Posts Tagged ‘Nike’

Morning shootaround: Sept. 14


VIDEO: Remembering the great Moses Malone

NEWS OF THE MORNING

Malone helped shape Olajuwon’s game, career | World Peace ready to return, but where? | A pressure shift in Miami from Bosh to Dragic | Moses the NBA’s most underappreciated great player

No. 1: Malone helped shape Olajuwon’s game, career — Moses Malone, who died Sunday at 60, was a pioneer, a teen phenom who would go on to become a three-time MVP, all-time NBA great and a Hall of Famer who ranks among the biggest and best players the game has seen. But who knew he served as a tutor and guide to another one of the NBA’s all-time greats, Hakeem Olajuwon, during the formative stages of The Dream’s Hall of Fame career? Our very own Fran Blinebury tells the story of Moses the mentor and the special bond between these two NBA titans:

It was 1982 and Malone had just won his second MVP award with the Rockets (he’d claim his third the next season). Olajuwon had just finished his first season at the University of Houston.

“Oh Lordy,” NBA veteran Robert Reid remembered years later. “The place got real quiet. It was on that play, at that minute, when a lot of us stood there and wondered, ‘What do we have here?’ ”

What a shrinking world had in this most unlikely union that brought together a made-in-America big man off the streets of Petersburg, Va., with a wide-eyed sponge from Lagos, Nigeria, was perhaps the greatest teacher-student class project in basketball history.

Malone, who died Sunday at 60, combined with Olajuwon to total 54,355 career points, 29,960 rebounds, 5,563 blocked shots, 24 All-Star appearances, four MVP awards, three Finals MVP trophies and two places in the Naismith Hall of Fame.

Theirs was a relationship born in the school of hard knocks and forged by the white-hot fire of mutual and insatiable competitive drive, out of range of the TV cameras, away from the prying eyes, where all that mattered was how much you had to give.

“I would never have accomplished what I did if I did not play against Moses at Fonde,” Olajuwon said before his own Hall of Fame induction in 2008. “I knew the rules. I knew the basics of the game and what you were supposed to do. But he is the one that taught me how to do it.

“With Moses there were no rests, no breaks. He was working every time down the court — scoring, rebounding or just making you feel his body. He would laugh when he slammed into you. If you tried to take a breath, he went by you or over you. There was no stop.”

They were opposite sides of the same coin. Where Malone would bump and grind and wear down an opponent with his sheer physical play and relentless pursuit of the ball, Olajuwon wore opponents out with an array or spins, fakes, double- and triple-pumps that were more varied and colorful than a painter’s palette.

“I usually couldn’t go through Moses, because he was just so strong,” Olajuwon said. “So I had to learn to use speed and agility to go around him. That’s how I built my game.”

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Durant confirms commitment to Nike

NBA.com staff reports

Kevin Durant‘s shoe-contract saga is over and the 2014 NBA MVP is staying with Nike, as first reported by Darren Rovell and Marc Stein of ESPN:

Maryland-based apparel giant Under Armour reportedly offered Durant a mammoth contract in hopes of luring him away from Nike. But it’s hard to overpower the Swoosh.

Durant is represented by Jay Z’s Roc Nation Sports.

 

Kobe’s ‘Mamba Mentality’ Shines In China



HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — We’ve seen him in this role unofficially throughout his tenure with the Los Angeles Lakers. Kobe Bryant serving as the Lakers’ coach on the floor — and sometimes the sideline, if you let some people tell it.

It’s an interesting dynamic … Kobe on the other side from his playing days. You wonder what his connection to the game will be when he does finally hang it up.

During his latest Nike Basketball tour, Kobe showed off his coaching touch (clearly channeling his inner Phil Jackson) in China, impressing upon youngsters the need to employ the “Mamba Mentality” on the court:



This is the Kobe the Lakers will see and hear until he comes back from that Achilles injury: a philosophical future Hall of Famer with plenty of wisdom to share with the willing.

The only other player on his level intellectually, Jason Kidd, needed just nine days to move from his playing career to his coaching career. Granted, Kidd had a very specific scenario unfold with the Brooklyn Nets to make that happen. But I could see Kobe coaching some day and coaching the Lakers even.

He doesn’t strike me as someone who will be able to simply walk away from the game and move on to the next phase of his life when he’s done playing. Love him or hate him, he’s one of the greatest competitors to grace the game and he has a basketball mind that even his biggest critics will agree is off the charts.

“Coach Kobe” … has a little bit of a ring to it, no?

LeBron, Heat Keep Moving Forward

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — If you ask LeBron James, 2011 seems so … two days ago.

Longer than that, actually, for the most publicly prosecuted player in the NBA, someone who endured constant fan abuse despite not committing a crime or being a menace to society. Plenty has happened since, all for the good according to LeBron, who ushered in the New Year by announcing his engagement to his long-time girlfriend, Savannah Brinson. The couple has two children together.

Of course, even this will bring out the skeptics as Israel Gutierrez of the Miami Herald mentions. Such is life for LeBron in the wake of “The Decision” and a few other public stumbles. Anything he does, even if it seems heartfelt, will be dismissed as a staged production by someone desperate to make the public think he’s a changed man, if only to get more endorsements in his pocket and the boos off his back.

His commercials with State Farm and McDonald’s and even Nike have a community relations flavor to them, where LeBron is seen helping kids or stressing education. He’s pushing his charitable foundation and making contributions to other causes. It’s all part of LeBron getting back to his “old self” as he said, all part of LeBron living up to his preseason pledge, when he said:

“For me personally, I’m a totally different person than last year. I’m just back to loving the game of basketball, not taking too much for granted, playing with a smile on my face and just understanding I’m just a kid from Akron, Ohio, in the NBA. I lost that last year.”

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