By Lang Whitaker, NBA.com
ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — Pete Holmes continues his run of interviewing some of the best young players of the NBA, here sitting down with Golden State’s Harrison Barnes…
ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — Welcome to Volume Two of the Crossover Contest, in which we highlight the best of the best (and worst). In the same way that we look at who got dunked on in our All Ball Posterized Poll, in the crossover contest we examine which NBA players have been put in a blender. 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 …
WILL BYNUM ON DEVIN HARRIS, Feb. 22
Zettler: Devin Harris didn’t really stand a chance. As soon as he stepped up, Will Bynum hit him with the stutter dribble. That was enough to set Devin up for the inadvertent Cupid Shuffle. Quick, efficient move by a man with an arsenal of them.
KYRIE IRVING ON THABO SEFOLOSHA, Feb. 26
Zettler: This was unique in that Kyrie Irving provoked Thabo Sefolosha’s (perennial All-NBA defender) fall before he performed the crossover. Irving drove hard right and stopped on a dime, which was enough to send poor Thabo sprawling on all fours and his bench off their seats for the inevitable dagger.
VIDEO: Kyrie loses Thabo
TY LAWSON ON JODIE MEEKS, March 7
Zettler: Don’t hurt ‘em, Law! This was just, oh my…just pause the clip at the seven second mark. A frozen video is worth a thousand words.
VIDEO: Ty Lawson carves up Jodie
ANDRAY BLATCHE ON TYLER HANSBROUGH, March 10
Zettler (channeling his inner Hubie Brown): See, we know Andray Blatche likes to create like a guard. We’ve seen him hit fancy scoops. We know he’ll dunk it on ya. But now we see that he has the killer — slow, but killer — crossover to turn Tyler Hansbrough in circles and get the finish. Beautiful. Absolutely beautiful.
RUSSELL WESTBROOK ON PATRICK BEVERLEY, March 11
Zettler: Considering the contentious blood between these two, this is classic payback. Patrick Beverley stood too tall for a defensive stance and reached. Russell Westbrook taught with an old-school Zeke lightning cross through the legs. Speed and quickness under control.
ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — If there’s one thing I’ve learned from attending a dozen All-Star Weekends, it’s that at its core, All-Star Weekend is about the fans. The fans actually select the starting line-ups, and fans travel from near and far to hit up Jam Session and All-Star Saturday Night and the Rising Stars Challenge and, of course, all the parties.
In some broader sense, the All-Star Game is about recognizing the best players from each conference. Sure, there are a couple of rim-rattling dunks and the occasional long-range shot that falls. And if you’re lucky, really lucky, the game is close down the stretch, and then everyone’s competitive juices kick in and you might just get a memorable finale. The main purposes of most participants in the actual All-Star Game? They wear funky uniforms, get a little run in, hang out with their buddies, and then they go back to their own teams for the stretch run and the Playoffs.
But that’s not why I’m watching the All-Star Game. And I think most people tuning in or even attending All-Star are looking to have a similar question answered: Are we not entertained? No matter what the Fun Police tell you, at All-Star weekend, nobody is looking at efficiency stats or plus/minus ratings. We want to see Shaq playing point guard. We want to see Gilbert Arenas joining the Elvis impersonators and dunking off of a trampoline. Simply put: We want the All-Star Game — and the entire weekend, really — to be fun.
So you can argue all you want about who does and who doesn’t deserve to be named to the actual Eastern and Western Conference All-Star teams. Instead, I present to you my annual YOLO All-Stars. (If you didn’t know, YOLO is an acronym for You Only Live Once.) These are the guys who deserve to be All-Stars based on my own vague All Ball Blog criteria. I considered all of the following elements: hilarity; social media proficiency; general swag; likelihood the player will do something memorable; dunking/dribbling/shooting ability; previous Shaqtin’ A Fool appearances; mentions on the All Ball Blog.
To be clear, those categories are listed in no particular order, with no importance or weight to any given specific category. These are just the players I think it would be fun to see in an All-Star Game. If we want to be entertained, these are the players that will give it to us. Meet your 2013-14 NBA YOLO All-Stars…
C – Roy Hibbert, Indiana Pacers — Always a blast on Twitter, and a man who appreciates good humor.
F – Chris Bosh, Miami Heat — Will be in charge of all videobombing.
F – LeBron James, Miami Heat — Not only is he a force on Twitter, which is good enough to qualify for the YOLO All-Stars, but he’s also the reigning MVP, so that wins him an invite.
G – J.R. Smith, New York Knicks — In the YOLO All-Star Game, untying shoes will be encouraged.
G – Kyrie Irving, Cleveland Cavaliers — UNCLE DREW!
Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee Bucks — The Greek Freak is perhaps the most unconventional athlete in the league, so you never know what he’s going to pull off next. He also loves smoothies, and with the All-Star Game being played in the newly-named Smoothie King Center, what could be more perfect?
Amir Johnson, Toronto Raptors — One of my favorites on social media.
Andray Blatche, Brooklyn Nets — Eurostep!
Andre Drummond, Detroit Pistons — Will be in charge of Vine videos throughout the weekend.
Metta World Peace, New York Knicks — Still the best.
Lance Stephenson, Indiana Pacers — He may not have made the actual All-Star Game, but I can’t knock his hustle. Besides, he dunked on a ref, which is awesome.
Kevin Seraphin, Washington Wizards — Anyone with a pet snake named Snakey and a skeleton that rides a Segway is a lifetime YOLO All-Star.
C – Robin Lopez, Portland Trail Blazers — He’s a nerd and he’s proud of it.
F – Kevin Love, Minnesota Timberwolves — We’ll have him making coffee for everyone.
F – Kevin Durant, Oklahoma City Thunder — If LeBron is on the East, we might as well put KD on the West.
G – Jamal Crawford, Los Angeles Clippers — My favorite dribbler in the NBA.
G – James Harden, Houston Rockets — The beard is fun on its own, but Harden’s also made a heavy push into social media the last few years. Maybe he can perform at halftime.
Nick Young, Los Angeles Lakers — You can’t have a YOLO game without Swaggy P.
Damian Lillard, Portland Trailblazers — Founder of #4BarFriday.
Tony Allen, Memphis Grizzlies — Perhaps my favorite NBA player to challenge his team owner to a game of one-on-one.
Matt Bonner, San Antonio Spurs — Broken nose and all, Bonner is always entertaining.
Harrison Barnes, Golden State Warriors — Always a candidate to dunk on someone. Or to review an episode of “Breaking Bad.”
DeMarcus Cousins, Sacramento Kings — Hard not to select someone who’s nickname is “Boogie.”
JaVale McGee, Denver Nuggets (Injured) — Really the perfect player for this game.
Nate Robinson, Denver Nuggets (Injured) — Go long, Nate will throw you the pineapple.
So there’s my YOLO All-Stars. Who would you put on your YOLO All-Star team? Let us know below in the comments!
VIDEO: Kid Warriors Get Out Vote
ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — The best way to get fans to vote for your players for the NBA All-Star Game? Use kids to get out the vote, obviously. Because everyone loves kids. The Golden State Warriors are clearly a step ahead of some other franchises when it comes to mobilizing their base.
THE HEADQUARTERS — As the Stylistics eloquently put it, payback is a dog and Russell Westbrook has packed the meanest bite of the young NBA season.
After a thrilling finish in the Bay Area a little over two weeks ago, when Westbrook and Andre Iguodala traded clutch baskets, we knew the rematch would be a battle. What competitor doesn’t crave get-back after coming up short?
Consider it a mission complete by Westbrook, who couldn’t have served a colder dish than his turnaround 3 in OT with 0.1 seconds left to lift OKC to a 113-112 win. This time, he didn’t give anybody a chance to return the favor.
He started the game hitting his first five shots, then went 4-for-19 until his victory-snatching snipe. In a game that featured 20 lead changes, 32 points from Stephen Curry, a poster dunk from Serge Ibaka, this game had “Game of the Year” written on it before you-know-who ended matters.
Best game, best shot, best celebration? Yes. Yes. Affirmative. And yes, you want to mark January 17 in your calendars.
The shot alone is enough to catapult Russ to the peak of the Top Plays mountain. What adds to it is what came directly before. Ibaka missed a foul-line jumper at the top of the key and Jermaine O’Neal was a simple rebound away from securing possession and most likely the game for Golden State. But he didn’t box out and that’s all Westbrook (who flew in from the 3-point line) needed to knock the loose ball away from a surprised O’Neal.
Thabo Sefalosha tracked down the rock and made a blind save to a springing Westbrook, who in a flash snatched the ball out the air with his right hand, took one dribble toward the 3-point line, looked left, whirled right and launched before a scrambling Harrison Barnes could give a good contest.
(Actually, Barnes did get a hand up. Westbrook just got a clean look first).
The dejected look on Barnes (13 seconds into the above clip) is the perfect flip side to the pandemonium surrounding him.
BONUS: Luckily, a fan caught the emotional moment from an excellent courtside angle.
First, Andre Iguodala did this on November 5:
VIDEO: Andre Iguodala serves nifty behind-the-back in Philly
Then Friday night, Lance Stephenson performed his rendition:
VIDEO: Lance Stephenson feeds C.J. Watson with the fancy dish
Which was better? Both were done in the midst of a blowout and both were completely unexpected. I’m going with Iguodala because of the original factor and the lessened margin of error of being in the corner. But Stephenson’s dime did count for three points on the board…
What sayeth you?
ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — Today adidas unveiled their all new collection of NBA on-court gear. According to adidas, “The NBA On-Court Collection will outfit all 30 NBA teams with the most innovative performance and on-trend style.” A photo gallery follows, but first some details…
The collection is available now at NBAstore.com. To see Harrison Barnes, Damian Lillard, Derrick Rose, Ricky Rubio, Iman Shumpert and John Wall model the new gear, check below…
ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — Ryan Anderson should have had an idea that this might happen. After all, Harrison Barnes spent most of his rookie season with the Warriors putting people on posters, giving his teammates something to Bazemore about from the bench.
Still, during last night’s USA Basketball scrimmage in Vegas, when Barnes iso’d on Anderson on the wing and started to drive, I guess all that went out the window and Anderson thought he would be fine. Right? He went up like he could block Barnes’ shot, or at least get a piece.
Instead, he got dunked on.
And even though they weren’t there last night, let’s see how the Warriors’ bench probably would have reacted…
While many NBA players have different interpretations of high fashion and the latest trends, some are sticking with basic suits, while still mixing it up a bit. Perhaps the most important facet of today’s suit is an ability to break up the pieces and wear them with other items in your wardrobe. Let’s take a look at several different styles, including trends that can become part of any closet. Keep up with the conversation using #NBAStyle.
THE EXPERTLY TAILORED SUIT
Derrick Rose, Amar’e Stoudemire and Zach Randolph are in favor of finely tailored, slim cuts.
By the NBA.com Style Crew
ALL BALL NERVE CENTER – Part of the fun of the NBA Playoffs is that everything is amplified, from the intensity to the passion to the very stakes everyone is playing for. it is win or go home, and frankly, win or go home, NBA players want to look as sharp as they can while doing either.
Check out some of the looks these NBA stars put together over the first week of the Playoffs, from the fashion forward styles of guys like Russell Westbrook and James Harden, to LeBron James‘ sweater/blazer combo, to the classic suits on players like Harrison Barnes and Andre Iguodala. Skinny ties are worn by several players, and dudes like Mike Conley (cardigan) and Harden (plaid vest with a pocket square) displayed popular recent trends. And also, Russell Westbrook wore a leather shirt.
All these players and more are featured in the gallery below. Who wore it best? Give us your thoughts in the comments section, and keep the conversation going on Twitter by using #NBAStyle.
by Zettler Clay IV
Earlier, Kobe’s season came to a halt on a typical Kobe spin-toward-basket-before-rising-to-launch-patented-16-foot-shot. He wasn’t going to rest under his own volition, so his body finally gave way. Is this our last time seeing Kobe make a move toward the basket in an NBA game? If only pictures could scream: