If you’ve been watching the NBA Playoffs, then you’ve already seen these The Dream Team special commercials airing for NBA TV. But if you haven’t, press play, and then set you DVR for June 13th at 9 p.m on NBA TV. Michael Jordan, Larry Bird, Magic Johnson…The Dream Team!
Allen Iverson Speaks On The Return Of The Reebok “Questions,” Football, & The Possibility Of Playing In China
It’s hard to find a player that was – or is – more popular than Allen Iverson. Myself, a kid who spent his younger years growing up in the southern parts of Florida, didn’t even have a favorite basketball player from the same state I resided in. Most were fans of Tracy McGrady, Anfernee “Penny” Hardaway or even Shaquille O’Neal. But me? My favorite player was always A.I. I had every single pair of his sneakers that ever hit the shelves in Kid’s Foot Locker, along with his jersey’s, and I even tried to emulate the same cornrows by getting my then afro braided .. I wanted to be Allen Iverson.
But then again, what kid didn’t?
Back in ’96 during Iverson’s rookie year, Reebok came out with his signature shoe: The white/red colorway “Questions.” He famously crossed Michael Jordan wearing them and scored 40-plus points in five straight games toward the end of the season in them. They’re arguably the most popular basketball shoe ever created. And the best part about them? He didn’t even know they were being made for him.
From SLAM Online‘ Tzvi Twersky‘s interview with VP of Reebok Classics, Todd Krinsky:
Great commercial produced by the Weiden + Kennedy team. I wonder how many other “Michael Jordan”s there are in the world and what they look like and what their lives must be like.
Derrick Rose isn’t exactly having a season that he was hoping to have (given all his injuries), but he’s still putting up MVP-like numbers (22.5 points and 7.9 assists) despite only playing in 37 games. Just announced today via NBCChicago.com, Rose became the first Chicago Bull to grace the cover of GQ Magazine since Michael Jordan (who made his appearance back in ’89). With the issue set to grace newsstands everywhere next week, you can preview some of the article after the jump that features quotes from Rose on Michael Jordan, LeBron James’ decision and President Barack Obama.
We’ve heard this story before, but with different players. Many said that Jordan shot too much, but he also has 6 championship rings to basically say “who gives a shit.” Did Iverson shoot a lot? Yes. But he was also forced into a role for most of his career that certainly didn’t help his chances of winning a title. He needed a true point guard to create shots for him. He wasn’t built to shoot 20+ times a night, while trying to hand out 10 assists consistently.
What about Kobe Bryant? You know, the man who reportedly slept with over 100 women behind his wife’s back in Los Angeles, who has 5 championship rings to go along with a career average of 19.4 shots per game (Remember, that’s just average). Now, turning 34 in August, Kobe’s aging. He has a bad knee, an arthritic finger on his shooting hand that in turn, altered his shooting style, and now has a torn ligament in his right wrist (an injury that would sideline most, but he’s Kobe).
Kobe is Jordan tough and has his work ethic, so what’s a wrist injury? You’re probably asking yourself, “what’s a wrist injury in basketball you moron?! It’s everything!” It might be everything to everyone else, but not Bean. His jumpers are still falling and that beautiful baseline fade is still fallin’, nothings changed except his dreadful 20 percent from 3s.
Yet, he continues to shoot those 23 shots a night this season:
“I shoot, I shoot,” Bryant told Yahoo! Sports Adrian Wajnarowski. “ You’ve known that for 16 years. I’m not changing my game. If the defense is not doubling, I’m going to score. If I’ve got a good look, I’m going to score. My teammates know that. But I also give them the ball, too, and set them up.
“But at the end of the day, I’m a scorer first.”
Yes, he’s averaging the third-highest shot attempts of his career (23.5 in 2002-03, 27 in ’05-06) just to get his 27.6 points per game, but he’s still shooting 44 percent from the field.
Which, for Kobe, is just about right.
Other than Bryant and Gasol being the main focal points on offense, big man Andrew Bynum has finally come into his own. And, more importantly, he’s healthy (knock on wood). In his first six games back with the Lakers, Bynum’s averaging a phenomenal 18.8 points and 15.7 rebounds a night (11 defensive rebounds).
L.A. might have the best Big Three on paper right now in the league.
As Dime Mag’s own Sean Sweeney pointed out today, despite the Lakers having arguably the best trio in basketball right now, they’re still average offensively with their 94 points per contest. Their defensive could be better, too, with their allowance of over 100 points a night, which places them at 15th in the league.
L.A. missed out on their much needed point guard when the NBA decided to pull the plug on the Chris Paul trade. Hell, they couldn’t even get J.J. Barea. They’re slow, their perimeter defense is almost non-existent, and the exact same can be said for their “tough guy” Matt Barnes.
So what will the Lakers do before the March trade deadline to better their chances at advancing further in the playoffs? Dwight Howard, maybe? But would you really trade for him if Bynum’s playing this way? Because, as of right now, Bynum’s the best big man in the league. Could they maybe snatch up a guard from their neighbor’s down the street (Clippers)? Who knows.
But one thing’s for certain: “I’m going to do what I do,” Kobe Bryant said. “I’m not changing.”
Not all good things stay together, or great for that matter. Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls won 6 NBA championships during their partnership (could have been 8 had he not retired twice and left basketball for a mind-boggling baseball decision), as well as Kobe and Shaq winning 3 rings together as a duo in Los Angeles. And now, sadly, those kind of conversations are now starting to include arguably the best, and youngest duo in the league: Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook.
They’ve been best friends since the beginning, they’ve been All-Stars together and they’re both the go-to guys on the Oklahoma City Thunder (although the word “go-to” should only describe Durant in crunch-time, not Westbrook. He’s a point-guard.), but there’s something in the middle. Something that just isn’t quite right, and that’s Westbrook.
I’m not saying that Russ was a bad fit from the start, I’m saying that he’s slowly grown into that category the last two seasons. He’s never been a great shooter, 3-point shooter and ball handler for that matter, and that’s coming back to his UCLA days. He’s a shooting-guard playing a point-guard role in OKC (which doesn’t end well when you have a franchise player in Durant who averages nearly 30 points a night).
Remember a guy by the name of Allen Iverson? He’s a Hall of Fame player and the best that ever played the game under 6-foot, but he was forced to play the point guard role throughout his career when he couldn’t. He’s naturally a shooter. That’s why teams gave him a bad reputation that he’s a ball-hog and won’t help your team win a championship because he’ll always need it in his hands. It’s an addiction.
During the ’08-09 season, Westbrook averaged 14 shots a night (41.8 percent) for 16 points, 8 assists and 3.3 turnovers. In 2010-11, he averaged 21.9 points (17 shots, 44 percent), 8 assists and 3.9 turnovers. This season? 15.3 points (17 shots, 31 percent), 6 assists and 6 turnovers.
For a point guard, that’s not a good look.
As for shots, he should be somewhere between the 9 and 11 range while shooting in the high 40s from the field. Prior to this season, his 8 assists were excellent but they could a tad higher (10?), but his turnovers are atrocious. Westbrook has been so focused on scoring the basketball for so long in his life that for the most part, his decision making is where it should be. Where it needs to be is a whole ‘nother story. He needs to slow the pace down and make smarter passes, take smarter shots, ect. if he plans on manning the ship for the Thunder.
They’re built to play that way.
When trade rumors arose during the lockout that a possible trade between OKC and the Boston Celtics could take place — with Boston trading Rajon Rondo to Oklahoma City while the Celtics received Westbrook in return — most said it was crazy, but the truth is, having Rondo control the Thunder’ offense would take them to a championship a lot quicker than it will with Westbrook.
When the “Argument Heard Around The World” went viral Wednesday night — detailed by The Oklahoman’s Darnell Mayberry — where Westbrook was overheard yelling at Thabo Sefolosha for passing up an open shot and when Durant tried to calm him down, Westbrook snapped at Durant (Something to make a report about, and talk about it for 24 hours on ESPN? No, not at all. It happens, teammates argue all the time. Friends, family, whatever, arguments happen).
24 hours later, ESPN beat writer J.A. Adande wrote an interesting piece on why Westbrook won’t work in OKC for not only the long-run, but financially as well:
The Rose Rule already bumped Durant’s paycheck by an extra $2.5 million a year, and Westbrook could be living in that same $18 million-a-season neighborhood. Depending on what other moves the Thunder make, a huge boost to Westbrook’s salary could put Oklahoma City in luxury tax territory next season and beyond. Starting in 2013-14 the tax will be progressively more punitive than the simple dollar-for-dollar surcharge in place now, and there are additional penalties for repeat tax “offenders.” In addition tax teams have restrictions on their abilities to make trades and sign players to the full mid-level exception.
To sum it up, Adande is stating that by the Thunder locking up Westbrook to a huge deal will ultimately hurt them in the long run when it comes to re-signing other key attributes and going after other appealing talent in free agency. One thing, though, that was really brought to my attention (it’s actually the reason why I’m writing this in the first place) is when J.A. threw out a trade idea that would send Westbrook to Golden State in exchange for Steph Curry (very interesting):
Curry is still on his rookie contract through 2012-13 (when he’ll make $4 million) so he would almost guarantee the Thunder stay below the tax threshold for another year, and he probably won’t be eligible for the Rose Rule pay boost, which would keep his maximum salary 5 percent lower than what Westbrook’s might be when it’s time to re-sign him.
Curry would also give the Thunder more scoring punch from the starting 2-guard spot than they currently have from Sefolosha. From Golden State’s perspective, Westbrook is a better defender than Curry, and that should count a lot for the new-look Warriors. (Believe it or not, Mark Jackson’s squad is among the top 10 defenses for fewest opponent points allowed so far.) And Westbrook is more likely to cause sprained ankles than suffer as many as Curry has.
Interesting enough, Curry was a fan favorite in OKC during the ’09 NBA Draft when the volume shooter was coming out of Davidson (many wanted him over James Harden). Although it’s an intriguing idea, Adande failed to mention one thing: Monta Ellis.
Trading Ellis for Westbrook makes a lot more sense for Golden State than it does by shipping Curry out the door, but it’s almost an identical swap. On paper it seems that Westbrook would help the Warriors out more than Ellis already does, but it’s somewhat misleading.
Golden State would still have the same problems defensively that they do now, and they’d still have the same turnover issues that Ellis provides and the out-of-control shooting outbursts throughout the night.
This what happens when you put a shooter at a facilitators position.
Lets say for a minute that Westbrook does end up in Golden State at some point between this season and the next (this isn’t a rumor, this is just a discussion), what’s the guarantee that he would automatically turn into a facilitator on a team built for running? As for Curry, yes, he’s had issues with his ankle, but at the end of the day he has the higher basketball IQ, and that includes his shooting, passing skills, and the ability to spread the floor substantially better than Russ.
If the Warriors are in a “win now” situation — which I don’t believe they are since they just hired a brand new coach in Mark Jackson — and if the front office believes Curry is going to be an injury-prone player from here on out, I could see them offering this kind of trade. Other than that, no. It doesn’t make enough sense because at this point I’d rather pay Curry $3 million less to run my offense like a point guard should, than pay Westbrook $3 million more to run it like a shooter.
Basketball fans are hyped that the NBA returned to action yesterday and what better way to be welcomed than this amazing TNT commercial, “NBA Forever”. Derrick Rose giving daps to Michael Jordan?! Dirk going heads up against Larry Bird?! So many classic shots!
Shout outs to whatever agency (I believe it was the work of Goodby & Silverstein) produced this commercial because it’s just an incredible piece of work.
Adidas Basketball’s star endorser Derrick Rose gets the mashup treatment over the infamous Michael Jordan “It’s Not About The Shoes” commercial.
Who’s Charles Oakley, you ask? He’s the greatest NBA enforcer of all-time. He’s the guy who makes Kenyon Martin look softer than Pau Gasol. Hell, he even once flagrant fouled K-Mart by throwing him down by his throat. He’s Michael Jordan’s dear friend and personal bodyguard, and during his interview with Hoopsworld, he put an end to all the talks about how or why LeBron James is the closest thing in the league to the Greatest Player of All-Time (Jordan).
“I wouldn’t put them in the same conversation,” he said. “It took awhile for Michael to win championships, too, but they have a different swagger, a different demeanor. If I would compare anybody to Michael Jordan, it would be Kobe Bryant. Point blank. I know LeBron well; he don’t have what Michael have so I’m not even gonna discuss that one. To be a superstar, [LeBron] has to go back to his fundamentals…work on his post game, work off the ball.”
Everything he said in the above statement is true; Kobe has the demeanor, the determination and the killer instinct like Jordan did, but he’s just not him and never will be. As for ‘Bron, his post game is nonexistent and he needs the ball in his hands to be effective. Seriously, though, can we stop will all this talk from now on? Oakley’s already spoke on it, so who’s going to step up to him and say otherwise? My guess is no one.
Ever wonder what it would be like to be The Goat aka Michael Jordan’s kids? Well find out over at Heir-Jordan.com, the new lifestyle website for Marcus and Jeffrey Jordan (sons of Mike) and their best friend AJ Rompza. All three of them play basketball at the University of Central Florida. This teaser video doesn’t show much but I think if the site is done in the right way it could turn out to be a dope look into the life behind the scenes of the college athlete culture and the celebrity child lifestyle.