Heat Media Day Basketball

Wednesday And-1 Links: LeBron has his own flavor of Sprite now

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source:  Here is our regular look around the NBA — links to stories worth reading and notes to check out (stuff that did not get its own post here at PBT) — done in bullet point form. Because bloggers love bullet points.

• LeBron James has his own flavor of Sprite — Sprite 6 Mix by LeBron James. This is the first time Sprite has worked with a celebrity to form their own flavor, but Sprite (owned by Coca-Cola) has a long history with LeBron and with the NBA.

“Growing up drinking Sprite, I never imagined I would have my own flavor someday,” James said in a released statement. “I had a great time working with the Sprite team to turn my favorite flavors into a pretty cool variation of one of my favorite brands.”

The drink has a little cherry and orange flavors added to a regular Sprite taste. Don’t worry, if you want to try it you will see it everywhere you shop soon enough.

• While we are talking Heat, here’s a great look by Ethan Skolnick at Bleacher Report on everything that has been behind the successful Dwyane Wade knee maintainance program.

• Speaking of great reads, check out this one on what Andre Iguodala has brought to Golden State.

• How the NBA is tapping into South Korean pop culture to grow its popularity.

• Speaking of pop culture, Lorde was at a recent Bulls game and was tweeting.

• No Kobe Bryant, no wins and not surprisingly Lakers television ratings in Los Angeles are down by almost 50 percent. A year or two of that happens, but if they stay low for an extended period Time Warner is going to want to renegotiate that monster deal they signed with the Lakers.

• Deadspin‘s Drew Magary took over the Atlanta Hawks’ official twitter feed for a while on Tuesday.

• Chris Paul responds to the criticism of the NBA players’ union’s search for a new executive director. That’s a very polite response, likely not what CP3 was saying under his breath.

How the Bulls bring over Nikola Mirotic.

• I love this: In Toronto some fans are trying to get the team to do away with the “if your team scores 100 points you get free pizza” promotion because they want fans cheering for the team at the end of the game not booing the guy who missed the shot to get them pizza.  We’ve all heard the “we want tacos” or whatever chant from fans at the ends of game. There needs to be a better promotion for food than this, some of which Kelly Dwyer lists in the above link.

• A look at the complexity of fixing the NBA’s lottery system.

Scoop Jackson does a Q&A with Tom Thibodeau. That is a must click.

Lakers’ co-owner Jeanie Buss tears up talking about how Kobe Bryant deserves the two-year, $48 million contract extension he got and how he deserves the farewell tour basically coming up for the next couple of years.

• Rajon Rondo needs a lot of patience to help grow these Boston Celtics.

The case for Kevin Johnson to be in the Basketball Hall of Fame.

• If you want to know what the life of an NBA beat writer is like, this sums it up pretty well I think.

Fun interview with Hall of Fame basketball writer Peter Vecsey.

Aaron Gordon both legs over the mascot, ball-under-the-legs dunk (VIDEO)

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TORONTO — Zach LaVine won the NBA All-Star Saturday Dunk Contest, but in an epic night for my money this was the single best dunk.

Orlando’s Aaron Gordon broke ground with this one — guys have jumped over mascots and other players before (and a Kia hood), but by splitting their legs apart. Gordon just put both legs over Stuff (that’s the mascot’s name, Stuff the Magic Dragon, I don’t make this up) — and took the ball off the mascot’s head, went under his legs, and threw it down.

Insane.

Gordon deserved a trophy for his performance in this dunk contest.

Zach LaVine edges Aaron Gordon in epic, insane Dunk Contest

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TORONTO — That. Was. Amazing.

In a dunk contest that will go down with the all-time greats — Jordan vs. Dominique, Dr. J from the free throw line — Minnesota’s Zach LaVine defended his dunk contest title. Barely. Because Orlando’s Aaron Gordon was doing dunks nobody had ever seen before.

And LaVine was bringing it just as hard.

The two men advanced to the finals — dismissing Will Barton and Andre Drummond, each of whom had good dunks — and that was when it got wild.

There were four second-round dunks, and four perfect scores of 50. (That was in spite of Shaq, who wanted to give nines for second attempts.)

“I was prepared for four (second round dunks),” LaVine said. “To tell the truth, he came with something that no one else has done. He did two dunks that were just crazy with the mascots, jumping over them. We just kept pushing each other until the last dunk. I’ve got to give it up to my boy Will “The Thrill” Barton. It’s because of him I think I won. Because he said try to go from the free-throw line. I’d never done that before, and I just tried it. So I guess it was a great dunk. I think it was the best one ever.”

The Air Canada Centre crowd was exploding with every dunk. The two men went to a dunk-off — and got two more 50s.

“If I knew it was going to be like that, I would have prepared better and we would have been here dunking all night, going back 50 after 50 after 50 after 50,” Gordon said. “We would have been here all night. I didn’t know it was going to be like that. I was just hoping Zach was going to miss, and it wasn’t going to happen. You could see as my facial expressions when Zach dunks it, it’s like okay, that’s a 50. Like I know we’re going to have to dunk again.”

So they went to a second-round of overtime, where LaVine put up another 50 and won the contest.

Gordon was close to perfect.

Zach LaVine can flat-out fly.

Magic’s Aaron Gordon with the over-the-mascot mad dunk

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TORONTO — Aaron Gordon was giving Zach LaVine all he could handle in the Dunk Contest.

He blew the lid off the Air Canada Centre with this dunk in the first round — and it wasn’t even his best dunk of the night. Never seen this before.

This dunk contest was awesome, so much more video to come.

Zach LaVine opens Slam Dunk Contest title defense with spectacular behind-the-back slam (VIDEO)

during the BBVA Compass Rising Stars Challenge 2016 at Air Canada Centre on February 12, 2016 in Toronto, Canada. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.
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TORONTO — Zach LaVine clearly heard all the talk that Aaron Gordon or Will Barton had a chance to upset him in the Slam Dunk Contest. He came out ready to prove his superiority right off the bat. This behind-the-back slam was his first attempt of the night:

Even better was the reaction, both from Andre Drummond and from LaVine’s Minnesota teammates: