Posts Tagged ‘Toronto Raptors’

MUSCLEWATCH 2014 (Update 2)

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — It’s a Friday in the fall, which means it’s time for…wait for it…MUSCLEWATCH!

What, you may ask, is MUSCLEWATCH? I really hope by now you’re not still asking that question. But basically, it stems from my friend Matt and I noticing years ago that our local paper would always report that players had gained 15 pounds of MUSCLE in the offseason. No matter the sport, it was never 12, never 16, never 9, never 18, always 15 pounds of muscle. So we began keeping an eye on the papers looking for references to the magic 15 pounds of MUSCLE. I started chronicling this each season in my blog over at SLAM, and eventually MUSCLEWATCH became about more than just the 15 pounds of muscle and more about guys who had either gained or lost a lot of weight. Previous winners include Thad Young and Rudy Gay.

If you see MUSCLEWATCH info, please tweet it and use the hashtag #MUSCLEWATCH to help us keep all this info straight.

One question I saw on Twitter that’s worth addressing…

No. Despite my best efforts, it’s impossible to tabulate a precise number. Has anyone counted all the stars in the sky? Do we know how many broken dreams line Broadway? No, no we don’t. It’s better to just understand that there are thousands if not millions of pounds won and lost out there and keep it moving.

WHEN WE LAST LEFT MUSCLEWATCH, there was a lot of sound and fury and MUSCLE, but not a lot of detail. Let’s get into the MUSCLE…

• Once again, actual NBA teams are using the #MUSCLEWATCH hashtag, as we saw in this tweet from the Toronto Raptors regarding Terrence Ross

That tweet was welcome, if a bit vague, so we also appreciate this clarification from Holly McKenzie, from which we learn Ross actually put on the MUSCLEWATCH gold standard of 15 pounds…

HOWEVER! Nobody actually specified if it’s 15 pounds of MUSCLE. And it matters, believe me, it matters.

• Last week we saw a few MUSCLEWATCH names in Minnesota, and we get more detail this, as Anthony Bennett, Ronny Turiaf and Shabazz Muhammad got into some, frankly, really weird workout stuff. Just read the beginning of this story

The children are slipping down Shabazz Muhammad’s back, inches away from falling into a pit of whitewater rapids and fire.
As Muhammad gropes for another handhold, his entire weight and an additional 100 pounds of helpless youth suspended above the perils below, he falters. A pair of guiding hands help steady him but only for a moment. Regaining his balance and summoning some interior-laden surge of strength, he climbs his way to safety while the kids on his back remain unharmed.

They worked out using HELPLESS YOUTH! Children were SLIPPING DOWN HIS BACK INTO A DEATH TRAP WHIRLPOOL! OK, OK, this was all imaginary, but still, this is extreme MUSCLEWATCH. No wonder they call their guy Hell’s Trainer.

Despite the insane workout, Muhammad said he came into camp at 224, which is two pounds more than he supposedly weighed a year ago before the draft. And Bennett, according to the story above, lost “about 10 pounds.” So while they each may be in much better shape, for MUSCLEWATCH purposes they still have some work to do.

Kobe Bryant has had a love-hate relationship with MUSCLEWATCH through the years, and this year is no different. A few months ago, paparazzi photos seemed to suggest that Kobe had put on, well, a few pounds. But then Kobe showed up in camp looking svelte, and Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak suggested Kobe had lost 10-12 pounds.

How did Kobe do it? By eating “clean.”

I guess that means a lot of hand washing?

• We need to send a shoutout to Utah Jazz beat writer Jody Genessy from the Deseret News, who has been all over MUSCLEWATCH, including several tweets…

And since we’re talking Jazz, we’ve had our first-ever announcer appearance on MUSCLEWATCH, as Jazz radio voice David Locke was reported to be in phenomenal shape…

I caught up with David this week and he confirmed that he is feeling good, although he noted that once the season begins his bicycling regimen will likely fall by the wayside. Still, a terrific showing all around in Utah. We salute you!

• Bonjour, Monsieur Diaw! Spurs forward Boris Diaw has had some ups and downs with his weight through the years. At Spurs media day this season, coach Gregg Popovich acknowledged Diaw’s struggle…

Boris used social media to respond, as one should, with the following photo and this caption: “No worries pop only one glass of wine and daily workouts!”

Also, thanks to the San Antonio Express News, which put together a 117-photo gallery about which players are and are not arriving in shape in San Antonio.

• WE HAVE A CONTENDER! Add Kendrick Perkins to the long list of guys who have dropped weight this summer, and with Perk, unlike with LeBron and Melo, we actually have a concrete number…

• Up in Boston, Celtics forward Jeff Green has put on some MUSCLE…

And Kelly Olynyk is “definitely stonger,” with a #MUSCLEWATCH in the story!!

• And finally, in Phoenix, Alex Len has apparently added “10-15 pounds.” Of MUSCLE? Well, that’s unclear.

See you next week. Keep MUSCLING!

NBA People Throwing First Pitches (Pt. 3)

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — All summer long, we’ve seen NBA players throwing out the ceremonial first pitches at baseball games. Not just major league games, and not just from active NBA players, but from NBA-related folks (coaches, retired players) all over the place.

I’ve been collecting these videos for a few months, and now we present them, all of them, in several parts, because there’s a lot to get through.

And so, here are a bunch of NBA people throwing out the first pitch at baseball games…

PART ONE | PART TWO | PART THREE

CHANDLER PARSONS
CP went from Houston to Dallas this offseason, but before taking the court for the Mavericks, he took the mound for the Texas Rangers and may have thrown the best NBA pitch of the summer. (As he admits, he’s a former high school baseball player.)


VIDEO: Parsons pitch

JAMES HARDEN
Parsons’ former teammate James Harden spent his summer in Spain with Team USA, but before leaving stopped by an Astros game (while rocking jorts) to throw a first pitch…
(more…)

Dikembe Mutombo and Amir Johnson dancing

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — Thanks to the Toronto Raptors, here’s a video of Amir Johnson and Dikembe Mutombo dancing while visiting the SOS Children’s Village in Johannesburg as part of the NBA’s Basketball Without Borders initiative. I think Mutombo wins this dance-off…

DeMar DeRozan leaps over Kyle Lowry for dunk

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — Toronto’s DeMar DeRozan has always been one of the most athletic players in the NBA, though he doesn’t show off his leaping ability as often as he used to during his first few years in the league. But last week, while in the Philippines, DeRozan caught an alley-oop from his Toronto teammate Kyle Lowry and finished the dunk while jumping completely over Lowry…

(via TNLP)

DeMar DeRozan dribbles through Walmart

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — NBA players traditionally use their summer break to work on parts of their game that can use improving. Last summer we saw Detroit big man Andre Drummond and Nate Robinson employ unique strategies to improve their dribbling, as both practiced dribbling through crowded airports.

Toronto’s DeMar DeRozan appears to have borrowed this tact, and in this Instagram video he tries to perfect his handle as he dribbles up and down the aisles at his local Walmart.

(via TNLP)

Jonas Valanciunas is a (folk) dancing machine

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — Toronto Raptors center Jonas Valanciunas was born and raised in Lithuania. So even though his professional basketball career has taken him around the world, currently placing him in Toronto, the Jonas brother has held on to his roots. In this video he posted on Instagram, he decides he’d like to bring traditional Lithuanian dance back to the forefront. As he writes in the caption, “Lots of great singers and dancers in Lithuania for Lithuanian Song & Dance Festival. I’ve been trying to get @thetorontoraptors dancers to learn real Lithuanian dancing – maybe this season? :))”

Throwback Thursday: All-time best Raptors


VIDEO: NB90s looks back on Vince Carter’s glory days in Toronto

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: The top Raptors of all-time

 

On May 22, 1994, Toronto was scheduled to enter the NBA as an expansion franchise for the 1995-96 season. It was on that day that the team’s nickname, the Raptors, was unveiled and an NBA team was fully realized. Today, we look back on the greatest players to ever suit up for the Raptors, from the early days in the “dino” jerseys to the current group this season that took home the Atlantic Division title and set a franchise record for wins.

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


Gallery: TBT: Top Raptors of all-time

What do you most remember about the Raptors? Leave your comments below!

Landry Fields sings his face off

By Lang Whitaker, NBA.com

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — We’re creeping toward the summer, which means we’re reaching the time when NBA players have a little bit of free time and start getting involved in all sorts off off-court pursuits.

This is where we find Toronto Raptors swingman Landry Fields, who will be taking part in a new television show on ABC called “Sing Your Face Off.” According to a press release from ABC…

Landry will star in new Summer show “Sing Your Face Off,” a talent variety competition featuring celebrities who are transformed and trained to perform as legendary musical icon, premieres May 31. The first episode, Landry performs as Lionel Richie, “Dancing on the Ceiling.”

Over the course of the series, the five celebrities (Sebastian Bach/legendary rock star from the band Skid Row; Landry Fields/NBA’s Toronto Raptors; Jon Lovitz/comedian, actor, singer; China Anne McClain/Disney Channel’s “How to Build a Better Boy” which premieres this summer, “A.N.T. Farm”; Lisa Rinna/”Days of Our Lives”) will take on the identity of an iconic music performer — the celebrities could find themselves transformed into someone far older, younger or even someone of the opposite sex.

Viewers will get the chance to see each of the celebrities portray multiple musical performers during the series — such as Justin Bieber, Lady Gaga, Michael Jackson, Pavarotti, Pitbull, Britney Spears, and Tina Turner to name a few.

The show doesn’t debut for a little over a week, but you can check out Landry’s Lionel in the video below…


VIDEO: Landry sings

NBA Lip Sync Battle

By Lang Whitaker, NBA.com

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — On his new version of “The Tonight Show,” Jimmy Fallon has introduced lip sync battles, where Fallon and different celebrities try to do the most accurate job of lip syncing and dancing along to various songs.

Thanks to the magic of Instagram, we can now have an NBA version of a lip sync battle, between TNT’s Shaquille O’Neal and Toronto Raptors big man Patrick Patterson.

Let’s start with Shaq Diesel, who posted this last night from San Antonio, where he was in attendance at the Spurs/Thunder Game 1, and he filmed himself giving an impromptu lip sync rendition of the National Anthem…

And then in this corner we have Patterson, who wrote in the caption, “Never Michael Jackson and drive…This is what happens when I drive for a long time…#dontjudgeme #actinafool #areuok #whyimsingle”

You’ve seen the video, now give us your vote. Who wins round one of the NBA Lip Sync Battle?

Amir Johnson displays trampoline dunking skills

By Lang Whitaker, NBA.com

ALL BALL NERVE CENTERAmir Johnson has been one of our social media MVPs all season here on the All Ball blog. Most recently we checked in with Amir as he took a group of fans to a Medieval Times restaurant in Toronto. But just because the Raptors season is over doesn’t mean Amir takes a break. Check out this video he posted last night on Instagram showing off his dunking ability using a trampoline. Slamball, anyone?