Tag:Brandon Jennings
Posted on: March 7, 2012 11:07 pm
Edited on: March 8, 2012 1:53 am
 

Bulls G Derrick Rose game-winner vs. Bucks video

Posted by Ben Golliver    

The Milwaukee Bucks elected not to send a second defender at Derrick Rose, and the reigning NBA MVP made them pay.

With the score tied at 104 and just seconds remaining on the clock, the Chicago Bulls spread the floor to allow Rose to work on Brandon Jennings one-on-one on the perimeter. Rose took his time, methodically dribbling to the right of center court as he eyed Carlos Delfino to see whether he would offer a double-team. Delfino instead chose simply to clog the paint, discouraging a drive. Recognizing that Jennings was by himself, Rose hit him with a right-to-left crossover and a leap back gather step, easily creating a clean look as Jennings flailed a bit in closing the gap. 

Jennings rose to contest Rose's resulting fadeaway jumper but it didn't matter, as the shot looked good as soon as it left Rose's hands. The ball swished cleanly through the net as the buzzer sounded, and Chicago left the Bradley Center with a dramatic 106-104 victory on Wednesday night. Rose finished with a game-high 30 points, 11 assists, 8 rebounds, 11 steal and 1 block in 39 minutes.

"I’m blessed to be on this team," Rose said aftewards, according to the Chicago Tribune. "They gave me the ball at the end. It shows how much respect they have for me."

Here's the video of Derrick Rose's dramatic game-winner against the Milwaukee Bucks via YouTube user chiddybang40.


Posted on: February 10, 2012 9:36 am
Edited on: February 10, 2012 9:41 am
 

Jennings already discussing leaving Milwaukee

Brandon Jennings is already thinking about leaving Milwaukee as a free agent. (Getty Images)
Brandon Jennings is not saying, he's just saying. In other words, he's getting a head start on creating his own version of the Melo Drama in Milwaukee, and he's not even off his rookie contract yet.

A collection of quotes from an overly chatty Jennings from ESPN.com:

"I am going to keep my options open, knowing that the time is coming up,'' Jennings said in an email interview. "I'm doing my homework on big market teams.''

I am going to keep my options open, knowing that the time is coming up. I'm doing my homework on big market teams.”

"I'm not saying I won't (sign an extension with the Bucks) and I'm not saying I will,'' he said. "I'm just keeping my options open.''

"When you start seeing other players like Dwight Howard or CP3, you start thinking,'' said Jennings, who is averaging 18.9 points and 5.3 assists for the Bucks.

"It has nothing to do with the city of Milwaukee or anything like that because that's where I started my career,'' Jennings said. "They've been nothing but good to me. (Coach) Scott Skiles and (general manager) John Hammond have been good to me. It's just that I'm understanding the business of basketball now.''
via Milwaukee Bucks' Brandon Jennings doing 'homework' on big market teams - ESPN.

Oh, good grief.

Now we're doing this off rookie contracts? That's where this is starting, now?

The common rule is that you take the rookie extension. Kevin Love may not be thrilled with how the Timberwolves have treated him and has a much bigger complaint and desire to get out than Jennings, but Love took the rookie extension (though he did ask for the three-year opt-out since the Wolves didn't want to sign him to the max, which we still can't believe). LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, Carmelo Anthony, Deron Williams, Chris Paul, every single one of them signed the rookie extension. That's how this works, supposedly. You ensure those first six to seven years before moving on.

But Jennings has never been one to go the normal route. He headed off to Europe when he was unsure of his eligibility and wanted to get started making money right out of high school. He famously essentially lobbied for the Knicks to take him. He's spoken about playing in New York on a regular basis. And now we're here.

Let's put it simply. If this isn't just a negotiating tactic by his management team, if this is really how Jennings feels, the Bucks are doomed. Completely ruined. They've built everything around Jennings and Andrew Bogut (who can't stay healthy to save his life). The Bucks have been unable to build off their momentum of their playoff run. Meanwhile, as BrewHoop notes, the Bucks brought in a player to mentor Jennings, and it hasn't exactly worked out great.
We've also made note of how much Jennings is hanging out with Stephen Jackson, who has had some run-ins with Milwaukee management of his own.

But here's the heart of the issue: John Hammond brought in Stephen Jackson to help mentor Brandon Jennings. It was a calculated risk, bringing in someone with as volatile a personality as Cap'n Jack (especially in the same locker room as Scott Skiles). And lo and behold, mentor is exactly what Jackson has done.

Jackson wants out of Milwaukee, that much is clear. He simply doesn't like it here. But with Jennings under his wing, not to mention their lockers side-by-side, can we really say that we expected this to end well?
via Everybody Panic! Brandon Jennings "Keeping His Options Open" - Brew Hoop.

So here we are, and it could be the start of a downward spiral. Jennings wants to skip the natural process and go right to "holding your team hostage to go to the team you want." Bucks fans in denial regarding him saying he's not ruling out Milwaukee, I direct you to comments from any player above and the fact that not a single one outside of Wade has re-signed. Once a player gets in his head this is the way, that's how it goes down.

Can the Bucks match any offer in restricted free agency? Sure. Unless Jennings refuses to sign an offer sheet, then takes the qualifying offer for his fourth year with the Bucks, then becomes an unrestricted free agent the following summer. It's difficult to get out of a rookie extension. It's not impossible. The fact that Jennings is starting this conversation now, in the middle of a season, with the Bucks the eighth seed if the playoffs started today, is not a good sign for Milwaukee. 

Bucks GM John Hammond is officially in the weeds. Defusing this situation would be a smart approach. These aren't quotes from sources close to Jennings. This is straight from the horse's mouth.

It's danger time in Milwaukee.
Posted on: February 9, 2012 7:40 pm
Edited on: February 9, 2012 9:11 pm
 

The five biggest All-Star snubs

Posted by Royce Young

Jennings tweeted after the announcement, "Just gotta work even harder now." (Getty Images)

The 2012 All-Star teams have been filled out and as always, there are some serious snubs. It's a select group that makes the All-Star Game as just seven spots in each conference are open for reserves. It's not easy to make it which means guys that have a great case to be there always get left out. You can't take everyone and there have to be cuts. So here the top five guys that have a reason to be disappointed. Feel free to create your own "snubbed from the snubs" list too.

Brandon Jennings

The Bucks aren't having a great season at 11-14, but it would be really bad without Jennings. He's averaging 18.9 points, 5.3 assists and 3.3 rebounds per game. He's third among Eastern point guards in scoring and has been terrific in a number of big Milwaukee wins, including both over the Heat. Again, what hurts him is that his team is 11-14, but that didn't seem to affect Deron Williams' candidacy much. Jennings has a legitimate gripe to be left out.

James Harden

You're saying, "James Harden? There are way bigger snubs than that. But there should be something to be said for a guy that’s second at his position. It just makes sense for Harden to have been included. He’s second in PER (21.94) in the West for shooting guard, only behind Kobe. He’s 22nd overall in PER in the league. He’s fourth in scoring among 2-guards. He’s the third best player on the team with the best record in basketball. And his beard has the power to heal blindness. Those five things should add up to enough to trump Dirk Nowitzki, who even said himself he shouldn't be there.

Paul Millsap

The Jazz have basically come out of nowhere to contend for a playoff spot. People are saying things like, "Whoa, where did the Jazz come from?" and "Hey, what are the Jazz doing in the top eight?" You know why? Because of Paul Millsap. He's averaging 16.5 points and 9.7 rebounds which aren't as gaudy as his power forward counterparts in the West, but definitely better than Dirk who has missed a good number of games and isn't playing close to his level.

Kyrie Irving

He's a rookie. He's playing for a not great team. But as Blake Griffin proved last season if your play is outstanding, those things aren't supposed to matter. Look at Irving's 21.66 PER. That's top 25 in the entire league. And he's exploded over the last month too. He's really blossoming into one of the East's very best point guard and with the reserves just having two point guards, Irving has a good case to be a third.

Kyle Lowry

The top snub in my mind. Lowry isn't just having an All-Star caliber season. He's having potentially an MVP caliber season. His numbers don't pop -- 14.7 ppg, 7.9 apg and 5.8 rpg -- but considering his importance to the now 15-11 Houston Rockets, he has to be considered one of the elite players in the West. It's tough because the Western team is already guard heavy and it would be tough to say Lowry should go ahead of Tony Parker or Steve Nash, but this shouldn't be about name recognition. It should be about this season and Lowry is having as good a year for a point guard as anyone in the conference not named Chris Paul or Russell Westbrook.
Posted on: February 2, 2012 12:23 am
 

Report Card: An upside down kind of night

Posted by Royce Young



It was a pretty wild Wednesday in the NBA with some close games, some massive blowouts, some top teams losing and some big stat lines. Let's grade the action.

Serge Ibaka

What a game from Oklahoma City's paint protector. Ibaka set a franchise record with 10 blocks and finished with an unconventional double-double with 11 rebounds to go with it. He only had four points, which is a shame because a points-rebounds-blocks triple-double is pretty awesome. But Ibaka's impact in the Thunder's win over Dallas can't be understated.


Steve Nash

Nash went for 30 and 11 assists but that's not the best thing from his game against the Hornets. He also became the Suns all-time assists leader with 6,522 passing Kevin Johnson's mark of 6,518. Oh, and the Suns won, scoring 120 points. Just the way it should've happened for Nash.


Overlooked East teams

The Pacers beat the Timberwolves by 10 in Minneapolis and the 76ers beat the Bulls in Philadelphia. Two big wins for teams that are in the top half of the East, but that don't command the same kind of respect or attention as the Bulls or Heat. Andre Iguodala was fantastic defensively on Derrick Rose and Danny Granger poured in 36 for Indiana.


Russell Westbrook

With co-star Kevin Durant struggling a bit, Westbrook took over for the Thunder scoring 33 points to go with four assists and six rebounds. As he tends to do, Westbrook hit a dagger 3 with a minute left to ice the game for Oklahoma City. The six turnovers though were the only blemish in his line, but he had a fantastic game and showed why his scoring can often be incredibly valuable to the Thunder in close games against good teams.

Brandon Jennings

The Bucks won and Jennings scored 31. So why a C? Because he went 9-25 from the field and quite frankly, I was having trouble finding a C tonight. Jennings was pretty good though. He hit seven 3s, dished out eight assists and didn't turn the ball over once. He loved to shoot and does it without conscience, so the 31 points on 25 shots shouldn't really come as any kind of surprise.


Top East teams

While the Pacers and Sixers won, the Heat and Bulls both lost. Miami wasted a 40-point effort from LeBron and 23 from Dwyane Wade as Chris Bosh didn't provide much help at all with only nine points as the Heat lost to the Bucks. A Bucks team missing Andrew Bogut, mind you. Those type of games happen to everybody, but both the Bulls and the Heat definitely revealed a few dings in their armor. Neither executed well offensively and neither were able to consitently find baskets whether in transition or the halfcourt.

Dallas shooting

Credit the Thunder defense, but the Mavericks were absolutely awful shooting the ball Wednesday. Dallas shot only 35.7 percent from the field and went just 8-38 from the floor in the second half. Dirk Nowitzki clearly isn't entirely right as he went just 2-15 from the field. Dallas was without Jason Kidd and Lamar Odom, but that doesn't matter if you only hit 35 percent of your shots. Ten of those shots though never had a chance as Serge Ibaka was blocking them, but still.

Toronto Raptors and Charlotte Bobcats

The Suns scored 120 points. The Raptors and Bobcats combined for 132. The Raptors lost 100-64 to the Celtics and the Bobcats lost 112-68 to the Blazers. Scoring has been ugly on some nights in the NBA this season, but good grief, those are some major league whippings right there. The Bobcats and Raptors aren't good to start with, but an NBA team should be losing by 40 or 44.
Posted on: January 22, 2012 10:33 pm
Edited on: January 23, 2012 12:10 am
 

Report Card: Paul Pierce carries Boston

Posted by Royce Young



Your nightly report card gives you a big picture look at what happened each night in the NBA. Grades are granted based on team or individual performances, and are graded on a curve for each element. Leave your own grades in the comments.

Mo Williams

If anyone is taking advantage of Chris Paul's injury, it's Mo Williams. And here's the irony: Paul's injury may end up benefitting the Clippers. As a result, Williams has been able to showcase he still has a little All-Star ability in him after putting up another big line with 26 points against Toronto. With Williams playing so well, his trade value is climbing and the Clippers, who don't have a ton of need for him once CP3 returns, could dangle him at the deadline for a 2-guard or interior post defender.

Paul Pierce

The Celtics are looking old and hobbled, but Pierce still has a good amount left in the tank. Granted, it was against the Wizards, but Pierce was in triple-double territory with 34 points, 10 assists and eight rebounds. Pierce got his points on just 15 shots and did it as he likes to -- getting to the line, attacking the middle of the floor and hitting open shots when he got them.

Indiana Pacers

The Pacers failed to make a statement earlier in the month in Miami, but did exactly that Sunday night notching a signature win over the Lakers in Los Angeles. All five starters scored in double-figures and the Pacers just played a wise, defensive game limiting Kobe's counterparts. It helped hitting 10-18 from 3 and the fact the Lakers missed 11 free throws. Regardless, the Pacers needed this type of win to really grab attention and they executed and got it done.

John Wall

Finally, it looks like John Wall might be turning a corner. After a disappointing start to his sophomore season, Wall has had a better week. Against Boston Sunday, he put up 27 points, seven assists and 10 rebounds. In order for Washington to stay competitive with anyone, that's how Wall has to play. I'm sure the dysfunction and losing have weighed on him, but he has to realize a lot of it is on his shoulders. And if he can bring it like he has lately every night, the Wizards can play with people.

Washington Wizards

The Wizards lost again dropping to 2-14, but they kind of hand a decent week. They beat the Thunder, were competitive against the Nuggets and nearly beat the Celtics. I wouldn't say they're coming around to get excited, but it definitely is encouraging to see they haven't completely quit. Continuing to play hard and competing is often the first step in turning things around.

Brandon Jennings

Check out his line: 23 points (good), 5-20 from the floor (not good), 12-13 from the line (good), 1-10 from 3 (not good). Milwaukee got good games from Ersan Ilyasova and Andre Bogut which was enough to beat Miami, but Jennings' night was a little bit of a mess.


Toronto Raptors

The Raptors kind of had a little promise to them early in the season. Dwane Casey had them defending, Andrea Bargnani was off to an All-Star caliber start and there was some legit optimism about the direction. But they've now dropped eight straight games, the most recent being at the hands of the Clippers in a game they were handled with relative ease (just 11 first quarter points for the Raptors). Things may be improving in Toronto, but not quite at the pace some might've thought.

Heat players not named LeBron or Chris

LeBron James and Chris Bosh combined for 61 of Miami's total of 82 against the Bucks. Only one other player scored in double-figures (Mario Chalmers) and no other player scored more than six. It was an extremely weak effort from the Heat's role players and without LeBron playing an incredible game, Miami wasn't going to win like that.

Posted on: November 27, 2011 12:19 pm
Edited on: November 27, 2011 1:55 pm
 

NBA lockout's winners and losers

Posted by Ben Golliver

lockout-over
It's over. The 2011 NBA lockout is finally, mercifully over. Let's hail the victors and pity the vanquished in this rundown of the NBA lockout's winners and losers.

The Deal

Winners: NBA Owners

Over the next six years, the owners succeeded in shifting more than 1 billion dollars into their pockets by negotiating their share of the Basketball-Related Income split from 43 percent in the old deal to a 49 percent to 51 percent band in the new deal. That number could grow to more than 2 billion if both parties agree to continue the deal through to its full 10-year length.

In addition to the players' 10-figure financial give-back, the owners received major concessions on virtually every important issue governed by the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA). Contract lengths are getting shorter from a maximum of six years to a maximum of five years for players who are re-signing and four years for other free agents, meaningfully reducing the level of financial security players feel while also reducing the burden of bad contracts on a team. The mid-level exception system is shrinking, which hits the middle class free agents hardest while helping to keep owners from overpaying for mediocre talent. The luxury tax system is getting tougher, which limits the very highest-spending teams’ ability to compete and/or set the market for free agents while theoretically creating a slightly more level playing field between large and small market teams.

Whether or not you agree with the logic behind these major changes, their collective impact combined with the clear financial victory makes this negotiation a strong-arm highway robbery. And all it cost: less than 20 percent of the games in one season (and some hurt feelings among die-hard fans).

Losers: NBA Players

Any time you leave a negotiation thinking, “Well, this is bad, but it could have been worse,” you lost that negotiation. National Basketball Players Association executive director Billy Hunter even admitted that a recent NBA offer was “not the greatest proposal in the world", yet he and the players tentatively agreed to a deal very similar to the one he bashed publicly. This happened because the players never had real leverage or good alternatives. They were squeezed and had no escape route.

But, it could have been worse. The mid-level system in the agreement provides more spending power for teams (and thus more money for free agents) than in previous proposals. The luxury tax system is significantly tougher than the one in the previous CBA, but not as draconian as a hard cap – something that the owners maintained that they wanted for the longest time – and not as punitive as earlier reports indicated it might be.  The NBA also increased its spending floor for all of its teams, providing additional suitors for free agents and theoretically helping to prevent players from getting stuck on teams that totally slash-and-burn their rosters with no intention of actually competing.

America's Team

Winners: Miami Heat

Miami’s biggest concerns heading into the lockout: the new CBA would require the Heat to break up the Big 3 and/or the full 2011-2012 season would be cancelled, costing LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh a year of their primes. With a season now salvaged, the Big 3 can get back to their redemption work. And, while the tougher luxury tax system and reduced mid-level exception for luxury tax payers will eventually make it more difficult to add big-name free agents, the tax system won’t kick in for two years, meaning Miami doesn’t need to make any major roster cuts for quite a while. Bosh, who many thought last season might need to be traded so that Miami could conform to a hard cap system, appears safe for at least two years, if not the duration of his deal. Forward Mike Miller, as ESPN.com notes, could very likely be spared because the Heat will have a full mid-level exception based on their current salary cap number this year, too.

Losers: Miami Heat

Despite the salary cap good news, the Heat are also short-term losers. The 2011-2012 season now officially bears the historical taint associated with an abridged schedule. The 2012 Finals winner, no matter who it is, will bear the asterisk of being “lockout champions.” That’s fine if you are the Dallas Mavericks defending your 2011 title or the Los Angeles Lakers adding to your stockpile, but if you’re James, Wade, Bosh and company, your first title needs to be clean or critics will mercilessly work to invalidate it. Winning in 2012 will require Miami to win future titles to prove that their triumph wasn’t a short season fluke. In other words, James and company will carry a burden into the 2012-2013 season even if he finally wins his first ring.

NBA Players Abroad

Winners: Deron Williams, Tony Parker, Nicolas Batum, Rudy Fernandez

Until a recent minor knee tweak by Fernandez, all four NBA players made it through their international excursions in good health. No NBA player made more money playing hoops during the lockout than Williams, who took a risk in broadening his family’s horizons and staying active that paid off in game checks and lack of boredom. Parker and Batum returned home to France, garnering a hero’s welcome, while Fernandez did the same in Spain, where he is extraordinarily popular. All three put up big numbers and gave their fans a chance to see them during their peak years rather just a victory lap when their NBA careers are through. That’s got to be an incredibly fulfilling feeling.

Losers: Anyone that gets stuck in China

The Chinese Basketball Association insisted on preventing NBA opt-out provisions in its contracts, theoretically tying any player who signed with a team in that league through March, when the regular season ends. Kenyon Martin, J.R. Smith, Yi Jianlian, Aaron Brooks, Patty Mills and others agreed to play in China and now their future is uncertain. Best case: their Chinese team agrees to release them so they can return to the United States. Worst case: they remain stuck until March, when finding a good NBA landing spot, not to mention salary number, could be significantly more difficult. The major consolation here is that Chinese teams were reportedly offering seven-figure deals, so guys that are trapped until March won’t be leaving empty-handed.

Saving The Season

Winner: Kobe Bryant

We’ve been saying for months and months that no player needs a 2011-2012 season more than Kobe Bryant. At 33, losing a year of his career would have been a disaster, and not just because he would have lost more than $25 million in salary. Bryant is embarking on dual epic quests: passing Michael Jordan in total number of championships and passing Michael Jordan on the all-time points list. Salvaging a season gives him a much better chance at both goals.

Older vets like Kevin Garnett and Tim Duncan are similarly winners in that they save a twilight year from being extinguished.

Loser: Greg Oden

The Portland Trail Blazers center has not appeared in an NBA game since Dec. 2009 and is now a full year removed from his most recent microfracture surgery. Even so, The Oregonian reports that Oden still doesn't have a firm timetable on an expected return to the court and hasn't yet been cleared for basketball activities. Oden is a restricted free agent and now must enter contract negotiations without the ability to prove he can play again. Contract aside, a lost season would have helped delay the return of the enormous pressure he faces as a former No. 1 overall pick; now, Oden will likely come back to Portland, where expectations are still gigantic, after hiding out for most of the lockout, only to face another round of jokes and barbs about his health.

Public Relations

Winners: LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Brandon Jennings and other charity game workhorses

The best way for a player to improve his standing with basketball die-hards is to show off his own unrequited love of the game. James, Durant and Jennings stood above the crowd in their dedication to playing in organized events across the country, connecting directly with fans and providing hope even when the lockout turned ugliest. Twitter and savvy sneaker campaigns – “Basketball Never Stops” and “Are You From Here?” – helped keep the positive momentum going. There’s no question all three guys made lifelong fans with their actions over the last six months.  

Loser: Michael Beasley

Beasley got busted for marijuana, threw an "All-Star Classic" charity game in which all the All-Stars bailed, shoved a fan in the face during a New York City exhibition, and sued his former agent and AAU coach – his surrogate father during high school – alleging major NCAA rules violations. He also hired and was then dropped by a PR firm that was working to help improve his image. To top it all off, he spoke out against his players union, saying that it was "kind of retarded" for the players to be fighting over a few BRI percentage points. Meanwhile, the Minnesota Timberwolves now bring to camp the No. 2 overall draft pick, Derrick Williams, who will be an instant fan favorite and figures to compete for his minutes.

JaVale McGee was another memorable face of player cluelessness, leaving one important NBPA meeting early to tell the media that the players insider were "ready to fold." He quickly denied that he made that comment only to have multiple reporters post audio of his statements instantly. Not his finest hour, to be sure.

Salary Cap Nuances

Winners: Young superstars like Derrick Rose and Russell Westbrook

SBNation.com notes that players who excel during their rookie deals -- such as 2011 MVP Derrick Rose and 2011 All-Star Russell Westbrook -- stand to gain millions of extra dollars in attainable salary thanks to new rules that will reward players who produce at an all-NBA level while on subsidized rookie contracts. Elite players have way outperformed rookie contracts for years and deserved this extra financial incentive.

Losers: Small-market teams clinging to superstars

As the Arizona Republic notes, the rule that would have banned players from signing extend-and-trade contracts a la Carmelo Anthony and the New York Knicks last season was not included in the final CBA. So superstars who are impending free agents like Orlando's Dwight Howard and New Orleans' Chris Paul still have the opportunity to force their way out of town, should they choose to do so. You can hear the rumor mill doing extra laps around the track and stomach crunches to whip itself into midseason form.

Internet

Winners: Basketball Video Mix Websites

HoopMixTape.com and other highlight-reel videographers saw major upticks in traffic and interest during the summer pro-am and fall charity league circuits. Their ability to take high quality, professional footage and cut it together seamlessly in a matter of hours feeding the hoops need for basketball's year-round global audience in nearly real-time.  

Losers: NBA Online

The NBA’s decision to strip its websites of references to players and to start a Twitter account to aggressively push its labor message to media members, and even players, came off petty, heavy-handed and way too Big Brother in an arena that is supposed to be about fun, not business. The league has some serious fence-mending to do, especially with its core audience. It’s unclear whether the league knows that or not.

Negotiators

Winners: David Stern and Billy Hunter 

NBA commissioner David Stern and NBPA executive director Billy Hunter are begrudgingly buried here at the end. After months of cringe-inducing public statements, snail-slow negotiations, legal threats, condescending comments and all the rest, these two old adversaries actually struck a deal, which not only saves the league they serve but also manages to protect their own legacies from irreparable damage.

Posted on: November 18, 2011 8:09 pm
Edited on: November 18, 2011 9:12 pm
 

Brandon Jennings represents Compton in new ad

Posted by Ben Golliver



Athletic apparel manufacturer Under Armour has struggle to find its footing in the basketball footwear marketplace. During the lockout, the company stooped to shock value and subliminals to pitch its wares, making an ad that took shots at sneaker rivals Dwight Howard, Kobe Bryant and LeBron James and then doubling-down by making an anti-Kobe t-shirt. 

Finally, the company has crafted a true advertising success, by putting aside the smack talk and focusing instead on the strengths of its most well-known endorser: Milwaukee Bucks point guard Brandon Jennings. With a flashy game, no-nonsense fearlessness and bubbly personality, Jennings is a marketer's dream, and the fact that he's from Compton, arguably America's most recognizable inner-city community, only adds to his aura. 

In a two-minute ad based on a new "Are you from here?" campaign, Jennings provides a spoken-word voiceover as the viewer is treated to a video tour of Compton, a California neighborhood first made nationally famous by rappers in the early-1990s and home to fellow NBAers Baron Davis, Tyson Chandler, DeMar DeRozan and Arron Afflalo.

"I'm from a place that says 1,000 things in two syllables, Jennings says slowly. "It is iconic. Known and respected. Proud. Defiant. I'm from a place that won't let you go anywhere unless you prove what you're really made of. Being from here holds a certain weight. it means something. It means no matter how thick the wall, I already have the tools needed to tear it down. No matter how hard the struggle, I've already endured worse. And no matter what the critics say, I already have the skin thick enough to shake it off."

The focus throughout is on the benefits of that upbringing: toughness, experience, wisdom, credibility. 

"Being from Compton means I will survive through the night," Jennings continues, as the visual transitions into shots of him working out in the gym and playing in pick-up games. "I'm from a place where the streets are filled with chance and choice, and you're always one wrong move from losing it all. A place that will push the limits of your soul and uncover the fight in your heart. I'm from a place where greatness is born through fearless vision and unconditional devotion. Where excellence is attained through heated competition and unrelenting sacrifice. So no matter where I go, I always stay grounded in a state of here. Are you from here?"

As is rarely the case in sneaker ads, the tagline fits perfectly with the overall pitch. The Compton portrayed in in the ad contradicts or spins negative stereotypes by painting a textured picture that appeals to the competitor in every athlete. "Are you from here?" asks the viewer to reflect on his or her own life experiences while presenting Under Armour sneakers as the go-to kicks for survivors, Warriors and thinkers. That's about as effective as sneaker commercials get.

Video via YouTube user underarmour.
Posted on: October 31, 2011 10:43 pm
Edited on: October 31, 2011 10:53 pm
 

Brandon Jennings: Kobe's my favorite player

By Matt Moore
popping off a bit about Kobe Bryant. He had a shirt made that says "Nobody Likes A Snake," referencing the Mamba, intimated that he should play wherever Kobe did when he dropped 45, and said that the future Hall of Famer shouldn't play for Drew League since he isn't from California. He hedged his comments here and there, but kept coming. Now, HoopDoctors.com has an explanation for the beef with Jennings himself. The answer? Just selling the image to make his own name. Jennings says around the 1:00 mark that Bryant's actually his favorite player.  



You can't really say it's not a good strategy. Gunning for the top dog will make a name for yourself. But it seems like Jennings is stepping away from a fight that he asked for. You want to make those kinds of statements? You need to follow through. 

Just another sign that the rivalries the league is supposed to have are all make believe. After all, the Celtics and Heat went partying after a labor meeting this summer. Cats and dogs, living together. Mass hysteria.
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com