Welcome to Throwback Thursday here on the All Ball Blog. Each week, we’ll delve into the NBA’s photo archives and uncover a topic and some great images from way back when. Hit us up here if you have suggestions for a future TBT on All Ball.
Today’s Topic: Summer League Superstars
The Summer League season is one of the most fun times of the NBA year, with every player on the floor having something to prove. The event has rapidly grown over the past few years and now includes a championship tournament during the action in Las Vegas (which begins tomorrow on NBA TV).
This Throwback Thursday we look back at some of the best players to ever play in the Summer League.
(NOTE:Click the “caption” icon below the photo for details about each moment.)
ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — Clippers point guard Chris Paul has it all — great job, great family, great style. So for Paul, who recently turned 29 years old, what do you get him for his birthday? Turns out what he really wants isn’t something that costs a lot of money, rather it’s something that brings back great memories…like an autographed photo of former “Saved By The Bell” star Tiffani-Amber Thiessen. As CP3 captioned this photo of his photo, “This is easily one of the best Bday gifts I’ve ever received in my 29yrs on this Earth!!! #KellyKapowski #My1stLove #WeWereTogether #SheJustDidntKnowIt #CuzImSavedByTheBell”
I’m guessing Cliff was more of a Jessie Spano man…
ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — There were several celebrities in attendance last night in Los Angeles for Game 6 between the Clippers and the Thunder. But when the game ended, to whom did Kevin Durant trot over and hand off his game worn shoes? Bubba Watson, the two-time (and defending) Masters champ.
For a little added intrigue, it’s probably worth noting that Watson is an avowed fan and friend of Chris Paul, and he’s even thrown some alley-oops to Blake Griffin. Looks like KD might be working his way into Watson’s framily plan…
ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — Nobody said being an NBA ballboy was an easy job. Just two months ago we saw a ballboy in Brooklyn show great hustle when he nearly got run over by Tyler Hansbrough. Yesterday in Los Angeles, during the Clippers/Thunder game, a similar situation almost came to pass. As you can see in the GIF below from @JDonSports, after Russell Westbrook ripped the ball from Chris Paul, he took off to the other end of the floor, where a Clippers attendant was still mopping up the court. She noticed in time and managed to get out of there, dragging the mop behind her. Again, great hustle. (Also, check out the sneaky shove DeAndre Jordan delivers to his teammate CP3 to get him out of the way in case there’s a rebound to grab.)
ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — Last night the Los Angeles Clippers hosted the Golden State Warriors in a game between two of the better teams out West. The Clippers led throughout and finished with a 111-98 win, but that apparently wasn’t good enough for all of the Clippers. Following the game, Chris Paul went back out to the court to put in more work. Paul, who finished 5-15 from the floor (and 1-3 on threes) apparently wasn’t satisfied with the win. Perhaps you’ll recall Kobe Bryant once did the same thing after a Lakers loss game in Miami. In the video above, Paul explains that he feels like the Clips have a special team this season and he has to do his part.
ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — Throughout this season, perhaps you’ve seen our ongoing series, The All Ball Posterized Poll. In those posts, we examine which NBA players have been victims of the most vicious dunks.
We are proud to continue the tradition of highlighting the best of the best (and worst) with the new All Ball Crossover Contest. From time to time, we will check in and look at some of the best ankle-breaking dribbling exhibitions we’ve seen. We want to see the greatest moves, of course, but we also want to take note of who got shook.
So who broke out the best crossover in this edition of the Crossover Contest? We culled this selection of videos, and NBA.com’s Zettler Clay is providing the written commentary to accompany what you see.
Check out the videos below and vote at the bottom of the post …
NORRIS COLE ON DERRICK ROSE Zettler Says: I know, Derrick Rose was only minutes into his first game back from an ACL tear. Still, as Avon Barksdale accurately summed it up, the game is the game. Norris saw an opportunity and made a quick decision. We’re rooting for a full recovery for Rose, if only for a chance at redemption, because this move is nasty.
JOHN WALL ON TERRENCE ROSS Zettler Says:John Wall hits Terrence Ross with the double. If you were to ask for defining Wall plays to teach to youngsters, this would lead the reel. A stutter step to freeze Ross, then a crisp crossover followed by another, followed by speed to the cup. Great read, timing and execution.
STEPHEN CURRY ON REGGIE JACKSON Zettler Says: There’s nobody else in the NBA that could pull this move off, save for Jamal Crawford and Kevin Durant. Curry’s ability to quickly set his feet after a move combined with his deadly deep aim gives his crossover another element. No spot on the court is safe for any Steph defender.
DERON WILLIAMS ON CHRIS PAUL Zettler Says: Classic end of half isolation clash between two of the league’s best. What gives this play flair is the stealthy rivalry between these two players since they entered the NBA in 2005, one pick behind each other (D-Will was the third pick, Paul fourth). On this night, multiple times, the third pick had the upper hand.
J.R. SMITH ON TRISTAN THOMPSON Zettler Says: This is just Earl Joseph Smith III doing his thing. Thankfully Tristan Thompson took an unnatural fall, which not only made the play pop, but saved his ankle. If he doesn’t hit the deck, his talus is broken. Believe.
ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — Tony Allen has made himself into one of the NBA’s premier defenders, but his aggressiveness on the defensive end went a little too far last month against the Clippers. As Chris Paul drove the lane, Allen reached out to stop him and made contact with Paul’s face. Except Allen used his foot.
Allen served a one-game suspension for the incident. Now Allen is auctioning off the shoe to raise money for a Memphis-based charity. The shoe — autographed by Allen and mounted in a Grizzlies display case — is currently available on eBay to raise money for Youth Villages. Per the eBay description…
To celebrate the holiday season, Allen – the NBA’s Season of Giving Ambassador for the Memphis Grizzlies – is donating the renowned shoe to Youth Villages, a national nonprofit organization headquartered in Memphis. Youth Villages will auction the shoe online as part of an effort to raise $15,000 to buy presents for children receiving help on Youth Villages’ Memphis residential campuses and group homes.
“I’m glad that the shoe will be creating something special for kids in Memphis. Everyone deserves to have a Christmas to remember. I’m glad I can be a part of their memories,” Allen said.
“It’s a one-of-a-kind piece of sports memorabilia that will be an amazing addition to any Grizzlies fan’s collection,” said Richard Shaw, chief development officer at Youth Villages.Starting bid price of $750 will provide holiday gifts for 10 children in Youth Villages’ care. The auction ends Sunday, Dec. 22, 2013.
All proceeds generated from the sale of “The Shoe” will be matched 1:1 from an anonymous donor (up to $10,000) and will be used to ensure that all children away from their families this Christmas at Youth Villages experience the joy of the season.
Foot Locker has been on a roll of late with their hilarious commercials, starring everyone from James Harden and Steph Curry to, more recently, Kyrie Irving. This latest spot for Jordan Brand shows what happened when Chris Paul ostensibly went shopping at Kids Foot Locker for his son, and came away with so much gear that something had to give. In this case, that something turned out to be Blake Griffin‘s locker space… -
ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — In terms of popular culture impact, guests on “Jimmy Kimmel Live” last week had their work cut out for them trying to make more noise thanKanye West. So when DeAndre Jordan, Blake Griffin and Chris Paul paid a visit last week, they might not have received as much attention as Yeezy, but they had an entertaining visit and talked about everything from leather jogging pants to “Scandal” to getting calls from new Clips coach Doc Rivers.