Nike Basketball 2014 All-Star

Nike unveils All-Star shoes for Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant and LeBron James


Nike Basketball unveiled its lineup of special edition colorways that LeBron James, Kevin Durant, and Kobe Bryant will be rocking for All-Star weekend in New Orleans. As always, the colors and patterns of the 2014 NOLA Gumbo League Collection were inspired by the city hosting the celebratory midseason exhibition.

From the official release:

“Nike Basketball is paying tribute to the unique flavor of New Orleans with the 2014 NOLA Gumbo League Collection, including three shoes: LEBRON 11, KOBE 9 Elite and KD VI.  A “gumbo” in the cultural sense, New Orleans is an eclectic mix of characters, music, cuisine and art.”



“Inspired by the fearsome alligator, the king of the bayou, the LEBRON 11 Gator King is a bold expression of royalty and power. Gators, often a symbol of protection in New Orleans culture, influence graphic textures throughout the shoe.  Invisible to the naked eye, hand-drawn patterns come to life as the Hyperposite bucket of the shoe glows in the dark. The musings of majestic color in deep purples, greens and gold are derived from the “Rex” – king of carnival celebrations.”


source: Reuters

“Nike Basketball pays tribute to the masters of Jazz in its birthplace.  Like great jazz musicians who play instinctively, Bryant brings a similar improvisation to his game. Paying homage to this classic genre and some of its greatest musicians, the KOBE 9 Elite Maestro uses accents of brass in the upper. A glow-in-the-dark outsole pops at night, just as the jazz clubs swing into action. The upper includes additional, secret glow-in-the-dark symbols.”



“Not everything is what it first appears to be in New Orleans.  Similarly, Durant defies the perception of a near seven-footer – an illusion of sorts.  His limitless scoring range is redefining the perception of a forward. Celebrating the magic of KD’s versatility, the KD VI Illusion showcases hand-drawn patterns on the upper emulating Durant’s fluidity on the court. A glow-in-the-dark outsole also represents the “spark” of KD’s game.”

All three models will be released at select retailers on Feb. 14. Check out the full gallery of images below, and let us know which is your favorite in the comments.

Nike Basketball 2014 All-Starslideshows

League executives, players wince watching this Kobe Bryant

Kobe Bryant
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Over the last few days, we’ve written in more detail about Kobe Bryant‘s shooting troubles. He’s jacking up threes his fastest pace ever, he can’t create space to get off clean shots, he’s hitting 31.1 percent overall and 19.5 percent from three. There are flashes of vintage Kobe, but they are fleeting (and mostly because poor shot choices are falling). Byron Scott is still in Kobe’s corner, saying they just need to get the veteran better looks.

However, talk to people around the league about Kobe and you hear some variation of the phrase “hard to watch.” After 20 seasons, more than 55,000 minutes on the court, and coming off two major injuries, Kobe clearly is not the same player everyone admired for so long.

Over at the Los Angeles Times Mike Bresnahan and Broderick Turner got a number of sources to wince about Kobe for a story — except nobody wanted their name attached to attacking a legend of the game.

“Man, I don’t want to see Kobe go out like this, looking this bad and not able to do what he once could do,” said a retired guard who faced Bryant. “He doesn’t have anything else to prove to anybody. He was one of the greatest. I know he’s owed that $25 million, but he should just walk away now. He ain’t got it anymore.”

“He’s one of the few players in NBA history to have gotten everything possible out of his body. Now his body has nothing left to give,” (an Eastern Conference executive) said. “But that’s life in the NBA, in professional sports. At some point, the body just can’t do it anymore and Kobe’s body can’t do it anymore.”

One West scout said Bryant looked “disinterested” at times. A current player in the West went a step further.

“Yeah, I’ve seen him play and it’s disgusting,” he said. “He’s one of the best of all time. But he really hasn’t played that much in the last two or three years. He’s got nothing left. It’s sad to watch because he used to be so great, and I mean great.”

Kobe is not going to walk away mid-season, and nobody wants an injury to force him out of the game.

But it’s hard to see how anything is going to dramatically change. Kobe may shoot a little better than his current but it’s not likely going to change in a meaningful way. Which will just make things hard to watch for a full season.

Spurs to give Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili Friday night off in Denver

Manu Ginobili, Harrison Barnes, Tim Duncan
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The Spurs are 12-3 and comfortably in second place in the West, they have the best defense in the NBA allowing just 93.8 points per 100 possessions, and they have a top-10 offense to go with it.

So, time to start making sure guys are rested.

That is the first night of a back-to-back, with former Spurs’ assistant coach Mike Budenholzer and his Atlanta Hawks coming to San Antonio on Saturday. Popovich is saving his two veterans for that game.

Duncan and Ginobili have looked like they found the fountain of youth this season. Duncan is taking on less of the offense but has been very efficient in those moments. Ginobili has the impact he did a few years back in his bench role.

What Gregg Popovich cares about is them playing like that come the postseason. So they will rest on Friday.

Brandon Armstrong impersonates Ray Allen (video)

2014 NBA Finals - Game Five
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Ray Allen is retired-ish, but he’ll always be running through screens – in our mind and in this video.

Celtics draft pick Marcus Thornton gets beer dumped on head during Australian game (video)

Marcus Thornton, Will Cherry

The Celtics drafted Marcus Thornton with No. 45 pick in the 2015 NBA draft. That essentially entitled him to the required tender – a one-year contract offer, surely unguaranteed at the minimum.

Thornton rejected that, which is almost always a mistake.

Rejecting the tender is a favor to the drafting team, which gets to keep the player’s exclusive rights for a year. If Thornton tries to join the NBA now, he’s stuck negotiating with only the Celtics.

By accepting the tender, the player typically gets one of two outcomes. He either plays on that contract and draws an NBA salary or he gets waived. But even getting waived is better than rejecting the tender, because at least the player becomes a free agent and can negotiate with any team.

Players who reject the tender go to another league and play for less money. In Thornton’s case, that mean Australia.

How’s that going?

(Almost) never reject the required tender as a second-round pick.