Posts Tagged ‘Cleveland Cavaliers’

Tyronn Lue talks to President Obama

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — For an NBA team that wins a championship, you usually get a quick phone call from the president congratulating you on the achievement. For the Cleveland Cavaliers, after beating the Golden State Warriors in the 2016 NBA Finals, that call came a few days later, and lucky for us, there were cameras present. Here’s a great video of President Barack Obama calling Cavs coach Tyronn Lue to congratulate him on a job well done. It’s a brief call, but President Obama is on long enough to make it clear that while he’s retired from playing, he not only watched the games but he kept up with the parade as well…

Cleveland Indians pay tribute to LeBron

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — By winning the 2016 NBA Finals, LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers have finally broken the city of Cleveland’s 52-year dry spell without a title. And while the people of Ohio and certainly excited, other teams around Cleveland are also showing their gratitude. During last night’s Indians game, the Indians slipped an image of LeBron and the Larry O’Brien trophy into their Kiss Cam segment.

Cleveland’s belief finally pays off

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — The city of Cleveland had gone 52 years without winning a sports championship…until last night, when the Cleveland Cavaliers did the impossible and came from behind to beat the Golden State Warriors in the NBA Finals. It wasn’t always easy to be a Cleveland sports fan, but last night all the years of waiting and wishing became worth it. And in this new commercial from Nike, Cavs fans find out exactly how great it feels to be a champion…

LeBron James plays volleyball during the NBA Finals

ALL BALL NERVE CENTERLeBron James turned in a dominant performance in Game 5 of the NBA Finals, contributing 41 points, 16 rebounds and 7 assists along the way to Cleveland’s 112-97 win. He also had 3 blocked shots, including one against Golden State’s Stephen Curry where James soared through the air and spiked the basketball. If it reminded you of someone spiking a basketball, you aren’t alone: Here’s a version of Bron’s block that’s been photoshopped to make it a volleyball highlight…

Story of a photo: Capturing LeBron’s Game 3 dunk

CLEVELAND, OH - JUNE 8: LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers goes up for a dunk against the Golden State Warriors against the Golden State Warriors in Game Three of the 2016 NBA Finals on June 8, 2016 at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2016 NBAE (Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images)

(Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images)

CLEVELAND — The frozen moment happened with just under 3 minutes remaining in the third quarter of Game 3 of The 2016 NBA Finals. After knocking loose a pass from Golden State’s Stephen Curry to Festus Ezeli, Cleveland’s LeBron James grabbed the basketball and raced the other way to start a fast break.

Just past halfcourt, James collided with Curry and stumbled, his right knee and hand going to the floor to help him retain his balance, while James used his left hand to slap at the ball and keep his dribble alive. One second later, his bearing renewed, James resumed his dash to the hoop.

Curry was the lone defender between James and the basket, and as James neared the rim, Curry slid one step to his left, to truncate James’s angle of attack. LeBron quickly fired the ball to his left, where his teammate Kyrie Irving was streaking toward the rim. Curry and the basketball reached Irving at nearly the same time, and just as quickly as Irving caught the ball, he sprang off his right foot and immediately flipped the ball back up and over Curry, in the general vicinity of the hoop, where it figured that James would be arriving shortly.

“I knew he was going to throw it up there,” James said later. “And I had to go get it. He threw it, I had to go get it.”

It was not a perfect pass, but it was good enough. It was up to James, then, to do his part. And did he ever.

During the ball’s brief dalliance with Irving, James took five steps in the direction of the basket and then, leveraging his left foot against the court, James launched himself skyward, soaring up and at least equal to the rim.

As he flew, James twisted his torso and reached back with his right hand past the edge of the backboard, corralling the ball, and then he fired it though the hoop with a breathtaking combination of equal parts improbability, power, force and grace.

It was the play of The 2016 Finals thus far, a moment tailor-made to immediately go viral and embed itself in our brains for posterity as one of the signature plays of the 2016 postseason, if not James’ career.

***

But James and Irving weren’t the only one who did great work on the possession. As LeBron stole the ball and turned toward his basket, sitting a few hundred feet away and a couple of rows up in an arena seat in Quicken Loans Arena’s Section 106, Jesse Garrabrant was also preparing to try and create a different type of NBA Finals history.

A photographer for NBA Photos since 1994, Garrabrant lives on the New Jersey shore and shoots every Philadelphia 76ers home game. As the playoffs build toward an ultimate finish, NBA Photos brings all hands on deck to cover every game from every angle. In Cleveland for Game 3, Garrabrant rigged multiple remote controlled cameras around Quicken Loans Arena, which he could control from a button in his seat in Section 106. While Garrabrant could make the cameras click, he wasn’t actually looking down the viewfinders as the shutter snapped. So Garrabrant was, quite literally, firing blind.

“You want to take chances and if it works, there’s a big bonus,” said Garrabrant a day later. “You get a guy like LeBron who can create an incredible play, and if he’s in the exact right spot, it can totally work. At the same time, it could have also completely struck out, especially when you’re doing directional lighting like that.”

The lighting Garrabrant referred to is a special technique known as “spotlighting.” Garrabrant’s remote cameras for Game 3 were geared to take advantage of this method, which can give action photos a dramatic flair, adding depth and richness. But again, with the reward came a risk. “The lighting covers the paint,” Garrabrant explained, “because that’s where the majority of the action happens. LeBron is going to go to the hole sometime, and you just hope the lighting is going to cover it.”

For Game 3, Garrabrant had a camera clamped to the edge of the set ESPN uses for their live pre-and postgame broadcasts, which is assembled on a platform in a corner of The Q, near Section 113. Unless you looked closely, you wouldn’t notice Garrabrant’s camera. Luckily for the rest of us, this camera saw everything. As it turned out, this was the ultimate angle, from which Garrabrant captured the photo you see at the top of this post.

Within seconds of James’ dunk, Garrabrant’s picture was made available for download via NBA Photos on Getty Images, and it quickly started popping up all over social media. It was tweeted and re-tweeted and shared tens of thousands of times, as fans and other media members expressed their amazement. ESPN’s Don Van Natta tweeted that it was the picture of the year. It “belongs in the damn Louvre,” noted Mashable’s Sam Laird.

***

While the rest of us marveled over Garrabrant’s image of James’ Game 3 dunk, Garrabrant’s mind drifted back to 2008. As it turned out, Garrabrant may have been the perfect person to capture this dunk from this player from this angle, particularly when you consider he’d done almost exactly the same thing before.

“[James] had almost the same dunk in the ’08 Conference semifinals against Kevin Garnett, in the same spot on the court,” recalled Garrabrant. “Same angle, he threw it the same way, everything, except this was an alley-oop and that one was just him driving to the basket. I shot that game and I got the same angle on that particular dunk.”

CLEVELAND - MAY 12: LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers dunks over Kevin Garnett #5 of the Boston Celtics in Game Four of the 2008 NBA Eastern Conference Semifinals on May 12, 2008 at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright: 2008 NBAE (Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE/Getty Images)

(Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE/Getty Images)

We may live in an age where video is increasingly available, streaming at us almost inexorably every time we open a browser window. But there’s still something magical about the perfect photo, which freezes a moment in time in a way that we never want to forget.

Following Game 3, Kyrie Irving was asked about his pass to James on the play. “I wanted to see something great,” Irving said. “I threw it very, very… you know, some people may say it’s a bad pass, but I wanted to see something great.”

At least on this night, we all got to see something great.

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar meets LeBron, sits down with Cavs legends

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — Cool stuff from last night in Cleveland, where the NBA’s all-time leading scorer, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, was in town to watch Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Finals in person. Not only did Abdul-Jabbar sit down with Cavs legends Austin Carr and Campy Russell, as you can watch in the video above, but Kareem also got to share a moment with LeBron James, who last night passed Shaquille O’Neal for fourth place on the NBA’s all-time postseason scoring list. As LeBron said after the game

“I was actually … jogging into the locker room like we usually do off the floor, and obviously I saw a legend outside of our locker room, and I slowed my pace up drastically just to embrace a legend being in our building, watching us play. What he did for the game, the championship runs that he had with the ‘Showtime’ Lakers and him being the all-time leading scorer in NBA history and so on and so on and so on, it’s just respect.

“When you see a guy like that, when you put him in a class with like Jim Brown and Muhammad Ali and Oscar Robertson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, those guys all laying that same thing, Bill Russell. It was a pretty cool moment.”

Lil Kev is playing a key role for the Cleveland Cavaliers

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — The Cleveland Cavaliers’ official mascot is, of course, Moondog. But right now their unofficial mascot, or perhaps just spirit leader, might just be a magazine advertisement that bears a passing resemblance to their All-Star power forward, Kevin Love. That’s right, a magazine advertisement. A magazine advertisement that is known as Lil Kev.

Let’s back up a bit. According to ESPN’s Dave McMenamin, this whole thing started during Cleveland’s first round series against the Detroit Pistons.

What Lil’ Kev is, literally, is a Tommy Bahama advertisement that was ripped out of an in-flight magazine by [Richard] Jefferson when the Cavs were flying back from Detroit after their first-round sweep of the Pistons.

Jefferson thought the model in the ad bore a striking resemblance to Love.

“We saw Lil’ Kev in a magazine and we just started giving Big Kev a lot of crap, even though it’s not him,” said Jefferson. “It’s not him and that makes it even funnier.”

The name, Jefferson says, is inspired by Love’s recent State Farm commercial, in which he plays a prepubescent boy as part of a fictional family sitcom, “The Hoopers,” also starring DeAndre Jordan as the mom, Kevin Garnett as the grandpa, Chris Paul as the dad and Damian Lillard as the baby.

“We were messing with Kev and we ripped it out [from the magazine] and we started doing stuff with it,” Jefferson explained.

Since discovering Lil Kev, Jefferson has given the ad a starring role on his Snapchat account, with vignettes such as this…

Lil Kev now has his own (verified!) Instagram account, where he makes guest appearances with other Cavs players…

Is this the next Espn 3- man broadcast crew?

A photo posted by Lil Kev (@officiallilkev) on

And now it appears there may be a clothing line in the works? Last night Cavs guard J.R. Smith posted a photo of him getting up some late night shots at the Cavs’ practice facility while wearing a Lil Kev t-shirt.

#nightcap with @thereal94feetofgame thanks to my guy @officiallilkev for the shirt

A photo posted by JR Smith (@teamswish) on

He may only be a magazine ad, but Lil Kev seems to be playing an important role for the Cavs right now…

#teamchemistry is key to a great lockeroom.

A photo posted by Lil Kev (@officiallilkev) on

Kyrie Irving is latest NBA player with a glitch

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — Perhaps it’s the busy schedule, or maybe it’s the stress of playing games with so much on the line. Whatever it is, players during these playoffs have shown a bizarre tendency to glitch out. If you didn’t see it, last week during a postgame press conference, Golden State’s Draymond Green had a bizarre glitch in which he just froze for half a minute. And then last night in Atlanta, after a whistle stopped play, a Kyrie Irving glitch occurred in the corner of the court. Do we need to call the Geek Squad?

https://platform.vine.co/static/scripts/embed.js

Kyrie Irving’s new shoes look delicious

#donutsandkicks @nikebasketball @krispykreme @kyrieirving

A photo posted by EA™ (@errolandam) on

ALL BALL NERVE CENTERKyrie Irving has had his own signature Nike shoe for a while now, and to celebrate Cleveland’s trip to the postseason, Nike is collaborating with Krispy Kreme to make a limited edition donut/sneaker truck mash-up. Instead of the Kyrie 2, now you can get a pair of Ky-rispy Kreme kicks, as the donut truck makes stops across the country…

Kyrie Irving and Iman Shumpert partake in Running Man challenge

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — The Cleveland Cavaliers haven’t played a game since Sunday, when they eliminated the Detroit Pistons in four games in Round One of the playoffs. And because the Cavs had to wait for their opponent to be determined, Cleveland’s next game won’t be until Monday, when they host the Atlanta Hawks in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals. So it’s perhaps understandable if the guys are a little bored of practicing against each other and are ready to get to some actual game action. That ennui showed itself at practice yesterday, when first a little football game broke out…

JR Smith, LeBron and Kyrie throwing a football after Cavs practice.

A video posted by Jason Lloyd (@jasonlloydabj) on

Then, Kyrie Irving and Iman Shumpert did their best Running Man dance…