Hang Time One-On-One

Dwyane Wade’s veteran perspective


VIDEO: Derrick Rose takes another spill and tweaks both of his already tender ankles

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – Dwyane Wade remembers those days when he was crashing to the floor on almost every other possession and he could bounce up like nothing happened, when his body allowed him to do things only the best of the NBA’s best could do.

It seems like a lifetime ago for the Miami Heat’s veteran superstar, whose stellar career has been marked by injury issues in recent years. Wade is still one of the league’s elite players, of course.

But his body hasn’t allowed him to be that player every night. So if anyone understands the plight fellow Chicago native Derrick Rose is living through now — trying to get back to MVP-level after two tumultuous years dealing with severe injuries, it’s Wade.

When Rose talks about taking things easy now because he’s thinking about the future, it produced chaotic reactions around the basketball world, including a parade of former players and pundits eager to indict him for not being true to the game.

But when Wade said it wouldn’t be wise to push it on a sore hamstring before sitting out a recent game against the Atlanta Hawks, no one blinked.

The Heat star talked about Rose, life after LeBron James, reinventing yourself in the second half of your career (like Kobe Bryant)  and the veteran perspective he has acquired over the years during a recent interview with NBA.com …

 NBA.com: I remember when you were a young player and throwing your body all over the place and other people were saying you needed to be careful. How cognizant are you as a young player, thinking about the future and worrying about your body?

Dwyane Wade: I don’t think it’s something that is on your mind until something serious happens. For me, when I had my shoulder surgery, that’s when I started thinking differently. A serious injury, a surgery shows you that none of this is promised to you. And that’s when it really sets in for you as a player.

NBA.com: A lot has been made of Derrick Rose and his comments recently about how he’s going to approach things. Some people took it as him saying he wasn’t going to go as hard. What did you make of his comments and the fallout?

DWade: When you have serious injuries the way he has, your mindset is going to be a little different. There’s no way around that. It doesn’t mean you don’t love the game and you are not going to give it your all. It just means that you know, if this happened to me once it could happen to me again. And you start thinking about things in that context all the time. It’s inevitable, at least in the way you think about things.

NBA.com: One day you’re 20 or 21 and invincible and the next day you wake up and realize you’re not Superman anymore. How hard does that hit you as an elite-level athlete?

DWade: At some point you have to put all of that in perspective. But I don’t ever think it’s going to be at 19, 20, 21 or when you are in your physical prime without any issues. We shouldn’t expect that. But at some point, you would hope that each individual comes through this game has a moment when they realize things have to be done differently. You don’t ever like to see guys you play with go through the struggles, on or off the court, there has to be a point when you slow down, recognize where you are in your career and make the necessary changes to do things in a way that allow you to be effective for whatever stage of your career you are in. You have to learn through the process of growing and maturing and learning how to handle yourself from being young to being a veteran.


VIDEO: Dwyane Wade and LeBron James formed one of the most dynamic duos in NBA history

NBA.com: There’s that word, process. Speaking of that, how has this process worked for you guys, trying to reinvent yourselves from the Big 3 with LeBron to the team you are now?

DWade: It has been interesting, this process, and there is that word that has been used and overused around here the past few years. But that’s the best word to describe it, really. It’s been a journey and for us it’s been a good change. But it’s still early. The frustrations haven’t set in yet. I don’t care who you are, when you go through a NBA season there are bound to be some frustrations and some adversity. And you don’t know what you have until you go through those things, deal with them and come out on the other side. It’s early still. Everything is still fresh. It’s good to have wins like we had in Dallas. But then it’s good to come back and have a tough home loss to Indiana. It is a bad loss. But that is the ebb and flow of a season. It’s different, though, especially for myself and Chris [Bosh], taking on a new challenge that we haven’t really had the last four years, and making it work.

NBA.com: One of the biggest differences has to be the glare of the spotlight you had compared to the one you’re dealing with now. Every practice and every shootaround doesn’t seem like a made-for-TV event anymore, does it?

DWade: [Laughing] It’s actually cool for me. Listen, we didn’t run from the spotlight or anything when we had it. We took everything that came with it and owned it. Now that it’s off of us, it’s fine. We understand that it’s been shifted, the spotlight has been shifted and let them [Cleveland] enjoy that right now. Besides, you never know how things might change in this league. One minute you can’t get out of the spotlight and the next it’s gone anyway.

NBA.com: It’s funny you mention how quickly things change. I was telling someone the other day about covering the Heat in the playoffs your rookie year when you played point guard. And they argued me down that you never played point guard …

DWade: I might not have been a “point guard”, per say, but that’s what I played then. It was fun to come into the league and find my way.

NBA.com: Does it seem strange to you know, at 32, being on the other side, so to speak, and looking back at where your career has taken you from experimental point guard back then to where you are now?

DWade: I came in as a point guard and now I’m a post-up player [still laughing] … I mean, I do pick and rolls now, but I came in as a point guard and we run most of our post-ups now for me. So you have to understand that the the game evolves, the world evolves, the world around you evolves.

NBA.com: That’s spoken like an old(er) and wise man. You’re only 32, right?
DWade: It’s just the reality of the world we live in, as professional athletes and people in general. You look at technology and how much it has changed from my rookie year until now. And it’s the same thing with sports. You have to look at all the different changes and how you can change and stay relevant. And I think of all of the players you don’t see around now, guys that you say, “man, they should still be playing,” and they’re not here. Then you look at a guy like Kobe Bryant, and he’s found a way after all these years to still be Kobe Bryant and evolve with the game and figure it out, through all of the injuries and ups and downs. You figure it out. And that’s how you have longevity.


VIDEO: Dwayne Wade’s still got it 12 seasons into his future Hall of Fame career

The buzz is back in Charlotte (video)

By Sekou Smith, NBA.com

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — Steve Clifford didn’t make any promises when he took the job. He didn’t make any public declarations about where he was going to take the Charlotte Bobcats this season.

He vowed to do whatever it took to make things better, to serve as an agent of change in whatever way he could. It’s a vow that resonated with his players. He won them over, one by one, with his belief that they could be better than what they had been before, with a belief in them individually and as a collective.

Al Jefferson bought in from the start. Kemba Walker, Gerald Henderson and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist did, too. All of the Bobcats (and soon to be Hornets) believe now. They’ve already clinched the second playoff berth in Bobcats history, delivering on owner Michael Jordan‘s edict to restore the order in basketball-mad North Carolina, his home state.

There’s new life in Charlotte for the Bobcats and especially the Hornets. The buzz is back on Tobacco Road. But it has nothing to do with the storied college programs at Duke, North Carolina, Wake Forest and North Carolina State.

March Madness is over. It’s playoff time and the Bobcats will take center stage in the days and weeks ahead …


VIDEO: There is new life in Charlotte thanks to the Bobcats (Hornets) grinding their way back to the playoffs

Hang Time one-on-one … with Giannis Antetokounmpo

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – Giannis Antetokounmpo gives new meaning to the phrase “pleasant surprise” in a league where there are usually few surprises in terms of player personnel.

There hasn’t been a legitimate Draft stunner since Tony Parker went from a promising international prospect plucked near the end of the first round to perennial All-Star, Finals MVP for the San Antonio Spurs and future Hall of Famer.

It’s probably too soon to go predicting that sort of career arc for the youngest player in the league right now, but no one can deny that Antetokounmpo is a fast-rising star and the clear steal of the 2013 Draft class. The Milwaukee Bucks snatched a potential future superstar with the 15th pick.

The “Greek Freak” joined for the  latest installment of our Hang Time One-On-One series to talk about his game, his role, what he knew about Milwaukee before the Bucks drafted him and what he thinks of comparisons to current superstars like Oklahoma City Thunder MVP candidate Kevin Durant and much more:


VIDEO: The Greek Freak is truly a rising star for the Milwaukee Bucks

Hang Time One-On-One … with Reggie Jackson

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – Reggie Jackson knew it wasn’t his job to hold on to forever. He knew Russell Westbrook would be back and that his role would change, yet again. Any young point guard in Oklahoma City has to know his role.

But not every young point guard would excel the way Jackson has this season in Westbrook’s absence. The Thunder didn’t miss a beat this season with Jackson at the controls (they went 22-8 without Westbrook in action), and in fact, they were just as good or better in nearly every category with Jackson in the starting five. For his part, Jackson averaged 14.4 points, 4.9 assists, 3.6 rebounds and 1.5 steals in 30 starting assignments.

With Westbrook back, though, Jackson shifts back to his role off the bench and becomes a key cog in the Thunder machine led by Kevin Durant, Westbrook and Serge Ibaka, that will square off against the Los Angeles Clippers Sunday afternoon (1 p.m. ET, ABC). 

Thunder coach Scott Brooks has a quality insurance policy in Jackson, who joined us during All-Star Weekend for the  latest installment of our Hang Time One-On-One series to talk about his game, his role, learning how to work the right way in Oklahoma City, where the Thunder are headed and much more:


VIDEO: Thunder point guard Reggie Jackson personifies the “next man up” mantra in OKC

Fan Night 1-On-1 Finals: LeBron Vs KD




VIDEO: LeBron James discusses the prospects of a 1-on-1 matchup with Kevin Durant

NEW ORLEANS — What better stage for the finals of the biggest 1-On-1 tournament in basketball than All-Star Weekend 2014?

The lights are brightest here. No stage is greater. And we definitely couldn’t find two bigger stars to battle it out for the NBA TV Fan Night 1-On-1 Tournament title than reigning two-time MVP and Finals MVP LeBron James and three-time scoring champ Kevin Durant.

This clash of basketball titans pits the two players who have been at the center of non-stop MVP debates throughout the past two years. Whatever separation existed between the two in the recent past has dissipated as Durant’s game has grown and matured. The fury has reached a fever pitch, however, this season thanks to Durant’s mercurial season.

Anyone willing to completely dismiss Durant’s chances of defeating James in a 1-On-1 matchup clearly has not paid attention the work KD has done this season. He’s LeBron’s equal in almost every statistical category and is a better and more complete scorer than the man considered the be the best and most complete player in the game.

All that said, you can’t just mess with the King. You have to knock him out to pay for his spot. Durant knows that better than anyone and has made it clear on several occasions that he is fed up with finishing second to LeBron.

This is truly a flip of the coin matchup. LeBron fans will swear their guys is indestructible. Durant’s fans will swear it’s time for a new king. You all have time to vote, it ends tonight after the playing of the 63rd All-Star Game at Smoothie King Center.

Dive in here …



Since the league is experimenting with the All-Star Saturday night events and there is a bit of a transition period right now with new NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, this might be as good a time as any to bring up this new event for next year in New York. In the meantime, discuss and debate the prospects of the leading two players in the league battling it out for the title in the NBA TV Fan Night 1-On-1 Tournament.

That even would be the spectacle of the weekend and have everyone talking. KD (below) and LeBron (above) are certainly talking about it …


VIDEO: Kevin Durant talks about his potential matchup with LeBron James

NBA TV’s Fan Night 1-On-1 … The Final Four: LeBron Vs DRose And KD Vs Kobe




VIDEO: LeBron James shows off some of his finest above-the-rim moves … after practice

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — We’re down to the wire now in NBA TV’s Fan Night 1-On-1 Tournament, and that means only best of the best are still in contention for the title.

That list starts with Oklahoma City Thunder star Kevin Durant, the current frontrunner for MVP honors this season, and the reigning two-time MVP and Finals MVP LeBron James. Only they won’t matchup in the Final Four four of this tournament. Durant faces off against Kobe Bryant in one semifinal while LeBron squares off with Derrick Rose. They both already own MVP hardware.

Claiming this title, however, won’t be easy for any of them, not in a 1-On-1 tournament where we are matching up the skills of each player in his prime against that of another player of equal or greater ability.

Durant has a distinct height advantage over Kobe and might be the only player of this generation whose competitive fire rivals that of the Los Angeles Lakers’ great. As great as Kobe has been throughout his career, I could easily see Durant as the superior player in a 1-On-1 setting …



Rose, for all of his fury when healthy, is simply no match for a player with LeBron’s unique combination of size, skill and otherworldly athleticism (check the video up top … we’re talking about practice?). Rose would make this interesting for a while, but LeBron is just too good and too powerful with a “mouse in the house.” …



 You need to get in on the conversation on who would win via social media (Tweet @NBATV #1on1LeBron or #1on1Rose and #1on1Durant or #1on1Kobe). The results will be announced during NBA TV’s postgame coverage of tonight’s the Fan Night game between Durant’s Thunder and the Portland Trail Blazers (10 p.m. ET, NBA TV) by NBA TV’s Matt Winer, Greg Anthony and Chris Webber.



VIDEO: Kevin Durant does it all for the Oklahoma City Thunder

Hang Time One-On-one … With Lance Stephenson

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – Lance Stephenson didn’t hear his name called when the Eastern Conference All-Star reserves were announced. It was yet another humbling moment for a player who has experienced his fair share during the early stages of his NBA career.

Stephenson, the Indiana Pacers’ blossoming star guard, leads the NBA in triple-doubles and has expanded his game over the past three years. He’s far from a finished product and at 23 is one of the league’s more interesting young talents, a player with plenty of promise but also one who must continue smoothing out the rough edges.

The Brooklyn native, who has been famous at Rucker Park (where he’s known as “Born Ready”) for over a decade, joins us in the latest installment of our Hang Time One-On-One series to talk about his where his game is now, the influence of Larry Bird, the Pacers’ rivals from South Beach and more:


VIDEO: Lance Stephenson’s evolution in his own words, and much more, in this HT One-On-One

Fan Night 1-On-1: Kobe Vs Westbrook




VIDEO: Kobe Bryant goes hard for his 81 points against the Raptors

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — What do you get when you pair up two of the most competitive human beings to pick up a basketball and tell them it’s a one-on-one game, winner take all?

How about an epic clash of the guard titans between Kobe Bryant and Russell Westbrook, backcourt stars of the past, present and future in this week’s installment of NBA TV’s Fan Night 1-on-1 Tournament.

Of course, this is the only place we’re going to dissect the battle between two of the most dynamic players in the league, because both Bryant and Westbrook are out with injuries right now for their respective teams. (The Lakers could use Bryant and a clone or two, or three, to get back into the Western Conference playoff mix while the Oklahoma City Thunder are rocking along just fine without Westbrook, thanks to Kevin Durant.)

Kobe in his prime was a diabolical sort, an absolute offensive assassin with the ability to shred you by air or land and the skill set to beat you inside or out. He’d take advantage of Westbrook, a physical marvel for his size but a “mouse in Kobe’s house” down low.

As much as I love Westbrook’s fearlessness, I cannot pick against the Black Mamba in this one … 



Dive in on the conversation on who would win via social media (Tweet @NBATV #1on1Kobe or #1on1Westbrook). The results will be announced during NBA TV’s postgame coverage of the Fan Night game between the surprising Phoenix Suns and the Chicago Bulls (9 p.m. ET, NBA TV) by TNT’s and NBA TV’s Ernie Johnson, Greg Anthony and Chris Webber.



VIDEO: Russell Westbrook messed around and got a triple-double

Fan Night 1-On-1: D-Rose vs. Kyrie




VIDEO: Kyrie Irving is an Eastern Conference All-Star starter this season

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — They were supposed to be the future at the point guard position, rivals for years to come. But things don’t always work out the way they are supposed to. And for Chicago Bulls star Derrick Rose and Cleveland Cavaliers star Kyrie Irving, we’ve never had the division rivals healthy enough simultaneously to really compare and contrast their games in real-time.

Thankfully for all of us, we get to make our theoretical comparisons between the two with NBA TV’s Fan Night 1-on-1 Tournament, and we’re down to the final stages with this matchup.

Take both of these guys at their best and it’s a magical pairing, two young and explosive players with games different enough that the beauty of their matchup would be found in the contrast. Rose attacks the rim and finishes as well as any player at the position but might not be as crafty with the ball as Irving, whose handle and deep shooting range set him apart from the pack.

It’s as even as any matchup we’ve seen during the Fan Night 1-On-1 Tournament:

Join the conversation on who would win via social media (Tweet @NBATV #1on1Rose or #1on1Kyrie). The results will be announced during NBA TV’s postgame coverage of the Fan Night game between the San Antonio Spurs and Houston Rockets (8 p.m. ET, NBA TV) by TNT’s and NBA TV’s Ernie Johnson, Greg Anthony, my main man Rick Fox and Chris Webber (via FaceTime).



VIDEO: Derrick Rose goes off during the exhibition season for the Bulls

Fan Night 1-On-1: KD Vs Melo = Fireworks!




VIDEO: So far, so good in 2014 for Thunder forward Kevin Durant

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — The two greatest pure scorers in the game today, squaring off in a one-on-one game?

Fireworks!

We’d get all that and more from Oklahoma City Thunder superstar Kevin Durant and New York Knicks superstar Carmelo Anthony, the combatants in this latest installment of the NBA TV Fan Night 1-on-1 Tournament.

There’s no way you play this game, hypothetical or otherwise, in the make-it, take-it format. Because the first person to get the ball might never give it up. That’s how good both of these guys are. That’s how prolific they both are with the ball in their hands.

The physical and skill matchup between these two is arguably the best of any we’ve seen thus far. The only other guy capable of going into that otherworldly assassin/scorer zone that Durant has been in so often here lately is ‘Melo, whose Knicks could use some of those performance from their leader right now.

But this isn’t necessarily about the Thunder or the Knicks. This is about the respective faces of those franchises and what kind of havoc they cold reach on each other  in NBA TV’s Fan Night 1-On-1 Tournament:

Join the conversation on who would win via social media (Tweet @NBATV #1on1Durant or #1on1Melo). The results will be announced during NBA TV’s postgame coverage of the Fan Night game between the Miami Heat and Boston Celtics (7:30 p.m. ET, NBA TV) by TNT’s and NBA TV’s Ernie Johnson, Chris Webber and Greg Anthony.



VIDEO: Carmelo Anthony puts in work as the Knicks knock off the two-time defending champion Heat