ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — Moviegoers have seen Shaquille O’Neal in costume as Steel, the super-sized member of the Justice League. Now, in a special All-Star weekend collaboration, the entire crew from TNT’s “Inside the NBA” is teaming up with the rest of D.C. Comic’s Justice League to … play basketball? That’s right, they all link up in this special issue to fight dastardly enemies and get buckets. Will they be faster than Kenny “The Jet” Smith? More powerful than Charles Barkley playing “Who He Play For?” Able to leap Ernie Johnson‘s bow tie in a single bound?
To see all the “Inside” crew with some of the NBA’s biggest stars, check out TNT’s All-Star coverage this weekend, all weekend long. To see them with D.C.’s biggest stars, including Superman, Flash and Green Lantern, it’s all in the free comic book. How can you get one? If you’re in New Orleans for All-Star weekend, you can pick up a free copy of the comic at Jam Session.
ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — Before I moved into the All Ball Nerve Center earlier this year, I spent just over a decade working for SLAM magazine. This meant that every morning I woke up and took the subway down to Manhattan’s Flatiron District, then walked over to what we called the SLAM Dome — the SLAM offices, located in an office building just across the street from Madison Square Park.
When I started my daily journeys to and from the work space back in 2000, it wasn’t much of a neighborhood — there were a couple of fast food restaurants and some delis around, but it was mostly office space and empty storefronts waiting to be developed. Since then, things have come a long way. Now there are hotels, and fancy restaurants and stores. The city invested in the parks and roads, and you can now find actual crosswalks and sitting areas all over the place.
Last night I made my first return trip in a while, in order to see the fellas from TNT’s “Inside the NBA” do their season-opening show live, basically sitting in the middle of traffic. Here’s how it looked to me …
Things actually began on Monday afternoon, as Turner Sports hosted a luncheon for the assembled New York media. Ernie Johnson, Charles Barkley, Kenny Smith and Shaquille O’Neal entered the conference room and sat down exactly in the order in which they usually sit on TNT’s Atlanta set. (Ernie later said they had no idea they did that — they just grabbed seats and it happened naturally.) They guys picked right up where they left off last season, cracking jokes and making fun of each other. At one point when Shaq began a story by saying, “You know, when I retired…,” and Charles quickly interjected, “Two years too late!” (more…)
ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — You may not have been aware of this, but the NBA season begins one week from tomorrow! And to tip off a long season of coverage, it was announced today that TNT will begin the season with a special show live from New York City.
From the press release…
Turner Sports will officially launch Kia NBA Tip-Off ’13, the opening week of the 2013-14 NBA regular season, with three consecutive nights of doubleheader coverage across TNT and NBA TV. Entering its 30th consecutive year of NBA coverage, TNT will open the season with a doubleheader Tuesday, Oct. 29, beginning at 7 p.m. ET when the Sports Emmy Award-winning studio team of Ernie Johnson, Charles Barkley, Kenny Smith and Shaquille O’Neal televise a live pregame show from Flatiron Plaza in New York City. The special NBA on TNT Opening Night 2013 Presented by AutoTrader.com telecast is part of a New York City attraction sponsored by 2K celebrating the start of the NBA season.
Following TNT’s special one-hour pre-game show, which also includes live coverage of the championship ring ceremony for the Miami Heat, TNT’s opening night doubleheader will feature the defending champion Miami Heat and LeBron James hosting the Chicago Bulls and the highly anticipated return of Derrick Rose at 8 p.m. After the Bulls/Heat matchup, TNT will feature a battle of Los Angeles with the Clippers and Chris Paul meeting the L.A. Lakers and two-time NBA MVP Steve Nash at 10:30 p.m. Marv Albert will call the Bulls/Heat telecast with analysts Steve Kerr and reporter David Aldridge, with Kevin Harlan providing play-by-play for Clippers/Lakers with analyst Reggie Miller and reporter Craig Sager.
As part of TNT and NBA TV’s comprehensive Opening Night coverage, NBA TV will televise a special edition of NBA GameTime at 6 p.m. Hosted by Matt Winer with analysts Grant Hill, Steve Smith and Chris Webber, the show will preview the upcoming season while also providing live look-ins to the event taking place in New York City.
For NBA fans in New York City, TNT’s critically-acclaimed studio show will be part of an on-site attraction open to the public and sponsored by 2K. The event will take place Tuesday, Oct. 29, at Flatiron Plaza, and will feature a basketball court, NBA 2K14 video game kiosks, and a massive video board perched 30 feet above Broadway and Fifth Avenue serving as a viewing area for fans to watch the live TNT pre-game show and game coverage. Turner will team up with NBA Cares, the league’s social responsibility program, during the day’s activities to promote physical fitness and healthy living for kids and families.
Turner Sports will also set up an NBA on TNT social media vending machine at various locations throughout New York City, giving fans a chance to collect free prizes ranging from copies of the NBA2K14 game, golden tickets for meet and greets with the Inside the NBA studio team and more. Additionally, an NBA 2K14 video game scavenger hunt will take place around Manhattan with clues being distributed via the @NBAonTNT and @2K Twitter handles throughout the day.
In addition to the New York-based events, host Winer and analysts Hill, Webber and Smith will provide the Sprint Halftime Report for the Lakers/Clippers game, along with full post-game coverage during the Inside the NBA presented by Kia broadcast from Turner Studios in Atlanta.
Turner Sports’ opening week coverage will also include doubleheader action on Wednesday, Oct. 30, and Thursday, Oct. 31. NBA TV will feature the Cleveland Cavaliers and NBA All-Star Kyrie Irving hosting the Brooklyn Nets with newcomers Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce at 7 p.m., followed by the Lakers visiting the Golden State Warriors and sharpshooter Stephen Curry at 10:30 p.m.
TNT will round out three consecutive nights of NBA opening week doubleheaders with the Bulls hosting the New York Knicks and Carmelo Anthony at 8 p.m., and the Warriors visiting the Clippers at 10:30 p.m. Albert will provide the call for the Knicks/Bulls game with analyst Kerr and reporter Aldridge, with Harlan describing the Warriors/Clippers game with analyst Miller and reporter Sager.
NBA TV, jointly managed by Turner Sports and the NBA, will also televise the Bulls visiting the Philadelphia 76ers and rookie point guard Michael Carter-Williams on Saturday, Nov. 2, at 7:30 p.m. and the Oklahoma City Thunder and Kevin Durant hosting the Phoenix Suns and Eric Bledsoe on Sunday, Nov. 3, at 7 p.m.
ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — Basketball fans around the world know about The Basketball Jones, the pioneering NBA-related podcast and blog coming straight outta Toronto. And if you don’t know, you should. Tas Melas, JE Skeets, Trey Kerby and a collection of supporting characters pump out quality NBA content on the daily, and through the years they’ve done more than their fair share to popularize podcasting not just within basketball but sports as a whole.
Today we will see their 1,000th episode drop, a mind-boggling number (especially considering I’ve been podcasting with Sekou Smith for years and we’re only up to episode 119). To celebrate the 1000th episode of The Basketball Jones, Turner Sports colleagues Ernie Johnson, Charles Barkley and Brent Barry put together a fantastic video tribute.
ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — A couple of weeks ago while watching Inside the NBA, I sat up straight when I heard something about Mike Conley wearing a wooden bow tie… -
The reason this segment riveted me was because a few weeks earlier, I’d been in Oklahoma City and met a guy named Tim Paslay, who co-owns a company called Two Guys Bow Ties. He and his partner have been hand-making wooden bow ties since the fall, and Tim showed me a sample of their product. I told him at the time that it seemed natural they should get a few ties to Ernie Johnson, who wears a bow tie on TV every night. So when Ernie mentioned hoping they would get in touch, I connected Tim and Ernie.
A few nights later, well, you can watch what happened… -
I emailed Tim over the weekend and asked where he got the inspiration for the custom ties for the Inside guys.
“As soon as I heard Chuck say it looked like a dog bone I knew I had to incorporate Mango and Yoohoo into his ties,” Tim said. “It took some time, but I was able to track down a clip where they showed their faces and capture those to adorn the tie. The funny thing about Shaq‘s tie is that I wanted it to be hilariously over sized so I made it is AT LEAST twice the size of our normal ties. I was shocked that when he held it up in front of his neck tie that it looked just about right for him. His hand dwarfed it when he grabbed it from Ernie. I know he is big, but that blew me away.”
After breaking out a colorful printed jacket following Game 2, Miami’s Dwyane Wade showed up for last night’s Game 4 in his home town of Chicago with his most fashion-forward outfit yet: A double-breasted suit with a polka dot pattern, with pants cut at an aggressive, Thom Browne-inspired length. (Or rather, lack of length).
It was enough to draw a response from Chuck, Shaq and Kenny… -
Now it’s your turn. Would you choose D-Wade’s suit? Or would you lose the suit? Vote below, and don’t forget to continue the conversation on Twitter using #NBAStyle… -
There was no consensus for the last two spots, as they each picked a different pair from amongst Miami’s Chris Bosh, Atlanta’s Joe Johnson, and New York’s Raymond Felton. Given the lack of agreement, I thought now would be a good time to revisit everyone’s favorite game, Extend, Trade, or Cut.
Just to refresh you on the rules, picture yourself as the GM of a mythical NBA franchise, and pretend that you have to choose between three players. One player you can extend with a new contract, one player you have to trade for some mythical asset(s), and one player you must cut from your roster for eternity (it’s a harsh world). You may choose each option only once.
Joe Johnson: For this exercise, we are only considering his merits as a basketball player. Therefore, you should disregard the fact that he most likely has at present the worst contract in the NBA. JJ’s had a bit of a down year, but some of that was due to an elbow injury, and he seems to have regained his form in January.
Raymond Felton: Has helped reignite the age decade old NBA question, is it the point guard, or is it Mike D’Antoni‘s system? On the other hand, some might argue that Felton has always been a capable PG, but was too restrained in Charlotte under the heavy hand of Larry Brown. Either way, there is no doubt that Felton is having a career year in his first season in New York City.
That’s the choices. What’s your decisions?
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The NBA D-League tipped off it’s regular season last night, with new franchise the Texas Legends playing their very first game under coach Nancy Lieberman, the first woman to coach a men’s team in a major professional league (the Legends lost 123-115 to the Rio Grande Valley Vipers). The D-League is proving to be a very useful tool for NBA player development, but it is still working its into the mainstream conscience, as evidenced by this hilarious faux-game show hosted by Ernie Johnson during last night’s episode of Inside the NBA on TNT.
Before we begin, if you had to guess, between Kenny Smith and Charles Barkley, who would be more able to correctly match D-League teams and their nicknames, you’d take Kenny, right? Let’s find out. Roll it!
I wish there were a team called the Texas Hold ‘Ems, that would be an awesome nickname.
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