Patty Mills and his Spurs team mates have debuted in a new commercial for barbecue hamburger company H-E-B Specialty Burgers.
Watch the full commercial below:
By: Kamal Hylton (@KamalHylton)
This marks the first step in my process as a Toronto Raptors fan to finally burying the hatchet.
This being the 20th Anniversary of the franchises existence and the Memphis Grizzlies coming to town tonight, the club have decided to give its former superstar Vince Carter a video tribute to honour all that he accomplished in his seven seasons. A career that saw him average 23.4 ppg, 3.9 apg, 5.2 rpg, 44% from the field and 38% from beyond the arc while also winning individual honours, 1998-99 Rookie of the Year, 1998-99 FirstTeam All-Rookie, 1999-00 Third Team All-NBA and 2000-01 Second Team All-NBA.
By: Kamal Hylton (@KamalHylton)
Paul George out for the season, Lance Stephenson signed by the Charlotte Hornets, early injury issues to David West and Roy Hibbert being shopped around like a used car at a clearance sale… we all knew the Indiana Pacers and more specifically Frank Vogel would be in tough this season and it has been a rocky start to say the least.
This is one of my favourite times of the year. The NBA season is here. You’ve drafted players into your own world beating fantasy squad. Players have been chopped, changed and drafted all over the league. And it is also the perfect time to make predictions about the NBA season. My personal belief is that if your predictions are said loudly, told to many people and said with a great deal of overconfidence that they just might come true. Here are my Top 5. Believe it or Not.
By: Kamal Hylton (@KamalHylton)
I don’t know about you guys, but one of the first things I do when a new NBA season starts is to circle all my “League Pass Teams to Watch”.
I’ve been a NBA League Pass (or NBA Game Time) subscriber for quite a while now and follow it religiously, just being able to scour the league for those hidden gems or late night thrillers gets me amped!
ESPN and Darren Rovell are reporting that a pair of old, worn 1980’s Converse basketball shoes are going to Auction in the United States, and the bidding starts at over $5,000!
The catch? they were worn by His Airness, Michael Jordan, during the 1984 Olympic Games Gold Medal match. The shoes were reportedly signed and given to a ball boy that day by MJ himself, after receiving his medal post game.
The seller, who prefers to remain anonymous, has now decided it is time to part with his prize possession, and sell them to the highest bidder.
While at college in North Carolina, Jordan was given a $10,000/year contract with Converse, and these are the very same shoe Michael wore throughout his senior year at UNC.
As if these shoes could be any more priceless, after the 1984 Olympics, Michael indicated his decision to elect for the NBA Draft, going on to be selected with the third pick by the Chicago Bulls. This makes this pair of shoes the final sneakers the greatest player of all time ever wore as an amateur baller.
Pretty cool huh?
The starting bid is a stock standard $5,000, but you can expect that number to fluctuate greatly if the sale of the shoes from the famous ‘Flu Game’ are anything to go by (they sold for a cool $104,765 in December last year).
Now, everyone start looking for that loose change you dropped in the couch last week.
By: Kamal Hylton (@KamalHylton)
When the final horn sounded emotions were written all over the players faces, jubilant celebrations were shared with the traveling supporters and the dancing moves were busted out.
The scenes following a hard fought 77-75 victory over balkan giants Croatia showing just how much it means for these Senegalese players to be at the FIBA World Cup, this after qualifying as the third place team in 2013 AfroBasket and 24 hours after picking up its first win in a major FIBA tournament in 16 years by defeating Puerto Rico 82-75.
Typically not fairing well in on the big stage, that last win in a major FIBA event came against South Korea in 1998. An illustration of just how poor the team plays when the lights shine brightest was at the 2006 edition of this tournament in Japan, finishing bottom of Group D with an 0-5 record behind USA, Italy, Slovenia, China and even the same Puerto Rican side that they beat on Sunday (whom also didn’t qualify for the next round).
Few could have envisioned their start to the 2014 World Cup and even fewer had seen them going toe-to-toe with a historically successful and basketball crazed nation like Croatia.
Led by Minnesota Timberwolves big man Gorgui Dieng’s outstanding performance, the 6-foot-11 center finished with 27 points, eight rebounds, three assists and two blocks. That said, the Lions elevated their game on the defensive end and received strong performances from other less heralded players.
Point guard Xane D’Almeida logged 36 minutes and had a player efficiency rating of 18, his final stat line was 15 points, five assists, one steal and going 3-for-4 from three point range including this buzzer beating three in the third quarter.
However its the aspects of the game that don’t show up in the numbers were his biggest contribution, the 31-year-old handled the ball with confidence, outlasting strong on-ball defence from talented guards like naturalized American Oliver Lafayette and Bojan Bogdanovic.
Two other players that stepped up were forwards Mouhammad Faye and Maleye N’Doye, contributing with strong defensive displays and making it difficult for Croatian players not named Dario Saric to settle into a rhythm.
Coach Cheikh Sarr will be preparing his group for another big test and another potential giant slaying when they take on South American powerhouse Argentina before finishing the group stages against the Philippines.
We anxiously await the latest edition of 2K Sports’ wildly popular NBA game every year, and 2015 promises to be nothing short of EPIC if this trailer is anything to go by! All your favorite players, new features, a killer soundtrack and even guest appearances by Ernie Johnson and Shaq, October 7th cannot come soon enough!
Statement from 2K Sports:
We’re excited to share our brand new NBA 2K15 Yakkem Trailer featuring NBA MVP Kevin Durant on the cover. NBA 2K15 hits the court with unprecedented life-like graphics, ultra-realistic NBA gameplay, and more. With over 5,000 new animations, NBA 2K15 will provide the most authentic and real gameplay a basketball simulation title has ever delivered. Adding to the authenticity is the addition of Ernie Johnson and 4x NBA World Champion Shaquille O’Neal who are featured in this trailer.
Enjoy the trailer in all it’s glory below:
By: Kamal Hylton (@KamalHylton)
Over the next few weeks I’ll be covering the 2014 FIBA World Cup here on NBA Nation Australia, a tournament that has me excited to see players and countries I don’t regularly have an opportunity to watch.
Much of the talk surrounding the World Cup is about established nations like USA, Spain, Lithuania and Greece, but what about some of the emerging basketball nations?
As I was thinking of countries that are really on the verge of creating something special, two stood out amongst the rest.
Those countries being Canada and Australia.
With the former being where I’m born and raised and the latter where many of my new friends are proud to call home, including the lovely guys here at NBA Nation Australia as well as Pumpa and Boof of The Hoops Podcast fame, I feel I have a vested interest in seeing both Canada and Australia reach its full potential.
Neither nation recognizes basketball as its primary sport, Canada’s love affair with hockey is everlasting and Australia’s obsession with Aussie Rules Football will never die. However, even with that as an obstacle, they’ve both managed to cultivate a growing basketball scene that’s beginning to bare fruit at the highest level.
The amount of Aussies and Canucks that are making their way to the NBA is really starting to turn heads and get recognized, but it all starts with the infrastructure of the sport on a local level with its professional leagues.
Both the National Basketball League (NBL) in Australia and National Basketball League of Canada (NBLC) are establishing themselves not only as a destination for native countrymen but also a landing spot for Americans and even European players, something that we can look back on when both countries truly become top basketball nations on the international stage as a key building block to success.
Most of you reading this will know far more about the NBL that I, but when I judge from afar the main takeaway I get is the direct impact the league has on the Boomers.
You can go all the way back to when Luc Longley, was one of Michael Jordan’s running mates on those famous Chicago Bulls teams, Longley began his career in his native Australia, was part of the youth national team set up from the age of sixteen and continues to contribute to the countries overall basketball success in his current role as an assistant coach. Looking at the current Boomers squad, all of these players can credit the road traveled by a player like Longley and how much basketball has gained traction over the years to where they are today.
As a die-hard Canadian hoop head, this is a model that I’d want Canadian basketball to mirror to mirror on the local level. The recent explosion of top level Canadian talent like Andrew Wiggins, Nik Stauskas, Tyler Ennis, Anthony Bennett, Tristan Thompson and Andrew Nicholson has been as a result of players migrating to the US at young ages.
These players have been able to test themselves against the best young players at high school, AAU and NCAA Division 1 college level, however many of Canada’s players have usually had to struggle to fight their way onto teams in Europe in order to make basketball a professional career.
This is beginning to change with the NBLC quickly emerging as a realistic option for professional basketball right in their own backyard.
Coming off the 2014 NBL Canada Draft last night and going into its fourth season, the NBLC is a league that’s becoming more and more competitive with each passing year and is seeing a good amount of Canadian and American players as well as coaches get noticed by NBA and European scouts.
In many ways the league is quite similar to the NBL, both being eight team leagues and have the vision of being up there amongst the major basketball leagues outside the NBA.
Just like the NBL has had its doubters and naysayers when it launched in 1979 this is currently what the NBLC is going through, there are still growing pains and work is constantly being done to get the word out that Canada has its own professional basketball league to the respective communities.
I can tell you from personal experience that they’re on the right path, as I have gone from a casual observer of the league last season to now covering the two teams in my local area (Brampton A’s and Mississauga Power) for many publications including NBA Nation Australia.
Personally, my hope is that the NBLC follows the lead of its Australian cousins so that one day Canadian players can say the league was part of their overall growth as a basketball player. Without question Canada and Australia will stand side-by-side on the international stage, hofully that’s as soon as the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Let’s just hope that we aren’t grouped together and only meet in a Quarterfinal, Semifinal or maybe one day a Final of major international tournament… a guy can dream can’t he?
For more info on the National Basketball League of Canada visit: www.nblcanada.com
I intend to watch my fair share of Australian NBL basketball, so if streams of the games become available this season you might want to catch some NBL Canada games and we can compare notes.
By: Kamal Hylton (@KamalHylton)
Outside of North America, one of the more rabid yet underrated sporting fan bases come out of Asia in the Philippines.
Those that follow its sporting culture will know this has always been the case with combat sports like kickboxing and boxing as well as the worlds most global game in soccer, one only has to look at the god-like status Manny “Pac-Man” Pacquiao gets within his own country or the amount of people that watch European soccer at all hours to get an idea.
Pacquiao’s stardom along with other boxers like Nonito “The Filipino Flash” Donaire inspires both native Filipinos as well as Filipino-Americans to create a new generation of boxers while soccer fans consistently come out in droves when big name European teams like Manchester United, Real Madrid and Arsenal feature on pre-season tours.
This is a nation is also passionate about its basketball, the NBA realizes this and capitalized on it when it chose to send the Houston Rockets and Indiana Pacers over to Manilla for the first time as part of the 2013 NBA Global Games. I remember waking up at 7:30AM ET to watch the game on NBA League Pass, and while the game its self was what you could come to expect from any ordinary pre-season game I took more away from the surrounding atmosphere.
Everything from the crowd, media and coverage of then Rockets guard Jeremy Lin showed just how obsessed the country is for the sport.
With the 2014 FIBA World Cup upon us, this got me thinking of whether this passion for sports in general and specifically for basketball translates to its national team. The team better known as “Gilas Pilipinas” qualified as finalists in the 2013 FIBA Asia Championships, a tournament they hosted in Manilla and made it all the way to the finals only to lose to fellow Asian representatives Iran 85-71.
Through watching their style of play in exhibition games leading up to the tournament, they bring speed, a desire to get the ball up the court on makes and misses as well as an offence that is predicated on strong guard play and drives to the basket.
During exhibitions, the team are defeating the likes of Chinese Taipei, Singapore, India, Jordan and most recently fellow World Cup participants Angola. However, against higher quality opponents like France, Australia and Ukraine they’ve found the level of play too much to overcome at times.
Here’s some ‘Sounds of the Game’ footage of its 97-75 loss to Australia:
Overwhelmingly small, Coach Chot Reyes has recruited some size to his squad in an unlikely source to help create second chance points with offensive rebounds and a low post presence. Joining the squad is current NBA free agent Andray Blatche, spending last season with the Brooklyn Nets he averaged 11.2 points and 5.3 rebounds while providing solid minutes as a back up big man helping get the Nets to the second round of the NBA Playoffs against the Miami Heat.
His playoff numbers were understated but still helpful, averaging 6.4 points and 5.0 rebounds per game.
Nobody is expecting a squad of players, that outside of Blatche are based solely from the Philippine Basketball Association, to make it out of a group consisting of Croatia, Greece and Argentina. However, playing on teams with such interesting names as the Talk ‘N Text Tropang Texters and Rain or Shine Elasto Painters, they should promise to be fun to watch and given the amount of support the country shows towards basketball don’t be surprised if there’s a large contingent of Filipino support with the team in Spain.
Other than Blatche, there are a few players to keep an eye on as the tournament progresses.
None more important than team captain Jimmy Alapag, the 36-year-old is arguably the most decorated player on the squad winning everything possible in the PBA including being a four time PBA Cup Champion, PBA MVP in 2010-2011 and a constant threat on the court with career averages of 12.9 points, 6 assists and 35.7% from three point range.
Joining Alapag in the back court is recent addition to the squad Paul Lee, the 25-year-old has come on as an injury replacement and offers the ability to play both guard positions and young legs to a team that has an average age of 30-years-old.
When I look at the Philippines there’s a bigger picture to what they could accomplish at the 2014 FIBA World Cup, players like Yao Ming and Jeremy Lin have helped the NBA turn an eye over to the Asian market as more than a revenue stream. It’s a region that is full of pride and one that is producing its fair share of talent, a national team that could have some measurable success is another piece to the puzzle.
Whether that’s getting a landmark victory over a higher profile country, gaining a reputation as a tough team to play against or going on a magical run, this is a team with an opportunity to put Asia firmly on the map.