Posts Tagged ‘Kevin Garnett’

Story of a photo: Capturing LeBron’s Game 3 dunk

CLEVELAND, OH - JUNE 8: LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers goes up for a dunk against the Golden State Warriors against the Golden State Warriors in Game Three of the 2016 NBA Finals on June 8, 2016 at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2016 NBAE (Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images)

(Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images)

CLEVELAND — The frozen moment happened with just under 3 minutes remaining in the third quarter of Game 3 of The 2016 NBA Finals. After knocking loose a pass from Golden State’s Stephen Curry to Festus Ezeli, Cleveland’s LeBron James grabbed the basketball and raced the other way to start a fast break.

Just past halfcourt, James collided with Curry and stumbled, his right knee and hand going to the floor to help him retain his balance, while James used his left hand to slap at the ball and keep his dribble alive. One second later, his bearing renewed, James resumed his dash to the hoop.

Curry was the lone defender between James and the basket, and as James neared the rim, Curry slid one step to his left, to truncate James’s angle of attack. LeBron quickly fired the ball to his left, where his teammate Kyrie Irving was streaking toward the rim. Curry and the basketball reached Irving at nearly the same time, and just as quickly as Irving caught the ball, he sprang off his right foot and immediately flipped the ball back up and over Curry, in the general vicinity of the hoop, where it figured that James would be arriving shortly.

“I knew he was going to throw it up there,” James said later. “And I had to go get it. He threw it, I had to go get it.”

It was not a perfect pass, but it was good enough. It was up to James, then, to do his part. And did he ever.

During the ball’s brief dalliance with Irving, James took five steps in the direction of the basket and then, leveraging his left foot against the court, James launched himself skyward, soaring up and at least equal to the rim.

As he flew, James twisted his torso and reached back with his right hand past the edge of the backboard, corralling the ball, and then he fired it though the hoop with a breathtaking combination of equal parts improbability, power, force and grace.

It was the play of The 2016 Finals thus far, a moment tailor-made to immediately go viral and embed itself in our brains for posterity as one of the signature plays of the 2016 postseason, if not James’ career.

***

But James and Irving weren’t the only one who did great work on the possession. As LeBron stole the ball and turned toward his basket, sitting a few hundred feet away and a couple of rows up in an arena seat in Quicken Loans Arena’s Section 106, Jesse Garrabrant was also preparing to try and create a different type of NBA Finals history.

A photographer for NBA Photos since 1994, Garrabrant lives on the New Jersey shore and shoots every Philadelphia 76ers home game. As the playoffs build toward an ultimate finish, NBA Photos brings all hands on deck to cover every game from every angle. In Cleveland for Game 3, Garrabrant rigged multiple remote controlled cameras around Quicken Loans Arena, which he could control from a button in his seat in Section 106. While Garrabrant could make the cameras click, he wasn’t actually looking down the viewfinders as the shutter snapped. So Garrabrant was, quite literally, firing blind.

“You want to take chances and if it works, there’s a big bonus,” said Garrabrant a day later. “You get a guy like LeBron who can create an incredible play, and if he’s in the exact right spot, it can totally work. At the same time, it could have also completely struck out, especially when you’re doing directional lighting like that.”

The lighting Garrabrant referred to is a special technique known as “spotlighting.” Garrabrant’s remote cameras for Game 3 were geared to take advantage of this method, which can give action photos a dramatic flair, adding depth and richness. But again, with the reward came a risk. “The lighting covers the paint,” Garrabrant explained, “because that’s where the majority of the action happens. LeBron is going to go to the hole sometime, and you just hope the lighting is going to cover it.”

For Game 3, Garrabrant had a camera clamped to the edge of the set ESPN uses for their live pre-and postgame broadcasts, which is assembled on a platform in a corner of The Q, near Section 113. Unless you looked closely, you wouldn’t notice Garrabrant’s camera. Luckily for the rest of us, this camera saw everything. As it turned out, this was the ultimate angle, from which Garrabrant captured the photo you see at the top of this post.

Within seconds of James’ dunk, Garrabrant’s picture was made available for download via NBA Photos on Getty Images, and it quickly started popping up all over social media. It was tweeted and re-tweeted and shared tens of thousands of times, as fans and other media members expressed their amazement. ESPN’s Don Van Natta tweeted that it was the picture of the year. It “belongs in the damn Louvre,” noted Mashable’s Sam Laird.

***

While the rest of us marveled over Garrabrant’s image of James’ Game 3 dunk, Garrabrant’s mind drifted back to 2008. As it turned out, Garrabrant may have been the perfect person to capture this dunk from this player from this angle, particularly when you consider he’d done almost exactly the same thing before.

“[James] had almost the same dunk in the ’08 Conference semifinals against Kevin Garnett, in the same spot on the court,” recalled Garrabrant. “Same angle, he threw it the same way, everything, except this was an alley-oop and that one was just him driving to the basket. I shot that game and I got the same angle on that particular dunk.”

CLEVELAND - MAY 12: LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers dunks over Kevin Garnett #5 of the Boston Celtics in Game Four of the 2008 NBA Eastern Conference Semifinals on May 12, 2008 at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright: 2008 NBAE (Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE/Getty Images)

(Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE/Getty Images)

We may live in an age where video is increasingly available, streaming at us almost inexorably every time we open a browser window. But there’s still something magical about the perfect photo, which freezes a moment in time in a way that we never want to forget.

Following Game 3, Kyrie Irving was asked about his pass to James on the play. “I wanted to see something great,” Irving said. “I threw it very, very… you know, some people may say it’s a bad pass, but I wanted to see something great.”

At least on this night, we all got to see something great.

POSTERIZED POLL Week of Dec. 17

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — Like we always do at this time, let’s take a look at the best instances of people getting #POSTERIZED over the last week and, at the bottom of the post, you can place your vote for a winner. And don’t forget, if you see someone get posterized, tweet it with the hashtag #POSTERIZED so we don’t miss it!

A quick honorable mention this week to Rajon Rondo, who has a terrific dunk last week against the Knicks, his first dunk in years. But try as I might, I don’t believe we can count this as a #POSTERIZED dunk, as you can clearly see Carmelo Anthony wisely get out of the way as he realizes Rondo is trying to put him on a poster.


VIDEO: Rondo dunk

Either way, nice dunk. Besides, there are some great entries this week with people getting directly dunked on.

Oh, and before we get to all the latest dunks, congratulations to last week’s winner, Kevin Garnett!

Now, let’s go to the posters, and don’t forget to vote for the winner…

WILL BARTON ON DONATAS MOTIEJUNAS


VIDEO: Barton on Motiejunas

RUDY GAY ON PATRICK BEVERLEY


VIDEO: Gay on Beverley

JORDAN HILL ON ERSAN ILYASOVA


VIDEO: Hill on Ilyasova

RICHUAN HOLMES ON AL HORFORD


VIDEO: Holmes on Horford

DEANDRE JORDAN ON GREG MONROE


VIDEO: Jordan on Monroe

PAUL MILLSAP ON HASSAN WHITESIDE


VIDEO: Millsap on Whiteside

THOMAS ROBINSON ON CLINT CAPELA


VIDEO: Robinson on Capela

POSTERIZED POLL Week of Dec. 8

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — Like we always do at this time, let’s take a look at the best instances of people getting #POSTERIZED over the last week and, at the bottom of the post, you can place your vote for a winner. And don’t forget, if you see someone get posterized, tweet it with the hashtag #POSTERIZED so we don’t miss it!

Last week the POSTERIZED POLL went on a bit of a forced hiatus, as I had to spend POSTERIZED TUESDAY going back and forth to Philadelphia for Kobe Bryant‘s final appearance in his hometown. Which means we have more dunks than usual to sort through, which is a good thing.

And in honor of Kobe’s retirement announcement, let’s take a throwback look at the time Kobe #POSTERIZED the great Yao Ming


VIDEO: Kobe on Yao

Finally, before we get to all the latest dunks, congratulations to last week’s winner, DeMar DeRozan!

Now, let’s go to the posters!

DWIGHT HOWARD ON KRISTAPS PORZINGIS


VIDEO: Howard on Porzingis
(more…)

Garnett, Mozgov throw out first pitches

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — We’ve reached the part of the calendar where basketball and baseball overlap, and as we’ve seen in years past, NBA players are always popular choices to throw out the first pitch at baseball games. This happens with more regularity during the NBA offseason, when players have more free time, but we’ve already had a few NBA first pitches this season.

Let’s start in Minnesota, where Kevin Garnett has returned. KG recently visited a Twins game and threw a looping first pitch strike…


VIDEO: KG first pitch

And we should also go to Cleveland, where Timofey Mozgov walked across the street from the Cavs arena to the Indians’ stadium and threw out the first pitch at a recent game. Pretty good throw from Mozgov, considering his first practice pitch almost beans some dude hanging out in the batting cage…


VIDEO: Mozgov first pitch

Kevin Garnett took a rookie shopping

New York Knicks v Boston Celtics  - Game Four

ALL BALL NERVE CENTERKevin Garnett wasn’t doing all that much with the Brooklyn Nets this season — he’s been in the NBA 20 years, and was averaging about 7 points and 6 rebounds a game. Still, the Minnesota Timberwolves wanted to trade for KG, because they have a young team and KG is known for being a terrific leader and teammate.

But what does Garnett do that makes him such a great teammate? Jessica Camerato from BasketballInsiders.com caught up with Lester Hudson, the journeyman guard who just signed a 10-day contract with the Los Angeles Clippers. When Hudson was a rookie with the Celtics back in 2009, he was teammates with Garnett, who took Hudson under his wing.

As Hudson explains to Camerato, in a really fun story

“He was like a big brother,” Hudson told Basketball Insiders. “I felt it was genuine. You’ve got to respect him; he’s one of the greatest players in the league. I was focusing on what he was saying, I didn’t care if it was bad or good.”

Garnett referred to Hudson as “Train,” a nickname demonstrative of the strength Hudson used driving to the basket.

In December of that season while the Celtics were in Chicago to play the Bulls, Hudson received a directive from Garnett. It wasn’t the first time Garnett made a request – as a rookie, Hudson often ran errands for him and other veterans. This one was vague, though.

“‘Train, come to the store with me,’” Hudson recalled. “‘Meet me downstairs at this time.’ You can’t be late with KG. I was probably 10 minutes early. He was like, ‘Come on let’s go.’”

Hudson left the team hotel with Garnett, not knowing where they were headed. As they walked down the street, Garnett filled the conversation with more words of encouragement. The talk ended as they approached the destination.

Hudson gazed upon the building: the Louis Vuitton store.

“He told me to pick out whatever I wanted,” said Hudson. “I was like, ‘Are you serious right now?’ He said, ‘You work hard and I respect you. You help me out a lot.’”

Hudson was shocked. Soon, Garnett began making recommendations. Get a scarf, Garnett offered, it’s cold in Boston and Chicago. (Garnett often wore a designer scarves in his postgame interviews while on the Celtics). The store was Hudson’s for the picking.

“I got a couple scarves, skullies, a backpack, shoes, belts,” Hudson said. “I think he just got me everything.”

(via BasketballInsiders.com)

Kevin Garnett salutes shirtless dancing fan

ALL BALL NERVE CENTERKevin Garnett made his big return to Minnesota last week, but he wasn’t the only one to make an important comeback.

John Sweeney owns a comedy theater in Minnesota, but he may be better known by the name “Jiggly Boy.” A decade ago, Sweeney made several appearances on the scoreboard during T-Wolves games, dancing shirtless. But as the Wolves rebuilt, Sweeney danced away from the game.

But when Garnett returned, so did Jiggly Boy, who had a special message scrawled on his chest just for KG. And even KG, who is famously focused and intense, had to crack a smile and give Jiggly Boy a wave. As KG said later…

Dance, Jiggly Boy, dance…


VIDEO: Jiggly Boy

Kevin Garnett is back in Minnesota

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — it wasn’t a huge move, but maybe the most emotional move at the NBA trade deadline was the Minnesota Timberwolves trading with Brooklyn to re-acquire their former franchise cornerstone, Kevin Garnett. KG isn’t the player he used to be, but he’s still a remarkable competitor and an unparalleled locker room presence, expected to provide a steadying veteran hand for the Wolves. He’ll make his home debut Wednesday against Washington (8 p.m. ET, League Pass), but first, earlier today KG showed up for a photo shoot in his old number 21 uniform. Almost feels like we should’ve saved this for #TBT…

The time Kevin Garnett arm wrestled Big Baby Davis

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — Brooklyn Nets center Kevin Garnett is famously one of the NBA’s most intense players — known for his ability to focus so deeply that it can devolve into things like headbutting the basket support or even (very occasionally) perhaps attempting to take a chunk out of an opponent.

KG is also intensely private, mostly eschewing interviews and photoshoots in favor of keeping a low profile off the court. But thank goodness for Brian Scalabrine, KG’s former teammate in Boston who did a spot on Fox Sports the other night and told a tale about a team flight where Garnett and Glen “Big Baby” Davis squared off in an arm wrestling contest for the ages.


VIDEO: KG vs Big Baby

(via TNLP)

Shabazz Napier puts the Nets in a blender

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — We have yet to break out the Crossover Contest this season, but Miami Heat rookie point guard Shabazz Napier made a case for himself last night. While waiting for Chris Bosh to flash to the basket in the halfcourt offense, and momentarily faced with a Kevin Garnett and Deron Williams double-team, Napier did something remarkable.

There are actually two things to watch on this play…

First, just watch Napier, as he does what is essentially a triple crossover — right to left behind his legs, left to right behind his legs, and then right to left in front of his body, all in the course of about two seconds. Terrific dribbling by Napier.

Second, watch KG and D-Will perform a strange ballet as they negotiate with each other to stay with their defensive assignments. D-Will actually does a full 360, on purpose, because it’s probably the fastest way to get situated back in front of Napier.

And then the Heat turn the ball over. But whatever, it was a great moment. You can see the full video here, or be mesmerized by the Vine below…

Throwback Thursday: All-time rebounds leaders


VIDEO: Moses Malone career retrospective

Welcome to Throwback Thursday here on the All Ball Blog. Each week, we’ll delve into the NBA’s photo archives and uncover a topic and some great images from way back when. Hit us up here if you have suggestions for a future TBT on All Ball.

Today’s Topic: All-Time Rebounds Leaders

We continue our Throwback Thursday All-Time Statistical Leaders series today by looking at the Top 10 all-time rebounds leaders.

(NOTE: Click the “caption” icon below the photo for details about each moment.)


Gallery: TBT: All-time rebounds leaders

Make sure to check out our previous All-Time Statistical Leaders galleries if you missed them!
All-time steals leaders
All-time assists leaders
All-time blocks leaders

Which of these players would you most want to clean up your misses? Leave your comments below!