ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — As anyone who has used Twitter can attest, the somewhat anonymous nature the service can provide seems to embolden a specific group of people to say things they would probably never say to your face. Then again, considering the tenor of some of the invective that gets launched, perhaps these are things that these people would say to your face — or at least to my face.
But would you mouth off to Blake Griffin? Kobe? Metta World Peace? Apparently they are not immune to the savages on Twitter either, as we see in this recent NBA-themed segment of “Mean Tweets” from “Jimmy Kimmel Live.” -
ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — Whenever Dwight Howard is involved with anything, the subject often becomes what he can’t do rather than what he can. Last season, for instance, even with all the criticism Howard and the Lakers endured, he still led the NBA with 12.4 rebounds per game. He also averaged 17.1 ppg while shooting more than 57 percent from the floor. But Dwight’s free throw shooting has long bedeviled even his most ardent admirers. Last season he shot 49.2 percent from the line, below his already low career average of 57.7 percent.
At some point last season, Howard agreed to a free throw shooting contest against Kelly Nielsen, the daughter of Los Angeles Times columnist TJ Simers. So Nielsen, a housewife and mother of three who lives in Arizona, recently flew into Los Angeles for the shooting spectacle. Simers took the opportunity to grill Howard on his shooting and his future, then turned Howard loose on the line. Howard volunteered to shoot lefty, and with $5,000 going to charity, everyone seemed to have a good time.
Dwight, however, probably wishes this had turned out a little differently … -
- ALL BALL NERVE CENTER –One of the first NBA games I remember attending was in Charlotte, N.C., in 1989, during the Charlotte Hornets’ inaugural season. I was an Atlantan and a Hawks fan, but we were on a family vacation, driving somewhere or another on a route that took us through North Carolina. My Dad, a huge NBA fan, planned ahead and ordered Hornets tickets. We rolled into town on March 27, 1989, just in time to see the Hornets host the New York Knicks.
The Hornets weren’t particularly good — they were an expansion team, after all — but the fans there in Charlotte loved basketball and loved the Hornets. I convinced my Dad to buy me a Hornets caricature t-shirt featuring Muggsy Bogues, Robert Reid, Kurt Rambis, and several other players.
I settled in to root for the home team, and all these years later, I remember exactly two things about that game:
1. Every time Hornets center Tim Kempton caught the ball, the man behind me would yell, “STONE HANDS” at the top of his his lungs. I guess he wasn’t a Kempton fan.
2. Patrick Ewing destroyed the Hornets that night, finishing with 45 points.
The Hornets eventually got pretty good, drafting Larry Johnson and Alonzo Mourning. They drafted Kobe Bryant! … but then they then immediately traded Kobe to the Lakers. Eventually, then-owner George Shinn moved the team to New Orleans. The NBA added the Charlotte Bobcats to the league to fill the void. The Hornets were sold, the Bobcats were sold. Last season, the Hornets announced they would change their name to the New Orleans Pelicans. Not missing a beat, new Charlotte Bobcats owner Michael Jordan recently announced that his franchise will be changing its name to the Hornets.
This has spurred a torrent of Hornets-related nostalgia. Kobe himself took to Twitter and reminded us all of those few minutes when he was a Hornet…
And then there were the uniforms. The colors and logo were unique enough to make them different, special even. WCNC in Charlotte dug up some old video from the reveal of the Hornets uniforms, featuring designer Alexander Julian and original Hornets star Kelly Tripucka. It’s especially worth noting the shorts, which are not only incredibly short by today’s standards, but also, as I recall, featured pleats.
It’s too early to tell which way the new Charlotte Hornets will go with their logo and uniform — they won’t be changing until 2014 — but as they’ve shown with the buzz they’ve garnered from the name change, it would be hard to go wrong by looking to their past.
There is something special about the way music, basketball and fashion intersect. While artists and actors have long been affiliated with different fashion houses and ever-changing looks, athletes are starting to consciously build and shape their brands. The tunnel from the locker room to the court functions more and more like a runway; off the court, players are exploring different avenues to showcase their personalities and style. Rajon Rondo has interned at GQ, Dwyane Wade has taken in top fashion shows from the front row, and LeBron James has graced the cover of Vogue, just to mention a few.
NBA.com recently caught up with Monica and Shannon Brown, a couple that perfectly represents the fusion of high fashion with entertainment and sports.
NBA.com: Fashion, music, and sports seem to intersect constantly in both personal and professional realms. Monica, can you talk about the role of fashion in music, and Shannon, can you talk about the role of fashion throughout your NBA career?
Monica: In music, fashion is almost just as important as the music because the imagery is something that people look at, sometimes more than they do the actual music or talent part of it. Sometimes, it makes it more complicated because as an artist, when we’re in a specific zone, you’re not thinking about the clothing and the hair and the makeup. But they all work hand-in-hand.
Shannon: Throughout my career, now looking back, the players could wear whatever they wanted to. Guys would come in with jeans, t-shirts, sweat suits, jerseys, whatever was fashionable from whatever part of the world or country or city, wherever you were from. Now, everybody is trying to keep their fashion game up. You see guys on the runways, overseas, when they are showing the new styles and the new clothes, and what’s trending and stuff like that. So you see guys in suits, you see guys with the tight clothes, you see guys with the loose clothes. Me personally, I like something that fits. I don’t really like the tight couture look, I need some wiggle room…I just like anything that looks good and feels good to me and on me.
NBA.com: Monica, as a musician and actress, you are always ‘on’ even when you are not on camera. Can you talk about that aspect of being an entertainer and do you think that is now extending to more industries, as we see the players representing their own brands off the court and participating in high fashion?
Monica: I think it’s pretty cool to see the players represent high fashion and the things that they love off the court, because you get to know them as individuals. When they’re on the court, they’re in one uniform, they’re in sync, the goal is to play as a team. But when you get a chance to learn these guys separately, I think it’s pretty interesting because they’re all completely different as far as athletes go. With us in music, I think that it speaks for us when we can’t really speak. When we’re performing, you have on the clothes, you have all these different things you put together, but that’s what says the most about you outside of the performance in itself. I think the fashion speaks for the individuality of the artist and the athlete, because that’s the only time we get to show how different we may be from the other. (more…)
ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — It may be surprising to hear this, but this weekend wasn’t the first time Metta World Peace has presented local news. Last year, for instance, World Peace showed up in Vancouver to deliver their weather. This year he stayed closer to home, appearing recently on Fox 11 in Los Angeles to bring the latest news of sunshine and warm breezes in Lakerland.
Along the way, Metta delivers some sensible advice to Lakers forward Earl Clark, throws in some yoga poses, adds a fake fart, and encourages a moment of meditation with his viewers.
Metta may have brought us the news before, but coming from him it never gets old.
ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — Just a few days ago I wrote about how Kobe Bryant was so deftly using Instagram to document his Achilles surgery and recovery. And then yesterday Kobe posted a photo that might be classified as going too far.
So here’s a warning: Do not click on the “CONTINUE READING” button if you get squeamish. Seriously, don’t do it. And if you do, don’t come complaining to me. (more…)
ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — Phil Jackson joined Twitter a few months ago as a means of promoting his forthcoming book, Eleven Rings: The Soul of Success. He’s mostly used Twitter to speak out about big-picture NBA stuff, as well as live-tweeting the NCAA Championship game and interacting with Kobe Bryant.
And then yesterday, Phil casually dropped a reminder that he owns more titles as a player and coach than anyone, ever — 11 as a coach, 2 as a player for the Knicks — after a Twitter follower asked a simple question…
While many NBA players have different interpretations of high fashion and the latest trends, some are sticking with basic suits, while still mixing it up a bit. Perhaps the most important facet of today’s suit is an ability to break up the pieces and wear them with other items in your wardrobe. Let’s take a look at several different styles, including trends that can become part of any closet. Keep up with the conversation using #NBAStyle.
THE EXPERTLY TAILORED SUIT
Derrick Rose, Amar’e Stoudemire and Zach Randolph are in favor of finely tailored, slim cuts.
ALL BALL NERVE CENTER – If there’s anything we’ve learned about Kobe Bryant over the past 17 seasons, it’s that nobody will outwork him and nobody will out-prepare him. So just because Kobe is now on the chilling list for the foreseeable future with a ruptured Achilles tendon, that doesn’t mean the Mamba will be sold short. It just means that instead of dominating on the court, the venue has changed: Instead of the Staples Center, these days Kobe is doin’ work on social media, specifically via his Instagram account.
Before Kobe’s injury, his main social media outlets had been Facebook, and then, this season, Twitter. Even though he was a late adopter to these platforms, he showed a real knack for using each, utilizing Twitter for quick thoughts and to interact with Lakers fans, and then using Facebook to post one of the most memorable statements of his career just hours after he tore his Achilles. Kobe is an athlete who has long protected his privacy, and as such, it has been fascinating for Kobe to suddenly be accessible, and even, occasionally, interactive with his fans…
@migueldz10 yup. First game she ever saw me play. Just so happen to b jan22 my late grandpa bday. #81 #poetic— Kobe Bryant (@kobebryant) May 08, 2013
Kobe started populating his Instagram account on April 13, exactly one day after tearing his Achilles, and since then he’s allowed us to follow him through the entire process of surgery and recovery. It is an almost completely antithetical approach to the traditional way teams and athletes have addressed injuries, which is to say radio silence. The reason we normally are not granted access is because teams and athletes want some regulatory role over any news. Yet by Instagramming his recovery, Kobe is simultaneously controlling the narrative while delivering access and news.
From the initial MRI…
To prepping for the surgery…
To expressing the frustration of recovery…
To getting visits from teammates…
to providing updates…
to getting his stitches out…
to taking his first post-injury steps…
Kobe is taking all of us with him on this journey, with an ending that is yet to be written. Will he come back stronger than ever? Or will this mark the beginning of the end of his career?
No matter which way it turns out, it’s been a virtuouso performance. But then, from Kobe, we’ve come to expect nothing less.