You’re Never Alone: Appreciating TNT’s magnificent ‘NBA Forever’

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The NBA kicked off its season in predictably insane style on Sunday, but Opening Day’s pièce de résistance may have come prior to the official commencement of the new basketball year.

As a lead-up to the season’s first game, the masterminds at TNT dimmed the lights and unveiled their latest promotional wonder: a jaw-dropping video entitled ‘NBA Forever.’

 

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That understated music and clever editing is enough to soften the heart of even the coldest basketball purist, the most detached internet cynic, and the most jaded of NBA fans. It’s technology as a conduit for real emotion, and though the game’s underlying sentiment may often be obscured in the league’s day-to-day, this promo — in just two short minutes — manages to bring us all back.

Conceptually, ‘NBA Forever’ is simple enough. The creators merely threaded together footage of the game’s legends with video of its current stars, an idea which had already been explored in NBA 2k12 and an online ocean’s worth of photoshopped images. Yet the restraint in this particular spot is what grants it such incredible power.

It would be so easy for ‘NBA Forever’ to tap into the highlight vein, but Dr. J’s swooping reverse, Havlicek’s infamous steal, and Magic’s game-winning hook are nowhere to be found. Instead, we’re given a feed of undistinguished moments in an adjacent basketball universe. Tim Duncan casually chats with Bill Walton. Amar’e Stoudemire rides the high of a dunk by chest bumping Patrick Ewing. A blunt spotlight is replaced with a warm glow, and the entirety of the NBA timeline collapses into itself.

Highlights mean plenty to the basketball faithful; after all, we may never forget the setting or company as a playoff series was decided or a miraculous shot was converted. But those singular moments don’t make an NBA fan, nor consummate one. They’re tasty morsels with instant recall, but they’ve been distilled down to their most easily transmitted components for the sake of universal appeal. We all remember those frozen moments — of change, of success, and of crumbling failure — but those contextless memories are frigid without a proper home.

They find that home — that hearth — in the ongoing story of a beautiful game and the men who play it. We all gather around the warmth of the NBA narrative, and bathe in the radiance of grainy film and instant nostalgia. All of us are drawn in by an infinite fire, as the chords progress, the drums build, and a love of the game is elegantly juxtaposed with faded images of the beloved.

With that rolling cymbal, the designations of past and present become irrelevant; this game is shown as the endless stream that it is, where players and stories merge but never fade. Together, they forge that inextinguishable flame around which all basketball fans gather. Together, they live forever, etched side by side in the memory of a game unlike any other.

Ray Allen tells Orlando court he was ‘catfished’

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ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — Retired NBA star Ray Allen believes he is a victim of “catfishing,” and has asked a court to throw out a case where he is accused of stalking someone he met online.

Allen says Bryant Coleman “pretended to be a number of attractive women interested in” him. In documents filed Tuesday, Allen acknowledges he communicated with who he thought were those women and that he eventually entered into an agreement with Coleman to not disclose details of those conversations.

Allen says that agreement was violated.

It was not clear if Coleman has an attorney, and a working phone number for him could not be found. Coleman told the court in a filing Monday that Allen is stalking him; in Allen’s request for an injunction, he says “the reverse is true.”

Klay Thompson interviewed about scaffolding on local news (video)

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Man-on-the-street interviews are a staple of local news.

They just don’t usually include Warriors star Klay Thompson.

But here’s Thompson – in town for Golden State’s win over the Brooklyn Nets on Sunday – talking on Fox 5 New York about walking under scaffolding in the wake of a couple recent scaffolding collapses:

Thompson is the only NBA star who could do this interview so earnestly.

Joel Embiid blocks and stares down Donovan Mitchell, who then pushes flopping 76ers center (video)

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Joel Embiid (when healthy) is running wild over the NBA.

Last night was no different, with Embiid (15 points, 11 rebounds, three assists, two blocks +16) excelling in the 76ers’ 107-86 win over the Jazz. And he let Utah rookie Donovan Mitchell know about it.

After blocking Mitchell in the fourth quarter, Embiid stared down a fallen Mitchell. Mitchell got up and pushed Embiid – listed at nine inches and 35 pounds heavier – to the floor.

Embiid, via NBC Sports Philadelphia:

I flopped, and he got a technical for it. So, that was basically how it happened. But it’s all fun. After the game, we shook hands. It’s just about having fun.

Embiid is having fun. That’s for sure.

LeBron James, Tyronn Lue say LeBron’s minutes no big deal

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LeBron James was on the court a very reasonable 27:16 Monday night, only because the Cavaliers had thrashed the upstart Pistons so badly he didn’t need to play the fourth quarter (116-88 final in that one).

However, on the season LeBron is averaging 37.9 minutes per game, the most in the NBA. He has played 644 total minutes, also tops in the NBA. All this in his 15th year in the league, about to turn 33, with more regular season games played in his career than Michael Jordan. Even Draymond Green has wondered about LeBron’s workload. LeBron himself didn’t disagree, saying the goal is to get the minutes down.

However, as this has become a thing, the Cavaliers are playing it down. Here is Cleveland coach Tyronn Lue after the Detroit win, via Dave McMenamin of ESPN.

“I hear about that all the time,” a somewhat perturbed Lue said. “I played with Michael Jordan when he was 39, he played 37 minutes a night. Karl Malone was 37, played 38 minutes a night, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Magic Johnson, Kobe [Bryant]. Everybody’s built different. If you’re one of the greats, sometimes you’ve got to play, sometimes you get rest like tonight.”

The way Kobe’s body broke down on him at the end of his career, is he the guy you want as an example here?

LeBron was not that worried about his minutes after the Detroit win, either.

“You make so much a big thing about my minutes,” James said. “It’s not a huge issue. But at the end of the day, when we can get a win like this, everybody benefits from it. Not just me. Everybody.”

The concern isn’t just the heavy minutes, but the workload — with Isaiah Thomas still out, and right now Derrick Rose and Iman Shumpert as well, basically all the playmaking duties on the team fall on LeBron. He has to carry the Cavs.

With most players, you would say this will distinctly wear on them and could be an issue down the line. With LeBron, normal human rules do not apply. He’s playing at MVP consideration level again early — 28.3 points, 8.5 assists, and 7.4 rebounds a game while shooting 58.2 percent from the floor — and nothing seems to slow him. Maybe eventually the Cavaliers will play well enough consistently there will be more light nights for LeBron, and he can have some games off. For now, however, they need him on the court and performing like a superstar.