We love basketball for its flair, artistry and showmanship. But you can’t get to any of the fun stuff without the raw fundamentals, so we’re giving you a chance to learn: right now, you have the chance to win a free ride to the prestigious Five-Star Basketball Camp. Coming up on its 50th year, Five-Star is THE place to learn the skills that elevate your game and let you shine on the courts.
All you have to do is tell us, in 200 words or less, why you deserve to go to Five-Star. Email your applications to email@example.com by this Friday, June 21. There are only three rules: be 10-18 years old, live in the continental United States, and if you’re under 17, get your parents’ permission before entering. Other than that, it’s up to you. Sure it’s summer and you don’t wanna do any more writing…but to get a free ride to Five-Star, you know it’s worth it.
For more information about Five-Star Basketball Camp, including dates and sites, click here.
Just because it’s summer doesn’t mean you can’t study a little history. Here are just a few names on the list of Finals MVP:
Recognize those names? Of course you do—you probably know them as well as you know your own. Finals MVP has been around since 1969, and in all that time only one winner isn’t either already in the Hall of Fame or heading there soon. (The exception, by the way, is Cedric Maxwell, who copped the big prize with the ’81 Celtics.)
And now, unless Tony Parker drops, like, 75 points one of these next two games, it looks like the unlikeliest of names will join the most exclusive of clubs. Parker (who won it in ’07), Manu Ginobili, Tim Duncan (a three-time winner), they’d all fit right in on this list…but Danny Green?
If you saw the game, you know the story; Green went off for six more treys last night to set an all-time record for threes in a single Finals, and there might still be two games left! Both these teams have a Big Three—right now, the team with the edge has a Big Four.
The Mix Tape Tour has seen ballers come from all corners—every level of college and pro ball has had a Tour member under contract at one point or another. But we’re pretty sure there’s never been a player who scored 8 points in his entire high school career.
That’s how humble the beginnings were for Aaron Owens, who warmed the bench at Simon Gratz High School in North Philly behind future NBAers Rasheed Wallace and Aaron McKie. Gratz played a big-time national sked, so competition for PT was fierce and Owens couldn’t get burn. But he didn’t run from a challenge, didn’t transfer or find a coach who would make him the main attraction. He stuck with it, and after JuCo, Div. II ball, and pro ball in Israel and the D-League, AO had made a life for himself in basketball.
And a big part of that life has been the Tour; AO debuted in 2000 and has been a fixture ever since. “I play rec ball for a living. How great is that?” he says with a smile. “It gives me a good feeling to know that I’m reaching so many people because of basketball.
“That’s always something I wanted to do, but it didn’t always look like that was going to be a possibility. Not when I was sitting at the end of Gratz’s bench dreaming about being a star.”
On Friday, we said we’d learned never to count out the King, even if he hits the canvas. Nine times out of ten when you play team ball to beat some better players on the street, they run it back, get frustrated, and play even worse. Too bad for the Spurs, LeBron’s one in a billion.
Late in the third quarter, Mario Chalmers told LeBron, “Let’s go in for the kill.” As if he needed to be told. The King hadn’t been great to that point, but he broke off a 38-second span the rest of us can only dream of: crazy block on Tiago Splitter, set up a Ray Allen three, deflect a pass, throw down a vicious dunk to put the Heat up 24.
Manu Ginobili: “In the second half, they just ran us over.” Pretty much. Catch a beating like that, and it’s tough to remember you’re supposed to be happy you got a game on the road.
The Spurs threw a sucker punch last night. A 92-88 victory in Game 1 in Miami, and if some wide-open looks hadn’t rimmed out, it might not have been that close. LeBron put up an absurd 18, 18 and 10, but the supporting cast stayed home once again—no Heat player besides LeBron had more than 5 rebounds or 4 assists—and a Spurs win Sunday might put Miami’s “destiny” on hold. One title in three seasons with that roster? Not a great look.
Some things are as true in the NBA Finals as they are on the playground: a great team always beats a great player. Sure, almost every NBA champ has featured a HOFer, but just as many have had great teams around their stars. Ever get that feeling when you’re playing pickup with a bunch of average Joe’s, and you feel like you have to do it all yourself? Right now, LeBron is getting next to nothing.
Of course, last time we talked bad about LeBron, he near singlehandedly shut our mouths in Game 7 against the Pacers. We’ve learned our lesson—for now, looks like our prediction of a tight series is right on track.
We’ve profiled dunkers, dribblers, trash-talkers, and everything in between…but any old baller can’t call out a legend like Vince Carter. You’d need to be Half-Man, Half-Amazing.
Turns out, VC was about six years late to that iconic nickname. The true owner, as bestowed by legendary Rucker Park emcee Duke Tango, is Anthony Heyward. So it was no surprise that, in a 2000 AND1 television spot, it was Heyward telling Carter and the world, “When you come in the hood, things change.”
What’s truly amazing about Heyward is that unlike most AND1 ballers, he was no child star. He didn’t pick up a ball ‘til he was 14, played just two years of high school ball, and never rose above JuCo. But he matured later in life, as a player and a person, and after completing his degree he returned to the streets and made himself a legend.
Perhaps Half-Amazing’s career highlight was dominating the paint as his Rucker team defeated a Bad Boy team anchored by number-one NBA draft pick Joe Smith. Not bad for a guy who played two years of high school; maybe he’s more than Half-Amazing.
Last time we had a Game 7 in the NBA or Conference Finals, LeBron dropped 31 and 12 as the Heat finally buried the Celtics. The time before that, Kobe Bryant’s famous 6-24 FG game was just enough to deny Boston its second title in three seasons, in an 83-79 slugfest.
Tonight, the Indiana Pacers try what you heard was unthinkable: beat the Heat. All the articles you’ve read about the Big Three, and Miami being miles ahead of the rest of the East, or even the old “the team with the best player always wins” adage…yeah, Indy’s out to shut a lot of mouths tonight.
And if history is any indication, it’s gonna be a classic. We’ll check back in tomorrow when the dust settles, but for now, be thankful it’s come this far. This is why you love the game.
Sometimes, it’s the weight of expectation that carries the heaviest burden. It’s one thing to have a famous older brother; it’s another to see him achieve high school, college, and pro stardom, all in the same city; and it’s another to grow up to be bigger and stronger than that older brother. Now that’s expectation.
But those who knew Troy Jackson know he didn’t shy away from anything, and the expectation was no exception. Rather than attend St. John’s—where his brother, NBA legend Mark Jackson, starred—he chose to make his own way at Louisville. When he first arrived, weighing in at a massive 560 pounds, he dropped over 200 so he could hit the court—three years later, he had helped the Cardinals to Elite Eight and Sweet Sixteen berths. But it didn’t take nearly as much time for his infectious personality to make him the BMOC in more ways than one: Louisville voted him one of its 20 most loved athletes of all time.
Escalade had always had that charisma, and somewhere along the line he realized his personality could entertain as well as his game. He joined up with the Tour in 2003 and immediately became one of its most recognizable talents—even today, when you think of streetball’s iconic characters, your mind goes right to Escalade.
Troy Williams passed away February 20, 2011, at the age of 35. We miss his game, but most of all, we miss him.
Sometimes you get to the court, ready to run fives, set to dominate…and see a graybeard lined up across from you, looking like he thinks he can actually play. You take one look at him and hope some competition shows up before sundown.
And then that old man beats you like a government mule.
It’s okay to admit it. It’s happened to all of us once or twice. On the court, “old man game” is that veteran savvy that leaves you wondering how the hell you just lost. And in the NBA, no one does old man game better than the Spurs.
Last night, San Antonio completed its sweep of the Grizzlies, winning 93-86 on the road behind 37 points from Tony Parker. They were out rebounded, had more turnovers, shot fewer free throws and made fewer threes. But they won, because that’s what they do.
The Spurs just don’t blink. In the Finals they’ll probably face Miami, a team with a certain young superstar athletic enough to run right through them (and anyone else in the world), yet smart enough to respect them. As victims of old man game ourselves—we won’t tell if you won’t—we’re not counting the Spurs out just yet.
The Los Angeles Summer Pro League (SPL) presented by AND1 is proud to announce its partnership with the Venice Basketball League (VBL) to give our fans exciting basketball all summer long. With each day drawing over 3,500 spectators, the VBL is the perfect venue to promote the SPL at one of California’s busiest summer destinations.
Playing its games just steps from the sand on the legendary Venice Beach courts, the Pro-Am VBL has featured dozens of NBA and NFL notables as well as stars of the music world. The 2013 VBL will run on nine Sundays: June 9, 16 and 30; July 7, 14, 21, 27 and 28; and August 11 and 18. All days run from noon to 4pm. For more information, go to www.veniceball.com.