Posted on: February 24, 2012 10:26 pm
Edited on: February 24, 2012 10:50 pm

Video: Rubio through Cousins' legs to Griffin

Posted by Royce Young

Ricky Rubio was created by the basketball gods for the type of open floor, no defense setting featured in the Rising Stars game.

Really, Ricky Rubio was just created to make ridiculous plays, period. Care-free exhibition or not.

What honestly makes Rubio's dribble through DeMarcus Cousins' legs a little bit cooler is that it's not all that hard to picture it happening in a real NBA game. Except for the part about throwing it to Blake Griffin, because, you know, he's not on Rubio's team.

But you know a play has to be impressive when it catches your attention in a game like this. And Rubio's completely slick move definitely has my vote for move of the weekend so far. It's going to be hard to top.

Via @jose3030
Posted on: February 24, 2012 9:15 pm

Kia car dunks over Blake Griffin video

Posted by Ben Golliver   

One year later: revenge of the machine.

Los Angeles Clippers All-Star forward Blake Griffin catapulted over a Kia and caught an alley-oop pass to win the 2011 NBA Slam Dunk Contest. On the eve of the 2012 Slam Dunk Contest, Kia and have teamed up to produce a video riffing on the famous dunk by flipping it on its head.

This time, Griffin is the prop for the car to dunk over. 

"What's crazier than dunking on a Kia Optima? Having it dunk over me," Griffin says as the video opens. "I looked into it and it's entirely possible."

The video then cuts to a so-called "Dunkologist" and a team of scientists who designed a ramp for the car to launch over Griffin with a basketball attached to its bumper. Bla bla bla, the plan doesn't work out and we all slap our thighs in amusement (feigned or otherwise). 

Here's the video of Blake Griffin getting dunked on by a Kia via YouTube user KiaMotorsAmerica.

Hat tip: @TrueHoop
Posted on: February 24, 2012 8:34 pm
Edited on: February 24, 2012 8:35 pm

Leonard a last minute scratch for Rising Stars

Posted by Royce Young

ORLANDO -- Spurs rookie Kawhi Leonard will not play in Friday's Rising Stars Challenge because of strained right calf.

I know, big blow to Team Chuck. The question is, who steps up and gets those minutes? Who fits into the rotation there? Big decisions for Charles Barkley to figure out.

Looking at the roster, it's probably going to be Paul George and Gordon Hayward that are going to have to step up big. Because this game is so important.

Leonard was taken in the last four and was drawn by Team Chuck. He's been a pretty productive rookie this season for the Spurs, filling in time at small forward. He's also the second San Antonio Spur to pull out of the Rising Stars game as Tiago Splitter was replaced by Derrick Favors. Are we putting it past Gregg Popovich to ask for a little rest for his young guys? Nah, surely not.
Posted on: February 24, 2012 8:14 pm
Edited on: February 24, 2012 9:09 pm

Jeremy Lin: Bias provides 'chip on shoulder'

Posted by Ben Golliver   

Jeremy Lin discussed the bias he faced from talent evaluators during All-Star Weekend (Getty Images)

ORLANDO -- Jeremy Lin knows exactly how much he was overlooked.

"I think ESPN had me as the 467th best player out of 500 or something like that coming into the season," Lin said, speaking in front of a standing room at Amway Center on Friday night.

Lin, a Taiwanese-American, said that he believes that a biased perception of Asian-American athletes was a contributing factor in his being underrated by NBA talent evaluators during the last few years.

"I think it has something to do with it," Lin, who was undrafted out of Harvard in 2010 and cut by both the Golden State Warriors and Houston Rockets this season, said. "I don't know how much. But I think just being Asian-American, obviously when you look at me, I'm going to have to prove myself more so again and again and again, and some people may not believe it."

Preconceived notions about his race, Lin said, choosing his words carefully, might even have influenced the language used to describe his skillset.

"I know a lot of people say I'm deceptively athletic and deceptively quick, and I'm not sure what's 'deceptive.' But it could be the fact that I'm Asian-American. But I think that's fine. It's something that I embrace, and it gives me a chip on my shoulder." 

The media contingent began arriveing more than a half-hour before Lin's press conference, which was televised live on NBA TV. Unlike the other participants in the Rising Stars Challenge game, Lin did not conduct interviews following Friday morning's practice. Instead, he filled 10 rows of chairs in Orlando Magic coach Stan Van Gundy's Amway Center press conference room, with reporters hugging both walls as well. Eventually, the doors were closed and media members were turned away due to a lack of space.

Lin went on to state that the doubts about his abilities continued into his tenure with the New York Knicks, where he has become a breakout star since moving into the starting point guard role. He confirmed reports that he had attended a group chapel service with a number of fellow NBA players and admitted that he had prayed that he wouldn't be released before cut day, as his contract was not yet guaranteed.

"I went to chapel with Jerome Jordan and Landry Fields and the chaplain asked us to share a prayer request," Lin remembered. "I knew February 10th was right around the corner, so that was what was on my heart. Just that I would be able to continue to stay on the roster and be with the team the rest of the year. So that's kind of what I shared with the group of guys."

The prayer, he said, was the result of feeling as if getting released would put him at a crossroads.

"I really didn't have a Plan B to be honest... I was thinking about three main options: overseas, D-League or to just take a break or give up basketball for awhile. And I just didn't really know. I was just trying not to think about it basically. I just said, if I get cut by the Knicks, then I'll take a look at all that, but until then, I want to make sure I try to stay focused and not think negatively.

That prayer session probably feels like years ago to Lin, who currently ranks in the top-20 in player efficiency in the NBA. Nevertheless, his frugal lifestyle remains the same.

"I'm still a minimum guy," he said quickly when asked if he had "splurged" on anything recently. "That hasn't changed."
Posted on: February 24, 2012 7:54 pm
Edited on: February 24, 2012 8:04 pm

Jeremy Lin explains Slam Dunk Contest couch plan

Iman Shumpert and Jeremy Lin's dunk would have involved a couch, Landry Fields and Sprite. (Getty Images)
Posted by Ben Golliver   

ORLANDO -- Blake Griffin's dunk-over-the-Kia will remain the corniest Slam Dunk Contest concept for at least another year.

New York Knicks guard Iman Shumpert was a late scratch due to injury, and Shumpert's departure prevented Knicks guard Jeremy Lin from taking the Slam Dunk Contest to a whole new level of ridiculousness. 

Lin, a 23-year-old Taiwanese-American, has become a global sensation over the last few weeks. He barely avoided getting released by the Knicks before emerging as a big-time player once he moved into a starting role in February. The symbol of Lin's rags-to-riches journey became a couch, as he was reportedly crashing on the living room furniture of his teammate, Landry Fields, and his brother because he didn't want to rent his own place in Manhattan with his future unknown.

Word leaked earlier this week that the Knicks guard duo planned to incorporate Lin and a couch into their 2012 Slam Dunk Contest routine.

Lin laid out the whole plan in detail during a Friday press conference prior to the Rising Stars Challenge.

"We actually had a sweet idea," Lin explained. "Landry was going to roll a couch out with a cover over it, I was going to be sleeping underneath it, and then we were going to pull the cover, I was going to throw Iman an alley-oop from the couch, and he was going to jump over both me and the couch, windmill it and then sit down and have Landry hand him a Sprite. That was our idea, but it didn't happen."

Shumpert scratched last week due to a sore knee, and he was replaced by Utah Jazz forward Jeremy Evans. Shumpert will also sit out the Rising Stars Challenge.

"He got hurt and hopefully he gets better," Lin said. "We miss him and wish he was here with us in this game that we're about to play."
Posted on: February 24, 2012 6:29 pm
Edited on: February 24, 2012 8:19 pm

Pay the winner $1 million and LeBron might dunk

LeBron James would consider the dunk contest, for a price. (Getty Images)
Posted by Royce Young

ORLANDO -- It's been NBA All-Star Saturday's Moby Dick. LeBron James, and his superhuman athletic ability, in the dunk contest.

Without ever really having the intention to participate, LeBron has often dropped hints like he would. He indicated he might during the 2010 All-Star Game in Dallas and then didn't rule out the notion for this year's in Orlando. But LeBron has never intended to dunk.

"It’s not me," he said Friday. "I’m not a dunk contest type of guy. I’m an in-game dunker. I kind of improvise during the game.''

But what if there was a prize? LeBron was asked if someone tossed a $1 million winner-take-all bounty on it, if he'd take part.

"Then I'd reconsider," he said "Wouldn't you?"

Yeah, I definitely would, but I also can't jump-fly like LeBron James. So I'm not entirely sure that's applicable, LeBron.

Not to unnecessarily rag on LeBron here, but like every other player, he loves to talk about how All-Star Weekend is about the fans. It's a showcase for fans to enjoy the game, see the stars and celebrate the NBA. Which is why people want LeBron in the dunk contest. Because it would be a ton of fun for fans. Except LeBron says he'd only consider if you paid him a million smackers. Not a great look.

On the other hand, LeBron is someone worth upwards of $50 million but an extra million is an extra million. And despite LeBron saying he's an in-game dunker, you know he'd blow us away. Blake Griffin said the same thing and I'd say his dunk contest performance was acceptable.

The great ones have all dunked though. Players like Michael Jordan, Julius Irving, Kobe Bryant -- they all took time to do it. That doesn't mean LeBron should feel inclined or obligated, but if it's a status thing, he shouldn't worry about it.

So if you want to see LeBron dunk, start raising some money to hand to the winner. Otherwise, I wouldn't bank on King James playing along.
Posted on: February 24, 2012 4:52 pm
Edited on: February 24, 2012 8:11 pm

Report: Rasheed Wallace to sign with Lakers

This guy could be a Laker soon, reportedly. (Getty Images)
By Matt Moore 

From CSN New England, reportedly, Rasheed Wallace is back: has learned that the former Boston Celtic forward plans to sign with the Los Angeles Lakers.


"His days as a starter in this league are gone," said the source. "I think he knows that, and so do the Lakers. But think about it. Of the big men that are available, is there one that's really better? And if he's gotten himself in shape, adding him becomes a huge get for them."
via Source: Rasheed Wallace to sign with Lakers.

The Lakers could use a better backup big that can hit from range, as Troy Murphy has severely disappointed, Jason Kapono can't get time on the floor and they lack a legitimate back up center. The question is whether Wallace has anything left in the tank. At 37 years of age, it's going to be a challenge to get back in shape, a challenge to get into the offense, a challenge to be able to play consistent minutes. This is a pretty big gamble for the Lakers, even on a minimum deal.

That said, Rasheed Wallace is back. Both teams played hard, my man, both teams played hard.  

Also, can we mention that Rasheed and Ron Artest will now reportedly be on the same team? How amazing is that, given the brawl?
Posted on: February 24, 2012 3:58 pm
Edited on: February 24, 2012 4:04 pm

Shoe fans riot at release in Orlando

The Nike Foamposite One Galaxy shoes caused a riot? Really? (

The 2012 NBA All-Star Weekend got started off on the wrong foot Thursday night when what has been described as a small riot broke out at a shoe release for the Nike Foamposite One Galaxy at a mall in Orlando. The release was not associated with the NBA in any way, but Nike had obviously planned the event around All-Star Weekend, and things got scary eventually. From 
The Orlando Sentinel reports the crowd was asked to wait across the street when the mall closed. However, one person ran toward Foot Locker and others followed. Authorities formed a line and use shields to protect themselves and push back the crowd.Store employees became concerned and called 911.

"I saw hundreds of people running toward me. I thought I was going to get trampled," said Amanda Charles, 20, who was among a group of a half-dozen friends who drove from Jacksonville to try to buy the glow-in-the-dark Nikes.Witnesses said more police officers quickly arrived, decked out in riot gear and fortified by still more deputies on horseback, on motorcycles and in patrol cars. A helicopter with a spotlight hovered overhead."

Due to the overwhelming turnout at the midnight shoe release, and with everyone's safety in mind, Foot Locker canceled the shoe debut," Florida Mall General Manager Lydia Gilmore said in a statement.

Nike followed suit by canceling the shoe release at several stores."Due to safety concerns, we are canceling the All-Star releases this weekend at the following Foot Locker House of Hoops stores: Florida Mall, Pembroke Mall, University Mall in Tampa, Southlake Mall and PG Plaza. Our priority is the safety of the community," Nike said in a statement.
via Nike Air Foamposite One Galaxy shoe release Spurs riot at Florida mall - Crimesider - CBS News.

Well, that's totally insane. reports that the shoes have a listing for $70,000 on eBay, and that there's a week-long camp-out going on for them in NYC.

It's easy to get on the high horse about this; they are just shoes, after all. But it's no different than the way people go nuts over Black Friday, or a new car, or a new CD, video game, hunting gear, television, concert tickets and the like. People want things, and the want them more if they are rare, and they want them even more if they happen to devote their hobbies towards those objects. The problem is not shoes, here. It's people, and people being nuts when put into large groups with the pressure of a situation like this one.

At least the violence was contained and there are no reported casualties. 

All-Star Weekend off to a great start.

(HT: Nice Kicks
Category: NBA
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