Posts Tagged ‘james harden’

Pippen, Barkley teach Harden to have a short memory

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — Foot Locker keeps rolling out the NBA-related commercials. In this latest spot, Houston’s James Harden gets advice from Charles Barkley and Scottie Pippen on how to keep his mind right while playing in the NBA. I didn’t say it was necessarily good advice…

VIDEO: Short Memory

Nike reveals new USA Basketball uniforms

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — The FIBA Basketball World Cup is still a few weeks away, far enough away that Team USA doesn’t even have a roster set, but today Nike dropped images of the new uniforms Team USA is going to wear. According to a press release…

The angle of USA graphic on the new uniform was inspired by the chevron of the classic Nike Windrunner track jacket that was born in 1978.

Both the USA home and away uniforms feature red, white and blue hues meshed together in the 26-degree speed graphic – crossing the front of the game jersey, fading into a representation of the USA flag, and extending across the side of the game short from the front to the back. The speed graphic represents a distinctive basketball point of view, based on the roughly 1,000 directional changes, or “cuts” that a player might make in the course of a game.

NIKE HYPER ELITE JERSEY

A flocked lining at the inside of the neck allows the athlete to comfortably wipe excess moisture from the face. Ultra-lightweight stretch mesh in the back of the jersey serves to regulate the temperature of the player along the spine, where athletes tend to heat up the most. Redeveloped, lightweight sphere fabric in the front of the jersey helps to maintain a comfortable body temperature by wicking moisture, while eliminating cling from excess sweat.

NIKE HYPER ELITE SHORTS

A perforated, vented waistband in the Nike Hyper Elite shorts provides a level of cooling, while maintaining the comfort and security that athletes require. A new, performance flex vent placed by the knee allows the game short to flex when the player moves. The addition of a flocked “wipe zone” at either hip allows a comfortable spot to dry hands as sweat builds up.

The new uniform will be available beginning Aug. 7 on nike.com, in Nike stores and selected shops, and will debut on-court when the USA Basketball Men’s National Team takes on the Brasil Men’s National team on August 16, in an exhibition game at Chicago’s United Center.

To check them out, click through the gallery below…

 

James Harden, Jabari Parker throw out first pitches

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — It’s been fun watching Tracy McGrady chase his dream of becoming a professional baseball pitcher, but just because you can throw a baseball doesn’t mean it’s something you can or should do for a living. Over the weekend we saw two different NBA players throw out ceremonial first pitches for their local Major League Baseball franchises.

Down in Houston, Rockets guard James Harden visited an Astros game and was entrusted with tossing a first pitch. Harden, a southpaw, took the mound in cut-off jeans, a.k.a. jorts, a real fashion-forward move on his part. Also, for some reason Harden had to pitch with a bunch of mascots hanging around in the background, which must be distracting. His pitch was high and outside, perhaps designed to make a batter chase.


VIDEO: Harden’s Pitch

Meanwhile, in Milwaukee, recent number two overall pick Jabari Parker threw out the first pitch at a Brewers game. The rangy righty went with sweatpants, an always wise move. I particularly like how Parker takes the mound, stares in and shakes off the catcher before throwing what could generously be described as a low change-up. Nice form, though.


VIDEO: Parker’s Pitch

James Harden illustrated

By Lang Whitaker, NBA.com

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — I got an email the other day from an All Ball reader named Filip Peraić, who is a designer in Croatia. As an NBA fan and an artist, Filip hit on a way to “sharpen creativity”: He’s drawing James Harden‘s profile over and over. And over. And over.

What makes it so interesting is that in each version he puts together, Filip is doing essentially the same image but in completely different ways — in camo, out of dots, without skin, etc. (He chose Harden because of his “unique, awesome bearded profile.”) It’s really creative, and rather cool.

I posted a couple of my favorites below. To check out more, go to the James Harden Illustrated site…

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James Harden The Cowboy

By Jeff Case

Things couldn’t be going much better for the Houston Rockets than they are right now. They’re in the midst of a three-game win streak and have won eight of their last 10 games, they’re within striking distance of the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference and, overall, they seem to be hitting their stride on the court.

Off the court, they’ve been in a pretty good mood all season and have delivered classic moments like getting spooked by the team’s mascot, singing ‘Dreidel, Dreidel, Dreidel’ around the holidays, rallying around Dwight Howard after a round of jeering from Lakers fans in L.A. and more.

Another classic off-the-court Rockets moment came yesterday via the team’s Twitter feed when the team snapped a photo of star guard James Harden donning a cowboy hat at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo:

(h/t TNLP)

J.J. Gets Busy On The Perimeter

Blocking 3-pointers consistently is not an easy job, but James Johnson has to do it.

The most recent entrant into the Top Plays Theatre for his ability with the basketball, Johnson is even better on the other side. Since being called up from a D-League stint in late December, he has developed a habit of annoying the best shooters on the wings and in the corners. He is a good shot blocker inside the arc, but shooters aren’t any safer from deep.


VIDEO: James Johnson carves out his niche for the Grizzlies on the defensive perimeter

As Kevin Durant and James Harden found out multiple times, the 6-foot-9 Johnson has the activity level of a young Gerald Wallace (you don’t earn the nickname “Crash” for nothing) and Josh Smith, using any opportunity to terrorize whoever tries to launch from deep. When a shooter crouches to get in position, he takes it personal, using short powerful bursts and exquisite timing to close space fast.

He does this without fouling, which is perhaps the rub. Many players have the ability. A few have the willingness. But how many are skillful enough to keep pulling it off? James Johnson may not be a household moniker (outside of Memphis anyway), but you better believe that opposing coaches know who he is. The name may be plain, but the man has game.

Rubio Racks Up On A Wild Night Of Sharing


VIDEO: Ricky Rubio runs wild on the Pacers’ vaunted defense

Wednesday night was a time of giving in the Association, as Joakim Noah, Ricky Rubio and Kemba Walker tallied career highs in dimes in three different North American regions.

North of the border in Toronto, Noah was generous early and often, feeding cutting and spot-up teammates 12 times for a basket, including a behind-the-back two hopper from the middle of the paint to the corner on a fast break.

Video: Watch Joakim Noah’s 13 assists against the Raptors

In the Southeast, Bobcats guard Walker took another step in his evolution from a shoot-first point to on-court chef. Using his ball-on-a-string dribble, Kemba carved the Pistons’ D with kick-outs to open shooters set up by a crisp two-man game with Al Jefferson. Reserve point guard Ramon Sessions recorded 10 assists of his own. (Further down on the map, John Wall weaved pinpoint passes through the Hawks in Atlanta for 12 in a win).

Video: Watch Kemba Walker’s 16 assists against the Pistons

But the facilitator of the night goes to the Spaniard in the Midwest. Rubio got busy to the tune of 17 assists, dishing a steady diet to Kevin Love (42 points) and Corey Brewer and Ronny Turiaf. He controlled the pill like a wand, harrying the Pacers seemingly with ease.

Video: Watch Ricky Rubio’s 17 assists against the Pacers

His abuse of Paul George and Roy Hibbert in this highlight might be the best Rubio playmaking moment of the season:


VIDEO: Ricky Rubio fakes out Paul George and Roy Hibbert for the dump-off

By no means are these the only superb givers on the night. Rajon Rondo and Trey Burke collected 10 dimes each, James Harden one-upped them with 11 and Kendall Marshall shared in 16 buckets. Marshall has seven games this season of 14 or more assists, tying Chris Paul for the NBA lead. He’s only played 25 games.

Even Phoenix’s P.J. Tucker got in on the milestone act, tying a career high with six helpers.

Dwight Howard Reminds Everyone He Won A Dunk Contest Too

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — Last weekend in New Orleans, John Wall performed what was called the “Dunk of the Night” en route to walking away as the evening’s big winner. Even though it was only six years ago, the last time the dunk contest was in New Orleans was in 2008, and the winner of that dunk contest was Dwight Howard. These days Dwight’s dunks are more of the power variety, but yesterday at Rockets practice, Dwight showed that he can still get creative. James Harden got in on it as well, but Dwight threw down a couple of nasty dunks, including this first one which left teammate Chandler Parsons speechless…

The 2013-14 All Ball YOLO All-Stars

j.r.-tucker

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…

EASTERN CONFERENCE
Starters
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!

Bench
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.

WESTERN CONFERENCE
Starters
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.

Bench
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!

James Harden Disguises Himself As Anthony Davis

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — With a beard as singular and iconic as the one James Harden sports, I’m guessing it isn’t easy to ever slip into a disguise. (Unless, as we saw earlier today, you disguise a bunch of other people as you.) But in this latest ad from Foot Locker, Harden decides that in order to shop in peace, he needs to go as someone with a lower profile, so he selects New Orleans big man Anthony Davis. Then again, I’m not so sure a seven-foot-tall dude with a unibrow is the most incognito costume one could come up with.
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VIDEO: Harden In Disguise As Davis