2. Swift’s latest hit is a song called “Shake It Off,” but as we all know, a song isn’t a real hit until it gets parodied by an NBA mascot and some players. Take it away, Denver Nuggets. And you go, Timofey Mozgov…
That’s right, on a pre-recorded clip aired during New York’s preseason win over the Wizards on Wednesday, MSG broadcaster Al Trautwig presented the vaunted golden trophy to the talent they call “Shump” for his role behind the scenes and as the star of the network’s show “Beginnings.”
Just think, if New York re-signs The Panda’s Friend (The Artist Formerly Known As Metta World Peace And Ron Artest), they could grab a little hardware for some type of nature show, too. Stay tuned.
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 Pharrellhas 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…
ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — And here we are again. Summer has officially given way to fall, which means many things, but really only means one thing that we care about around these parts: IT’S ALMOST TIME FOR A NEW NBA SEASON.
And when training camps convene around the country, that means it’s time for … wait for it … MUSCLEWATCH!
What, you may ask, is MUSCLEWATCH? It stems from my friend Matt and I noticing years ago that our local paper used to always say that players had gained 15 pounds of MUSCLE in the offseason. No matter the sport, it was never 12, never 16, never 9, never 18, always 15 pounds of MUSCLE. So we began keeping an eye on the papers looking for references to the magic 15 pounds of MUSCLE. I started chronicling this each season in my blog over at SLAM, and 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.
If you see MUSCLEWATCH info, tweet it and use the hashtag #MUSCLEWATCH to help us keep all this info straight.
MUSCLEWATCH has truly evolved from when it was Matt and I sitting around our apartment cracking jokes. I thought we’d come a long way a year ago when the official television network of the NBA was running promos for it…
And now actual NBA teams are referencing #MUSCLEWATCH…
I feel like we’ve got a movement on our hands. This is a wonderful thing.
WHEN WE LAST LEFT MUSCLEWATCH, Anthony Davis and Jrue Holiday were putting in work. Let’s get into the muscles…
• The biggest story in the NBA this summer was LeBron James leaving the Miami Heat to return to the Cleveland Cavaliers. But pretty soon after the dust settled from The Announcement, LeBron started posting photos online where he looked drastically thinner than he looked last season.
In an interview this week with CNN’s Rachel Nichols, LeBron talked about his weight loss. (Around the 2:45 mark here.) According to LeBron he’s around 250 pounds — even though he’s been listed at 249 for years — thanks to eating only fish, meat, fruits and vegetables for 67 days. He also said, “I had the Cookie Monster chasing me in my dreams a few times.
We don’t know exactly how much weight LeBron lost or even how much he weighed before, unless someone gets it out of him at Cleveland’s media day, which I’m afraid makes him ineligible to win the MUSCLEWATCH title this season.
Instead, LeBron, in recognition of your efforts, we will give you this GIF of Cookie Monster dancing …
• While we’re talking about the NBA’s bold names, how about Carmelo Anthony slimming down?
The big victory of the offseason for the New York Knicks was the team successfully managing to keep free-agent All-Star forward Carmelo Anthony in the fold for a few more years. His return, coupled with new coach Derek Fisher and a new-look offense (the triangle) have New Yorkers hoping the team can rebound from a putrid season.
One player sure to be key to any hopes of a Big Apple revival is combo guard Iman Shumpert. After a solid first two seasons in the NBA, Shumpert’s stats were more or less down across the board in 2013-14 as he worked his way back from an ACL tear suffered early in the 2012 playoffs.
That being said, it’s still the offseason in New York and Shumpert is having some fun. In a new video released to help hype the movie “November Man”, Shumpert pretends to be a secret agent as unsuspecting people interview for a fake job.
ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — There was some question the last few weeks as to which franchise Carmelo Anthony would end up playing with going forward. But after visiting teams from coast to coast, Melo ended up re-signing with the New York Knicks, and the Knicks made this video to celebrate his return.
ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — Juuuust when you thought we were out, they go and pull us back in. The season may be just past the halfway mark, but our record-setting pace is continuing, as tonight Dirk Nowitzki did his dagger-shooting thing to beat the Knicks at Madison Square Garden.
Before we get too far into this, we should stop and explain why we’re here: What is the Horry Scale? For those who 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.
One thing I’d like to clear up: The Horry Scale does not measure a game-winning shot; the Horry Scale measures several facets of a Game-Winning Buzzer-Beater. So we’re talking about not only the shot, but also the play that creates the shot, the situation and the drama, the celebrations … basically, everything surrounding and including the shot. So when I gave Randy Foye a 3 Horry rating, that wasn’t only a reflection of his shot, which was admittedly remarkable, as I wrote, but also the play, which was awful. Taj Gibson’s lefty layup wasn’t the toughest shot, but that inbounds play was terrific. Basically, everything matters.
We all clear? OK, let’s break this shot down…
DIFFICULTY I feel like this is the part of this play that will be most overlooked. Yes, it was just a jump shot, and as far as play designs go, it wasn’t exactly the most complex play Rick Carlisle has ever inked out. But man was that a hard shot. I mean, if Carmelo Anthony was any closer to Dirk he could have untied his shoes. Dallas got the ball in to Dirk at top of key with the score tied at 108 and just 7.3 seconds left to play. Dirk caught the ball with his back to the basket, singled up against ‘Melo. Using his left foot as a pivot, Dirk rotated a full 360 degrees while ‘Melo sniped at the ball. He finally dribbled one time with his left hand, and jabbed his right foot forward just a bit to create a few inches of space. And with Carmelo basically chest-to-chest, Dirk raised up and released that textbook jump shot over ‘Melo with just under 2 seconds remaining. The ball hit the glass, the front of the rim, popped up into the air, and then gently settled back into the bucket. Again, not the most aesthetically pleasing play, but good grief what a tough shot.
GAME SITUATION This was perhaps an even tougher pill for Knicks fans to swallow because of the game situation. After being a mostly back-and-forth affair all evening, the Mavs seized the lead down the stretch. But give the Knicks credit for clawing back, mostly behind 44 points from ‘Melo. Down 6 with 1:12 to play, the Knicks got a three-point play from Chandler, a steal, and a three from Melo to tie the game at 108. Dallas had won 9 of 12 coming in, including two straight on the road. With the Knicks still clinging to hopes of getting into the playoffs, tonight was the kind of game they really had to win. To lose on a shot that bounced all over the rim before dropping in must be tough. But then, the Knicks have been on the other side of a similar situation before, right Allan Houston?
CELEBRATION Dirk seemed to mostly keep his cool, because this ain’t Dirk’s first time at the big shot rodeo. I loved the way Jose Calderon took off on a sprint up the court as the shot went through, and he grabbed Dirk in a bear hug to celebrate. Also, of late I’ve tried to incorporate fan reaction into the ratings, and Knicks fans did not disappoint, as you can see several of them with their hands to their heads in the background as the shot drops through.
So it may not have been the best play design, but it was still a tough shot. It may not have been the most momentous game, or the most spirited reaction, but all together it was a pretty good play. So I’m going to go with three Horrys for this one…
What say you? How many Horrys would you give Dirk Nowitzki’s GWBB?
Carmelo Anthony may have scored 62 on Friday night — breaking his own, the Knicks’ franchise and the Madison Square Garden points records in the process — but he also did something else. He broke the Internet … especially Twitter.
As always, folks reacted with all kinds of hot-blooded hyperbole on The Big T (not a real nickname for Twitter, but it should be), not least of which were Anthony’s NBA co-workers. Here’s a roundup of their love for Lala‘s boy:
ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — It’s hard to believe Carmelo Anthony has been in the NBA for eleven seasons, much less had nine different signature shoes, but we got a reminder this week with Jordan Brand’s introduction of the Melo M10, Carmelo’s tenth signature sneaker.
According to Nike, the sneaker, which was designed by legendary sneaker designer Tinker Hatfield, “incorporates Jordan’s signature Flight Plate technology, offering maximum responsiveness through compression and deflection. The dynamic fit technology works with Flight Plate to provide a lock-down fit that moves with the foot and enhances maximum performance.”
The shoe hits the market on January 4, with a suggested retail price of $165. For more on the kick, check the video below where Melo and Tinker discuss their inspiration… -
ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — If you’re on the lookout for the worst-dressed player on a team, who better to ask than the other players on the team? As such, let’s check in with the New York Knicks to find out who is the worst-dressed Knicks player.