Archive for the ‘OKC Thunder’ Category

nike-superhero-guys

Remember when Nike gave their three biggest basketball players outer space-themed shoes for the All-Star Game? I really hope so, because that was only like a month ago. But if not, it’s OK to forget about that because there is a new concept pack in town — it’s Nike’s Elite Series 2.0 and it’s superhero-themed because space is so last month.

The Elite Series 2.0 is a continuation of last year’s Elite Series (duh) which itself was a continuation of Nike hooking it’s premier players up with some special shoes for the postseason. (The Lakers better make the playoffs, otherwise, awwwwwk-ward.) All of the shoes are updated versions of the players’ signature shoes, with the main addition being new tech in the form of Kevlar aramid, articulated foam, and carbon fiber reinforcements to make the shoes light and strong. You know, like a superhero’s armor, only significantly less metal.

Style-wise, the colors are a bit strange. LeBron’s are in Knicks colors, Kevin Durant is wearing oversaturated Golden State Warriors blue and yellow and Kobe Bryant is in, gasp, Celtics green which is something we’ve seen before but still feels wrong. I’m sure the real ones they’re going to wear on court will be team appropriate, but for now this is all we’ve seen. Not that the shoes don’t look awesome — I particularly like the low-cut KD V, which reminds me of Roger Federer’s kicks in a very good way — but it is always odd when the first version you see of a shoe doesn’t match the player’s team. Though, to be fair, superheroes tend to match their armor and not their favorite sporting franchise. I mean, Spider-Man would never wear orange and blue shoes.

All three shoes release April 28 and I’m sure they’ll be more expensive than the standard versions of these shoes, what with all that fancy stuff added. No idea if the rest of the armor comes with the shoes, but if not, it’s probably pretty easy to make it yourself. After all, Tony Stark built an entire suit of armor AND arc reactor while trapped in a cave, so I’m sure you can handle a chest plate and some metal leggings.

Lots of pics after the jump. Let’s hear what you think in the comments.

Read the rest of this entry »

Play-by-play data just says that “Russell Westbrook misses 31-foot three point jumper,” but I think we all know what really happened here — Russell Westbrook tried to be cute and use Gary Neal trying to foul him to reset the play as a way to get some cheap free throws, couldn’t and therefore had to settle for chucking up something more like a 40-footer with 18 seconds remaining on the shot clock. Nate Robinson calls it “the perfect shot.” Russell Westbrook just says, “#whynot.”

(via CJ Zero)

Russell Westbrook loves dancing

If you’ve watched him for more than six seconds of a basketball game, it’s easy to think Russell Westbrook is a big meanie. Whether it’s after a foul call, during a dunk, whilst celebrating a three-pointer or while being asked if he’s a cat or a dog, there’s just something simultaneously confrontational and couldn’t-be-bothered about his approach to everything in life. It’s like he doesn’t care anyone else is there, but also hates them for being there.

But that’s all a big misconception. As it turns out, Russell Westbrook likes having fun and LOVES dancing. From Tzvi Twersky’s SLAM profile of the Thunder guard:

“He’s a dancing machine,” says Perkins, before sarcastically calling Russell a diva. “He’s just a guy who likes to dance all the time.”

“He stays chilling,” says his younger brother, Raynard. “He’s funny. We laugh and joke all day, every day.”

“It’s accurate,” says Westbrook. “It’s very accurate. I dance, I like to have fun and good times.”

I guess this explains why Russell Westbrook knows all the words to that Ke$ha song, which is something I’ve been meaning to get to the bottom of. And also why he knows all the words to that Nicki Minaj song, which is something I wanted to get to the bottom of until I saw him singing Ke$ha. If he loves dancing so much, obviously he needs some dance songs with monster beat drops and breakdowns and whatnot. I’m glad these mysteries have been solved.

Not to mention, there’s a pretty obvious marketing opportunity here for Jordan Brand. Everyone thinks Kevin Durant is the nicest guy around, so Nike hit him with a “KD is Not Nice” campaign and now everyone thinks he’s a menace. So since everyone thinks Russell Westbrook never has any fun, maybe Jordan should go for a “Russell Westbrook Likes Having Fun” series of ads with him dancing or smiling or not hating anyone who isn’t on the Thunder. Just something to think about.

kevin-durant-teen-vogue

As we all know, enjoying fashion is the most important off-court quality an NBA player can have in this day and age. Looking cool and buying Givenchy shirts, after all, is one of the key components to establishing a solid brand. When in doubt, swag it out.

But outside of Amar’e Stoudemire, who once designed a women’s fashion line, it’s all men’s fashion. It makes sense, of course, since 100 percent of NBA players are male. However, if these guys are really as in to fashion as they say they are, you’d think they’d care about women’s fashion too, since that’s where the real crazy stuff is happening. And that’s why it’s refreshing to read about Kevin Durant dressing a Teen Vogue reporter. Because ladies need help too.

When it comes to styling me, Durant is extremely opinionated. We’ve narrowed the focus to three occasion-specific looks—game, date, weekend. Of the first, I’m informed: “Prefers jeans and heels. Doesn’t like when girls wear skirts or look like they’re trying too hard.” Nor does he approve of jerseys. Considering I wear only skirts and recently bought a KD jersey, I’m already backpedaling. The directives continue: “Date look: Loves dresses in colors like turquoise. Thinks the LBD is boring. [Editor's note: I'm impressed he knows the shorthand for little black dress!] Weekend: Likes girls in tennis shoes, especially Jordans.” Durant later clarifies that by “especially,” he means “only.” “As far as I’m concerned, there ain’t no tennis shoe other than Jordans.”

I arrive on set—the Chesapeake Energy Arena, home to the OKC Thunder—with two large trunks. Lined up beside Durant’s shoes, which are size 17, my own resemble Barbie accessories. Durant notices a pair of studded ones. “Jimmy Choo Choos!” he hollers approvingly. We pair them with jeans, a graphic tee, and accessories in Thunder orange and blue (this much team spirit is deemed OK). Game look on.

Next, a swimming-pool blue Matthew Williamson dress, which gets a thumbs-up for the date look. Durant is dressed in a dapper plaid blazer with a pocket square and indigo jeans. Last up, Jordans for the weekend look. “Unlace ‘em,” Durant says as I’m tying them on. His assistant chimes in, chuckling, “A lesson in KD swag.” My foot is now in Durant’s lap, and he’s showing me how to do the laces. (Hint: If your foot doesn’t feel like it’s falling out, they aren’t loose enough.)

There you go, women of Earth. Kevin Durant likes it when you’re wearing jeans, Jordans or a colorful dress (not all together, I don’t think). File that away in your dossiers, just in case. You never know when your foot will end up in Kevin Durant’s lap while he unlaces your shoes. It’s best to be prepared.

Not much else to say here, except that we finally have an answer to how much unlaced your shoe should be to look your coolest. That’s something I’ve been wondering for a while, so it’s good to finally crack the code. Just another lesson in KD swag.

Remember the zany, zipup Air Jordan XX8 that Russell Westbrook debuted back in December? Well, they come out this weekend, in honor of both the All-Star Game and Michael Jordan’s 50th birthday. This is the official Jordan Brand commercial for the shoe, which is pretty weird to see on a silent television in a Mexican restaurant in Houston.

Pretty fun to watch in the morning though. Especially because we get to see Westbrook in what I imagine has to be his ideal basketball uniform.

russell-westbrook-crazy-uniform-closeup russell-westbrook-crazy-uniformGood ad. Kind of reminds me of an update on the classic Nike Freestyle commercials from the dark ages, mixed with the score from “Inception” and a Battles music video. Which is to say, fairly crazy. Let’s hear what you think in the comments.

Have you ever noticed how some players will take just a split-second too long when chucking up a 75-footer at the end of a quarter? If you have, then I’m sure you know that that’s a tricky way to maintain a sterling shooting percentage. And if you didn’t know, now you do and this sentence will self-destruct in 30 seconds.

Well, now that we’re all hip to the conversation, let’s talk about how the Oklahoma City Thunder got so in to not chucking these percentage-killers that their coach, Scott Brooks, actually had to have a talk with them about it, like they were learning the birds and the bees. From Daily Thunder:

It actually became enough of an issue with the Thunder that Scott Brooks felt the need to address it with the team a couple weeks ago.

“We talked about it, about seven weeks ago maybe, couple months ago, and we talked about it,” Brooks said. “I said ‘We have to shoot that shot. There’s still time in the game — shoot it.’ The only time we don’t shoot it is if we’re up and it’s the last seconds because you don’t want to do that.

“We had that talk and somebody on our team did not take it that same night, and then we all got on him,” he said. “The next night, somebody made that shot.”

Every player I asked about it remembered Brooks talk right away.

“Yeah he said something to us about it,” said Eric Maynor. “He was like, ‘I be peeping some of y’all be doing that.’ But he know me, I’m going to shoot it.”

I know this is probably a paraphrasing, but I really do like the idea of Scott Brooks sitting the Thunder down for a serious talk about wasted opportunities and then starting things off with, “I be peeping some of y’all be doing that.” I really, really hope that happened because that is NBA Coach of the Year kind of stuff.

Jokes aside, Scott Brooks is totally right and the Thunder should take those last second heaves. Even if they only make two a season, those two might happen to come in games where they end up losing by one. Who knows? That’s why you shoot it. And though Shane Battier is pushing for shooting percentage reform, even if these shots still negatively affect percentages, it’s still worth shooting because it does nothing but help your team. (Which, in turn, is probably why teams shouldn’t hold it against players who throw up these desperation heaves while negotiating contracts, which is exactly why a lot of players choose not to shoot them. It’s a vicious cycle.)

No matter what happens in the wide world of NBA last second shooting percentages though, I think we can all agree that Russell Westbrook has the most perfect quote regarding the practice of waiting to throw up a shot.

Russell Westbrook: “No. Nope … If I was considering about [statistics] I’d do a lot of s— different.”

Truer words have never been spoken.

All-Star Weekend is the most wonderful time of the year for all the solemen out there, because that’s when a bunch of cool new shoes come out. It’s like a shoe showcase where all the displays are dunks, which means it’s pretty smart. Your first entrance in the All-Star zapatos game comes from Nike’s “Extraterrestrial” pack, which includes new versions of the LeBron X, Kobe 8 and KD V and a kind of hilarious description about where these shoes come from.

From Nice Kicks:

LeBron X ”Extraterrestrial”

Rumored to have journeyed to earth on a meteor made of the galaxy’s hardest substance – black diamonds, the model takes a a purple hue for the overlays and black rests within the inlays. Furthering the story the model originated from NSP-LJ6, a planet discovered by the Nike Space Program (NSP).

Kobe 8 System ”Extraterrestrial”

Originating on planet NSP-KB24, the Kobe 8 is part of the guardian of the five rings. Able to freeze his opponents in his stance, Kobe has been given an orange tinted look over the engineered mesh upper and green highlights over the Nike Swoosh and liner.

KD V ”Extraterrestrial”

Known as the legendary Dark Matter, his weapon of choice will be the KD V. Believed to have originated on planet NSP-KD35, the shoe packs a lime green upper highlighted with a dark green on the heel counter and accented with orange on the laces.

I’m not sure about all that stuff, but I really do like all of these because I’m of the opinion that your All-Star shoes should be as insane as possible. Basing them on made-up planets, making them in extra bright colors and then covering them in details certainly achieves that.

Were I ranking them, I’d probably go Kobe then Durant then LeBron, but they’re all pretty close. I love the orange Jupiter-y upper on the Kobes, the entire color scheme of the KDs and how LeBron’s shoe looks like a jewel. Weird idea — though it is wisely based on Houston being the home of NASA’s Mission Control Center and continues Nike’s space-themed All-Star shoes — but the execution is great. If basketball were played on non-existent planets, this is definitely what the shoes would look like.

After the jump, there are more pictures of these bad riders. All of these will be available at retail stores on February 15. Let’s hear what you think in the comments.

Read the rest of this entry »