Posts Tagged ‘Milwaukee Bucks’

Throwback Thursday: Best teams of the 1960s


VIDEO: Wilt Chamberlain became a dominant NBA force in the 1960s

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: Best Teams of 1960s

This week we continue our Throwback Thursday: Best Teams of Each Decade series by looking at the best teams to play in the 1960s.

Make sure to check back next week for our look at the best teams of the 1970s!

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


Gallery: TBT: Best Teams of 1960s

Which of these teams do you think would do best in today’s NBA? Leave your comments below!

A big week for birthday cakes and the NBA

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — This is apparently a great week to be an NBA player having a birthday, or even if you’re just an NBA player who enjoys eating birthday cake.

Just one day ago we saw Danté Exum presented with a birthday cake. Little did we know it would mark the start of a trend.

Two nights ago, “The Starters” presented Bucks rookie Jabari Parker with this cake.

Last night, after Trey Burke visited “The Starters” on NBA TV, he was presented with a cake, which he promptly smashed into the face of my main man Trey Kerby.

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(gif via @CJZero)

Meanwhile, out in Portland, Damian Lillard got a birthday cake from a camper at his basketball camp featuring a photo of his Horry Scale shot against Houston from the playoffs.

If that wasn’t enough, Lillard also got a cake with an adidas shoe in the middle of it…

NBA players in Pro-Am leagues roundup

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — The NBA recently kicked off its Orlando Summer League, a training ground for players trying to prove they deserve a roster spot in the NBA. Meanwhile, some of the NBA’s more proven players spend the summer playing in various pro-am leagues around the country, getting in some work in a setting a little less structured than summer league, but often with just as much talent. Let’s check in on a few NBA players…

Brandon Jennings showed out at LA’s Drew League with a 57-point, 6-rebound, 5-assist performance.

• Also at the Drew League, Paul George did this.

Jabari Parker will be in Vegas with the Bucks’ summer league team, but before he left, he stopped by his hometown Chi League in Chicago to put up 20 and 10 in a game against NBA players such as Will Bynum and Draymond Green. (Video here)

Tony Wroten scored 53 points in the famed Seattle Pro-Am.

Jamal Crawford made scoring 30 look easy in the Seattle Pro-Am.


VIDEO: Crawford scores 30

(via BIL)

James Harden, Jabari Parker throw out first pitches

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — It’s been fun watching Tracy McGrady chase his dream of becoming a professional baseball pitcher, but just because you can throw a baseball doesn’t mean it’s something you can or should do for a living. Over the weekend we saw two different NBA players throw out ceremonial first pitches for their local Major League Baseball franchises.

Down in Houston, Rockets guard James Harden visited an Astros game and was entrusted with tossing a first pitch. Harden, a southpaw, took the mound in cut-off jeans, a.k.a. jorts, a real fashion-forward move on his part. Also, for some reason Harden had to pitch with a bunch of mascots hanging around in the background, which must be distracting. His pitch was high and outside, perhaps designed to make a batter chase.


VIDEO: Harden’s Pitch

Meanwhile, in Milwaukee, recent number two overall pick Jabari Parker threw out the first pitch at a Brewers game. The rangy righty went with sweatpants, an always wise move. I particularly like how Parker takes the mound, stares in and shakes off the catcher before throwing what could generously be described as a low change-up. Nice form, though.


VIDEO: Parker’s Pitch

NBA Behind The Scenes: The Real Draft Lottery


VIDEO: A behind-the-scenes look at how the No. 1 pick in the NBA Draft is determined

(Editor’s Note: While we cover the NBA as obsessively as we can around here, there are still numerous ancillary parts of the NBA experience that we want to uncover and explore. Being involved with the NBA can mean everything from coach in the minor leagues to trying to catch the game one frame at a time. We will delve into these angles of the NBA as part of our regular — and perhaps a bit irregular — All Ball series, NBA Behind The Scenes.)

NEW YORK — On Thursday night, the Cleveland Cavaliers hold the first pick in the 2014 NBA Draft. But how did we come to that? I went behind the scenes at the NBA Draft Lottery last month to find out how the lottery actually goes down.

The first thing to understand is that the draft lottery you see televised in prime time on ABC — with the NBA deputy commissioner dramatically unsealing envelopes and withdrawing large cards festooned with the winning team’s logos — is not the actual lottery. What you see is a made-for-TV event. The real lottery takes place off-camera earlier in the evening, in a sealed room populated with lawyers, accountants, public relations people, team owners, security staff and journalists. The results are uncovered, and then the information is delivered about an hour later to the masses via the tube. In the time in between, the select few who know how the lottery turned out are sequestered, holders of a great secret that they aren’t allowed to share.

(Which begs the question: Why not televise the actual draft lottery? Watch the video above and compare it to the televised broadcast and it’s pretty clear which version works better as a TV spectacle.)

On this night, we were not all witnesses. Of the several hundred journalists at the lottery, there were five souls invited to watch the draft lottery live, including me. At 6:45 PM, almost two hours before the lottery results would be unveiled on live television, ace NBA PR man Michael Wade escorted our cabal of writers from the media headquarters in the Best Buy theater, up an impossibly steep escalator, across 44th street and over to the ABC studios.

We had to fight our way across Times Square, right in the middle of rush hour, weaving in and out of gaggles of tourists, avoiding the pudgy guy in a Bane costume begging folks for money for photos, past the sidewalk vendors guarding tables stacked high with YOLO snapbacks, dodging the stand-up comedians searching for people who like stand-up comedy, and finally under the huge ticker scrolling headlines and ads for ABC, until we finally reached the studio door.

Just inside that door was a freight elevator big enough to drive a car into, usually used to transport visitors from the ground floor to the second floor. Why is the elevator so large? Perhaps better to fit the egos of some of the celebrity guests on “Good Morning America?” Wade avoided this elevator and instead led us up two flights of stairs. I wondered if he was attempting to spike our blood pressure and disorient us before the lottery began, the better to control the information.

Where it all happens

On the second floor we were led through a maze of hallways to a rectangular room, which is usually used as a green room for “GMA.” Black cloth was draped over the back wall, and the curtains were drawn tight across the windows overlooking 44th Street. On the far end of the room was a makeshift display of basketballs and jerseys from the teams involved in the lottery. In front of that was the actual lottery machine, a series of clear Plexiglas tubes and bowls, a terrific contraption that looked like something Willy Wonka might design for a pet rodent. Next to that was a large paper tablet where the winning combinations would be recorded. It was all very lo-fi considering the fortunes of a team could be riding on this evening. Then again, perhaps lo-fi was the best way to make sure the results stayed in the room until the official announcement.

Eight easels displayed six oversized posterboards that listed the various number combinations assigned to each lottery team. Filling most of the room were four tables set with three chairs apiece, ready for the dozen team representatives in the room. In the back of the room was a round table prepped for five, for the journalists in attendance, as well as another table for the overflow PR people and league staff. To keep us all sated, there were two large trays of crudités, cookies, waters and sodas.

Upon realizing that we were about to be locked in this room for close to 120 minutes, the Boston Globe‘s Baxter Holmes and I thought we better hit the restroom for a final time. We stepped into the hallway and were immediately intercepted by a security guard, who told us we couldn’t go anywhere without an escort. The guard, a woman, then announced that she would take us to the bathroom, leading us down a labyrinth of hallways, past a series of control rooms and offices, until we finally reached a men’s room. The security guard leaned against the wall and told us she’d be waiting for us. I have never felt as much pressure to perform.

Finally, just after 7 p.m., with everyone in the room and accounted for, we were each presented with a comically oversized manila envelope and a Sharpie. All of our electronic communication devices were to be sealed in the envelopes and then tagged with our names. These packages would then be collected by security and confiscated until we were released from the room.

I am not a regular watcher of “Law & Order,” but I must admit that it felt alarmingly like we were being processed into lock-up.

From this point we were, for all intents and purposes, muted from the world. I’m sure if something terrible happened our loved ones could have found a way to get in touch with us. But the important thing in this moment was that we weren’t able to get in touch with anyone else. Because those of us in this room would know who won the NBA draft lottery before anyone else.

Ping-pong business

A member of the NBA legal department stepped to the front of the room to talk us through the proceedings. Standing quietly behind the machine were Lou DiSabatino, the NBA’s vice president of events and attractions, and Kiki Vandeweghe, the NBA’s senior vice president of basketball operations. The ping-pong balls were dropped into the hopper one by one, and the machine gurgled to life with an electronic hum as the balls ricocheted around. Next to the machine was a hollowed-out basketball, suitable for chips or dip. We were informed that in case of a malfunction with the machine, the party-platter basketball would be used instead and balls would be drawn one by one. Not nearly as exciting, sure. But you had to admire the versatility of that basketball.

In the middle of the room stood Kyle Yelencsics, an associate coordinator with the NBA. Yelencsics had his back turned to the podium and a stopwatch in his hand. After allowing the balls to percolate for 30 seconds, Yelencsics raised his other hand, DiSabatino opened a hatch atop the machine and a ball popped to the top. Vandeweghe reached over and withdrew the first ball, announcing, “Number 13.”

I immediately realized why this part of the draft process isn’t shown on television: A lottery taking several minutes is not exciting TV, unless maybe Yolanda Vega is involved. And for all his many talents, Kiki Vandeweghe is no Yolanda Vega.

Twenty seconds later, a second ball was withdrawn: “Number 7.”

With two of the four numbers known, I started scanning the number combination sheets in front of me. We were each given sheets listing all of the available combination, with the teams to which they were assigned. For instance, combination number 207 was 1-6-7-12, and belonged to Milwaukee. The sheet was several pages long and covered with numbers, and looking at it was like staring into The Matrix.

As the numbers were announced, everyone scanned the sheets madly trying to find the winner. This was like playing BINGO for geniuses — because the numbers were not drawn in order, it was nearly impossible to find the winning combination until all four numbers were called.

The third number was drawn: “Number 9.”

There was no way to tell who or what team was in the lead.

The fourth number came to the top, and as Vandeweghe plucked the ball from the machine, DiSabatino switched the motor off. If this was a low number, the pick would probably belong to Milwaukee, Philadelphia or Orlando, the teams with best chances at getting the first pick. If it was a high number, all bets were off.

“Number 14,” Vandeweghe called. The highest number available. What did this mean? Could it …

“Cleveland!” one of the NBA’s lawyers cried out.

“Congratulations, Cleveland,” said Vandeweghe. “You have the number one pick.”

Cleveland, again

Cavaliers general manager David Griffin (left) with Jeff Cohen at the lottery in New York last month ( Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE)

Cavaliers general manager David Griffin (left) with Jeff Cohen at the lottery in New York last month ( Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE)

All eyes went to Cleveland’s representative, Jeff Cohen, the team’s vice chairman, sitting at one of the tables in the middle of the room. I was sitting almost directly behind him, and all I could see was his shoulders dip, and both of his hands go to his head as if in disbelief.

The Bucks, who finished the season with the worst record, had been assigned 250 of the 1,001 possible combinations that existed between the 14 ping-pong balls. But the four numbers pulled out were one of the 17 — seventeen! — combinations assigned to the Cavs. Cleveland had a 1.7 percent chance of winning the lottery. And they had just done it, again, snagging the No. 1 overall pick for the second year in a row and the third time in the last four years.

Cohen stood and, shaking his head, accepted hollow well-wishes from the other team reps, who presented braves faces while all trying not to show their disappointment at not getting the top pick.

This was Cohen’s fourth rodeo in the sealed lottery room, and he was basically batting an unprecedented .750. After posing for a few pictures holding a jersey and the lucky ping-pong balls, Cohen spoke about the power of positive thinking — he had come into night repeating a phrase from what he termed “a book of isms” that promised, “You can believe it when you see it.” So as the ping-pong balls ricocheted around the machine, Cohen tried to visualize the Cavs’ winning numbers being drawn.

Like the rest of us, he wasn’t exactly sure where the Cavs stood as the numbers were called. But he deduced as it went along that the higher the numbers called, the better Cleveland’s chances became.

What happened was some combination of luck and insanity. What happened happened. Like it or not.

Back to the real world

Close to an hour after the drawing had finished, we were still locked in the room, and I guess that’s when madness began to set in. I had made small talk with several NBA team executives, but honestly, none of them wanted to talk all that much, as they were still dealing with the sting of defeat.

I started to wonder what would happen if something catastrophic happened in the world outside and we were all trapped in this room. Would it devolve into a “Lord of the Flies” situation? My fever dream was broken around 8 p.m. when the draft lottery started airing, and someone flipped on the two TVs in the room and tuned them to ESPN. All of us in the room drifted toward one of the two TVs and stood watching. Some of the writers started talking about the upcoming draft, mostly as a way to fill time, wondering who the Cavs would draft, which teams would try to trade up, which teams would move down.

Meanwhile, Mallory Edens and the Bucks were winning the night on social media. In the back, where we were still in forced Luddite mode, we had no idea any of this was happening.

When it got to the final three and the broadcast went to a commercial break, the envelopes with our personal effects were distributed to us, along with a warning from Clifford Cooper, the massive security guard blocking the door, that we were not to open our envelopes yet “under penalty of death.” I’m pretty sure he was just joking. Nobody dared to find out.

Eventually we stumbled down a few hallways and into the television studio, where the broadcast was just wrapping up. Everyone in the studio seemed to be as amazed as the rest of us about the Cavs winning that top pick, even though we’d had an hour to process the results.

One day after the draft lottery, when the NBA tweeted out a link to my news story from the event about the Cavs winning the lottery for the third time in four years, I was inundated with tweets.

“Rigged!”

“Fixed!”

I’m here to tell you that nothing untoward happened. The draft lottery may have been surprising. But fixed? Not at all.

It was just luck. And sometimes, that’s exactly enough.

Can you spell Dwyane Wade?

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — In yet another NBA-themed video from Jimmy Kimmel, we discover that Dwyane Wade is the athlete with the most commonly misspelled name. (I’m assuming this poll was taken before Giannis Antetokounmpo joined the Milwaukee Bucks.) To find out just how tricky it is get Wade’s first name correct, Kimmel sent a camera crew out on the streets of Los Angeles and offered up a hundred bucks to anyone who could spell it correctly.


VIDEO: Spell Dwyane Wade

No. 3 – Robertson’s stellar defense

Alvin Robertson

Alvin Robertson led the league in steals three times in his career.

The countdown is on! We’re offering 84 facts on the ’84 Draft – one every hour — in advance of the June 9 premiere of “The84Draft” on NBA TV.

Name: Alvin Robertson

Position: Guard

Vitals: 6-foot-3, 185 pounds

Birthday: July 22, 1962

College: Arkansas

Drafted in 1984: 7th overall by San Antonio Spurs

Draft fact: Alvin Robertson led the league in steals three times (1985-86, ’86-87 and 1990-91) and is the only NBA player to ever eclipse 300 steals in a single season (when he had 301 in ’85-86). In the 1985-86 season, he won the inaugural Most Improved Player Award and, that season, also won the Sixth Man of the Year Award.

We’re just three hours away from “The84Draft” on NBA TV! Tune in for the captivating story on one of the NBA’s most talent-filled and unique classes ever.

No. 8 – From Draft to ’84 Olympics

The84Draft

The countdown is on! We’re offering 84 facts on the ’84 Draft – one every hour — in advance of the June 9 premiere of “The84Draft” on NBA TV.

Names: Michael Jordan, Sam Perkins, Alvin Robertson, Leon Wood, Jeff Turner and Vern Fleming

Colleges: North Carolina (Jordan and Perkins), Arkansas (Robertson), Cal State Fullerton (Wood), Vanderbilt (Turner), Georgia (Fleming)

Drafted in 1984: 3rd overall by Chicago Bulls (Jordan), 4th overall by Dallas Mavericks (Perkins), 7th overall by San Antonio Spurs (Robertson), 10th overall by Philadelphia 76ers (Wood), 17th overall by New Jersey Nets (Turner), 18th overall by Indiana Pacers (Fleming)

Draft fact: Eight days after the 1984 Draft, first-rounders Michael Jordan, Sam Perkins, Alvin Robertson, Leon Wood, Jeff Turner and Vern Fleming were named to the U.S. Olympic team. That team would go on to beat Spain in the gold medal game in Los Angeles.

We’re just eight hours away from “The84Draft” on NBA TV! Tune in for the captivating story on one of the NBA’s most talent-filled and unique classes ever.

No. 18 – A class with lots of hardware

The84Draft

The countdown is on! We’re offering 84 facts on the ’84 Draft – one every hour — in advance of the June 9 premiere of “The84Draft” on NBA TV.

Hakeem Olajuwon

Hakeem Olajuwon won his lone MVP during the 1993-94 season.

Names: Hakeem Olajuwon, Michael Jordan, Charles Barkley, Alvin Robertson, John Stockton, Rick Carlisle

Colleges: Houston (Olajuwon), North Carolina (Jordan), Auburn (Barkley), Arkansas (Robertson), Gonzaga (Stockton), Virginia (Carlisle)

Drafted in 1984: 1st overall by Houston Rockets (Olajuwon), 3rd overall by Chicago Bulls (Jordan), 5th overall by Philadelphia 76ers (Barkley), 7th overall by San Antonio Spurs (Robertson), 16th overall by Utah Jazz (Stockton), 70th overall by Boston Celtics

Draft fact: The Class of 1984 has won the NBA Rookie of the Year, All-Star Game MVP, regular-season MVP, NBA Defensive Player of the Year and Coach of the Year 18 times as a collective group. Here’s the breakdown:

Rookie of the Year – Jordan

MVPs – Jordan (5), Olajuwon (1), Barkley (1)

All-Star MVP – Jordan (3), Stockton (1), Barkley (1)

Defensive Player of the Year — Jordan (1), Olajuwon (2), Robertson (1)

Coach of the Year – Carlisle (1)


VIDEO: Michael Jordan wins his second straight MVP during the 1992 season

We’re just 18 hours away from “The84Draft” on NBA TV! Tune in for the captivating story on one of the NBA’s most talent-filled and unique classes ever.

No. 48 – Stars of stealing rule ’84 Draft

The84Draft

The countdown is on! We’re offering 84 facts on the ’84 Draft – one every hour — in advance of the June 9 premiere of “The84Draft” on NBA TV.

Alvin Robertson

Alvin Robertson is 10th all-time in the league in steals.

Names: Hakeem Olajuwon, John Stockton, Michael Jordan, Alvin Robertson, Charles Barkley, Jerome Kersey

Colleges: Houston (Olajuwon), North Carolina (Jordan), Auburn (Barkley), Arkansas (Robertson), Gonzaga (Stockton), Longwood (Kersey)

Drafted in 1984: 1st overall by Houston Rockets (Olajuwon), 3rd overall by Chicago Bulls (Jordan), 5th overall by Philadelphia 76ers (Barkley), 7th overall by San Antonio Spurs (Robertson), 16th overall by Utah Jazz (Stockton), 46th overall by Portland Trail Blazers (Kersey)

Draft fact: Six Players selected in the 1984 NBA Draft rank among the top 48 on the All-Time ABA/NBA career steals leaders. Here’s the breakdown: Stockton (No. 1 all-time), Jordan (No. 3), Olajuwon (No. 9), Robertson (No. 10), Barkley (No. 25), Kersey (No. 48).


VIDEO: John Stockton strips Erik Williams in 1996 to set the NBA’s all-time steals record

We’re just 48 hours away from “The84Draft” on NBA TV! Tune in for the captivating story on one of the NBA’s most talent-filled and unique classes ever.