Posts Tagged ‘Kevin Durant’

Kevin Durant did not take Serge Ibaka’s water

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — So there was Kevin Durant, standing there after an Oklahoma City Thunder practice, chatting nicely with the media, when all of a sudden Serge Ibaka wants to know if Kevin Durant took his water. It’s a valid question, I suppose, although Durant doesn’t really have the answer. Keep searching, Serge.

Kevin Durant introduces new shoe

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — The Oklahoma City Thunder announced earlier this week that Kevin Durant underwent a surgical procedure on his foot that will keep him out for at least a week. And as part of his recovery, Durant will have to stay off his foot and temporarily wear a support shoe. It’s not the most well-designed shoe, so KD took the opportunity to take to Instagram and joke about this being the KD8, his next signature shoe that should be released this summer…

Can't wait for the 8s to drop!!

A photo posted by Kevin Durant (@easymoneysniper) on

Kevin Durant hits Chris Paul with classic scoreboard burn

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — It’s been a rough few days for the Los Angeles Clippers. They’re on an extended road trip while the Grammys were held back in their home arena, the Staples Center. After looking like they’d found their groove, they’ve lost 5 of their last 6 games. And to add injury to insult, now Blake Griffin is out indefinitely with a staph infection in his elbow that will require surgery.

All of those factors apparently came together yesterday in the Clippers game against the Oklahoma City Thunder. The Thunder were winning big in the second half, coasting to a win, when Clips All-Star point guard Chris Paul knocked down a midrange jumper to cut OKC’s lead down to 20. The cameras caught Paul staring at Kevin Durant after the shot, and Durant seemed to say something about Paul now being “down 20 now, homie” in response, a variant of the classic “check the scoreboard” burn.

Russell Westbrook is still waiting for his high five

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — Two nights ago during the Thunder/Magic game, when Reggie Jackson pulled off his magical shot, there was a moment later in the game worth reliving. As the Thunder walked off the court for a timeout, Russell Westbrook was high-fiving his teammates, and he ended up whiffing on a high five with Jeremy Lamb. But instead of keeping it moving, Westbrook could not just let it go…

And as ESPN’s Royce Young pointed out, Westbrook apparently has a thing about hanging high fives…


VIDEO: Westbrook KD high five

Moral of the story? Don’t leave Russell Westbrook hanging.

Kevin Durant has some existential questions about Twitter

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — Twitter is a popular social networking platform, that allows users to interact and share information. Sometimes that means jokes, sometimes that means NBA scores, sometimes that means blog posts, sometimes that means having a conversation with a person you’ve never met.

So we know what Twitter is, but really, what is Twitter? Oklahoma City’s Kevin Durant found himself pondering something similar, and where better to share those questions and concerns than on Twitter?

NBA ode to Christmas Day


VIDEO: NBA TV narrates the season through Christmas lens

Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the Garden
Ticket holders asked: “Why can’t we just take James Harden?”
The jerseys were hung in the lockers with care,
In hopes that one day a real team would be there;

Across town the Nets were nestled all snug in their beds,
Visions of D-Will’s 40 percent shooting torturing their heads;
And Sam Presti in his kerchief and Chris Wallace in his wrap,
Had just settled down to brush up on the salary cap.

When out on Seventh Avenue there arose such a clatter,
They sprang from their beds to see what was the matter.
Away to the window they flew in a flash,
Tore open the shutters, ready to do something rash.

The moon on the breast of the new fallen snow
Seemed as far away as the Larry O’Brien Trophy to Spike
and his pals on the high-priced front row,
When what to their wondering eyes should appear,
But a stretch limousine pulled by eight tiny reindeer,
With a tall, slow driver who’d long lost his quicks,
They knew in a moment he must be from the Knicks.

More rapid than a 20-second timeout his coursers they came,
And he whistled and shouted and called them by name:
“Now Gasol! Now Monroe! Now DeAndre! up above,
“On, K.D.! On LaMarcus and Butler! On Kawhi and Love!
To the top of the scoreboard!  To the top of the wall!
Come with me now to save New York basketball.”

As dry leaves before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle mount to the sky,
Over in Brooklyn, Queen B’s land with Jay-Z,
Lionel’s team was still driving him crazy.

So up to the house top the coursers they flew,
The limo filled with millions, and James Dolan, too.
And then in a twinkling, on Presti and Wallace’s roofs
Was the prancing and pawing of designer hoofs.

As they drew in their heads and were turning around,
Down the chimney came Zen Master came with a bound.
He wore a green suit of Benjamins, sewn out of cash,
Ready to recruit his own Brothers of Splash.

A bundle of promises he was ready to dangle,
At anyone not named J.R., who could grasp a triangle.
His eyes — how they twinkled!  Not the face of a meanie;
Of course, the fall-back plan was still the beach with Jeanie.

His droll little scheme, turn around a team soft as a cushion,
And do it all faster than Brooklyn’s rich Russian.
He piled stacks of cash from their feet to their teeth,
And blew smoke till it encircled their heads like a wreath.

He had a wise, knowing face, hardly hint of a belly,
Not at all like Charles Barkley’s each night on the telly;
He was as haughty and sure as a blackmailer with pictures,
Even though his team’s record was down with the Sixers.

A wink of his eye and a twist of his head
Was supposed to give the entire NBA something to dread.
He had played in the glory years with Reed, Frazier and Bradley,
Now these days in his sack just a hollow team playing badly.

He’d spoken all the right words, said he’d soon make them perk,
But without Jordan and Shaq, this might be too much like work.
And laying a finger aside of his nose
And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose.

He sprung to his limo, to his team gave some whistles,
Nothing he couldn’t clean up with one or two missiles.

But I heard him exclaim, ere he soared over walls of adobe:
“By this time next Christmas, I’ll even settle for old Kobe.”

The NBA on Christmas Day: Talking with Kristin Chenoweth

KCHeadshot_2014

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — The holidays are not only a time of being with friends and family, they also bring about one of the marquee moments on the NBA calendar: Christmas Day, when the NBA is giving us five big match-ups to keep you glued to your couch all day long.

To celebrate the upcoming day, we’re talking with a few famous NBA fans about what the NBA and the Christmas Day games mean to them. We’ve already spoken with John Leguizamo, Mario Batali and Anna Chlumsky, and today we wrap up by talking with Emmy and Tony award-winning singer and actress Kristin Chenoweth. An Oklahoma native, Chenoweth has starred on TV in shows such as “The West Wing” and “Glee!,” in movies like Rio 2 and on Broadway in shows including “Wicked” and “Promises, Promises.”

Chenoweth will next be seen on-screen in the Universal film The Boy Next Door, alongside Jennifer Lopez, and in the animated Lucasfilm fairy tale musical Strange Magic, both set to be released on January 23. She’s also completed production on an indie teen drama entitled Hard Sell and the Disney Channel’s live-action original movie “Descendants,” in which she will play the classic Sleeping Beauty villain Maleficent. Chenoweth will also return to Broadway in the Roundabout Theatre Company‘s 20-week limited engagement of “On the Twentieth Century” in early 2015.

Christmas2014ME: Hey Kristin! So I just wanted to talk basketball with you. You probably don’t get to do that that much, right?

KRISTIN: (laughing) Nobody thinks that I can talk basketball. This is a very good gift of a call for me to have.

ME: I know you’re originally from Oklahoma, but were you a basketball fan before the Thunder were there?

KRISTIN: I think I should tell sort of how it came for me, like, this love of basketball. I was always scared of basketball growing up. I was a cheerleader, but I knew I could never play basketball because I’m 4-11. But I always liked cheering at basketball games because they were exciting. I loved the game in and of itself, but I never played, and we never had a professional team, as you know. So, I started dating someone a few years back, six years ago, and he was a humongous L.A. Lakers fan. And I knew that I had to start watching the Lakers. So I did that so I got to know who he was talking about, and I started to fall in love with the players. I really liked Pau Gasol a lot. He’s no longer there, but anyway, we got the Thunder right after that. And my boyfriend was such a big basketball nut he would watch with me, and started to like the Thunder. I started to fall in love with Westbrook and Durant, and I’m still not over Harden. I feel a little bit badly about it, but my Dad tried to explain to me about it being a business decision, and I get that, but I don’t know, it was a little heartbreaking to see him leave. But since that I’ve become an even bigger fan and bigger fan, and I’ve really enjoyed watching basketball.

ME: Are you a Thunder loyalist?

KRISTIN: I wouldn’t say I’m a huge fan of a lot of teams, because I’m very loyal to my Thunder, but I have a little bit of love for the Spurs — a little bit, even though they’re in direct competition with us. I’m not really loving the Heat, and I’m a little torn about how I feel about LeBron. He went to the Heat and now he’s back in Cleveland, God bless him, but I’m not really a fan of the Heat. I’m not really a fan of the Nuggets. I can’t tell you why, either, other than I just feel like, No. I like the Clippers and the fact that we have an Oklahoman on that team — Blake Griffin. I’m just proud of the Thunder. I’m proud that Oklahoma has such a good team. The beginning of this year did not look good, and we had a lot of injuries and we’re kind of overcoming that. I think Coach [Scott] Brooks is very smart and is grooming the younger players. I’m pretty impressed with Reggie Jackson — I love him and Ibaka, and I love Perkins. Of course I love Westbrook and Durant, but I gotta give love to the entire team, because I see them coming together, and in the beginning of this season, even though we were losing without our guys, I was so proud of how they were learning and how quickly they were learning. To me, that’s the definition of a team, and I think that’s where Scott is so good. Even though he’s a California boy, I’m glad he’s embraced Oklahoma.

ME: I was wondering, because I know you spend a lot of time in New York, do you follow the Knicks as well?

KRISTIN: The Knicks are another team I have love for, because I’m a New Yorker as well. I live in New York and L.A. both, but I’m always gonna follow the New York Jets, Giants — even though that doesn’t really work for a lot of people — Yankees, Mets and Knicks. I’m always gonna do that — New York is like my second home. But if I had to pick, there’s no competition.

ME: You mentioned being 4-11, which made me wonder: Is Nate Robinson your favorite Thunder player of all-time?

KRISTIN: How tall is he? Isn’t he like 5-10?

ME: No, he’s like 5-8, 5-9.

KRISTIN: Nate Robinson is that short? Didn’t he win the dunk contest? Yeah, I loved him. What happened to him? Where is he now?

ME: He’s on your not-favorite Denver Nuggets now.

KRISTIN: That’s! Right! That is right! I still have love for him. He’s short — well, for a basketball player. But it just goes to show, to me, that it doesn’t matter how tall you are. He has the heart of a basketball player and he’s so good. I’m sad to see him with the Nuggets, but again, you lose some and we’re training these awesome players. Like Jeremy Lamb, he’s a baby, but in five years what’s he going to be doing? I’m excited to see.

ME: So do you feel like this is the year for the Thunder to finally break through and win a title?

KRISTIN: Well, that’s a tough one. Because I’m always going to want to say yes. I think there’s still time to prove ourselves, yes, I do. I think that we have to overcome a lot. I think we have to overcome injury. If we can do that, and we don’t lose anybody, then yeah, I think we have a shot. The Spurs are making me nervous. Of course, any team that LeBron plays on makes me nervous. Two years ago was really painful. And I was on tour and they had said if we make it to the Finals will you sing the National Anthem? And I had said, ‘Hell yeah! I’m in the middle of tour but I’ll move a show.” I might have cried, I’m not going to say. But I have these really high heels, these Oklahoma City Thunder pumps, but I wore them on stage, just to show my love. I think like three of my shoes could fit in Kevin Durant’s shoe.

ME: So let’s get your Christmas Day picks. First game is Washington Wizards at New York Knicks.

KRISTIN: I’m gonna have to go with the Knicks.

ME: Second game is Oklahoma City Thunder at the San Antonio Spurs. No contest here, I’m guessing.

KRISTIN: The Thunder all the way. We’re gonna kick San Antonio’s [butt]. I predict it. Take that, San Antonio [laughs].

ME: Cleveland Cavaliers at the Miami Heat?

KRISTIN: Oh man, you know I’m watching that game. Um, I’m gonna have to go with the Cavs. A) I’m not a fan of the Heat, and B) LeBron’s on the Cavs.

ME: Two more. The Los Angeles Lakers at the Chicago Bulls?

KRISTIN: The Bulls, they’re gonna win. They’re having a good year, I forgot about them.

ME: And then the last one is the Warriors against the other team from Los Angeles, the Clippers.

KRISTIN: I like the Clippers, I like the Clippers. By the way, the first game you mentioned…

ME: Wizards at the Knicks?

KRISTIN: The Wizards are better than I thought they would be. Is that new this year?

ME: They were pretty good last season, made the second round of the Playoffs, but this season they’re better than they’ve been in a long time.

KRISTIN: I know, right? I caught a little bit of their game and I forget who they were playing, but I was like, What the hell is going on here? They’re not bad, not bad. Well, let’s see how close I get, I may have just called all five games.

ME: You did pick the Knicks.

KRISTIN: I know, I know, but I did that out of loyalty.

ME: Understood. Last thing: On Christmas Day will you actually sit at home and watch the games?

KRISTIN: I’ll watch the Thunder because I’m going home to Oklahoma, and everything stops in Oklahoma when the Thunder play, as well it should. So I’ll be watching with my Dad and my cousins and everybody. And I really want to see the Cavs/Heat game.

The NBA on Christmas Day: Talking with John Leguizamo

Portland Trail Blazers v New York Knicks

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — The holidays are not only a time of being with friends and family, they also bring about one of the marquee moments on the NBA calendar: Christmas Day, when the NBA is giving us five big match-ups to keep you glued to your couch all day long.

To celebrate the upcoming day, we’re talking with a few famous NBA fans about what the NBA and the Christmas Day games mean to them. Today we check in with the multihyphenate (writer-actor, producer-director, and on and on) John Leguizamo. Though he was born in Colombia, Leguizamo’s family moved to New York soon after, and a lifelong love affair with basketball and the New York Knicks began. His latest project is the loosely-autobiographical film Fugly!, out now on demand and on iTunes.

ME: I’ve seen you at lots of Knicks games through the years. Did being a fan of the Knicks start as soon you and your family moved to New York?

LEGUIZAMO: Yeah, definitely. I love basketball — that’s what I played growing up. You know, the sport you play is the sport you end up loving to watch. Somehow, it’s reliving the childhood and the life you never had. So yeah, I was a big Knicks fan back in the day — Clyde and up to Patrick Ewing, Sprewell, Starks, LJ, and up to now, the triangle offense, I’m here.

ME: Even these days, when the franchise is rebuilding, are you still fully invested?

LEGUIZAMO: It’s tough. The triangle offense is a tough thing to figure out. I mean, I guess it worked for Phil Jackson in Chicago and L.A., but how is it going to work on these cats who’ve played so differently all their lives, man? I don’t know, it’s a tough thing to watch. It’s like…(laughing) sending troops into war without weapons. I don’t know. It’s like, “Try and use your fist this time instead of a bayonet!”

ME: Also, to be fair, Phil had Jordan and Pippen in Chicago and Shaq and Kobe in L.A. So there may be a bit of a personnel issue with this Knicks team.

LEGUIZAMO: You mean you don’t think Carmelo is Kobe Bryant? (laughs) I mean, who was Michael Jordan anyway? No athlete will ever equal the excellence of that cat, but Kobe was pretty close, man.

Christmas2014

ME: Let’s get your predictions for the Christmas Day games. First up is your Knicks hosting the Washington Wizards.

LEGUIZAMO: Aw man. I mean, the Knicks will surprise you out of nowhere man, and maybe this is the time they’ll all come together — J.R. Smith and Shumpert — and maybe they’ll still come together for that. So I’ll give it to the Knicks. I mean, they come out of nowhere sometimes and they figure it out, and somehow the triangle offense comes together and somehow they’re loose and free. Or they get totally shut down, I don’t know.

ME: Right, sometimes it’s more like the Bermuda Triangle offense.

LEGUIZAMO: (laughs) Definitely the Bermuda Triangle. I think the Aztecs used The Triangle when they fought the Conquistadores. And what happened to the that empire?

ME: Yeah, didn’t work out so well. What do you do on Christmas Day? Will you watch games, or what’s your plan?

LEGUIZAMO: Well, we travel far. Our families are gypsies, so last year we went to Peru, and this year I’m going to be in Africa on a safari, not a shooting safari but shooting with my camera.

ME: Sounds amazing. OK, next up is the San Antonio Spurs at the Oklahoma City Thunder.

LEGUIZAMO: Thunder didn’t show up the other night. I mean, Kevin Durant is back, but I’m gonna go Spurs.

ME: Yeah, it’s hard to pick against them. Cleveland Cavaliers at the Miami Heat.

LEGUIZAMO: Aaahhhhhh! Oh dear, that’s gonna be wild. I love LeBron now that he went to the Cavs; somehow he regained my respect and love. But that’s gonna be tough, Look at Dwyane who came in the other day with crazy points. I don’t know, I’m gonna go with the Heat.

ME: Two more. Lakers at the Bulls.

LEGUIZAMO: Bulls. Derrick Rose. That’s all I gotta say, two words: Derrick Rose.

ME: Last one, Los Angeles Clippers at maybe the surprise team of the season, the Golden State Warriors.

LEGUIZAMO: Wow, that’s a tough one. I mean, I love the Clippers, man, I love CP3, and after all they went through, I’m going to do the emotional choice instead of the smart choice (laughing), I’m going to go Clippers.

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?”

Kevin Durant coaches a blindfolded James Harden

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — Former Oklahoma City Thunder teammates Kevin Durant and James Harden have reunited since their conscious uncoupling in a commercial for BBVA, the Spanish banking company. But this new ad starring the duo is a doozy. In it, Harden faces off against three defenders, while blindfolded, inside a cage atop the BBVA building in Madrid, while Durant coaches him from a command center in Oklahoma City. It’s a little like a fight scene from a movie — why don’t all three defenders just attack the ball at once? But at the same time, it sure is fun to watch…


VIDEO: Harden Durant