The history of NBA players in the movies is a long and varied tale, with differing results. Just in my lifetime, we can go from Michael Jordan in “Space Jam” to Shaquille O’Neal in “Blue Chips” and “Kazaam” to, more recently, Kevin Durant in “Thunderstruck”. Even though reigning MVP LeBron James has had a hand in various entertainment industry pursuits the last few years, he had yet to make his true big screen debut.
But according to a report from Deadline.com, LeBron is teaming up with popular comedian Kevin Hart to make his first flick. Hart, who over the last few years has become a fixture at NBA events and All-Star weekends, will co-write the movie with his writing team, and the movie will film next summer. The story, at least from initial reports, will cast James in a role he would seem to know pretty well …
[Hart will] then star as a man who lives in the shadow of his NBA superstar brother (James), but gets a chance to prove himself when he and some pals attend a weekend fantasy basketball camp in Miami. Hart is certainly dominant in the stand-up arena, but posting up against this screen sibling could be dangerous. Hart is under 5’3″ while James is a towering 6’8.” That kind of sibling size differential hasn’t been seen since Danny DeVito and Arnold Schwarzenegger starred in another Universal comedy, Twins. They’ll sign a director when Hart and his cohorts turn in the script.
ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — At this point, the legend of Kevin Durant famously includes an underlying thread about his basic inability to not participate in sports, even when he has a day off. During the lockout he was constantly popping up at summer league tournaments, and just a few weeks ago he played in a flag football game in New York.
So perhaps we shouldn’t be too surprised about this story from NewsOK.com. Last Thursday night, the Thunder hosted the Clippers and won 105-91, behind a big 28 point, 8 assist night from Durant. The morning after that game, NewsOK.com editor Matt Carney went to his local YMCA to get some shots up, and stumbled across Durant and some of his friends playing some casual pick-up ball. As Carney writes…
There Kevin Durant was, the morning after dropping 28 points in a late game against the Clippers, playing half-court ball with his buddies (each of them big enough to discomfort somebody sitting next to them on an airplane), talking noise and completely disregarding the “NO DUNKING ALLOWED” sign pasted to the window of the gym. The Y employee at the desk made me promise not to bother him, so I checked out a ball and headed to the other end of the court to practice corner threes and otherwise pretend like one of the two greatest basketball players on the planet wasn’t at the other end performing feats of scoring magic that I normally can’t afford to watch up close.
Spectators filed in. One woman tried to interrupt the game for an autograph and was promptly ushered out by a member of the Y staff. But by the end of it, there was just the four-on-four game at one end and me and another random guy at the other end, shooting.
Even if Durant wasn’t playing all-out, it’s a fun read, particularly as Carney starts secretly hoping he’ll get called into a game to play alongside or even, gulp, against Durant.
ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — And now the Horry Scale nominees will come fast and furious. After Jeff Green’s game winner just a few days ago, last night’s late TNT game gave us our second nominee of the season, on a last-second shot that didn’t exactly go as planned.
Before we get too far into this, we should stop and explain. What is the Horry Scale? For those who 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 Kings-Pistons game?) and celebration (is it over the top or too chill? Just the right panache or needs more sauce?). Then we give it an overall grade on a scale of 1-5 Robert Horrys, the patron saint of last-second daggers.
With the rules in place, let’s check out last night’s game-winner from Golden State’s Andre Iguodala at home against the Oklahoma City Thunder. (By the way, we will not call him Iggy, because he hates the nickname Iggy.)
In terms of basketball fundamentals, Iguodala was able to take a relatively normal jumper — he was moving toward the baseline with the ball in his right (shooting) hand. But we should note here that the play we saw executed was not the play Mark Jackson drew up, according to Iguodala.
Dre said he was supposed to get the ball, fake a dribble handoff to Klay Thompson, who was inbounding, and then look for his shot. And when they lined up for the play, Kevin Durant was assigned to Iguodala. But the Thunder were switching on the play, and when Thabo Sefolosha switched onto Iguodala and basically overplayed as Iguodala cut toward Thompson, Iguodala make the executive decision to cut backdoor — “I took a page out of Kobe’s book,” said Iguodala — and he found room to receive the pass. If nothing else I just love this play as an example of how much happens in an NBA game that is unplanned — these guys are constantly making plays that are based on reads and reactions, and when multiple players are in sync on something like that, it can be a beautiful thing. Sefolosha defended the shot pretty well and recovered enough to get up in Iguodala’s release, but Dre put enough arc on the ball to not only clear the defender, but also take pretty much the entire clock before it splashed home.
It’s worth noting that just seconds before Iguodala’s shot, Oklahoma City’s Russell Westbrook drained a long three-pointer on a broken play to give OKC the temporary 115-114 lead. And frankly, I was a bit surprised Iguodala’s shot was a game-winning shot, because when the ball was inbounded there were 2.3 seconds left. And in the NBA, 2.3 seconds can be an eternity — enough time to catch the ball and run a quick play, or make a few moves even. As the Warriors were inbounding the ball, TNT’s Reggie Miller noted, “A lot of time left for a dribble or two for the Warriors, to get this shot off.” Watching the replays, I’m still not convinced there shouldn’t have been a few tenths of a second added back on after this shot. That is barely any time, I know, but hey, Derek Fisher is on the Thunder, isn’t he?
Let me say this here: I am not perfect. In my breakdown of Jeff Green’s game-winner, I discounted my rating of the shot because I felt like it was such an early-season game that it wouldn’t really have ramifications down the line. And in the comments, you guys upbraided me for not accepting that for the Celtics, beating the defending champs at home was a big deal. Looking back, I probably should have given the Green play a 4. There, I said it. But we don’t choose these things, they choose us, and we just have to move on. So before I go and discount this shot for taking place so early in the season, let’s realize that beating Oklahoma City meant a lot to the Warriors, regardless of the point in the season.
Hitting a dagger at home means built-in celebratory upgrades, such as confetti and a raucous crowd. After the shot connected, Iguodala instinctively sprinted to halfcourt, and the Warriors bench rushed the floor. We also got a shot of a calm, grinning Jermaine O’Neal, surveying the action from the sideline like the old man who’d seen it all and felt proud for these kids. And you think the Warriors weren’t excited? Check out the celebration from owner Joe Lacob…
Fist pumps in a blazer, you guys.
As stated earlier, I caught flack for giving Jeff Green three Horrys, and I have publicly reconsidered my position on that one. For a while I wondered if my legacy here at All Ball would be as the Simon Cowell of the Horry Scale, the tough judge nobody could impress. But nobody likes a meanie, and it’s no fun to have a heart two sizes too small. So for this shot, for reasons outlined above that go above and beyond what was basically a fadeaway jumper, I’m going with four Horrys.
That’s my take. How many Horry’s would you give Andre Iguodala’s game winner?
ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — Over the last few years the NBA has taken more and more ownership of Christmas Day, scheduling games in what used to be a void of TV viewing. This year there will be five games on air back to back, and to make it even more of an event, the players participating will be rocking new uniforms — not only sleeved jerseys, but what the NBA and adidas are calling “big logo” jerseys. These feature team logos in reflective chrome as the focal point on the short-sleeve jerseys, paired with an ultra-lightweight short with chrome piping. The jerseys are available now online at the NBA Store.
To publicize the new looks, they’ve created a new ad, which you can watch above, featuring players involved in those games, including Derrick Rose, LeBron James, Steve Nash, James Harden and Stephen Curry. They have also dropped photos, which you can see in the gallery below. -
BONUS!Here’s a behind-the-scenes look at the Jingle Hoops commercial …
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…
ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — I am old, I get that. But the advantage that accompanies age is experience, and with experience comes perspective — you remember the “old days,” and compare and contrast. So for instance, I can remember when the PlayStation 2 came out a million years ago (OK, in 2000). I had no money, but I saw commercials and videos and photos in magazines showing how incredible the graphics were going to be, and I knew I was going to do whatever I had to do to scrape together enough disposable income and get my hands on a PS2.
Eventually I got that PS2, and in turn I eventually upgraded to the PS3, a device I love and use daily. But this winter the PlayStation 4 drops, along with the Xbox One, the latest and greatest consoles in the home entertainment industry. I’ve been considering making the upgrade, but wanted to wait and see what some of my favorite games will look like on the next-generation consoles.
Welp, today 2K Sports dropped a preview of what NBA 2K14 will look like on the PlayStation 4. According to 2K, this trailer, the “‘NBA 2K14 Next-Gen: OMG Trailer,’ showcases an extended look at actual PlayStation 4 gameplay that will power this year’s title. ‘This Moment’ is set to Phil Collins’ classic track ‘In The Air Tonight,’ which is part of the NBA 2K14 soundtrack curated by cover athlete LeBron James. The trailer also includes in-game action from NBA superstars including NBA 2K14 cover athlete LeBron James, Kevin Durant, James Harden, and Anthony Davis — all rendered digitally in high definition from the upcoming 2K14 next gen engine, and performing dunks, dribbles and signature moves.”
Watch it, and you’ll see. It’s…it’s…well, see for yourself. I guess I better start saving up now.
ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — We already know how highly OKC’s Kevin Durant thinks of his former teammate, Houston’s James Harden — Dwyane Wadedefinitely knows about this. Besides playing alongside Harden for a few years, perhaps one reason KD’s repping for JH is because he’s seen his ball-handling skills while filming this new commercial. In this ad for BBVA Compass, Durant and Harden join up with Spanish soccer stars Andres Iniesta and Iker Casillas and show exactly what they can do, even with a ball. (But especially when they have really good CGI people on the case.) -
ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — Word started getting out on Friday night: Kevin Durant was coming to New York City to play a game of pick-up…football?
It wouldn’t be the first time: A few years back during the lockout, Durant took to Twitter to find a flag football game, and he eventually found a game at Oklahoma State. He did it for the fun of it, and it went a long way toward cementing KD’s reputation as a guy who likes to have fun.
So it was probably no great surprise yesterday when KD turned up yesterday in NYC under the Manhattan Bridge to play a game in a Nike-sponsored flag football league, the Nike Football Society. And because we live in a society where everything is photographed and filmed and posted online, we had visual evidence of KD’s big day out on the gridiron pretty much immediately. At least Kevin seems to have had a better day than his beloved Washington Redskins. -
The only thing more entertaining than the first week of the NFL so far has been NBA players’ reaction to it. And what better way to cap an extended weekend of madness than the NBA brotherhood taking out the Redskins Monday night meltdown/Eagles ascension on renowned Washington fan Kevin Durant.
He also posted a pic on Instagram where he’s rocking a Paris Saint-Germain soccer jersey…
But the pièce de résistance may have been Durant’s appearance on a French television talk show. In lieu of a standard interview, the host instead put a basket on his head, stood on the desk, and allowed Durant to lob ping pong balls at him while he lobbed questions at KD. At least, I think that’s what happened.