Posts Tagged ‘Ray Allen’

Throwback Thursday: Offseason Blockbusters


VIDEO: Relive some of Charles Barkley’s best plays as a member of the Phoenix Suns

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: Offseason Blockbusters

Just this week, the Cleveland Cavaliers officially introduced All-Star Kevin Love and with that move in mind, we take a look back at some of the biggest offseason trades to go down in recent history.

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


Gallery: TBT: Offseason Blockbusters

Which of these trades do you remember most? Leave your comments below!

Ray Allen plays golf with Obama

By Jeff Case

After the Miami Heat lost in The 2014 Finals, there was some talk that the NBA’s all-time leader in 3-pointers made, Ray Allen, might hang ‘em up for good this summer. A recent report indicates that Allen, an unrestricted free agent, is ready to play next season — although he hasn’t decided where.

While he makes up his mind, Allen has taken to the links and gotten in a few rounds the last few days. First, he held his Ray Allen Golf Tournament at the TPC River Highlands in Cromwell, Conn. From there, he managed to get in some golf with the leader of the free world, President Barack Obama

Guess who I'm playing golf with today? #farmneck

A photo posted by Ray Allen (@rayn34) on

Playing with the POTUS

A photo posted by Ray Allen (@rayn34) on

18 holes with Cyrus Walker, Ahmad Rashad, and The POTUS. #74

A photo posted by Ray Allen (@rayn34) on

McCollum: Fandom On Your Sleeve

By CJ McCollum, Portland Trail Blazers, for NBA.com

It is nearly impossible to walk down the street in any town in the United States and not run into someone sporting the logo of a professional sports team. Hats, gloves, socks, shoelaces, jackets, shirts, shorts – you name it, you can probably get it with your favorite team logo. The NBA has one of the largest global merchandise businesses in sports, with products available in more than 100 countries on six continents.

Sal LaRocca

Sal LaRocca

I had an opportunity to sit down with Sal LaRocca, the then Executive Vice President of Global Merchandising at the NBA, who oversees the league’s global consumer products business. He has since been named President, Global Operations and Merchandising, adding the oversight of the operations of the league’s 13 international offices to his responsibilities.

LaRocca started his career at the NBA in 1990 (which he kindly pointed out was before I was born), and has brokered the league’s partnerships with adidas, Panini and Spalding, as well as developed the global video game and e-commerce business. Throughout his tenure, LaRocca has seen incredible change and growth in the league’s merchandising business.

“The retailers used to be small, independent brands focused only on filling their orders,” LaRocca said. “When global brands like Nike, adidas and Under Armour jumped in, the business became more sophisticated with retailers becoming their own stand-alone brands, with the NBA as only part of their overall image.”

The advent of the internet also provided access to the purchasing power of NBA fans around the world. In 1990, less than 2 percent of the overall business came from outside the U.S. Now, about 40-45 percent comes from outside. The business has continued to grow.

“Overall, the merchandising business is largely driven by big companies, social media and the internet, and it is done on a global basis,” LaRocca said.

With all that change and access to consumers, you can only imagine what that translates to in terms of revenue. Estimates are that sales total between $2 and 3 billion, but the revenue is significantly less than that. The league does not make any money from fan purchases at retailer locations, but rather from wholesale deals with licensees. Of that profit, any revenue from products with player images or numbers is split 50/50 with the Players Association.

In deciding what goes on shelves, it all comes down to location, location, location. There are certain products – jerseys and video games – that are popular around the world. Other products resonate only locally. For example, the NBA is considered more of a fashionable lifestyle brand in Korea, so the product there features clothes that are more street wear than fan statement, with logos and apparel in colors and styles you won’t find anywhere else. Can you imagine a Blazers jacket in pink and yellow instead of black and red?

It’s great that there are so many options for fans to show support for their teams. But let’s get down to where it really matters – the jerseys on the court. It seems like there is a new style, cut or color introduced on a regular basis. What’s it all about?

C.J. McCollum (Sam Forencich/NBAE)

C.J. McCollum (Sam Forencich/NBAE)

Fashion, marketing and performance technology.

From the fashion side, the different iterations of oncourt apparel are the league’s way of standing out in a very cluttered world of products. A lot of thought goes into figuring out how to push the fashion envelope to stay in front of trends and help integrate NBA merchandise into fans’ lives outside of the arenas.

“There is always an evolution, and as things change and trends evolve, it’s up to us to try new and different things,” LaRocca said.

Jerseys also play a pivotal role in marketing at both the league and team level. There are certain NBA-led initiatives, such as Noches éne•bé•a, that will feature special jerseys as one component of an overall marketing campaign. Among teams, LaRocca said jerseys are driven by what each organization wants to do in its particular market.

“Different jerseys give teams an opportunity to continue reinventing themselves to the local fan base and produce sales opportunities,” he said, “especially as things get more competitive in team markets with other professional leagues.”

When it comes to performance enhancement, the current trend is fabric that is light and dries more quickly. According to LaRocca, the goal is to put players in a position to perform at their best.

“When you decide what helps performance, it can’t make you faster, can’t make you jump higher, can’t make your arms three inches longer,” he said, “but if a uniform can stay light on your body and can dry quickly, and if you never notice that you have a uniform on, that probably is helpful. “

No change is without controversy, which the league is familiar with. There are a lot of people with a lot of opinions, including 450 players that have to wear the jerseys. LaRocca accepts that with so many opinions, you are never going to get 100 percent approval. The solution lies in clear communication and engaging players in product development.

“Our job is to generate revenue, and the more we generate, the more we share with players in the 50/50 split,” LaRocca said. “We aren’t trying to embarrass players or make them look unprofessional and compromise their performance.”

During February, players wore special Black History Month shooting shirts, which Miami Heat guard Ray Allen was very involved in designing.

“[Commissioner] Adam Silver has been very focused on getting players as involved as possible in overall business to educate them on what, how and why we do things,” LaRocca said. “We are trying to do what we can to raise awareness and revenue for everyone.”

I joked with LaRocca that I had some great ideas, and he extended a standing invitation to visit him at NBA headquarters to talk shop. So stay tuned for a limited edition CJ McCollum sock line!

In the end, it is amazing how NBA logos make their way around the world and into the wardrobe. Merchandise allows fans to connect with their favorite athletes and literally wear their passion on their sleeves.

Footrace Breaks Out At Miami Heat Practice

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — Sometimes, when an argument occurs, the only way to settle it is to take to the athletic field. Or in this case, the court.

Yesterday in Oklahoma City, where the Miami Heat were practicing in the run-up to tonight’s showdown on TNT against the Thunder, a footrace broke out between the 33-year-old James Jones and the 25-year-old Michael Beasley. Luckily Ray Allen had his phone at the ready to preserve the results on social media. As Allen noted in his caption, “Chalk one up for the old guys”…

The Miami Heat Hit The Nail Salon

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — I remember as a kid reading an interview with Julius “Dr. J” Erving, who talked about how he would regularly get manicures. His reasoning, as I recall, was that he made a living using his hands, so it only made sense to make sure his hands were in the best shape possible.

Apparently this same logic applies to the Miami Heat. Yesterday, several members of the Heat took to social media to document an off-day in Los Angeles at a nail salon getting manis and pedis. As LeBron James tweeted, “Getting this great pedicure/foot massage+ shoulder/neck massage at the same dang time! Have to take care of your dogs Men! It’s part of our life blood!”

As Udonis Haslem wrote on Instagram, “Getting a lil work done on my dogs with @kingjames, @moneymase8, @rayn34. Ray (Allen) says this is one of the keys to having a lengthy career. Hell if I knew wrapping my feet up like peanut butter and jelly was gon help get me 18 years I could’ve been trying this at home. Lol.”

I'm getting a pedicure and seen this creepy guy behind me. Lol

A photo posted by Ray Allen (@rayn34) on

The homie @moneymase8 getting that good treatment as well in the cut. Like he said #HappyFeet

A photo posted by LeBron James (@kingjames) on

Miami Heat Hold Epic Super Bowl Party

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — Twitter is at its best during big events — nearly everyone has a wary eye on their second screen, looking for facts, jokes and supplementary commentary. And during last night’s Super Bowl XLVIII, many of the Miami Heat players were populating social media with text and images from a team-wide viewing party held at Ray Allen‘s beach-front home.

As Allen posted on Instagram early in the day, “Super Bowl party at my crib. In the words of Bart Scott, CANT WAIT.”…

Super Bowl party at my crib. In the words of Bart Scott, "CANT WAIT".

A photo posted by Ray Allen (@rayn34) on

He also showcased another image of the inflatable 35-foot screen they were using (with a peek at the Dwyane Wade-designed Stance socks Allen was rocking)…

Thank you @twilightfeatures for hooking us up with the 35 foot inflatable air screen

A photo posted by Ray Allen (@rayn34) on

The Heat players seemed fired up for the game…

LeBron posted a video from poolside and gave thanks to Allen for hosting…

As for the game itself…well, it wasn’t much of a game, as Seattle jumped out a lead and never looked back…

At least LeBron enjoyed the halftime show…

Great song!! So energetic

A video posted by LeBron James (@kingjames) on

And while LeBron enjoyed the halftime show, Shane Battier continued the Heat tradition of photobombing

I'm just chillin with my red wine watching the halftime show and Shano wanted do this to me! Lol

A photo posted by LeBron James (@kingjames) on

By the way, while the Heat players enjoyed the view on the waterfront screen, Heat owner Micky Arison did it even bigger, with the Mississippi River as the background and an even larger screen on which to watch the game, along with a few hundred friends…

What a great way to enjoy Super Bowl. Sailing down the Mississippi on CarnivalSunshine

A photo posted by Micky Arison (@mickyarison) on

Michelle Obama And LeBron James Posterize Dwyane Wade

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — When the Miami Heat visited the White House last week, they apparently managed to squeeze in some time to film a video for the White House’s Let’s Move campaign, along with First Lady Michelle Obama. Whoever put this thing together obviously did their homework, because they managed to hit a couple of memes — not only do we see Chris Bosh delivering a signature photobomb, but the First Lady teams up with LeBron James to posterize Dwyane Wade as he’s giving an interview to Erik Spoelstra. Even with all that, my favorite moment of the video might be at the very end, when everyone is sitting around just eating apples.


VIDEO: Miami Heat For Let’s Move

And, like practically everything viral on the web, the FLOTUS dunk has been immortalized with gif(s):

(h/t SBNation.com for the gifs)

The Miami Heat Visit The White House


VIDEO: Miami Heat celebrate 2013 championship at White House

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — One of the perks of winning a championship in American sports is the annual trip to the White House. Earlier today, the Miami Heat made a return trip to the White House to visit President Obama. As with all things Heat, they did a thorough job chronicling the trip through social media…

@kingjames @dwyanewade @rayn34 & I ready to meet the president. Always a privilege. #distinguishedgentlemen

A photo posted by Chris Bosh (@chrisbosh) on

Hotel Hallway selfie pt2… presidential flow…#justmeandmygirlfriend #unionwade #whitehousebetterbeready

A photo posted by dwyanewade (@dwyanewade) on

Your 2013 NBA Champion @MiamiHEAT are moments away from being honored by President Obama!

A photo posted by Miami HEAT (@miamiheat) on

Presenting the president with his nickname jersey…

A photo posted by Chris Bosh (@chrisbosh) on

On stage with President Obama!

A photo posted by Miami HEAT (@miamiheat) on

President Obama after receiving his @miamiheat gifts

A photo posted by Miami HEAT (@miamiheat) on

Ray Allen, Spike Lee To Reunite For “He Got Game” Sequel?

NBA Finals Game 3: Boston Celtics v Los Angeles Lakers

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — One of the best basketball movies of my lifetime was 1998’s “He Got Game.” The Spike Lee-directed film starred Ray Allen and Denzel Washington as a father-son combo both bonded and separated by basketball. The film was popular upon its release and has remained iconic enough that even 16 years later, Allen is still called his character’s name, Jesus Shuttlesworth.

And now they may be taking the court once again. According to a story from the Associated Press, Allen says a sequel is at least being discussed…

“Sequels to most movies are always fluff and not as good as the first,” Allen said Tuesday night before the Heat played the New Orleans Pelicans. “But it’s something we’ve been talking about for the last couple months. If we get a really good story line and are able to bring everybody back, then it would be something worth doing.”

Lee posted a photo of himself and Allen to a social media account last summer, saying then that they were engaging in sequel talk. It wasn’t clear then how serious those conversations were.

Allen – who still gets called “Jesus” by teammates – said he’s committed to making it happen.

“Hopefully it works out,” said Allen, whose character in the film was a highly recruited high school basketball star.

Spike Lee Leaks Images Of Ray Allen’s Nickname Jersey

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — A few months ago the NBA quietly floated word that for a few games this season, some players would be wearing jerseys with nicknames on the back instead of their actual last names. In our post on the idea, we asked for nickname jersey suggestions and got a bunch of “SHUTTLESWORTH” or “JESUS” variations for Miami’s Ray Allen (who played the character Jesus Shuttlesworth in the classic hoops movie He Got Game).

So perhaps who better to share a first look at the Heat’s SHUTTLESWORTH jersey than Spike Lee, the director of He Got Game?