Nike Basketball honors MLK day with special edition shoes for LeBron, Kobe, and Durant

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If you look closely, you’ll see a lot of players wearing shoes with some bright orange laces on the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day holiday. That’s just part of the detail on the special edition shoes that Nike Basketball rolled out to honor Black History Month.

The official release:

“Nike recognizes the importance of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day and the power of sports to impact society.

“Athletes at all levels have the unique ability to extend their voice beyond sports. This is true for Kevin Durant, who provides creative inspiration for the Nike Black History Month product collection based on his commitment to giving back to his hometown of Seat Pleasant, Md.

“The 2013 Nike BHM Collection will debut in stores and online beginning January 26, but the first glimpse of the product will occur during pro basketball’s nine MLK Day commemorative games on January 21.

“A consistent design aesthetic weaves through each shoe, with a color palette including black and grey highlighted in orange. The color orange is particularly meaningful with its bold hue and tie to Nike’s DNA since its 1972 inception.

“Nike Basketball shoes include special versions of the KD VLEBRON X and KOBE 8 SYSTEM; all three featuring black, grey and orange with the signature Nike BHM print. Kobe will wear his BHM KOBE 8 SYSTEM shoe as Los Angeles takes on Chicago. Additional Nike BHM styles including the Hyperdunk 2012 will also be worn on court January 21, and Kevin Durant will wear his BHM KD V on January 22 as Oklahoma City takes on the Los Angeles Clippers.

“The 2013 Nike Black History Month Collection mantra “Be Bold. Be True.” celebrates athletes who are fearless in action and fueled by a purpose.

“In keeping with a tradition of honoring organizations that give back and inspire youth, NIKE, Inc. will make a financial contribution to Big Brothers Big Sisters of America with proceeds from the Nike BHM Collection.”

Check out the photos below and let us know what you think in the comments.


Nike Basketball MLK Day Tribute

James Dolan’s MSG threatens to sue Steve Ballmer’s Los Angeles Clippers

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This story requires a little background.

The Forum in Inglewood was best known for decades as being both fabulous and the home of the Los Angeles Lakers, back from the Jerry West era and through Magic’s “Showtime” teams. Then in 2001 the Lakers moved downtown to Staples Center, and after that the Forum went through some rough times. It was a number of things, including a mega church for a while, but mostly it was empty. Then several years ago the Madison Square Garden company (owned by Knicks owner James Dolan) bought the Forum, fixed it up, and started booking it again. Now the Forum is one of the hot major concert/event spaces in Los Angeles again, and it’s about to get a boost because it’s adjacent to where Stan Kroenke is building the new Los Angeles Rams stadium. Hello gentrification!

Now enter Steve Ballmer. The Clippers’ owner wants out of Staples Center and the Lakers’ shadow, so he has proposed to build his new arena in Inglewood in another space adjacent to the Rams stadium — land that MSG used to lease. As you might imagine, Dolan’s MSG is not thrilled — they are already battling with Staples to fill their space, now a state-of-the-art arena is moving in down the street.

In a proxy Knicks/Clippers battle, MSG may sue to Clippers and Inglewood in an attempt to block the new building. Here is what Dolan’s attorney in the case, Marvin Putnam, told the Daily Breeze in Los Angeles.

“The mayor made it extremely clear that he needed that piece of land back for a kind of ‘Silicon Beach,’ ” said Marvin Putnam, a partner with the law firm Latham & Watkins, which filed the damage claim that serves as a precursor to a lawsuit. “They’re attempting to flat-out trick people.”

(Inglewood Mayor James) Butts declined to comment, and there is no proof that he made those statements. But when Madison Square Garden Co. relinquished the parking lease to the city, its approved contract states that the land would not be used for anything that would hurt the Forum’s business, according to documents.

Right now the Clippers and Inglewood are in an exclusive negotiating agreement to come to terms on the sale and plans for the property. Putnam told the paper — and the Inglewood City Council — that if the deal goes forward they will sue to block it.

It’s impossible to say how this will turn out, although as a former government reporter I will say these cases tend to be decided in favor of the side about to spend a ton of money on a new building.

 

Jaylen Brown’s #drivebydunkchallenge video is awesome

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I love the drive by dunk challenge (if you prefer, the #drivebydunkchallenge), it would be the best thing on NBA Twitter this summer, if it wasn’t for Kyrie Irving.

But the best one yet comes from Boston’s Jaylen Brown.

He steals the ball, and the best part is the guy who comes over like he’s going to stop Brown from throwing it down.

Nets’ Jeremy Lin: ‘We’re making the playoffs. I don’t care what anybody else says’

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The Nets went 20-62 then traded their best player (Brook Lopez) for a worse player (D'Angelo Russell). Brooklyn’s biggest free-agent signing this summer (Otto Porter) plays for the Wizards. Rondae Hollis-Jefferson and Caris LeVert are nice developmental pieces but hardly seem on the verge of breakthroughs.

Still, Nets guard Jeremy Lin expects big things next season.

He set expectations in an Instagram Live video (hat tip: AJ Neuharth-Keusch of USA Today):

We’re making the playoffs. I don’t care what anybody else says.

The Nets are on the right track given their asset constraints. Though worse than Lopez now, Russell – eight years younger and on a low-paying rookie-scale deal – is more valuable. Brooklyn made the favorable swap by absorbing Timofey Mozgov‘s awful contract, a wise use of assets considering the difficulty of attracting free agents. An aggressive offer sheet for Porter was a reasonable swing in that situation, as well.

But that’s all helpful in the long run. In the short term, the Nets are almost certainly stuck as lousy. Maybe they can sneak into the playoffs in a weak Eastern Conference, but even that is a huge longshot.

Not that Lin cares what I say.

Check out Top 10 blocks from Summer League (VIDEO)

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When you think of Summer League basketball, sharp defensive rotations is not the first thing that comes to mind. Defense, in general, tends to be an after thought.

But there were some great blocks.

Here are the top 10 blocks from the Las Vegas Summer League. Enjoy the flashes of defense from Vegas.