Posts Tagged ‘Russell Westbrook’

Denver Nuggets mascot makes unsanctioned political appearance

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — Sports mascots are, at their core, a conduit for fun. They are their team’s common denominators, a representative of every fan, from the front row to the cheap seats. But out in Denver, longtime Nuggets mascot Rocky the mountain lion made an off-court appearance this week that caught some people by surprise, apparently including his employers.

Earlier this week, Rocky made an appearance at a Colorado Republican rally. As the Denver Post reports

Nuggets marketing manager Graham Wincott, who handles Rocky and his appearances, said the team’s mascot showing up at the GOP event was “an unsanctioned, unpaid appearance that we had no knowledge of.”

Denver sports figures have been to political events in the past, but sports teams and organizations typically stay away from any kind of political endorsements or appearances, which is why the Kroenke brass was surprised by the appearance.

“As a sports team, we want to be apolitical,” Wincott said. “Two things we never touch on are politics and religion.”

The Nuggets’ mascot was bouncing around at the Colorado Republican Party rally Monday at Heritage High School. Top players on the Colorado GOP ticket were at the event, which included 2012 presidential candidate Mitt Romney.

Wincott said the KSE management team met Tuesday “with the actor who plays Rocky to figure out exactly how it happened and what transpired and get to the bottom of how all this occurred.”

If nothing else, this gives us a chance to check out some of Rocky’s greatest hits, like his recent dust-up with Russell Westbrook or, as in the video below, a classic run-in with his longtime nemesis, Charles Barkley


VIDEO: Rocky vs Lakers/Barkley

Russell Westbrook introduces line of sunglasses

Miami Heat v Oklahoma City Thunder ? Game One

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — A few years ago, I wrote a short profile of Oklahoma City guard Russell Westbrook for GQ magazine. At the time, Westbrook was just starting to make a name for himself off the court as a fearless dresser, a trend that has continued unabated.

As part of the interview I did with Russ, I asked him about his penchant for wearing glasses…

GQ: But you had to know those red glasses were going to get some attention.
Russell Westbrook: Well, see, I didn’t. I don’t really pay no mind to it. I kind of just see it, and I get it. If I like it, I’ll wear it regardless of what’s going on or if somebody says something or not.

GQ: When you wear those glasses, do they have lenses in them or no?
Russell Westbrook: No, no, nine times out of ten, no. Some of them do, but not most of them, no.

GQ: Do you need glasses?
Russell Westbrook: Nah. I have the best vision.

And now, regardless of your vision, you too can wear glasses just for the style of it, as Russell Westbrook has introduced his own line of sunglasses. Westbrook has started with ten different styles at Westbrook Frames. They are high quality, and prices run from $95 up.

Perhaps they are more fashion-forward than you’re used to, but maybe they’re exactly what you need to look good. As Westbrook himself might ask, “Why not?”

brentwood-new-black-front malibu-usa-front

Who’s the baddest? Might just be KD

By Jeff Case

Kevin Durant‘s season ended without him leading the Oklahoma City Thunder to the NBA Finals, but 2013-14 was by no means a disappointment individually for the wiry forward. He claimed his first NBA MVP and showed time and again he could lead OKC as his All-Star teammate Russell Westbrook dealt with a myriad of injuries all season.

The last time we saw KD in a commercial was his ubiquitous (some might say bothersome) Sprint ad where he turns into a giant and then blasts off. Pretty cool … but not as cool as his latest commercial, which comes courtesy of Nike Basketball. The premise?

Who’s the baddest player in the NBA today?

Great cameos throughout by NBA legends like George Gervin, Chris Mullin and Charles Oakley, to name a few …

Russell Westbrook almost runs over Clippers mop girl

By Lang Whitaker, NBA.com

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — Nobody said being an NBA ballboy was an easy job. Just two months ago we saw a ballboy in Brooklyn show great hustle when he nearly got run over by Tyler Hansbrough. Yesterday in Los Angeles, during the Clippers/Thunder game, a similar situation almost came to pass. As you can see in the GIF below from @JDonSports, after Russell Westbrook ripped the ball from Chris Paul, he took off to the other end of the floor, where a Clippers attendant was still mopping up the court. She noticed in time and managed to get out of there, dragging the mop behind her. Again, great hustle. (Also, check out the sneaky shove DeAndre Jordan delivers to his teammate CP3 to get him out of the way in case there’s a rebound to grab.)

westbrook

(via FTW)

The Thunder visit the zoo

By Lang Whitaker, NBA.com

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — You’re an NBA player, it’s the middle of a long NBA season, and you have a day off. So what do you do? If you’re Russell Westbrook, Derek Fisher or Kendrick Perkins, over the weekend you visited the Oklahoma City Zoo to lend a hand at the sea lion exhibit. There’s a lot to like here. My favorite part might be where a sea lion kisses Kendrick Perkins and he says he’s hopeful he can get a picture of the moment to put up in his office.


VIDEO: OKC’s day at the zoo

The Best Game Winning Buzzer Beater So Far This Season?

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — Here at the All Ball Blog, we like to recognize whenever someone makes a game-winning buzzer beater (GWBB) by breaking out something we call the Horry Scale to try and give each shot some perspective. I’ve taken my lumps from you guys this season, as I’ve tried to figure out just how many Horrys to dole out for each shot, but that’s fine: What I love about the Horry Scale is that you, our readers, love these shots as much or more as we do. You understand how improbable and how exciting they are, and you like celebrating them along with us.

That said, Horry Scale shots have to be game winners with 0.0 remaining on the clock. Which is why some last-second shots this season have not qualified — I think Russell Westbrook has made two shots to win games, but both times there were fractions of a second remaining.

The other rule that is not explicitly stated but clearly implied, is that Horry Scale entries have to be NBA game winners. Otherwise I’d be over here writing about high school and college games all day and night.

With that stated, the following shot does not qualify for the Horry Scale, since it took place in a Euroleague game between Anadolou Efes Istanbul and EA7 Emporio Armani Milan. But it was a former NBA player, ex-Nets point guard Zoran Planinic, who took the incredible shot. Anadoulou Efes Istanbul was down 2, with about 2 seconds left when Planinic launched from three-quarter court. And, well, check it out…
-

VIDEO: Planinic Euroleague Game Winner

I know some of you have disagreed with my ratings this season, but to me this is obviously 5 out of 5. Heck, I might give this one 6 out of 5. Incredible shot.

Oh, and as pointed out on Daily Picks and Flicks, Planinic ain’t new to this. Check out this shot from his days in the Swamp in Jersey…
-

VIDEO: Planinic In Jersey

Horry Scale: Joe Knows


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…

DIFFICULTY
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.

GAME SITUATION
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.

CELEBRATION
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.

GRADE
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

horry-star horry-star horry-star

What say you? How many Horrys does Joe Johnson’s GWBB deserve?

Russell Westbrook Mops The Floor With The Knicks

ALL BALL NERVE CENTERRussell Westbrook and the Oklahoma City Thunder mopped the floor with the New York Knicks yesterday. Literally.


VIDEO: Westbrook Mops Floor

(via TNLP)

Christmas Day Alley-Oop Poll

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — Even if your stocking was filled with coal, NBA fans got a pretty nice day of presents yesterday with a great slate of games on Christmas Day. There were improbable shots, crazy outfits — the works, really. And, perhaps most noticeably, there were some awesome dunks (including at least one player-submitted dunk). So here at the All Ball Blog, we decided to ask you: Who had the best Christmas Day giving-and-getting combination?

1. Dwyane Wade and LeBron James I

VIDEO: Wade to LeBron 1
-
2. Dwyane Wade and LeBron James II

VIDEO: Wade to LeBron 2
-
3. Omri Casspi to Dwight Howard

VIDEO: Casspi to Howard
-
4. Russell Westbrook to Kevin Durant

VIDEO: Westbrook to Durant
-
5. Bryce James to LeBron James, Jr.

VIDEO: Bryce to Bronny
-
Now, give us your vote!

Run That Back: Westbrook Develops Ice Gene, Lance Emulates Iguodala


VIDEO: Russell Westbrook nails 3 with 0.1 seconds left in OT to drop Warriors

THE HEADQUARTERS — As the Stylistics eloquently put it, payback is a dog and Russell Westbrook has packed the meanest bite of the young NBA season.

After a thrilling finish in the Bay Area a little over two weeks ago, when Westbrook and Andre Iguodala traded clutch baskets, we knew the rematch would be a battle. What competitor doesn’t crave get-back after coming up short?

Consider it a mission complete by Westbrook, who couldn’t have served a colder dish than his turnaround 3 in OT with 0.1 seconds left to lift OKC to a 113-112 win. This time, he didn’t give anybody a chance to return the favor.

He started the game hitting his first five shots, then went 4-for-19 until his victory-snatching snipe. In a game that featured 20 lead changes, 32 points from Stephen Curry, a poster dunk from Serge Ibaka, this game had “Game of the Year” written on it before you-know-who ended matters.

Best game, best shot, best celebration? Yes. Yes. Affirmative. And yes, you want to mark January 17 in your calendars.

Extra Mustard

The shot alone is enough to catapult Russ to the peak of the Top Plays mountain. What adds to it is what came directly before. Ibaka missed a foul-line jumper at the top of the key and Jermaine O’Neal was a simple rebound away from securing possession and most likely the game for Golden State. But he didn’t box out and that’s all Westbrook (who flew in from the 3-point line) needed to knock the loose ball away from a surprised O’Neal.

Thabo Sefalosha tracked down the rock and made a blind save to a springing Westbrook, who in a flash snatched the ball out the air with his right hand, took one dribble toward the 3-point line, looked left, whirled right and launched before a scrambling Harrison Barnes could give a good contest.

(Actually, Barnes did get a hand up. Westbrook just got a clean look first).

The dejected look on Barnes (13 seconds into the above clip) is the perfect flip side to the pandemonium surrounding him.

BONUS: Luckily, a fan caught the emotional moment from an excellent courtside angle.

More Playmaking

First, Andre Iguodala did this on November 5:


VIDEO: Andre Iguodala serves nifty behind-the-back in Philly

Then Friday night, Lance Stephenson performed his rendition:

VIDEO: Lance Stephenson feeds C.J. Watson with the fancy dish

Which was better? Both were done in the midst of a blowout and both were completely unexpected. I’m going with Iguodala because of the original factor and the lessened margin of error of being in the corner. But Stephenson’s dime did count for three points on the board…

What sayeth you?