Archive for the ‘Los Angeles Clippers’ Category

ray-mccallum-mathematicsized

This is one of those things that happens by accident. I was just looking at NBA draft pictures, when I stumbled across Kings’ second round draft choice Ray McCallum looking like no body art Matt Barnes, himself a former second round pick who later played for the Kings. At first I thought I was crazy, but then I put Barnes’ tattoos, mustache and goatee on McCallum and then whoa.

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And it works the other way too.

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Barnes’ eyes are a little squintier and he’s got fancier hair, but other than that, if you were to set Matt Barnes to default appearance mode and subtract about a foot of height, you’d pretty much just have Ray McCallum. The more you know.

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Grant Hill announced his retirement on Saturday night during Game 6 of the Eastern Conference finals, officially bringing to an end a career that spanned 19 years, four teams, and a lot more “What If?s” than were probably expected when he came out of college in 1994 amidst “Next Jordan”-type hype. You know the story — Hill languished for too long on a Pistons team that failed to build around him, left for greener pastures in Orlando but struggled to stay healthy, resurrected and reinvented his career in Phoenix, experiencing his greatest team success but falling just short of the Finals, then played out the string as a little-used reserve for the Clippers. Even with all the time and opportunity lost to injury and poor team construction, Hill’s numbers might still be Hall of Fame-worthy, and few would argue that he’s been one of the NBA’s great ambassadors over the last two decades.

But I don’t wanna talk about any of that. I wanna talk about “Grant Hill Drinks Sprite.”

The comparisons to Michael Jordan that Grant Hill received coming into the league were not just tied to his incredible college career and his seemingly limitless pro potential, but that like MJ, he was personable, well-liked, good-looking and imminently marketable off the court. However, there was one very big personality difference between the two: Grant Hill wasn’t all that cool. He went to Duke, his came from an upper-class background, and he just seemed like too nice a guy to be the kind of cold-blooded assassin-type that Jordan was. Even on the court, his game was more of an all-around kind (not even LeBron has matched the 20/9/7 that he posted in ’97) than a high-scoring, highlight-producing one. Only twice in his career did Hill finish in the top 10 in league scoring, and though he’s had his fair share of excellent dunks, he doesn’t have the iconic, instantly-recallable ones that MJ had, and he never competed in the Slam Dunk Contest.

That was all fine for Grant, though — he was a superstar, he just wasn’t that kind of superstar. And luckily for him, in Sprite, he found a company that understood that, and figured out a way to market him that was true to his character, making him look like a badass without taking him too seriously, and taking the piss out of the entire athlete-spokesperson advertising model in the process.

“Grant Hill Drinks Sprite” was borne out of Sprite’s successful “Obey Your Thirst” campaign of the mid-late ’90s, which made the surprising (for a TV ad campaign) declaration “Image is nothing. Thirst is everything.” The ubiquitous commercials, which even non-sports fans who owned a television in the mid-late ’90s will undoubtedly remember, featured Hill as a running/jumping/dunking basketball demigod, seemingly deriving his power from his long gulps from his can of Sprite. Then a young, aspiring hoopster takes a swig from their own can, and tries to perform the same basketball feats, only to fail miserably and fall on their ass. “If you want to make it to the NBA … practice,” an announcer concludes at the end of the most famous ad. “If you want a refreshing drink, obey your thirst.”

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It’s silly video showdown time. Here’s your your first option — Joakim Noah vibing out to “Pump Up the Jam” with some bros and lady bros.

Or choice two — DeAndre Jordan combining memes while dunking on ESPN’s Charissa Thompson.

Personally, I’m going with Joakim Noah, but that’s mostly because he’s the best and watching him dance has been a longtime source of enjoyment for me. Get that oil. (Also, I am kind of am worried that Charissa Thompson might have a concussion.) Let’s hear your pick in the comments, but please include a thorough explanation for your choice.

(via Deadspin/Reddit)

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Even though he wasn’t assessed a warning or fine this entire season, Blake Griffin has a bit of a reputation as a flopper. And by “a bit of,” I mean there are more than 235,000 Google search results for “blake griffin flopper” and the Grizzlies crowd chanted “FLOP-PER! FLOP-PER!” at him last week. There was even a rap song made about it that went to No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.

But as Blizzy Blake tells us, it’s only because of technology that anyone thinks he’s actually flopping in the first place, and sometimes, things aren’t what they seem. Dun dun! From ESPN:

When people say he flopped on a play, he’ll watch the video on YouTube to see why they might’ve thought that.

“There’s times that I have [flopped],” he says. “But I definitely wouldn’t consider myself a flopper.”

OK, so why do people think that?

“Honestly, I think it’s slow motion,” he explains. “Everything either looks better or worse in slow motion. A cool play looks really cool. But then, when somebody takes a hit, it might not be that hard, but your reaction is going to be to whip your head back because you don’t want to get hit.

“My reaction is always to move away. So then when it’s slowed down, and you see somebody didn’t get hit that hard, but you like jerked your head back. I’m telling you, that’s what I think. Slow motion and instant replays are what do it.” [...]

“I saw the thing that [ESPN commentator] Skip Bayless said after the Serge Ibaka hit,” Griffin says, referring to the play on which Ibaka received a flagrant foul for swinging his arm wildly and hitting Griffin in the groin.

“He was like, ‘He didn’t hit Blake Griffin below the belt. He’s just a flopper.’

“It was baffling to me that somebody could watch that — maybe it’s different for me because I felt it — but it was baffling to me that somebody could watch that and think that I flopped that.”

This is exactly what Frank “Cannonball” Richards tells people who think he flinched before that famous cannonball to the gut footage — it only looks like that because you slowed it down. In real speed, Richards and Griffin are both really taking those shots and sometimes your body just involuntarily moves when it’s about to get crushed. Or whatever.

And yeah, I guess all of this makes sense logically. Most people move somehow when they’re about to get hit, slow motion footage exaggerates everything, cool plays do look really cool, Skip Bayless often says things that don’t make any sense — Blake Griffin is spot-on with all of this. If you filmed this paragraph with Phantom cameras and slowed it down to an absurd rate, it would like I had misspelled everything and that it’s taking me forever to get to the point. That’s what slow motion does.

Another thing slow motion does is give you a chance to look at every little aspect of a play, like when Blake Griffin hit himself in the face and thought a foul should be called. Or like a bunch of other Blake Griffin flops, which he kind of admits to because he knows people like me are just going to dig out the videos if he says he never flops. There are a lot of those, and sometimes you just have to look at the preponderance of evidence (I accidentally watch a lot of “Law & Order: SVU,” no big d) and maybe disagree with the guy who says it looks like a flop because of technology while also saying that he definitely jerks his head back in preparation for being hit. The slow motion might exacerbate things and make some flops look worse and some borderline-non-flops look like definitely-flops, but when you’re parsing out reasons for why all these plays you are making look like the plays you say you aren’t making, well maybe you are making those plays quite a bit. I’m sure you catch my drift play-wise.

But who knows? I’m sure Blake Griffin legitimately gets knocked down a significant portion of the times he falls down, just like I’m sure that a significant portion of the plays Twitter says are flops are probably flops. They don’t have to be mutually exclusive. However, I would very much like an explanation for those faces he makes. I’ll be waiting.

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“We could send him a limo and then sidetrack the limo. That might be the best thing”Lionel Hollins, movie villain

How much would it cost to get a Tony Allen karaoke version of every single R&B song from the 1990s? Because based on this, it’d probably be worth it to hear him singing things like “No Diggity” or “Motownphilly.”

Just kidding — it’d definitely be worth it. Someone get a Kickstarter going.

(via Chris Vernon/SB Nation)

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Yes.

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Also yes.

Also wouldn’t want to sit behind him at a movie, even if it is the new Terrence Malick film. But since I wasn’t invited to the “To the Wonder” premiere, let me just say again — yes.