall, I figured out a way to make it and they can too. I tell them ‘If I can do it, you can do it.’ For me, and for a lot of people in this neighborhood, it’s a big deal to graduate from college. It’s very important for me to talk to them about that, and explain that even if I didn’t play basketball, a college degree gives you something to fall back on. I want to empower them. Even if my message sticks with just one kid, it’s worth it.
Tyshawn Taylor, a 6-foot-3 point guard from Kansas, was the 41st player taken in the 2012 NBA Draft. He was selected by the Portland Trail Blazers and traded to the Nets on Draft night. You can follow him on Twitter @tyshawntaylor.
Check All Ball throughout the season for more NBA Rooks: Diaries …
The NBA season kicked into the post-All-Star break section of its schedule Tuesday night, and if you were seeking some good drama to get things started, it was found at no other place than the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. Before the Nets game against Milwaukee, ESPNNewYork.com’s Ian O’Connor wrote a pretty scathing column on Nets point guard Deron Williams and his lack of All-Star play this season. Then, the Nets tipped off the second half of their season by hosting the Bucks, a team with playoff hopes and designs on climbing into the No. 4 seed the Nets hold in the East.
A back-and-forth game ensued and the Bucks eventually built a five-point lead early in the fourth quarter, but the Nets charged back and it was their other former All-Star guard, Joe Johnson, who took over.
With the Bucks up 105-102, Johnson nailed a 3-pointer with 1.3 seconds left that had the clutch-ness of Robert Horry written all over it. Then, he did the deed again in OT with another clutch jumper, but this time, made sure it was a legit Horry Scale contender and put Milwaukee away for good.
For those that are new around these parts, the Horry scale examines a game-winning buzzer-beater (GWBB) in the categories of difficulty, game situation (was the team tied or behind at the time?), importance (playoff game or garden-variety Kings-Pistons game?) and celebration (is it over the top or too chill? Just the right panache or needs more sauce?). Then we give it an overall grade on a scale of 1-5 Robert Horrys, the patron saint of last-second daggers.
(IMPORTANT NOTE: While we loved Johnson’s game-tying 3-pointer as much as the rest of you [non-Bucks fans] did, we can’t put that one on the scale because it doesn’t qualify. We’ll mention it below and it might factor into the overall grade, too.)
How does Johnson’s game-winning shot Monday night stack up? Let’s dive in …
Much like the last Horry Scale shot we had around here, we’ve got a superstar going up against a role player, albeit a good defensive one in the Bucks’ Luc Mbah a Moute. Mbah a Moute needs a hug after this game as he not only got victimized on the game-winner, but on the game-tying shot, too. Of the two shots, we’d have to say the game-tying shot in the fourth quarter was more pressure-packed, given what happens if Johnson misses (a loss).
The shot Johnson takes (and makes) to win the game is one right in his wheelhouse. Hawks fans are well aware of Johnson’s ability to go one-on-one (just go Google “iso Joe Atlanta Hawks” and start reading), so Nets coach P.J. Carlesimo, one of the NBA’s better X-and-O guys, draws up two great plays for Johnson. The game-tying shot, he has Johnson serve as the inbounder, then works him off a high screen from Gerald Wallace and Andray Blatche and he drains the shot.
For the game-winner, Carlesimo has Keith Bogans as the inbounder and works Johnson off a pick from Brook Lopez. Johnson catches it near midcourt with Mbah a Moute playing great defense … until Johnson’s third dribble.
At that point, Mbah a Moute goes for a steal and Johnson has space to make it to the free-throw line extended. Despite a nice recovery from Mbah a Moute, Johnson pulls up, fades a little and the ballgame is over.
Reverse the court in your mind and watch this Johnson game-winner against the Bobcats in 2010.
Tell me you don’t see nearly the exact same play as last night: guard (Mike Bibby here) inbounds, Johnson works off a screen for a catch near the 3-point line, a couple of dribbles … and … ballgame.
Again, we feel for Mbah a Moute here. Much like Tayshaun Prince in Johnson’s last Horry shot, Mbah a Moute is a solid-if-not-elite perimeter defender who loses a step on the Nets’ star at the wrong time.
Game Situation No. 1 (but it’s not a Horry moment, mind you): Nets down three with 6.7 seconds left. Had the Bucks held on, it would have moved them closer to the Celtics for No. 7 in the East (especially since Boston lost in Denver Tuesday night). A loss, luckily for Milwaukee, kept it right where it is in the playoff chase thanks to the fact the Sixers have a ways to go to get into the conversation for No. 8. For the Nets, a loss (combined with the Bulls’ win in New Orleans) would have coughed up the No. 4 seed and given the New York media even more to over-analyze about this squad.
Game Situation No. 2 (this one counts, folks): A big 3-pointer from Bogans with 1:03 left tied this one up and the teams exchanged misses (the Bucks’ one by Larry Sanders and the Nets’ by Williams, courtesy of a Sanders block). Brandon Jennings has a chance to be the hero, but he misses a jump shot, setting up Johnson’s hero moment.
Playoff agendas — be it staying in the East’s top four (the Nets) or just staying in the race (the Bucks) — were at stake here. Brooklyn slightly strengthened its case and, despite a crushing loss at the horn, Milwaukee didn’t do that much damage to its.
If the Nets can somehow go on a magical playoff run this season and win The Finals, we need to have a camera on Johnson once the title celebration begins. Although he’s known as “Joe Cool” to some, Johnson shows he’s not afraid to let his emotions show after draining the big shots against the Nets. The celebration has statistical backing, though, as our own John Schuhmann points out: in the final five minutes of the fourth quarter or overtime, with a score differential (either way) of five points or less this season, Johnson is shooting 90 percent.
4 Horrys. Although the 3-pointer in regulation didn’t count as an Horry Scale shot, being clutch twice down the stretch definitely factors into the grading around here (just as LaMarcus Aldridge). Johnson did what Aldridge did — more or less — to garner four stars: deliver a big shot to tie the game (although Johnson’s 3-pointer forced OT and Aldridge’s didn’t) and then finish the job with an Horry Scale shot. Johnson got to his sweet spot on the court, got some space from the defender and did what superstars are supposed to do: win games.