Sneaker Watch: 2011 NBA Slam Dunk Contest

Sneaker Watch: 2011 NBA Slam Dunk Contest

Sneaker Watch: 2011 NBA Dunk Contest

words_Brandon Richard

It wasn’t as great as we thought it would be, but Blake Griffin put on a show Saturday night to become the 2011 NBA Slam Dunk Champion. It really speaks to how highly we think of somebody when they dunk over a car and we’re still left a little disappointed, but the reality was that Blake’s early misses were more appealing than the dunks he completed. Plus, you can’t roll a car on the court and just jump over the hood, right?

Though falling short in the contest, JaVale McGee may have been the most creative dunker of the night. Building on concepts originated by the great Larry Nance, McGee dunked two balls on two different hoops and then dunked three balls on one hoop. His creativity did come up short in the end, though, when he had to make a last-minute change to a dunk because Oklahoma’s Serge Ibaka completed something similar.

Speaking of Ibaka, not a bad showing from OKC’s big man. He certainly had the theatrics going for him, as he was led out of the tunnel by a parade of “NBA Africa” flags to complete a legit behind-the-line free-throw dunk. For a follow-up, Ibaka helped a youngster retrieve his stuffed animal by biting it off a prop on the rim during a dunk. Both dunks, however, were underscored at 45 and Ibaka was eliminated early.

Flying under the radar was Toronto’s DeMar DeRozan, who may have actually completed the best dunk of the night. Coached by Darryl Dawkin’s suit, DeRozan completed a remix to J.R. Rider’s “East Bay Funk Dunk” and an extremely impressive one-handed reverse that scored a 50.

Overall, the Dunk Contest started off hot, but progressively got worse as the focus was put more on the gimmicks than the dunks. A lot of these NBA players will tell you that it’s hard to be creative because everything has been done, but that’s simply not true. YouTube is concrete proof that there are still incredible non-prop dunks that haven’t been seen in the NBA’s contest. That’s why DeRozan’s lob one-handed reverse sticks out – it was all about the dunk.

Below is a look at the sneakers worn in the Dunk Contest. Blake Griffin was said to be debuting the Nike Hyperdunk 2011, but settled for a similar colorway of the Air Max Fly By. “Air Congo” Serge Ibaka did his dunking in adidas’ “Sun” adiPure. DerMar DeRozan continued to wear iD colorways of the Nike Zoom Kobe VI. Lastly, JaVale McGee did an excellent job getting Chinese brand PEAK some recognition by wearing five different colorways of their Relentless kicks in the contest.

Sneaker Watch: 2011 NBA Slam Dunk Contest

Blake Griffin wearing the Nike Air Max Fly ByBlake Griffin with what Kenny Smith called the “Plan B” dunk in the Nike Air Max Fly By.

Blake Griffin wearing the Nike Air Max Fly ByBlake Griffin pulls a Vince Carter in the Nike Air Max Fly By.

Blake Griffin wearing the Nike Air Max Fly ByBlake hops the car wearing the Nike Air Max Fly By.

JaVale McGee wearing the PEAK Relentless WolverineJaVale McGee dunks on two hoops in the “Wolverine”-inspired colorway of the PEAK Relentless.

JaVale McGee wearing the PEAK Relentless CamouflageMcGee dunks three balls in the camouflage PEAK Relentless.

JaVale McGee wearing PEAK Relentless USA & ChinaJaVale McGee salutes the friendship between the United States and China with national colorways of the PEAK Relentless.

JaVale McGee wearing PEAK Relentless USA & ChinaA closer look at JaVale’s USA & China PEAK Relentless colorways.

JaVale McGee wearing the PEAK Relentless Truly BlessedMcGee finished the contest wearing the “Truly Blessed” PEAK Relentless.

Serge Ibaka wearing the adidas adiPureSerge Ibaka takes a bit out of Rumble, the Oklahoma City Thunder Mascot, in the “Sun” adidas adiPure.

Serge Ibaka wearing the adidas adiPureIt wasn’t as picturesque as MJ’s, but Ibaka completed a legit behind-the-line free-throw dunk in the adiPure.

DeMar DeRozan wearing the Nike Zoom Kobe VIDeMar DeRozan had perhaps the most impressive dunk of the night with this reverse in the Nike Zoom Kobe VI iD.

DeMar Derozan wearing the Nike Zoom Kobe VIDeRozan rocks the Darryl Dawkins-named “Eastbay Funk Remix” in his Zoom Kobe VI iD.

images via ESPN

Sneaker Watch: 2011 NBA Slam Dunk Contest

Sneaker Watch: 2011 BBVA Celebrity Game

Sneaker Watch - 2011 BBVA Celebrity Game

words_Brandon Richard

Getting this weekend’s All-Star festivities started last night was the BBVA Celebrity Game. Teams consisting of actors, musicians, politicians, WNBA players and retired NBA ballers represented both the Eastern and Western Conferences. The East squad was led by NBA Hall of Famer Scottie Pippen and Coach Bill Walton, while singer Justin Bieber and Coach Magic Johnson provided leadership for the West. In the end, the Pippen factor proved to be the difference, as the six-time NBA Champion led the East to a 54-49 win.

Pippen looked less like old Scottie and more like the Scottie of old. Though it wasn’t exactly the competitive environment Pippen once thrived in, it was evident that the legend keeps himself in shape and spends some time in the gym keeping that stroke silky smooth. He led all scorers with 17 points on 6-of-8 shooting, impressing Magic Johnson and all of the fans in attendance.

Unfortunately for Pippen, his fanbase consists of adults who were no match for the “Beliebers” when it came to fans voting for MVP. Despite his team coming up short, the pop sensation took home top honors with a really solid eight-point, four-assist and two-rebound performance. His shooting was a little off, though he did drain two three-pointers, but he displayed some skills on the court and earned a little respect.

The game won’t be considered for an ESPN Instant Classic airing anytime soon, but it was a fun night for the fans. It was certainly more enjoyable than those horrific green screen segments that somebody at ESPN thought would be a great idea. Poor Eric Gordon.

Here’s a recap of what some of the Celebrity Game participants wore last night.

Sneaker Watch – 2011 BBVA Celebrity Game

Scottie Pippen wearing the Nike Air Pippen II

Great to see these back on the court. Scottie Pippen was in vintage form wearing the Nike Air Pippen II.

Scottie Pippen wearing the Nike Air Pippen II

Another look at the Hall of Famer in the Air Pippen II.

Tamika Catchings wearing the Nike Hyperdunk 2010

Tamika Catchings balls in the pinkfire Kay Yow Nike Hyperdunk 2010.

Common & Trey Songz wearing the Nike Zoom Kobe VI

Musicians Common and Trey Songz duke it out wearing different colorways of the Nike Zoom Kobe VI.

Chris Mullin wearing the Nike Zoom Hyperfuse Low

Basketball Hall of Fame finalist Chris Mullin meets the Biebs in the Nike Zoom Hyperfuse Low.

Jason Sudeikis wearing the adidas adiPure

Jason Sudeikis wearing the adidas adiPure

Rob Kardashian APL Concept 1 Banned

While having an increased vertical, Rob Kardashian apparently didn’t see any defensive enhancements in the “Banned” APL Concept 1.

Michael Rapaport wearing the Nike Zoom Kobe VI

Celebrity Basketball legend Michael Rapaport also hit the court in the Zoom Kobe VI

A.C. Green wearing the adidas adiPure

Lakers legend A.C. Green tries to contain Rapaport in the “Sun” adidas adiPure.

Justin Bieber wearing the adidas Crazy 8

Game MVP Justin Bieber is hunched over from carrying the team on his back in the adidas Crazy 8.

Romeo wearing the Nike Zoom Hyperfuse Low; Jalen Rose Nike Zoom LeBron III

Celebrate good times: Justin Bieber in the adidas Crazy 8, Romeo Miller in the Nike Zoom Hyperfuse Low, Trey Songz in the Nike Zoom Kobe VI and Jalen Rose wearing the Nike Zoom LeBron III.

images via ESPN

Sneaker Watch: 2011 NBA Slam Dunk Contest

Sneaker Watch: 2011 NBA Rookie Challenge

John Wall Named Rookie Challenge MVP

words_Brandon Richard

For the second straight year, the NBA’s newcomers prevailed over the Sophomore Team in the T-Mobile Rookie Challenge. Led by former Kentucky teammates John Wall and DeMarcus Cousins, the Rookie Team pulled away late to lock up a 148-140.

Wall, who walked away with MVP honors, racked up 12 points and 22 assists on the night. The 22 assists surpass Chris Paul’s old Rookie Challenge record of 17. Sacramento big man DeMarcus Cousins, the recipient of many of Wall’s dimes, contributed a monster 33-point, 14-rebound game. Ironically, one of the game’s biggest highlights came when Wall put home a Cousins backboard pass with 13 seconds left to play.

All eyes were on Clippers high flyer Blake Griffin, who played reduced minutes due to his participation in the Slam Dunk Contest and All-Star Game. The new “Human Highlight Reel” still had a couple crowd pleasers, including a reverse jam on a John Wall bounce pass. Blake finished with 14 points in 14 minutes of play.

Other big performances came from DeJuan Blair of the San Antonio Spurs and Oklahoma’s James Harden. Blair recorded 28 points and 15 rebounds, while Harden lit the scoreboard up for 30 points.

While the game itself was fun to watch, seeing the kicks on the court was a joy in itself. Nike represented most of the players with their brand new Air Max Fly By. Brandon Jennings made an in-game switch, rocking two colorways of his Under Armour Micro G Black Ice Low. However, the talk of the night came from the adidas camp, which made a bold impression with their vibrant “Sun” adiPures.

Let’s take a closer look at what some of the Rookie Challenge hoopers were wearing along with those NBA Digi Socks on Friday night.

Sneaker Watch: 2011 NBA Rookie Challenge

John Wall wearing the Reebok Zig Slash

John Wall having a little fun in his fan-designed Reebok Zig Slash.

John Wall wearing the Reebok Zig Slash

Another look at Wall’s All-Star Zig Slash.

Blake Griffin wearing the Nike Air Max Fly By

Blake Griffin throws down the reverse dunk in an All-Star colorway of the Nike Air Max Fly By.

Blake Griffin wearing the Nike Air Max Fly By

Another look at the Blake Show’s Air Max Fly By PE.

Brandon Jennings wearing the Under Armour Black Ice Low

Brandon Jennings drops a scoop layup in the Under Armour Micro G Black Ice Low.

DeJuan Blair wearing the Nike Air Max Fly By

No ACLs? No Problem. DeJuan Blair had a big game in a Player Exclusive colorway of the Nike Air Max Fly By

DeMarcus Cousins wearing the Nike Air Max Fly By

DeMarcus Cousins puts Steph Curry on a poster in the Nike Air Max Fly By

DeMar Derozan wearing Nike Zoom Kobe VI

DeMar Derozan dunks in an iD colorway of the Nike Zoom Kobe VI.

Derrick Favors & Serge Ibaka wearing the adidas adiPure

Derrick Favors and Serge Ibaka compete against each other in the “Sun” adidas adiPure.

Gary Neal wearing the Nike Air Max Fly By

Spurs rookie Gary Neal closes in on Steph Curry wearing the Nike Air Max Fly By.

Greg Monroe wearing the Nike Air Max Fly By

brings the ball up the court in an Air Max Fly By PE.

James Harden wearing the Nike Zoom Kobe VI

James Harden had a couple of big highlight plays in the “Orange County” Nike Zoom Kobe VI.

Jrue Holiday wearing the adidas adiPure

Jrue Holiday dunks in the adiPure by adidas.

Landry Fields wearing the Nike Zoom Kobe VI iD

Landry Fields look on in an iD colorway of the Zoom Kobe VI.

Stephen Curry wearing the Nike Air Max Fly By

Stephen Curry attempts a floater in his Air Max Fly By PE.

Taj Gibson wearing the Nike Air Max Fly By

A great look at Taj Gibson throwing it down in the Nike Air Max Fly By.

Wesley Johnson wearing the adidas adiPure

Wesley Matthews gets tangled up with Jrue Holiday, both wearing the “Sun” adiPure.

Wesley Matthews wearing the Nike Air Max Fly By

Wesley Matthews drops a reverse layup wearing the Nike Air Max Fly By.

images via ESPN

Sneaker Watch: 2011 NBA Slam Dunk Contest

Video: Record-Breaking Ray Allen

Record Breaking Ray Allen

words_Brandon Richard

By the numbers, Ray Allen is now officially the greatest three-point shooter in the history of the NBA. With 1:48 left to play in the first quarter of Thursday’s game against the Los Angeles Lakers, Ray drained career three-pointer number 2,561 to pass Reggie Miller as the all-time leader. Afterward, Allen and Miller embraced at the announcer’s table, exchanging pleasantries and congratulations.

The most impressive thing about Ray passing Reggie on Thursday was how much less time it took him to do so. Reggie, unquestionably one of the game’s most potent shooters, converted his 2,560 threes in 1389 games in 18 seasons. On the other hand, it only took Ray 1074 games and 15 seasons to rack up 2,561. With Allen currently shooting the best three-point percentage of his career and still having a lot of life in his legs, he hasn’t only passed Reggie’s old record – he’ll shatter it.

What does breaking this record mean to Allen? The Jordan Brand sat down with their star sharpshooter to get his reaction to the achievement in a short video interview. In the clip, Ray discusses what makes him a great shooter, what it means to break the record as a Celtic, and the people who have helped him accomplish the feat. He also speaks about wearing Jordan shoes, which he’s done since the 1997-1998 season. Watch “Record-Breaking Ray Allen” below.

via Jumpman23

Sneaker Watch: 2011 NBA Slam Dunk Contest

NBA: All-Star Game Reserves Announced

words_Brandon Richard

Last week, the NBA announced their starting rosters for the 2011 NBA All-Star Game taking place at Staples Center in Los Angeles on February 20th. While the starters are all great players and deserve their spots for the most part, the fun comes with seeing what reserves were selected by the coaches from each conference. The reserves are typically a less predictable bunch that are chosen for the game strictly based on their performance. Let’s take a look at who made the cut this year.

EASTERN CONFERENCE

NBA All-Star Reserves - Rajon RondoGuard – Rajon Rondo, Boston Celtics
Highly criticized in the earlier stages of his career, Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo has emerged as one of the league’s best floor generals. Playing unselfish ball with a cast full of capable scorers, Rondo is leading the league in assists, averaging 12.5 a night. Rajon isn’t just a distributor on a team full of stars – he makes big contributions elsewhere. His 19 double-doubles rank him within the league’s Top 20, and he’s only .11 steals away from catching Chris Paul for the league lead. This marks Rondo’s second time being selected as an NBA All-Star.

NBA All-Star Reserves - Ray AllenGuard – Ray Allen, Boston Celtics
“Sugar” Ray Allen returns to the All-Star Game for the 10th time in his career. Thought to be declining last season, Ray signed an extension with the Celtics over the summer and has come back with a fury. Ray has increased his scoring average to 17 per game, while shooting what would be a career high of 51 percent. He’s also seen increases in categories like rebounds, assists and steals, all while his turnovers have decreased. At 35 years of age, Ray is defying Father Time and has helped the Celtics finish the first half of the season with the top spot in the Eastern Conference.

NBA All-Star Reserves - Joe JohnsonGuard – Joe Johnson, Atlanta Hawks
Over the summer, Atlanta Hawks shooting guard Joe Johnson signed a six-year deal worth a reported $120 million dollars. When a team pays All-Star money, they expect All-Star performances, and Joe Johnson has done exactly that for the Hawks. Quietly, Johnson will be playing in the All-Star Game for the fifth consecutive year. He currently leads the Hawks in both scoring and assists, a testament to his versatility as a swingman and a big reason the Hawks are currently seeded in the top half of the East.

NBA All-Star Reserves - Paul PierceForward – Paul Pierce, Boston Celtics
“The Captain” has been selected as an Eastern Conference All-Star for the ninth time in his 13-year Celtics career. Once again, Pierce is Boston’s leading scorer and go-to offensive weapon down the stretch. A player who notched his 20,000th career point this season, Paul is on pace for career highs in both field goal percentage and three-point percentage. He’s also increased his rebound and assist averages from a year ago, a sign that Boston’s team philosophy can keep this team contending for a few more years.

NBA All-Star Reserves - Chris BoshForward – Chris Bosh, Miami Heat
No viral video campaigning needed this time. The least heralded member of the Miami Heat’s new “Big Three” is actually making an impressive sixth trip to the All-Star Game. With two All-Star starts under his belt, Bosh’s role as a reserve this year is fitting considering how he’s had to scale back his own game in Miami for the sake of team success. His numbers are down across the board for obvious reasons, but he has the most realistic shot at an NBA Championship of his career, and his sacrifice will play a large role in Miami’s chances to hold up the big trophy at the end.

NBA All-Star Reserves - Kevin GarnettForward – Kevin Garnett, Boston Celtics
Whether or not Kevin Garnett is Boston’s best player is up for debate. He is, however, without question the most important Celtic due to how much he changes the landscape of the team defensively. KG will be making his 14th trip to the All-Star Game in 16 seasons. This will be his first time coming off the bench since the 2005-2006 season. The future Hall of Famer is healthier than he’s been in about two years, and it’s paying off. Garnett has boosted his scoring, rebounding and steal averages, helping guide the C’s to 37 wins in 48 games.

NBA All-Star Reserves - Al HorfordCenter – Al Horford, Atlanta Hawks
Taking the backup center role for the East is Atlanta Hawks big man Al Horford, who is making his second straight trip to the All-Star Game. Nearly averaging a double-double for the season, Horford’s presence in the middle has Atlanta in a prime position to return to the playoffs. He’s increased his offensive output, field goal percentage, maintained his rebounding average from a year ago and become a more efficient passer in the process. His 3.6 assists per night easily bests his previous career high.

WESTERN CONFERENCE

NBA All-Star Reserves – Deron WilliamsGuard – Deron Williams, Utah Jazz
Arguably the game’s best point guard, Deron Williams has been named a Western Conference reserve for the second straight year. He’s scoring at a career high rate, averaging nearly 22 points a night, all while still being Top Five in assists. Behind Deron’s leadership, the Jazz have come back to win games after trailing by double-digits an amazing 12 times, including wins against the Lakers, Heat, Magic and Hawks. His resiliency has kept Utah afloat in the typical tough Western Conference playoff race.

NBA All-Star Reserves – Russell WestbrookGuard – Russell Westbrook, Oklahoma City Thunder
With Kevin Durant emerging as one of the league’s best overall players, it’s sometimes easy to overlook the rest of the Oklahoma City Thunder roster. Things have changed a little this season, as point guard Russell Westbrook is leaving his imprint on the game as well. After a summer in which he contributed to a Gold Medal-winning effort for Team USA in the FIBA World Championship, Westbrook has stormed through the first half of the NBA season by averaging career highs in every major statistical category. He’s been rewarded with his first ever All-Star selection.

NBA All-Star Reserves – Manu GinobiliGuard – Manu Ginobili, San Antonio Spurs
Remember last season when many people thought Manu Ginobili was washed up and that the Spurs were crazy for signing him to that big extension? Well, being an MVP candidate and helping his team win 41 of their first 49 games abruptly shut up the critics. Manu will surprisingly only be making his second All-Star appearance in a nine-year career. He’s enjoying one of the best statistical seasons of his career, averaging nearly 19 points, five assists and four rebounds, helping the Spurs maintain the league’s best record heading into the break.

NBA All-Star Reserves – Dirk NowitzkiForward – Dirk Nowitzki, Dallas Mavericks
For the 10th time in 13 seasons, Dirk Nowitzki will be in the All-Star Game lineup. The former NBA MVP is in line to average 20 or more points for the eleventh straight season. Already pegged as one of the league’s best shooters, Dirk is currently shooting a would-be career high of 53 percent. Prior to going down with a knee injury, Dallas was neck and neck with San Antonio for the league’s best record. Now that he’s back, Dirk is finding his form again, and the Mavericks are back to their winning ways.

NBA All-Star Reserves – Blake GriffinForward – Blake Griffin, Los Angeles Clippers
Perhaps the most exciting player in the entire NBA, Clippers forward Blake Griffin becomes the first rookie to be selected for the All-Star Game since Yao Ming in 2003. Blake has become known for his signature highlight reel dunks, throwing it down with an aggression we probably haven’t seen since the days of Shawn Kemp. However, Blake isn’t a one-trick pony. He’s complimented his eye-catching 23 points per game by grabbing 13 rebounds a night as well. Along with Eric Gordon, Blake is making the Clippers both respectable and entertaining for the first time in years.

NBA All-Star Reserves – Tim DuncanForward – Tim Duncan, San Antonio Spurs
The old man is still getting it done. Despite averaging career lows in several statistical categories, Tim is the cornerstone of a Spurs team that currently boasts the league’s best record. On the average night, Tim will now take a backseat offensively to Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker, but still get it done defensively and on the boards. Duncan will be making his 13th All-Star appearance in 14 seasons. The only time he hasn’t made an All-Star team was when the game didn’t take place during the NBA’s lockout season in 1998-1999.

NBA All-Star Reserves – Pau GasolCenter – Pau Gasol, Los Angeles Lakers
Since Pau Gasol joined the Los Angeles Lakers three years ago, they’ve made three straight trips to the NBA Finals. It’s no coincidence that Gasol is prepping to make his third straight All-Star Game appearance, this time at his home arena in Los Angeles. After failing to average a double-double for the first eight years of his career, Pau is on pace to accomplish the feat for the second straight season. He ranks Top Five in overall double-doubles, recording 27 in 50 games, while also blocking two shots a night. Playing Robin to Kobe’s Batman, Gasol will team up with Bryant at the All-Star Game.

images via ESPN