Posts Tagged ‘Tamika Catchings’

Green And White Fly Slam Dunk Colors






HANG TIME, Texas — The last time James White and Gerald Green were in a slam dunk contest together, they practically blew the roof off with a 2010 Russian Cup performance that’s become a YouTube cult classic.

So perhaps it is fitting that they will be comrades along with Terrence Ross, representing the Eastern Conference in the 2013 Sprite Slam Dunk Contest, as State Farm All-Star Saturday Night includes an overall team format for the first time.

White, Green and Ross will square off against the Western Conference threesome of Jeremy Evans, Eric Bledsoe and Kenneth Faried.

Evans, the 6-foot-9 forward from the Jazz, will be looking to defend the individual title that he won a year ago at Orlando.

The Pacers’ 6-foot-8 Green won the event in 2007 at Las Vegas when he leaped over a table to dunk in the final round to beat out Dwight Howard and finished runner-up to Howard in 2008 despite a crowd-pleasing first-round dunk where he blew out the candle on a cupcake that was sitting on the back of the rim.

State Farm All-Star Saturday Night, an all-inclusive skills showcase, will take place on Feb. 16 at the Toyota Center in Houston and will be televised live by TNT at 8 p.m. ET.

Two of the league’s long-range shooters — Stephen Curry of the Warriors and Steve Novak of the Knicks — will lead opposing teams in the Foot Locker Three-Point Contest. Curry’s West teammates will be Ryan Anderson of the Hornets and Matt Bonner of the Spurs. Joining Novak on the East team will be Kyrie Irving of the Cavaliers and Paul George of the Pacers.

It’s worth noting that Novak will be returning to the Toyota Center court where he broke into the NBA with the Rockets in 2006, while the league’s top 3-point percentage shooter — Kyle Korver of the Hawks — will not take part. But Anderson has the most 3-pointers this season.

The Taco Bell Skills Challenge will have Texans Tony Parker of the Spurs and Jeremy Lin of the Rockets joining forces with Trail Blazers rookie Damian Lillard for the West against the Hawks’ Jeff Teague, the Sixers’ Jrue Holiday and the Bucks Brandon Jennings.

The Sears Shooting Stars Competition, which features NBA players, WNBA players and NBA legends, will have James Harden, Russell Westbrook, Tina Thompson, Maya Moore, Robert Horry and Sam Cassell of the West taking on an East team of Brook Lopez, Chris Bosh, Swin Cash, Tamika Catchings, Dominique Wilkins and Muggsy Bogues.

As part of the new format, points earned by each conference throughout the four All-Star Skills Competitions will determine the conference that earns the title of 2013 State Farm All-Star Saturday Night champion. Dwyane Wade of the Heat will serve as the East team captain and the Clippers’ Chris Paul will lead the West.

In addition, NBA Cares and State Farm will make a joint donation of $500,000 as part of the event, with $350,000 going to the winning conference’s charities and $150,000 to the runner-up conference’s charities. All of the charities will be selected by the conference captains, the NBA, and State Farm.

In drafting players for Team Chuck and Team Shaq in the BBVA Rising Stars Challenge, Charles Barkley and Shaquille O’Neal went in opposite directions with their top picks. Shaq built his foundation on the high-scoring backcourt of Irving and Lillard, while Barkley went for big men in Anthony Davis and Faried.

The 62nd NBA All-Star Game will be played on Feb. 17, at the Toyota Center.

Iguodala ‘Dribbles To Stop Diabetes’

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Denver Nuggets swingman Andre Iguodala was the pride of Lanphier High in Springfield and the prep star who went onto to basketball fame at Arizona and eventually the NBA. But he wasn’t the deadliest shooter in his peer group.

One of Iguodala’s friends from rival Litchfield H.S., a fellow named Mike McGraw, held that distinction, bolstered by his 208 3-pointers and 1,473 points. And yes, thanks to a gym teacher back in elementary school, McGraw’s nickname was “Quick Draw.”

Iguodala knew another side of McGraw, though. “He had Type 1 diabetes,” the Nuggets player said in a phone interview Monday. “I saw him giving himself insulin and doing the finger poke. He was always on top of his stuff. But he’s lived a pretty healthy lifestyle, so he’s been doing fine.”

McGraw went on to play at Illinois Wesleyan and he’s back home now, part of McGraw Enterprises. “His parents own about every McDonald’s in Springfield,” Iguodala said.

Diabetes – and a sensible intake of fast food – were on Iguodala’s mind Monday in his role as an NBA ambassador for “Dribble to Stop Diabetes.” Along with Indiana’s Danny Granger and WNBA star Tamika Catchings, Iguodala is working with the American Diabetes Association and pharmaceutical company Sanofi US on an awareness campaign.

He, Granger and Catchings each participated in public-service announcements – which can be seen on the Web at www.dribbletostopdiabetes.com – to encourage fans to eat right and stay active to prevent and manage Type 2 diabetes and the complications that can result from it.

Iguodala said his family, including one grandmother, has been touched by the disease and several cousins are considered to be at risk. “So it’s easy for me to have that connection,” he said. “It’s something we can prevent. There’s 26 million Americans who have it, and only about 10 percent are Type 1. The other 90 percent can watch their diet and be active.”

Several professional athletes have dealt with diabetes during their playing days, including MLB’s Ron Santo of the Chicago Cubs, NHL star Bobby Clarke, NFL quarterback Jay Cutler and the PGA’s Scott Verplank. Past and present NBA players include Chris Dudley, Adam Morrison and Gary Forbes.

The ADA estimates, though, that seven million American have the disease but aren’t aware of it. Then there are those who are heading for trouble if they ignore the lifestyle tweaks that can mean so much.

“People ask what message I have for kids and it’s simple: Just go outside,” Iguodala said. “When I was growing up, there wasn’t too much technology. There weren’t so many channels that we were glued to on TV. We had to go outside and create our games. Kids had the habit of being active and exercising, just enjoying the fresh air.”

Then there’s the diet side of the equation. Nothing against the McGraws’ McDonald’s empire, but too much of a good thing can be just that: too much.

“They make documentaries like ‘Fast Food Nation,'” Iguodala said. “The food our kids are eating in schools, the vending machines kids go to a lot, the portions of food that American restaurants are serving that are bigger than anywhere else in the world – it’s kind of crazy. All those things play a huge part in this deadly disease.”

Fans, by the way, shouldn’t feel too bad about having poor eating habits. Iguodala said he sees it all the time among the finely conditioned athletes who fly up and down the courts of the NBA, Particularly among the young ones.

“Most guys, it’s their first time through the rodeo and they’ve got to figure some things out,” he said. “As far as where to go eat, what to where, what time to wake up, when to get to practice. A lot of times they’re trying to do too many things at once and they’re eating bad food.

“On the rookies and the young guys, I’m pretty tough. We’ve gotten into some heated arguments about what they eat. They call me, like, ‘the old dad.’ I never had the problem – I was always able to find a chef at a decent price, even as a rookie. But it’s just watching what you put into your body. Especially as pro athletes, at the highest level, what we put into our bodies plays a huge part in our performance.”

Not to mention their present and future well-being. Type 1 diabetes used to be called “juvenile onset” and Type 2 was known as “adult onset,” but those labels have been set aside because either type can begin at any age. That’s what “Dribble to Stop Diabetes” is addressing, as part of the NBA/WNBA FIT program, right through All-Star Weekend at the 2013 NBA Jam Session in Houston. Teams in the NBA, WNBA and D-League will have information available as part of an in-arena campaign.

USA Women Cruise Past Brazil

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Women’s Senior National Team has only been back together for three days following the first half of the WNBA season. And in Monday’s exhibition against Brazil, they were missing starting point guard Sue Bird, out ecause of a death in her family.

The result was some sloppy play and trouble with pressure defense. The U.S. committed 22 turnovers in the game, including 10 in their first 15 possessions of the second half.

That doesn’t mean that they had any real trouble with Brazil, a team with medal aspirations in London. Holding Brazil to just 32 percent shooting, the U.S. cruised to an easy 99-67 victory.

However, Monday’s game made it clear to the U.S. where there is work to be done, as well as how valuable Bird is to this squad. Starting in Bird’s place, Lindsay Whalen was the only point guard the U.S. had on Monday, and she played great, filling the boxscore with a team-high 21 points, five rebounds and five assists.

But Diana Taurasi, the team’s starting shooting guard and best scorer, was forced into back-up point guard duties and committed six of the team’s turnovers. And as a group, the U.S. just didn’t handle it well when Brazil decided to give them a taste of their own medicine with some full-court pressure in the second quarter.

The U.S. pressure was still better than Brazil’s. Tamika Catchings is a four-time WNBA Defensive Player of the Year, and she clearly made an impact on that end on Monday, picking up two steals, two blocks and few more additional deflections. In fact, she didn’t even let Brazil get the ball across half-court on their first possession of the game, stripping Adriana Pinto at the foul line and cruising in for a layup to put the U.S. up 4-0.

The U.S. led 21-5 midway through the first quarter, but never really poured it on until late, because of their struggles in taking care of the ball.

With the WNBA season keeping them apart while other teams have been working together, the U.S. Women know they are at a disadvantage. And as they leave for Manchester for their next exhibition game against Great Britain, they have just 10 days to clean things up.

Monday’s game against Brazil was a gentle reminder of just how much needs to be done before they get to London.