Posts Tagged ‘Kawhi Leonard’

Anderson Varejao is a dancing machine

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — During an important moment in last night’s San Antonio/Cleveland games, the Spurs needed to inbound the ball along the sideline. In order to try and disrupt the pass, the Cavs had seven-footer Anderson Varejao defend the passer, Kawhi Leonard. And in order to make the pass as tough as possible, Varejao was very awkwardly active. Which meant he did this…

RaggedSecretKatydid

Later, just to make sure the moment was commemorated perfectly, “Inside Stuff” host Kristen Ledlow took to Twitter to suggest someone put Varejao’s moves to music. After we discussed a few options — I knew Ledlow would initially gravitate toward Grizzlies fan Justin Timberlake — a Twitter user came up with what just may be the perfect soundtrack to Varejao’s funky moves. Thank you, internet…

(gif via r/NBA)

The latest round of Spurs HEB commercials are here, and they are hilarious

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — In what has become a fun annual tradition, each fall the San Antonio-based supermarket chain HEB releases a series of commercials starring members of the Spurs. While traditionally these starred the big three of Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker, last year we saw Kawhi Leonard added to the mix. In this new batch of ads, Patty Mills (and his accent) get involved…


VIDEO: Spurs toga


VIDEO: Spurs BBQ


VIDEO: Spurs organic

Talk Show: Ernie Johnson

Indiana Pacers vs Miami Heat - Game Two

NEW YORK CITY — Tonight’s tip-off of the NBA on TNT marks not only the 31st year that Turner Sports has been involved with the NBA, but also the 25th year that Ernie Johnson has been the man in the middle of it all. As the host of “Inside the NBA,” TNT’s award-winning studio show, Johnson maintains a semblance of control over a panel featuring Charles Barkley, Kenny Smith and Shaquille O’Neal, during what usually turns into a free-wheeling free-for-all at the end of a long night of games. With the TNT crew in New York City for their season tip-off show tonight live from Times Square, I sat down with EJ yesterday to talk about Inside’s wild ride.

ME: I saw a clip the other day of Charles and you together in the studio, maybe for the first time, back in the early ’90s.

JOHNSON: Yeah, when he was still playing.

ME: Right. And his voice was completely different …

JOHNSON: Oh, I know! “These two teams have some hostility …” He wasn’t The Chuckster.

ME: When he started regularly on “Inside” 15 years ago now, was he closer to what we see now than what we saw in that old clip?

JOHNSON: Yeah, I thought so. Back then, when he was a player, and I think you see this a lot, players aren’t going to say anything while they’re still playing that might get to somebody. If we’re showing video of somebody in a fight and he says, “Those are two guys who couldn’t break a pane of glass,” then he’s going to hear it next he’s playing against them. I think by the time he got to us — that was probably ’92 or ’93 that first time — he had become the most quotable guy in the league, all-interview team. So all of that built up to when he’s done playing, he had to be on TV and hopefully he would be with us. He’s closer to this than he was to that at the start, if that makes any sense.

ME: Whenever I come by the studios in Atlanta, you’re there in your office hours ahead of being on the air. What is a day like for you? How do you prepare?

JOHNSON: I try to be there 6-7 hours before we go on the air. And I think it’s all because after this many years you get a repetition and you know what a game day is like. It’s not unlike a player’s game day ritual. A player’s going to eat at this time and get to the arena by this time. Like Alex Gordon of the Royals, he’s got this game day regimen where he’s at the ballpark by noon, and he’s working out until this time, he’s got a stopwatch, he’s doing this, doing this, doing this. And I kind of have that same deal, where I use this time to recap last night for my files, I need this time to read the articles from around the country about the teams that are playing tonight, then we have the production meeting, so … it all falls out from that. To me it’s always been about the preparation, and if the day comes when you don’t want to do all the prep work, it’s time for me to say, later. But that hasn’t happened. I still love that. That’s the work. The show is fun, the prep is all the work, and if that prep ever gets to the point where I don’t feel like doing it, I need to check out.


VIDEO: NBA Rookies: Inside Inside

ME: I read an interview with you recently where you said your role on the show is basically being a rogue traffic cop.

JOHNSON: That was that Rolling Stone interview.

ME: Right. You’re usually the one asking the questions of the analysts and the players, but you have opinions yourself and you’ve been doing this 25 years, so, let me ask you, who do you think wins the West and the East this season?

JOHNSON: I think Chicago would be the favorite right now, and I think San Antonio would be the team to beat in the West right now, but again, so many things happen. You know, Kawhi Leonard has played one preseason game and now he’s got this eye thing, so, you don’t know. And Kevin Durant, does he come back 100-percent, or is that something that nags him? So that’s why it’s hard to do that. And you know what? I will share my opinions on that show when I feel like I need to. I got three guys here who have been in every conceivable NBA situation. They’re the ones who fans want to hear from. Sometimes you can tell how I feel because I’m going to throw a question out there that reflects where I’m coming from. But then like in a league-wide situation, I wasn’t hesitant at all to speak out on the Donald Sterling thing last year. That first day I said, “Look, if those are his words, the league has no place for him.” I think knowing your role is a big part of that, and knowing how to get these guys where they want to be, and knowing that if I ask Shaq this, Charles is going to broadside him, that’s where the rogue traffic cop comes in.

ME: How has it changed through the years about working with these three guys?

JOHNSON: I don’t think it’s changed very much. The first night that we ever did a show, Kenny and Charles walked out, and Charles asked Kenny what he was going to say about something, and Kenny said, “You’ll find out.” And that hasn’t changed. That’s been the way we do business. We’ve never said, like, “Hey this year why don’t we have everybody in the production meeting and rehearse each segment twice so we know exactly how long it’s going to last.” That would kill the show. It’s continued in what it does well, and that’s spontaneous, off-the-cuff, unrehearsed, unpredictable. And so no, I don’t think we’ve changed a whole lot.

ME: I guess the most obvious change was when you added Shaq a few years ago.

JOHNSON: You bring Shaq into that dynamic, and he’s the world’s biggest kid. I think what got his attention about the show is all the fun that we have, all the laughs, and that’s what he likes to do. As soon as got a grip on the fact that he had to do some homework. And I told him that the first couple months we all worked together. I said, “As much funny stuff as Chuck says and as outrageous as some of the stuff might be, he comes to the studio every night with at least five things he wants to unload before the night’s over. So do the same thing. Have a take on this team or that team.” And he’s done that. The three guys are so different and come at it from different perspectives, and it’s up to me to move it around.

ME: Charles said he doesn’t know how much longer he’ll do this. How long do you think you guys can keep this up?

JOHNSON: I didn’t think we’d be here today. Because what was it, 2000 when we started? I thought, you know what, when the novelty wears off for Charles, whatever time we can get and have the chance to work together, it’ll be fun. I never thought that coming into the 2014-15 season, we’d be talking about, “Here comes another year with all of us.” And then adding Shaq the last few. In this business you never have the next show guaranteed. And so, I always think whatever we’ve done has been a blessing to do it. Believe me, when we sit out there to get ready to do a show, there’s not a time you don’t look around at these guys and say, “Do you know how many people would like to be sitting in my chair?”

Michael Jordan loses shooting game to Kawhi Leonard

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — Just yesterday we checked in with Michael Jordan at his eponymous basketball camp, where we saw that he still has a sweet shooting stroke. Well, today video has emerged of MJ at that same camp, teaming up with a camper and playing a two-on-two game of hot shot against another camper and his partner, gulp, NBA Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard. It really gets going around the four-minute mark…


VIDEO: MJ vs Kawhi

(via SLAM)

Kawhi Leonard visits the Fantasy Factory

ALL BALL NERVE CENTERRob Dyrdek is involved in many things — he’s a skater and a businessman among other things. But Dyrdek might be best known as a TV show host, with his show “Ridiculousness” still airing regularly on MTV. Previously, “Rob Dyrdek’s Fantasy Factory” was in heavy rotation on MTV, a show where Dyrdek and his pals basically got into misadventures inside a gigantic warehouse filled with toys. With a seventh season supposedly being taped now, yesterday Dyrdek post a photo of a celebrity visit with the caption, “Mega Ballin with the NBA Champion and the Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard at the Factory today.”

Mega Ballin with the NBA Champion and the Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard at the Factory today.

A photo posted by Rob Dyrdek (@robdyrdek) on

Boris Diaw is living the life

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — The NBA Finals shifted irrevocably when Gregg Popovich inserted Boris Diaw into the San Antonio Spurs’ starting lineup for Game 3. After two games that were rather close, including a Miami win in Game 2, Diaw helped space the floor and move the ball, and the Spurs won three straight games in decisive fashion to win the championship. Kawhi Leonard may have been the Finals MVP, but Diaw was unarguably crucial to what the Spurs accomplished.

This summer, Diaw became a free agent, and without much drama he agreed to a three-year extension to remain a member of the Spurs. He announced the extension via Instagram with a photo of “GO SPURS GO” spelled out on a beach…

Hey spurs fans, Good news i stay in san antonio for a few more years. Lets win it again #gospursgo

A photo posted by Borisdiaw (@diawboris) on

Then yesterday, Diaw actually signed the contract…while on a boat. As Diaw wrote in the caption, “Could i find a better place to sign my extension with the spurs? #gospursgo” No, I don’t think you could, Boris.

Could i find a better place to sign my extension with the spurs? #gospursgo

A photo posted by Borisdiaw (@diawboris) on

Spurs fans still getting Spurs players shaved into their hair

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — During last year’s NBA Finals, I did a post about Spurs fans getting elaborate haircuts featuring their favorite Spurs players. You read that right: Spurs fans were getting images of different Spurs players shaved into their hair. I even got on the phone and spoke to barber Rob the Original, who explained how the whole thing works.

One year later, the trend doesn’t seem to be slowing down. Here are a few recent pics shared by Rob, including an ornate Kawhi Leonard pic and a Tim Duncan portrait…

@kawhi_2_leonard #sanAntonio #spurs #kawhileonard #nba #finals #sctop10

A photo posted by Rob Ferrel (@robtheoriginal) on

Huge S/O to @instagram for showing me love and reposting my #timDuncan #portrait #robtheoriginal #nba #spurs

A photo posted by Rob Ferrel (@robtheoriginal) on

Also, another barber in San Antonio, Joe the Barber, posted these videos showing off some of his fresh Spurs cuts…

(via B/R)

NBA Players Celebrate Halloween

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — NBA players are just like anyone else, and end up celebrating Halloween by dressing up in wacky costumes. Here’s a sampling of images they’ve shared of them in costume via various social media thus far…

Serge Ibaka as Coming To America‘s Prince Akeem, and girlfriend Keri Hilson as Lisa McDowell…

"When you think of garbage think of me" lol!!!! Akeem And Lisa McDowell.

A photo posted by Serge Ibaka (@mr_avecclasse) on

(more…)

Horry Scale: Parker Sinks Thunder




By Jeff Case, NBA.com

The creator of the Horry Scale, Micah Hart, has moved on from NBA.com-land. Still, his brainchild will live on. Now, only two days into the season, we have our first candidate of 2012-13 in Tony Parker.

For those that are new around these parts, the Horry scale examines a game-winning buzzer-beater (GWBB) in the categories of difficulty, game situation (was the team tied or behind at the time?), importance (playoff game or garden-variety Clippers-Nets game?), and celebration, and gives it an overall grade on a scale of 1-5 Robert Horrys, who is kind of the patron saint of last-second clutchiness.

For longtime Spurs fans, it might have been sweeter than usual to see Parker nailing a game-winning jump shot, if only because it wasn’t all that long ago that many questioned if Parker could add a reliable jump shot to his dangerous dribble-drive game.

How does Mr. Parker’s shot Thursday stack up? Let’s take a look.

Difficulty

As mentioned above, this is a now-routine shot for Parker — which was something you couldn’t always say about his outside game. We’d rate this one a medium difficulty, though, seeing as how last season’s shotblocking king, Serge Ibaka, was in the neighborhood and wasn’t that far behind in getting a hand on the ball. The shot could have been a lot tougher, though, had OKC All-Star Russell Westbrook not gotten lost on the pass from Danny Green to Parker, something that Charles Barkley and Kenny Smith took Westbrook to task for on “Inside the NBA.”

Game Situation

Score tied at 84 with 5.9 seconds left. Parker had nailed a 3-pointer with 28.4 seconds left to tie the score and OKC had a chance to claim the lead, but Kevin Durant had the ball stolen by Kawhi Leonard as Durant came off a screen (in another play that Charles and Kenny didn’t like).

Importance

This was the second game of the season for San Antonio and OKC’s season-opener, so the importance would seem muted. There is, of course, the fact that these were the teams in last season’s West finals … and that OKC came back from an 0-2 hole to vanquish the Spurs … and that these squads remain among the West favorites again. This game adds another chapter to the overall lore of the rivalry and may end up mattering come season’s end. The importance factor, then, is semi-high with a chance of super-high later in the season.

Celebration

Very Spurs-like: The always-loyal San Antonio fans go nuts, Parker lets out a celebratory yell, Tim Duncan gets him in a loving headlock, Stephen Jackson comes over to bask in the moment, coach Gregg Popovich has a look of “welp” on his face and the Spurs head giddily to the locker room . Perfectly matched to the importance of the game.

Grade

3½ Horrys. It’s a well-executed shot and Parker proves that his game has plenty of range. The rivalry factor with OKC colors things and the potential future impact of this game to the West hierarchy beefs up the rating from what it would be were it any other game or teams (it’d probably be like 2 stars, IMO, if that were the case).

What do you think?

Picking the Rising Stars Rosters So Chuck and Shaq Don’t Have To

by Micah Hart

Earlier this morning Sekou and I put our GM caps on and picked rosters for the BBVA Rising Stars Challenge, trying to figure out what they might look like once Shaq and Chuck get done with them for All-Star Friday night.

Sekou got the first pick because, well, he’s big time, and I’m just a squirrel trying to get a nut.

Here are our squads:

Sekou’s Squad (in order of draft selection):

Blake Griffin
Ricky Rubio
Kyrie Irving
Paul George
Derrick Williams
Evan Turner
Tristan Thompson
Tiago Splitter
Markieff Morris

And mine:

Micah’s Men:

John Wall
DeMarcus Cousins
Greg Monroe
Kemba Walker
MarShon Brooks
Gordon Hayward
Kawhi Leonard
Jeremy Lin Landry Fields
Brandon Knight

Which team do you like the best?

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