ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — The Trail Blazers released a video yesterday that involves All Ball favorite Robin Lopez, as well as Bill Walton, superheroes, dancing and Darth Vader. Not really sure how we can not post this.
VIDEO: Rip City Legacy
Thomas Robinson was the No. 5 pick in the 2012 NBA Draft and is on his third NBA team. It’s safe to say his career hasn’t gotten off to the start his draft position demands. Robinson’s 11.1 minutes per game this season is filled by 4.3 points and 3.8 rebounds.
But with LaMarcus Aldridge on the mend with nagging groin pains and Kevin Love coming to town Sunday, the Blazers needed every able body on the oak to chip in.
Enter the former Jayhawk T-Rob, who played over 33 minutes against the Wolves, a season-high, and recorded 14 points and a game-high and career-high 18 rebounds. He did it in electrifying fashion, treating the Moda Center to a brand of power not often seen from their frontcourt.
In the fourth quarter with the game very much in the balance, Robinson began hawking down notorious speed demon Corey Brewer, who got loose on the break. Few foresaw the pandemonium that would follow. If we didn’t know before, we know now that the Portland faithful has no problem going insane with the right nudge:
ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — Yesterday we checked out an awesome animated, illustrated drawing of John Wall‘s winning dunk that Portland-based artist Patrick Truby created exclusively for Turner Sports/NBA Digital. Well, just in case you missed it, Truby also did a drawing of Damian Lillard‘s sick between-the-legs dunk yesterday for Deadspin…
ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — If there’s one thing I’ve learned from attending a dozen All-Star Weekends, it’s that at its core, All-Star Weekend is about the fans. The fans actually select the starting line-ups, and fans travel from near and far to hit up Jam Session and All-Star Saturday Night and the Rising Stars Challenge and, of course, all the parties.
In some broader sense, the All-Star Game is about recognizing the best players from each conference. Sure, there are a couple of rim-rattling dunks and the occasional long-range shot that falls. And if you’re lucky, really lucky, the game is close down the stretch, and then everyone’s competitive juices kick in and you might just get a memorable finale. The main purposes of most participants in the actual All-Star Game? They wear funky uniforms, get a little run in, hang out with their buddies, and then they go back to their own teams for the stretch run and the Playoffs.
But that’s not why I’m watching the All-Star Game. And I think most people tuning in or even attending All-Star are looking to have a similar question answered: Are we not entertained? No matter what the Fun Police tell you, at All-Star weekend, nobody is looking at efficiency stats or plus/minus ratings. We want to see Shaq playing point guard. We want to see Gilbert Arenas joining the Elvis impersonators and dunking off of a trampoline. Simply put: We want the All-Star Game — and the entire weekend, really — to be fun.
So you can argue all you want about who does and who doesn’t deserve to be named to the actual Eastern and Western Conference All-Star teams. Instead, I present to you my annual YOLO All-Stars. (If you didn’t know, YOLO is an acronym for You Only Live Once.) These are the guys who deserve to be All-Stars based on my own vague All Ball Blog criteria. I considered all of the following elements: hilarity; social media proficiency; general swag; likelihood the player will do something memorable; dunking/dribbling/shooting ability; previous Shaqtin’ A Fool appearances; mentions on the All Ball Blog.
To be clear, those categories are listed in no particular order, with no importance or weight to any given specific category. These are just the players I think it would be fun to see in an All-Star Game. If we want to be entertained, these are the players that will give it to us. Meet your 2013-14 NBA YOLO All-Stars…
C – Roy Hibbert, Indiana Pacers — Always a blast on Twitter, and a man who appreciates good humor.
F – Chris Bosh, Miami Heat — Will be in charge of all videobombing.
F – LeBron James, Miami Heat — Not only is he a force on Twitter, which is good enough to qualify for the YOLO All-Stars, but he’s also the reigning MVP, so that wins him an invite.
G – J.R. Smith, New York Knicks — In the YOLO All-Star Game, untying shoes will be encouraged.
G – Kyrie Irving, Cleveland Cavaliers — UNCLE DREW!
Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee Bucks — The Greek Freak is perhaps the most unconventional athlete in the league, so you never know what he’s going to pull off next. He also loves smoothies, and with the All-Star Game being played in the newly-named Smoothie King Center, what could be more perfect?
Amir Johnson, Toronto Raptors — One of my favorites on social media.
Andray Blatche, Brooklyn Nets — Eurostep!
Andre Drummond, Detroit Pistons — Will be in charge of Vine videos throughout the weekend.
Metta World Peace, New York Knicks — Still the best.
Lance Stephenson, Indiana Pacers — He may not have made the actual All-Star Game, but I can’t knock his hustle. Besides, he dunked on a ref, which is awesome.
Kevin Seraphin, Washington Wizards — Anyone with a pet snake named Snakey and a skeleton that rides a Segway is a lifetime YOLO All-Star.
C – Robin Lopez, Portland Trail Blazers — He’s a nerd and he’s proud of it.
F – Kevin Love, Minnesota Timberwolves — We’ll have him making coffee for everyone.
F – Kevin Durant, Oklahoma City Thunder — If LeBron is on the East, we might as well put KD on the West.
G – Jamal Crawford, Los Angeles Clippers — My favorite dribbler in the NBA.
G – James Harden, Houston Rockets — The beard is fun on its own, but Harden’s also made a heavy push into social media the last few years. Maybe he can perform at halftime.
Nick Young, Los Angeles Lakers — You can’t have a YOLO game without Swaggy P.
Damian Lillard, Portland Trailblazers — Founder of #4BarFriday.
Tony Allen, Memphis Grizzlies — Perhaps my favorite NBA player to challenge his team owner to a game of one-on-one.
Matt Bonner, San Antonio Spurs — Broken nose and all, Bonner is always entertaining.
Harrison Barnes, Golden State Warriors — Always a candidate to dunk on someone. Or to review an episode of “Breaking Bad.”
DeMarcus Cousins, Sacramento Kings — Hard not to select someone who’s nickname is “Boogie.”
JaVale McGee, Denver Nuggets (Injured) — Really the perfect player for this game.
Nate Robinson, Denver Nuggets (Injured) — Go long, Nate will throw you the pineapple.
So there’s my YOLO All-Stars. Who would you put on your YOLO All-Star team? Let us know below in the comments!
ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — Just a few weeks ago we linked to a long interview with Portland center Robin Lopez, who talked about how much he’s enjoying his time in Portland and what a great fit he feels Portland is for his personality. In this video from Trail Blazers TV, we see Lopez loping around downtown PDX and visiting the iconic bookstore Powell’s.
Some things I enjoyed about this video:
1. Lopez’s classic Ken Griffey Jr. Mariners jersey.
2. The quick shot of Lopez helping out fellow customers by grabbing books off the higher shelves.
3. He calls the Science Fiction/Fantasy section “the gateway to graphic novels,” which he calls “the real treasures.”
4. His genuine excitement at finding a Walt Kelly “Pogo” book.
And that’s just a start. Watch this. It’s great…
VIDEO: Robin Lopez Visits Powell’s
ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — I knew Brooklyn Nets center Brook Lopez was a big fan of comic books, mostly because last year I played an Avengers video game against Brook…
VIDEO: Brook Vs. Lang
Yesterday, in an interesting interview with the Portland newspaper Willamette Week, Brook’s twin brother and Trail Blazers center Robin Lopez spoke about his enduring love for many facets of geek culture. (And to be fair, any NBA player with expansive knowledge of The Goonies is automatically on my good side.)
Some interesting factoids from the interview…
• His favorite ride at Disneyland? “Pirates of the Caribbean, by far. It’s the best re-creation of reality they’ve done so far. There’s a storyline, and it kind of gets lost. They did such a great job of putting subtle themes in the ride. Everything’s very deliberate. But it is also very natural, very chaotic in its own sense. There’s something perfect about that, and it’s not been topped.”
• The highlight of his own comic book collection? “I do have a complete run of Teen Titans from their first print to Secret Origins to now, even though I’m not a big fan of the Essential series. I’m kind of just collecting out of the completist sense.”
• His least favorite NBA mascot? “The Toronto Raptor. I wish we could go back to Toronto, because he gets my goat. I have a few choice words for that guy.” (When asked if he cared to expound on that, Lopez answered, “No. He knows.”)
By Jonathan Hartzell, NBA.com
It’s hard to imagine any team in the NBA is having more fun this season than the Portland Trail Blazers.
They have the best record in the league at 26-7, beat their division rival in Oklahoma City to close out 2013, set an NBA-record with 21 3-pointers last night, and now they’re yelling “lunch meat.”
But why would Thomas Robinson yell “lunch meat” when LaMarcus Aldridge is in the post? Simple, according to Robinson and SB Nation blog BlazersEdge:
“Lunch meat,” Robinson explained to Blazersedge, smiling. “Whatchu do when you got some lunch meat? You eat it. Exactly! Whenever someone [is guarding Aldridge], he’s always eating. He’s L.A. Whenever somebody on him, he eat him. Lunch meat. That’s how it is.”
Fellow Blazer Myers Leonard goes on to explain:
“There’s no one that can really stop him one-on-one on the block, let alone anywhere on the court,” Leonard told Blazersedge. “L.A. is so skilled. It basically just means that L.A. is about to get a bucket. He’s eating.”
And, yes, Aldridge seems to enjoy it. But he won’t let lunch meat get to his head:
“It means the guy can’t guard me,” Aldridge sheepishly told Blazersedge. “That I’m going to score at will. It’s not that simple when I’m doing it. They say it looks that easy sometimes. It’s fine, but I’m not going to get into it, I’m not going to say it myself.”
One thing worth noting, though: Aldridge is shooting 40.2 percent from the post this season, according to Synergy Sports.
Still, Aldridge has the perfect attitude to have towards lunch meat. Enjoy it, but don’t let it consume you.
VIDEO: Joe Johnson Does It Again
ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — It’s late at night, I’ve got one full day of vacation staring me in the face, and before I drift off to bed, I’m thinking about the last few things I’d like to accomplish (a long nap tomorrow, not doing chores, etc.) before heading back to the blizzard in NYC. And then Joe Johnson does it again. The Brooklyn Nets needed a win in the worst way, and who better to turn to than Joe Cool?
I know we usually air these posts out a bit, but this one is going to be a bit more to the point, because, you know, vacation. But before we get too far into this, we should stop and explain why we’re here: 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.
One other thing before we move on: I’ve received a few emails from Blazers fans and Thunder fans wondering why I had not done Horry Scale posts for their teams when Lillard and Westbrook have hit game-winners. My reasoning is sound: Those guys have hit game-winners, yes, but they both left tenths of a second on the clock. And as we all know from reading the rules above, we are looking for shots with 0.0 remaining on the clock.
Which leads us to Joe Johnson…
The toughest part of Joe’s game winner was having the 6-10ish Serge Ibaka guarding him. But the rest of the shot was the same kind of shot Joe’s been knocking down his entire pro career. He inbounded the ball to Kevin Garnett, who handed it back to Joe, and then you can see all the other Nets clear out of the way and just let Joe do his thing. I’ve often said that if Joe Johnson were in a one-on-one contest against any other NBA player, I think he’d fare pretty well, because he’s terrific at using his dribble and his size to nearly always get his shot off. And this instance was no exception.
More like season situation. The Nets have famously been something of a mess this season, and the recent season-ending injury to Brook Lopez led to many thinking it was time to put the final fork in the Nets (if we hadn’t already). So to say they needed a win not just on this night but to give life to their season is no understatement. And I’m pretty sure nobody thought that win would come on the road, against the mighty Oklahoma City Thunder.
Rowdy. Even moreso than on Johnson’s previous game-winner this season. Of course, even though this isn’t an overtime finish, the Nets probably have more at stake now than they did a few weeks back. They’ve been knocked down, but they got up again.
We’ve had a run of 4 Horry scores of late, and I think it’s time to break that streak. While the shot over the bigger defender was impressive, it was a basic jumper in a one-on-one setting. So I’m giving this three Horrys…
What say you? How many Horrys does Joe Johnson’s GWBB deserve?
ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — Detroit Pistons coach Maurice Cheeks has a long history of interaction with the fans. Years ago, while serving as coach of the Portland Trail Blazers, he famously came to the rescue of a young girl who had forgotten the lyrics to the national anthem.
VIDEO: Mo Cheeks National Anthem
So it may not have been a surprise to see Cheeks, now coaching the Pistons, turn up in the front row last night during a game in Detroit. Coaches and teams are assigned front row seats, obviously, but Cheeks seems to have appropriated an empty seat somewhere down the line next to a couple of lucky female fans.
VIDEO: Cheeks Sits Next To Fans
ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — NBA mascots aren’t just huge fuzzy unidentifiable creatures. Somewhere underneath all that fur, they are people, who have ideas and plans and sometimes get injured. The Detroit Pistons have a mascot called Hooper. Hooper is a horse, which doesn’t really have anything to do with a piston, other than in a circuitous way — a piston makes horsepower, so why not a horse?
The last few days have been surprisingly eventful for Hooper. When the Pistons hosted the Brooklyn Nets on Friday, Hooper tried to walk through the Nets players during warm-ups, when Andray Blatche led a collective of Nets players in a surprise attack against Hooper. To his credit, Hooper got his revenge.
VIDEO: Nets attack Hooper
Then yesterday, when the Pistons hosted the Trail Blazers, Hooper was on the floor during pregame warmups when Blazers center Robin Lopez took exception to Hooper wearing a wig that seemed to mock Lopez’s hair. We have no real explanation for the anti-Hooper behavior of late, other than the Lopez brothers connection between Brooklyn and Portland, which seems too obvious a connection to ignore.
VIDEO: Robin Lopez confronts Hooper