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…
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.
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? :))”
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.)
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…
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?
ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — Amir 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?
ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — The Toronto Raptors may have lost in the first round of the playoffs, but if anything their showing proved that fans in Toronto are rabid supporters of their team, as huge crowds gathered in public areas even to watch the away games. With a nice core of young talent, a coach and general manager with long term deals in place, and Drake on board as their global ambassador, the Raptors are set to make a leap to the next level.
To honor what the Raptors put together, yesterday the city of Toronto and deputy mayor Norm Kelly proclaimed the day “Raptors Day.” Looks like Drake even let Greivis Vasquezborrow his lint roller…
ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — One of my favorite people up in Canada is Cabbie, who works for TSN and does all sorts of great interviews, often with NBA players. In one of his latest videos, he asked several NBA players, including Kevin Love, Paul George and Kyle Lowry, to draw self-portraits.
I don’t think anyone expected something along these lines, but…well, see for yourself…
ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — Last night in Brooklyn, the Raptors beat the Nets to tie their first round series at two wins apiece. After the game, Toronto’s “global ambassador,” Drake, took to Instagram to post a message for Brooklyn big man Kevin Garnett. As Drake wrote in the caption, “Mad…or nah? See you back at the crib”
Also, remember the post last week about Drake using a lint roller during the game in Toronto? Drake had a funny sense of humor about it…