Holly MacKenzie

Holly Mackenzie

Holly MacKenzie is a lover of all things basketball, especially rookies and underdogs. She also enjoys the games, stories and triumphs of Stephen Jackson and Shaun Livingston. Getting her start interning for SLAM, the basketball Bible, her grandmother still has an issue of the magazine sitting on the mantle because it was the first time her granddaughter's name appeared in the masthead. The draft class of '96 holds a special place in her heart and she is currently wondering why she is writing in the third-person. For this slip-up, Holly is blaming the influence of LeBron James and The Decision and is wondering if this will result in James putting her on his list of haters. If so, she'll use this opportunity to say that it's all love over here, LBJ.

Recent Posts

While ballers usually love shout-outs from rappers, LeBron James probably would have passed on this latest series of namedrops if he had a choice. On a new track called “Martians vs. Goblins” from Game’s upcoming “The R.E.D. Album,” LeBron gets brought up twice, and not in a good way. Here’s the incredibly NSFW tune.

If you didn’t catch it, here’s Tyler, The Creator’s LeBron diss:

“Fall back like LeBron’s hairline against the Mavericks / He lost”

Damn. Everyone and their mother has been on LeBron’s hairline. We should have known it was only a matter of time before a rapper would go in. If we were wondering when it was time to ditch the headband and embrace the rapidly receding hairline, we now have the answer: When it becomes the punchline in a song,

Next, here’s Game talking about that story that had finally seemed to die down:

“Then I hit LeBron’s mom in Bron-Bron’s coupe /
With Delonte West taping, we had bon-bons too /
With Cleveland cheerleaders, they had pom-poms too”

Double damn. Catchy song, though.

(via JustinCNS)

While Landry Fields was breaking onto the scene and making us all fall in love with him, fellow first-year Knicks teammate Andy Rautins was working just as hard on his game behind the scenes. He didn’t get a ton of burn last season, but he did spend a lot of time in the gym, and as a result, learned a lot about his teammates.

Earlier this offseason, Paul Shirley spoke about Amar’e Stoudemire’s leadership and work ethic to Dime Magazine. One thing I noticed during both trips the Knicks made to Toronto this season was how vocal Stoudemire was throughout the game. On the court and on the bench, he was positive, intense and focused. It was a welcomed sight.

I recently caught up with Rautins after a practice session with the Canadian National team to talk about New York, Stoudemire and that amazing home debut at MSG for Carmelo Anthony.

Holly MacKenzie: So as it stands right now, what is your plan for next season?

Andy Rautins: Right now I’m still with the Knicks and I’m just going to play it by ear. Obviously my goal is to stay in the league and be in New York and to be a part of that system. It’s got great fans, great community, great coaches.

HM: Is there a moment from this past season that stands out to you as a moment you were especially proud of more than the rest of the season  as a whole?

AR: There were moments throughout practice. I didn’t really get to showcase myself in games. There was a short rotation, Coach kept a pretty short leash, but I had moments in practice where I broke through some challenges, some point guard challenges, learning the system and that position. I had some great days that were big for me, really helped my morale and where my game was at.

HM: Who were you closest to on the team, besides Landry?

AR: Naturally Landry, as a rookie, but there were a couple guys on the team I felt a great connection with. Amar’e's a great guy, he gets along with everybody. Roger Mason was a great guy, too. He’s a fountain of knowledge because he’s been in the league for eight, nine years now. He always wanted to help the rookies. Everybody on the team got along well.

HM: It’s funny to hear about Amar’e as a leader. So often that’s been a knock against him, but when I had seen you guys play this year, he was extremely vocal and involved from opening tip to the final buzzer. How has he been as a leader?

AR: He’s the most down to earth guy and his personality is enormous. It’s larger than life in New York. He’s my locker buddy, he’s right next door to me, we’re always joking and messing around but when it came down to it, to working, he was the first one in the gym and he set a great example for all of the young guys on the team. Always came to play in practice and in the game for sure.

HM: I’ve got to ask you, what was that first game like when Melo was introduced at MSG? I can’t even imagine the hype, and being at MSG, the excitement, everything.

AR: Oh my goodness. (laughs) I think about that night sometimes, actually. I just think about that night and I think about myself in that night, like, it’s like a dream. They played the beginning of that P. Diddy song “I’m Coming Home” and it just sent chills up my spine. The whole crowd, they had orange lighters and it was really like, it was really like one of the single craziest moments to witness. It was the second craziest moment in MSG for me behind the six overtime game. I’m partial to that, but, I mean, that night was certainly special and I couldn’t even imagine what it was like for him.

It’s been awesome to watch NBAers taking their talents to streetball courts all over the world this summer. It’s been even better to see some professional ballers deciding it’s worth their time and money to go back to school and finish what they were required to start before they left for the NBA. As Yahoo! Sports’ Marc J. Spears reports, four former UCLA Bruins and current NBAers have added laptops, lectures and reading lists to their familiar daily regimens of working out and lifting weights.

“Being a regular student is kind of fun,” he said.

Ariza said he is learning more now than as a freshman because he has a “different appreciation” for college. While he is also considering playing in Spain, China or Serbia if the lockout drags into the fall, he is currently focused on his coursework at UCLA.

“I’m really going back for my two sons,” Ariza said. “Eventually they’re going to realize that their dad fulfilled his dreams doing what he wanted to do and still got his degree. For them to see that will be a great example for them to follow.”

This is fantastic. It’s fantastic to show all of the young basketball players dreaming of going pro that making it to the NBA and making that first million (or two) isn’t enough to guarantee you’ll be set for life. It’s fantastic that these young men (and a veteran in Davis) recognize that the career window of a professional athlete isn’t long to begin with, but can be drastically shortened, or immediately ended, after one awkward landing or awful injury. It’s fantastic, so fantastic, that this mutes the argument for those who want to criticize those players who do leave school early to pursue their dreams.

As someone that regularly took summer classes because I preferred taking a lighter course load during the year — when I worked at the campus gym, covered one basketball team and managed another — there’s something amazing about being able to dial in and really focus on the material you’re being taught. Summer classes are (often) an option rather than a necessity, so if you’re there, it’s because you want to be. Like Trevor Ariza said, he appreciates the classes more now, because he doesn’t have someone forcing him to be there. It’s his choice. Despite being in the league for seven years, Ariza knows there will be life after basketball and he’s being prepared. That’s smart.

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While NBAers are balling all over America during this lockout, the fourth overall pick in the NBA draft is doing the same in Canada. Showing up for an open run organized by fellow Canadian and incoming University of Texas point guard, Myck Kabongo, Cavaliers forward Tristan Thompson was also joined by Spurs rookie Cory Joseph. The trio of Longhorns put on a show.

The guys over at Photo Riot had photos of the run, and while it isn’t as packed as the Drew League in L.A. or as hyped as Dyckman in New York, it’s a glimpse into the future for Canadian basketball, where kids have their own hometown NBA guys to come out and see.

It’s also another reminder that these guys just want to play basketball. The players that get lost in the shuffle when we talk about the lockout are the rookies. We think of the superstars, we want to know where the middle tier of veteran players stand, but we forget about the rookies. The rookies who have been robbed of a Summer League experience. The rookies who will lose valuable time getting to know not only their head coaches, sure, but they’ll also miss out on developing bonds with the assistant coaches who will likely be the ones working with them day after day when they’re getting shots up or need extra work.

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If things have been a little cold on your summer lovin’ front, AB3 and Sylk Smooth have the secret for making the ladies love you. (Very, very NSFW language.)

“Ever since I got my paper up/All these b—–s yeah, they wanna f—/Brandon Jennings money, Imma bout my Bucks/We the winners babe/Come and f— with us”

Alright, then. Forget Yeezy. Looks like Brandon taught them.

I personally love the bag/briefcase that hipster Rajon Rondo is carrying. What kind is it? Couldn’t tell you. My paper is not up and I do not have Brandon Jennings money. If I did, though, you better believe I’d be gathering my closest friends together to make a video just like this.

This lockout business is bad news. Very, very bad, ugly news. What’s the opposite of the lockout? Love. Sweet, sweet love. (Thanks, Burt Bacharach.)

This past weekend, Stephen Curry made things official with his lady, marrying longtime girlfriend Ayesha Alexander. While we’ve yet to see photos of their wedding day, Stiletto Jill has the photos from their engagement shoot and they’re pretty gorgeous. How gorgeous? The opposite of Shawn Marion’s jumper gorgeous.

And then there’s this one, the one that I’m sure Curry’s teammates will be teasing him about.

But still, lovely photos of a lovely couple. Congratulations to them both. May they enjoy newly-wedded bliss and the extra time this lockout is going to allow for them to have together before Mr. Curry has to go back to work, where this picture might be mentioned a few times.

Anyone who watches basketball knows that two-time MVP Steve Nash has helped to boost the careers of many of his teammates. But it’s his leadership away from the court that really deserves some recognition, especially during this offseason of awfulness where it’s the millionaires versus the billionaires.

While the sting of an unpleasant labor talk reverberated through the NBA blogosphere yesterday, Steve Nash had better things to do. Nash spent his day with the kids of Camp Simcha, a camp for children and teens who are living with cancer and other blood-related illnesses. Nash took part in a day of festivities, and of course put the kids through some basketball drills. Before he left he left the kids with this message:

“We all have disabilities, and yet we all have tremendous good in each one of us. Each of you here is a superstar with a lion’s heart. Stay strong.”

So often, people assume that players do these things because they have to. Because there’s an obligation or a PR opportunity to be had. Steve Nash isn’t one of those guys. He is one of the most vocal and philanthropic professional athletes we have across in any sport. He speaks his mind, but also puts his money and time where his thoughts are.

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