Jordan Brand unveils NYC All-Star shoes for Carmelo Anthony, Chris Paul, Russell Westbrook (PHOTOS)


With the NBA’s All-Star festivities less than a week away, we’re starting to see what the major sneaker companies have in store for the game’s top players.

While Nike went with a theme of paying homage to some New York City icons, Jordan Brand is celebrating its 30th anniversary by having its All-Star lineup shrouded in essentially identical looks with its Pearl Pack.

From the official release:

“While time can diminish memories and details eventually fade, epic moments are left to be passed generation to generation. Like a natural pearl, the beauty of achievement stands the test of time. The brand formed by these moments continues to evolve through innovation and style.

“This year’s All-Star pinnacle performance collection, the Pearl Pack, draws inspiration from the pearl, in both color and design. For All-Star 2015, the pack features four premium performance shoes, the Jordan Super.Fly 3, Jordan Melo M11, Jordan CP3.VIII, and Air Jordan XX9.

“Each shoe in the collection exemplifies elegance and sophistication, from intricate graphics to premium materials. A magnified pearl texture appears on each shoe’s upper, while white-based sheen and reflective threading bring the luminescence of the pearl to mind.”

The concept is strong, and the sneakers, while subtle with their icy blue soles and all-white uppers, are perhaps even stronger.
















LeBron criticizes officials for late-game calls in loss to Pacers


Cleveland ran into a gritty Indiana team on the road on the second night of a back-to-back on Friday, and despite the fact that things were tight down the stretch, the Pacers were the ones who emerged as the victors.

Indiana played solid defense throughout, and used a 36-point fourth quarter (along with some big-time shot-making) to end the Cavaliers 12-game winning streak. But LeBron James the officials were at least partly to blame, thanks to some late-game calls that were made in favor of the Pacers.

From Jason Lloyd of

There were plenty of questionable calls in this one. Blatt thought one of the big ones was a reversed call on Matthew Dellavedova. What originally was called a charge was reversed to a blocking foul on Delly when the official at the other end of the court came running over adamant that Delly was in the restricted area.

James was also called for an offensive foul with 2:09 left on a basket that should’ve put the Cavs up 91-88. Instead it was going the other way and the Pacers reclaimed the lead on one of Miles’ 3-pointers.

“It wasn’t a good call,” James said. “I didn’t extend. I just put up an arm bar like a big guy would if he were shooting a jump-hook in the post. … And I thought Delly’s call wasn’t a good call at all.”

James stopped himself there for fear of getting fined, particularly since the coals are still hot from Chris Paul’s comments Thursday. “I don’t want to get far in it,” James said with a grin. “I don’t want to get fined for sure.”

LeBron shouldn’t be fined for simply stating his opinion on two key plays. This is very different from Chris Paul going on an extended rant after a game against these same Cavaliers just one night earlier, which caused a bit of a firestorm even though the comments critics targeted were relatively innocuous.

We want players to be able to give us some insight into how they saw things unfold, and restrained comments like these should go unpunished. Besides, when you allow 36 points in the fourth quarter on the road to a team that came into this one with a record of just 18-32 on the season, it should be obvious that the referees were not the reason that the game was lost.

Chris Paul fined $25K for publicly criticizing officiating after loss to Cavaliers


Chris Paul has been fined $25,000 for “public criticism of officiating,” the league announced on Saturday via official release.

Paul was critical of the referees following a game where his Clippers received multiple technical fouls during a third quarter meltdown in Cleveland on Thursday, which contributed to L.A. falling behind by as many as 32 points.

The comments also sparked a fair bit of controversy, considering that Paul singled out the female referee who called him for one of the technicals. He ended his rant by saying “This might not be for her,” which is what some pointed to as a sexist remark.

Paul addressed it briefly on Friday, answering three separate questions on the incident by repeating, “Last night was about a bad call. That’s all.”

This is the standard fine for players being publicly critical of referees — which means that the league was in agreement with Paul’s assertion.

Chris Paul responds to female referee controversy: ‘Last night was about a bad call. That’s all.’


After the Clippers were routed by the Cavaliers Thursday, in a game where L.A. was issued multiple technical fouls on the way to falling behind by as many as 32 points in the third, Chris Paul was very vocal in his criticism of the referees.

Well, one referee in particular. And that’s where the problem got started.

Paul was talking specifically about Lauren Holtkamp, the one who had the quick whistle in issuing him a technical foul. And what many took issue with was the way Paul referenced her gender as part of his post-game remarks.

“I think we’ve got to show better composure, but at the same time some of ‘em was ridiculous,” Paul said. “Like the tech I got right there was ridiculous. I don’t care what nobody say, I don’t care what she say, that’s terrible. There’s no way that can be a technical. We try to get the ball out quick every time down the court and when we did that she said ‘Uh-uh (no)’ and I said ‘Why uh-uh?’ and she gave me a tech. That’s ridiculous. If that’s the case then this might not be for her.”

I personally don’t believe that Paul was making a derogatory remark here, or insinuating that because Holtkamp is a female, she’s somehow less qualified to referee a professional men’s league. But many others chose to interpret it that way, so Paul was asked about it in advance of Friday night’s contest against the Raptors.

From Ben Bolch of The Los Angeles Times:

Chris Paul on on the reaction to his reaction to official Lauren Holtkamp’s technical: “Last night was about a bad call. That’s all.”

From Dan Woike of The Orange County Register:

Chris Paul repeated his answer, “Last night was about a bad call” three times, staying loyal to his CP3 brand.

Paul was smart not to engage, here, or provide further fuel for the fire. The Clippers, meanwhile, have a much bigger problem where the referees are concerned.

Doc Rivers said he wanted his players to stop being so demonstrative with the officials just four games into the season. But after multiple games with meltdowns similar to the one we witnessed on Thursday, the issue has done nothing but get worse as the season has gone on.

NBA Referees Association comes to defense of Holtkamp: “She belongs”


The National Basketball Referees Association (NBRA) isn’t going to just let the head of the NBA players union call out a female referee and not respond.

The night after Clippers point guard Chris Paul questioned if rookie referee Lauren Holtkamp was cut out for the NBA, NBRA General Counsel Lee Seham said his association reviewed the calls and “deems them fully justified.”

“The NBRA deplores the personal and unprofessional comments made by Chris Paul. She belongs,” Seham said in a released statement.

Paul was frustrated after the Clippers were blown out by the Cavaliers on national television Thursday night, and in that game the Clippers picked up five technical fouls. His comments in a postgame interview have created a firestorm online and a debate about officiating in the NBA.

“I think we’ve got to show better composure, but at the same time some of ‘em was ridiculous. Like the tech I got right there was ridiculous. I don’t care what nobody say, I don’t care what she say, that’s terrible. There’s no way that can be a technical. We try to get the ball out quick every time down the court and when we did that she said ‘Uh-uh (no)’ and I said ‘Why uh-uh?’ and she gave me a tech. That’s ridiculous. If that’s the case then this might not be for her.”

Paul will get fined by the league for his comments — not because she’s a woman but because any time a player publicly criticizes a referee to the media they get fined.

And I expect at some point Monday Paul will say publicly what people around the Clippers have said privately, that this was about his frustration with a rookie referee and quick whistles, not about her being a woman.

The entire officiating crew was quick to blow their whistles and hand out technicals Thursday night. Matt Barnes’ first technical for grabbing Kevin Love was a foul but not worthy of a tech. The technical that Holtkamp gave DeAndre Jordan for yelling “g–d—–” after a big dunk also seemed like a young referee trying to control something that a veteran would have let go.

That said, the Clippers complain about calls on the court more and more demonstratively than any team in the NBA — they complain about every call seemingly every game. I’m not sure Blake Griffin has ever gone to the rim and thought he wasn’t fouled. The Clippers had to expect there would be a backlash at some point, the officials are human beings and there are consequences for actions in life.