Archive for the ‘OKC Thunder’ Category

kevin-durant-back-tattoo

You want business tattoos? Kevin Durant will give you business tattoos. Like a whole back’s worth. Not a J.R. Smith’s back’s worth, but still.

And I’m sure it’s no big deal that there’s a word misspelled in the bottom left of that lengthy scripture. No one will notice.

(via BDL)

russell-westbrook-hospital

I can’t even tell who’s happier that this daring jump high-five worked — the little kid who survived the Oklahoma City tornado or the wheelchair-bound Russell Westbrook. Either way, this is the best.

kevin-durant-tornado-jersey

Not much to say about this, but here’s the story, courtesy of Daily Thunder:

Per the Red Cross, Kevin Durant has given a $1 million donation to the disaster relief fund.

“The Red Cross relies on its donors to perform its mission in relieving human suffering following disasters,” said Janienne Bella, regional CEO in a release. “Mr. Durant’s gift and support to Oklahoma comes at a time of great need and we’re forever thankful for his generosity.”

There’s nothing to add that can make this better, but let’s just mention that it was the Red Cross who made this announcement and not Kevin Durant, and that there is a reason he is one of the faces of the NBA and it’s not just because he’s awesome at basketball. Oh, and that you can text “REDCROSS” to 90999 for a $10 donation.

(amazing photo up top via Christine Van Timmerman)

Was it a bad dream?

Or is he just a sad-sack loser who hangs out with a dog, a bird and some filthy kid? You be the judge.

au-fedex-forum

I had been itching to make a return trip to Memphis since my 60/30 NBA trip back in 2010, during which my visit to FedEx Forum was easily the coldest and most desolate of the 30 stops made. The team that seemed like a league afterthought early in that season became a sensation with their first round upset of the San Antonio Spurs as the eighth seed that postseason, and has grown from a veritable laughing stock into something semi-resembling a model franchise in the years since. Moreover, FedEx — since (unofficially) re-christened the Grindhouse — has seemed to turn into one of the NBA’s most vibrant arenas, a stark contrast to the intimate unplugged concert of my earlier visit. I felt cheated to have so narrowly missed out on it.

I finally went back to Memphis and FedEx for Game 4 of Grizzlies-Thunder last night, and the contrast was even starker than I had imagined. It wasn’t just that the crowd was now so in to the game, or that it was there at all — but rather, that since I was last there, FedEx had morphed into one of the NBA’s strongest home cultures, one that while virtually non-existent just two-and-a-half seasons ago, has blossomed into a relationship between city, players and franchise that 25 other teams in the league would probably envy. If I didn’t know better from my own experience, I’d have guessed that it had been this way for generations, or at least as close to “generations” as you can get from the 12 seasons the team has been stationed in Memphis. It’s a stunning transformation.

The first and most noticeable evidence of the growth of pro basketball culture in Memphis (to me, at least), was the preponderance of home team merchandise being worn by fans throughout the stadium. Now, most respectable hoops fan bases show out in impressive spreads of home jerseys and the like, but the Grizz crowd was distinctive for the diversity of merch on display. Zach Randolph jerseys probably made up the biggest individual percentage, but there was plenty of love for Tony Allen, Marc Gasol, Mike Conley, even some for Jerryd Bayless and Quincy Pondexter if you squinted hard enough. The dearly departed were repped for as well — surprising amounts of OJ Mayo and Rudy Gay, as well as less impactful team discards like Josh Selby, Hamed Haddadi, Jeremy Pargo and (my personal favorite) Allen Iverson. Pretty good, considering last time I went there weren’t enough total jerseys worn to even attempt a consensus.

But it wasn’t just the jerseys. I’ve never seen such a wide spread of fan shirts for the same team. There were plenty of puns off the “grit, grind” and “We don’t bluff” quotes the team has been milking for some time now — more on those in a minute — but there were also shirts advertising the nGo (New Grizzlies Order), making “Hard in the Paint” boasts, playing on the 901 Memphis area code, displaying both “Keep Calm, Grind On” AND “Screw Calm, Grind On” maxims, listing the team’s five starters, Experimental Jet Set style (Marc & Tony & Z-Bo…), Photoshopping Marc Gasol into the “F— You, Thunder” scene from “Ted,” boldly declaring “I just Grizzed in my pants,” and so much more. Where did all this come from in barely over two seasons?

The answer appears to be traceable back to Chris Vernon, Memphis radio host and makeshift merchandiser, who was responsible for the first capitalization on both the Grizzlies’ newfound popularity, and their players’ remarkable quotability. After playing the bite endlessly on his show, Chris took Tony Allen’s now legendary “All heart … grit, grind” quote from a regular season postgame and put it on a t-shirt, wondering at first if ordering 50 copies of the shirt for sale was too overzealous. “When it came out, Bill Simmons re-tweeted it to 1.4 million followers,” Vernon explained to me at the game. “Then, it just took off. Started selling it at more games, online … once the wave got going, it just got going.”

A second t-shirt based around Zach Randolph’s “Blue collar player, blue collar town” shirt from that postseason proved similarly popular, and soon the team took notice of their players’ newfound marketability. By the time Z-Bo accidentally spawned another catchphrase this season with his “We don’t bluff” postgame interview following an emotional win over the Thunder, the team was ready to seize the opportunity, giving out rally towels with the message inscribed on them for this year’s playoffs. The constant phrase-coining with the Grizzlies threatens to stretch into cheesiness, especially given how hard the team seems to push some of them — the “grind”ification of everything at FedEx, down to mascot Grizz unveiling a late-game banner that declares “WE GRIND HERE,” can get particularly tiresome — but the quotes seem to originate so organically from the players and resonate so authentically with the fanbase that it’s hard to be too cynical about them.

Read the rest of this entry »

kevin-durant-sonics-hat

Awwwwwkwaaaaaaaard.

(via Reddit)

Can two players be fined for flopping on the same play? Just asking for a friend who definitely didn’t weasel his way out of a contract with a non-contender so that he could play for the Thunder. No big deal. Just let me know.