Nike Basketball unveils All-Star edition shoes for LeBron, Kobe, and Kevin Durant (PHOTOS)

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Nike Basketball unveiled the All-Star editions of the signature shoes for LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, and Kevin Durant earlier this week, and the style and color choices will undoubtedly be coveted by sneaker collectors worldwide.

While they’re not quite as amazing as last year’s Galaxy collection, there’s still plenty to like about the 2013 versions that the players will wear during the NBA’s star-studded midseason exhibition.

From the official release:

“The mission control center in Texas, widely know by its radio call sign “Houston,” provides the creative inspiration for a special collection of shoes for Nike Basketball’s fearless leaders LeBron James, Kobe Bryant and Kevin Durant.

“Space exploration defies practical reality. To launch into space on a mission to reveal the unknown can be mind-boggling.  Extraterrestrial species, undiscovered planets, new constellations – there is no limit to the potential for discovery. These unlimited barriers also apply to Nike Basketball’s design philosophy- – no limits, no restrictions, rooted in exploration and discovery.”

LEBRON X

“An indestructible force originating from fictional Nike Space Program (NSP) planet NSP-LJ6, LeBron James’ dominance was born from the volcanic surface in the planet’s mantle. He is rumored to have journeyed to earth on a meteor made of the galaxy’s hardest substance – black diamonds.

“Technical benefits of the LEBRON X shoe include full-length visible Nike Zoom cushioning, dynamic Flywire technology and Hyperfuse construction — a trilogy set to unleash its fury in Houston.”

KOBE 8 SYSTEM

“Engineered to the specifications of Kobe Bryant’s Houston mission, with origins rooted on a planet marked as NSP-KB24. The Ice Mamba circles the volatile surface as guardian of the five rings. The wise veteran is known to strike with moves that leave his opponents frozen.

“Built for Bryant’s lightning speed and precision, the KOBE 8 SYSTEM shoe is Nike+ Basketball enabled for the first time and this shoe also features Nike Zoom in the midsole insert. Nike Engineered Mesh upper and tactile traction complete the shoe.”

KD V

“Identified as Dark Matter, the biological and molecular breakdown of this figure remains a puzzle for scientists. Early readings of its origin, NSP-KD35, have sent back conflicting reports of a planet that is simultaneously solid, liquid, and gas – properties that make his game adaptable to any situation.

“Joining with Bryant for their quest to lead the West to victory, this KD V shoe is designed to the specifications of Kevin Durant’s Houston mission. The KD V features the combination of Nike Zoom (forefoot) and Nike Air (heel) cushioning along with Hyperfuse upper and dynamic heel support.”

Check out the photos below, and let us know which is your favorite in the comments.


Nike Basketball 2013 All-Star collection

NBA reacts to Suns’ Devin Booker dropping 70 on Celtics

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Devin Booker was the story of the NBA Friday night.

The 20-year-old Suns’ guard — who never scored more than 19 points in a game at Kentucky in college — dropped 70 on the Boston Celtics in a losing effort. He becomes only the sixth player in NBA history to score at least 70 in a game. At the end the Suns were fouling and calling time outs to stop the clock and get the ball back to Booker, but as Phoenix coach Earl Watson said to those who complained, “You got a problem with that? Do something. Simple as that.”

NBA Twitter exploded at what Booker did.

Booker himself responded this way.

Lonzo Ball makes expected official, declares for NBA Draft

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There was no hesitation. None was expected.

After UCLA was eliminated from the NCAA Tournament in the Sweet 16 by Kentucky, the Bruin’s Lonzo Ball — who is expected to be a top-three pick — declared for the NBA draft this June.

Ball is expected to go second or third in the upcoming NBA draft. Speaking with people around the league Washington’s Markelle Fultz is a clear No. 1, but after that if the Lakers — the team with the second-worst record in the league — have the No. 2 pick they are expected to snap up Ball. Depending on how the lottery shakes out the top of the draft, Ball could fall a little — there are teams that like Josh Jackson — but not much.

Ball is a 6’6″ point guard who averaged 14.7 points, 7.6 assists and 6.1 rebounds a game for UCLA last season. He has fantastic passing vision, impressive shooting range (although he can take some questionable shots), and a great sense of floor spacing and how to run an offense, particularly in transition. However, his weaknesses were exposed in his final game some as De’Aaron Fox of Kentucky completely outplayed Ball. Defensive pressure took Ball (and the Bruins) out of rhythm, forced them to play in the half court (where Ball is not as strong), and it’s one of the things Ball is going to have to adapt to at the next level where everyone is more athletic. Also, he’s going to need to get more consistent defensively.

The potential for Ball to be special is there, which is why he will go high in the draft.

And no, the rantings of his father will not change that. Teams see the father as a distraction that can be handled, they aren’t going to let him get in the way of drafting talent.

Watch highlights of Shaquille O’Neal’s statue unveiling outside Staples Center

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Kobe Bryant said “Thank you. I learned so much from you as a player.”

Jerry West said he loved him like a son.

Jeanie Buss said “No one celebrates a championship like you, but please no more asking Mark Madsen to dance.”

The Lakers unveiled a new statue for Shaquille O’Neal Friday night, one flying high over a Staples Center entrance, and the stars were on hand for the event. Phil Jackson was there making Snoop Dogg jokes. Shaq and Kobe were sharing laughs. It was a big night for a big man with a big personality. And a big heart.

Check out the highlights above.

Report: Knicks’ Joakim Noah to be suspended 20 games for violating league drug policy

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Joakim Noah hasn’t set foot on an NBA court since Feb. 4, and his season was all but ended when he had knee surgery at the end of February. Last summer, Phil Jackson took a $72 million gamble on an aging Noah that has not worked at all, and left New York with an anchor of a contract for three more seasons after this one.

Tomorrow it will be official Noah is done for this season, but not because of the Knicks or his injury.

During his recovery, Noah violated the NBA’s drug policy and will pay for a 20-game suspension, reports Adrian Wojnarowski at The Vertical at Yahoo Sports.

Noah tested positive for an over-the-counter supplement that is prohibited under the outgoing Collective Bargaining Agreement, league sources said.

Noah, 32, is expected to serve 10 games of the suspension to finish out the 2016-17 regular season and 10 games to start the 2017-18 season, league sources said.

The National Basketball Players Association’s investigation concluded that Noah hadn’t “knowingly or willingly” violated the policy and cooperated fully with the league’s probe, league sources said.

According to reports, this is not a substance banned in the new CBA that kicks in July 1, but was covered in the previous CBA. Over-the-counter supplements could be something put in his regular workout recovery drinks that he was unaware of, although we are unsure of the details.

Traditionally, the player has to be healthy enough to play before the league starts the suspension. Noah has been out for more than a month, but if a league doctor says he is healthy enough to play the then the clock on the suspension can start. The 10 games this season is no big deal for the Knicks, he wasn’t going to play anyway, but the 10 at the start of next season could sting (depending on how they plan to use him).