The All-NBA Accessory Team: Iconic Player Contributions to On-Court Swag

Part of what makes the NBA great is the abundance of individuality. The players are given the freedom to express themselves both on and off the court in ways not many sports leagues cater to. You could literally be anyone and still build up your brand. Either you’re the first pick in the draft or an undrafted free agent, once you step on the court, all eyes are on you. Some are famous solely for their game, others are notorious for their personal image and a select few are remembered for both. Without a helmet to conceal their faces like the NFL, we instantly recognize a player and what they look like from head to toe.

As prominent as NBA fashion is over the years, players also carry the swag ( or for some, a lack thereof) on the hardwood, with accessories that not only aid in elevating their game (and for some of these guys, I hope that’s the case), but also express who they are as individuals. Through the NBA’s rich history I’ve put together the All-NBA Accessory Team, compiling players that built their brand through not just their game, but also their expression of individuality on the court and the hustle to push the culture forward.

HONORABLE MENTIONS:

Carmelo Anthony – Doin’ Too Much

Melo

Sometimes more is less, and that bodes true on a number of levels when it comes to Melo. I distinctly remember a time when Melo kept it simple with one arm sleeve, and a headband to compliment his sweet cornrows back in the Denver Nuggets days. Fast forward to his tenure in New York and you’d pause to ask, “are all those accessories necessary?” Please, somebody tell me it is, because I cannot possibly figure out how you move in all that clothing, not to mention score points the way Melo has all these years. I think it’s safe to say Melo’s over accessorizing rivals only his volume shooting.

Stay Me7o on the accessories, Mr. Anthony.

The D-Band

D BAND

What the hell is this.

I guess it’s only fitting that Metta World Peace, formerly known as Ron Artest, endorsed such a legendary product, so legendary in fact that most call it a myth, as it never graced an NBA game.

Looking like a headband on most nights (it’d have to be really dark for you to even call it a band) or something a sumo wrestler to cover up their lower extremities for some, the D-Bands are described as “an extension of the headband & cap that are both fashionable & functional for today’s sports enthusiast.”, according to their IG account.

Say what you want about these head wedgies, but one thing’s for certain, the NBA and us fans were robbed of the D-Band spectacle, but at the very least, it deserves an honorable mention.

6th MAN:

Chris Anderson: The Human Coloring Book

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The NBA has its fair share of colorful personalities, and more often than not these kind of guys go on the list of guys you absolutely DO NOT cross, at any given time. Chris “Birdman” Anderson is for damn sure on that list, and it’s not hard to see why. You know when you leave your 3 year old with his/her crayon alone in the living room, you’re for sure going to find countless, unwanted random doodles all over your walls. Chris Anderson is your living room wall, and just the sight of this man is enough to intimidate anyone. Couple his imposing image with rough and scrappy style of play and you’ve got an instant fan favorite that many fans gravitate to.

STARTERS:

Wilt Chamberlain – Headbands

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Many regard Wilt Chamberlain as the first true dominant force in the league. “Wilt The Stilt” contributed a lot to the game of basketball. From establishing the significance of a dominant 5 to writing the record books in his own name, the NBA and basketball in general owe a lot to the Big Dipper. You could tack on the use of the headband to his long list of contributions. It wouldn’t be difficult to spot a 7 foot giant on the court, but the headband only added further swag to his dominance. Since then many players started using headbands.

Some tried to add their own twist to it,

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others went a little overboard.

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while a few turned out to be pretty damn good basketball players donning the headband,

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and at one point, it was also used to cover up receding hairlines, I might add. (Sorry, I had to do it.)

Chicago Bulls v Cleveland Cavaliers

But the next time you see greatness wearing elastic fabric on their domes, just know that “The Big Dipper” made it cool first.

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Horace Grant – The Bespectacled One

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With the amount of players that have come and gone in the league, it’s impossible to remember every single one. Players often rely on their game to create memories for their fans, harping on their individual performances to carve their place in the game’s history.

This is how we evaluate the all time greats, and for the most part that’s not a long list, as great talent doesn’t necessarily equate to transcendent talent. But it’s also true that a select few will forever be remembered not only by their game, but how they looked playing the game, and Horace Grant checks off both boxes as one of the core players, along MJ and Scottie, in the Chicago Bulls’ first three-peat all while donning his iconic googles.

With the NBA reaching new highs in popularity during the 90s (thanks in large part to the league’s extending reach across the globe), and the Chicago Bulls almost always featured in the Finals, players like Grant were sure to get attention, and his unique accessory certainly helped familiarize the public with goggles, and why it’s okay to ball out bespectacled if it means you get to win three straight championships.

Grant wasn’t the first don eye wear on the court, as legends like George Mikan

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and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar also rocked a pair,

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while Kurt Rambis’ trademark large square glasses completed the hard-nosed, scrappy role player persona Rambis played on the Showtime Lakers.

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But in an era where technology was progressing to aid global commercialization of the league, Grant popularized the goggles and remains to this day, the most recognized player to have worn the signature specs.

Dennis Rodman – Just Dennis Being Dennis

Dennis Rodman

I could honestly make a completely different list of ridiculous NBA hairstyles (and it so deserves a list of its own), but nobody quite pulled it off like Dennis Rodman. Remember when we talked about the NBA’s many “colorful” personalities? Dennis Rodman is the whole freakin’ rainbow with a few lucky charms to boot. Notorious for both his on-cout and off-court antics, Rodman’s personality may only be rivaled by his embodiment of the junkyard dog, leading the league in rebounding for several years while standing at just 6″6! The iconic image of himself he portrayed on the court was only an added accessory to his notoriety. The NBA has been blessed with crazy hairstyles over the years, but if one thing remains constant, it’s that Rodman is the champion of NBA hair.

Some came close,

RonArtest

some tried to come close,

(“Holdat” L, Carlos.)

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but no one did it quite like “The Worm”.

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Rip Hamilton – Hoops Superhero

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After suffering a through a broken nose (twice!), to avoid further damage and necessary nasal surgery, Rip Hamilton was advised to wear a face mask. Talk about a blessing in disguise.

That face mask became THE face mask of the association, as Hamilton never played a game without it ever again. And after winning the NBA Finals, upsetting the Lakers in 5 games, Rip Hamilton entered public conscience as the masked shooting guard who went toe-to-toe with a young, rising star in Kobe Bryant.

Rarely do we see an athlete  as synonymous to an accessory as Rip Hamilton is, but having one of the most unique looks on the hardwood makes anyone take notice of you, and Hamilton’s game only elevated his status as one of the games stars even further, making a name for himself as the masked man in a solid core of “non-superstars” that brought Detroit a title. I honestly feel like, unless you’re a Pistons fan or diehard hoops junkie, you wouldn’t recognize Rip Hamilton walking down the streets without his facemask, which testifies to the power of an accessory in building an athlete’s persona brand.

Now whenever we see guys ball out on the court with a facemask on ala Kobe Bryant,

Miami Heat v Los Angeles Lakers

or dominate ever facet of the game like LeBron James,

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or even break unbreakable records like Russell Westbrook’s triple double frenzy this past season,

NBA: Oklahoma City Thunder at Chicago Bulls

we get that feeling of a superhero, putting all his talents on display and busting every move in his arsenal to carry the weight of adversity and responsibility, and lead his people to victory. This is a feeling we first felt with Pistons legend, and more importantly, NBA Champion Richard Hamilton, who will forever be credited for the facemask.

Too bad it doesn’t make all of us look like superheroes…

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Allen Iverson – A Man of Culture

AI Shooting sleeve

We all know who Allen Iverson is, and his countless contributions to the game as we know it is a list that solidifies his status as a Hall of Famer. From the large, crisp white T-shirts, baggie jeans and durags he wore during pressers and the tattoos and cornrows that completed the look of “The Answer” on the court, Iverson was culture personified for the NBA, and who embodied who he is as a person and owned it proudly both on and off the court.

The influence A.I. had on his peers and on the generations to follow is prominent to this day, from the countless tattoo you see on an NBA players arms, to the intricate cornrows they have on their heads, A.I. pushed the limits early in the 2000s and in turn pushed the culture to the forefront, with global, professional sports league as his platform. The iconic arm sleeve he contributed to on court swag remains the most prominent piece of accessory in the game today.

The game’s biggest stars today have worn an arm sleeve, even delivering masterful and legendary performances in the process.

Whether it was a game saving shot,

San Antonio Spurs v Miami Heat - Game 6

or a pivotal chase down block,

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or even one last gamer to cap off not just a retirement tour, but a legendary 20 year career on a 60 point final game,

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all these pictures wouldn’t be complete without the arm sleeve. Some people call it the shooting sleeve, but I refuse to do so unless guys like Andre Roberson cease to wear one. But such is the influence of a legend like Allen Iverson to have everyone and anyone wear something that he wore and made famous with masterful games of his own.

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The shooting sleeve is now a staple in today’s game, and in a small way we have Allen Iverson to thank for these iconic pictures because it wouldn’t be complete without him creating the look first. Salute to A.I., a true man of culture.

As for my final thoughts, every one of these players on the all-accessory team are innovators in their own right, not because they decided to wear simply wear an article of clothing on the court, or decided to draw on their bodies with permanent ink or change up their hairstyles. They’re innovators because they took it upon themselves to stand out, embrace their individuality and create a lasting image of themselves that will remain with us forever.

 

 

 

 

 

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NBA Season Recap: WWE Edition

Another NBA season is in the books, and there was no shortage of drama and storylines that kept every basketball fan on their seats. Around this time, as the NBA Finals have finally come to a close, us fans are able to look back at a memorable season that has set Twitter ablaze a few times this past year. All the tension and the drama motivated by various stroylines of this past season makes me think of a parallel universe where the NBA is the WWE. This season had intense feuds, inspiring comebacks and epic showcases of greatness, and as a way to recap a year of hoops, I’ll be locking myself up in my dreamatorium and look back at this NBA season through the millions (and millions) of eyes of the WWE universe.

DX / OKC Break Up

I believe it’s only fitting that I start this recap with the infamous story that broke on the 4th of July, an event that had everyone in anticipation for the start of the season, to see two brothers go to war against each other. As soon as Kevin Durant announced his “new chapter” on the Player’s Tribune, the Brodie was left high and dry.

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It was time for KD to start winning a ring, and it seems like the only way to do it was turn his back on the Brodie. Without even so much as a phone call, and after being up 3-1 in the Western Conference Finals, your comrade leaves to jump over the fence to join the very team you were just 1 game from beating to head to the Finals. That had to be as painful as the excruciatingly long wind up time to set up and hit a Pedigree.

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Triple H turned his back on D Generation X, and straight up planted Shawn Michaels on to the mat signifying that he seriously intends to chase that gold, and thus effectively beginning a legendary feud between two close friends, and ending a superstar tandem. The KD-Russ feud is a perfect parallel of the Triple H-Shawn Michaels feud in terms of the level of talent involved, the jaw dropping betrayal and the incredible amount of hype fueled by the fans that continued to throw wood in the fire and proceeded to pour gallons and gallons kerosene through a bevy of twitter memes.

No one’s going to deny each superstar’s greatness but now we can only play “what if?” when reminiscing about these two superstars and openly wonder what would’ve happened if they remained together.

DX

Brodie 3:16

With the last one standing out of the original young Thunder core, Russell Westbrook went on a mission. In a league where super teams are the trend, Westbrook was the lone superstar on the Thunder, and THE man of Oklahoma City.

OKC

As soon as the season Westbrook hit the ground running, en route to a record breaking 42(!) triple doubles in a season surpassing Oscar Robertson’s old record from a lifetime ago. In a super team era, it was refreshing to see players like him put the team on his back and lead his teams through sheer grit and tenacity only the Brodie can play with. He wasn’t interested in making friends with anybody. You were either with him (on his team) or against him, and like the Tasmanian devil, he ran rampant through the league with reckless abandon, ala Stone Cold Steve Austin, WWE’s number one badass. There are a number of Stone Cold antics from his book of badassery you could choose from, but Westbrook’s season, to me, showed shades of Stone Cold driving a Zamboni into a WWE ring in Detroit and proceeded to charge the ring full of police, with the only intention of letting all hell loose upon “The Corporation”.

RussBeast

The season may not have ended in a title, but there’s no denying the greatness of Russell Westbrook. With all the noise about him being a selfish player that drove a superstar out of town and a player that only cared about getting his, Westbrook started and finished the season exemplifying incredible competitive spirit, all while telling everyone, “Why Not?”.

And (for now), that’s the bottom line, ’cause the Brodie said so.

Underdogs

Isaiah Thomas had one of the most inspiring postseason runs in recent memory, and I’ll be the last person on this planet to ever compliment a Celtic, but this man, former Mr. Irrelevant as the 60th pick of the 2011 draft, makes it extremely hard for a Laker fan to hate on him. I’m not going to shower praise on Isaiah Thomas, the Celtic, I’m praising Isaiah Thomas, the man. After the tragic loss of his sister in a fatal car crash, this man still showed up on the basketball court for Game 1 of the playoffs and dropped 33 points on the Bulls.

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Although they lost that game, IT showed tremendous heart, and ultimately won the series. The resilience and toughness you saw from 5″9 guard no one ever knew would ascend to the status of an MVP caliber player and a big time scorer in a league of giants, Isaiah Thomas embodied the ultimate underdog, the same way the masked man of the 619 handled business in the squared circle despite his size.

People tend to judge others based on physical appearance, and both Thomas and Rey Mysterio are familiar with that type of scrutiny. Most people never thought guys like them would excel in their respective profession. Even the Lakers doubted Thomas, who made it clear that he wanted to play for the purple and gold, by deciding to pass on signing the talented point guard.

Though at first you might see each athlete as handicapped or disadvantaged in their respective field, there’s no doubt they make it work, and they’re rather good at what they do. Heck, Isaiah Thomas was so good in the series against the Bulls that he had their head coach Fred Hoiberg pointing out that the point guard “carries the ball” on every possession.

Ok, Fred.

WWE-Rey-Mysterio-53

These past playoffs silenced a lot of critics, and while they may not entirely go away, Thomas has that 53 point performance in the Eastern Conference Semifinals against the Wizards to show his them. Like the Brodie, his journey may not have ended in a championship, but if anything, he showed that he does possess the heart of a champion. But as a Laker fan, I hope he keeps that heart of a champion, and leave the real championships to us.

ITvsJW

Golden State NEXUS

I hate to say it, especially since I’m not talking about my team, but this looks to be the beginning of a dynasty. The Golden State Warriors have won 2 of the last 3 championships, and while they were impressive during their first title run, this past season they acquired an exceptional talent that could change the fortunes of any franchise, but in this case, they’re like the Juggernaut jacked up on adamantium, all because of one offseason acquisition:

.

.

.

Javale McGee

javale mcgee

In all seriousness, I don’t think I have ever seen any team dominate the league the way the Warriors have done. You could certainly argue that they’re “light years” ahead of any team. Seemingly out of nowhere, Golden State took the league by storm, the way the Nexus took to the ring unannounced, and swung for the biggest fish they could find in John Cena; the same way the Warriors knocked out the best player in the game: LeBron James.

Nexus

The way the Nexus took rings apart and destroyed whichever target stood in their way parallels Golden State’s dominance of the NBA. And if that wasn’t enough, both “factions” added a superstar that made it even more difficult for the top dog.

nexus2

Like CM Punk before him, Kevin Durant was the adamantium boost to the NBA’s Juggernaut, raising questions about who the “best in the world” truly is.

The Face That Runs The Place

LeBron James is undoubtedly the face of the NBA. As a high school phenom from Akron, Ohio, the league built him up and raised him as the face of one of the most profitable sports league in the world. There’s no questioning LeBron’s greatness, as he’s been the best player in the league for sometime now, but is it fair to question his teams’ greatness?

After suffering a season ending loss at the hands of the Warriors, James was posed a question by Basketball Insiders’ Eric Pincus about super teams, having been in super teams both in Miami and now currently in Cleveland, and whether or not he supports the formation of super teams having faced a stacked Warriors team.

Really?

LeBron James seems to be suffering from a bit of memory loss, because I seem to recall you predicting you would win “not 5, not 6, not 7…” rings with Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and the crew. His refusal to acknowledge the fact that he played for a super team, in which by the way he was the architect of, seems to rival another person’s refusal to face the music.

LeBron James is John Cena.

John Cena, WWE’s own face of the company, unquestionably the lead guy that they meticulously built their business around for the past decade, has rolled out the same tired routine all these years the same way LeBron still takes exception to facts of him playing on/building super teams. Cena refuses to turn heel, and has totally embraced being the clean cut, top guy that represents the WWE, the same way LeBron refuses “turn heel” even for just a tiny bit and admit to being on stacked teams instead of washing his hands clean.

Ok, this may have been a reach with the “heel turn”, but in all honesty, both men have been great in their respective professions, and carried their responsibilities as the “face of the franchise”, whether it’s winning titles and championships, or through their philanthropy and charity work. With all that said, they’re now both legends in their own right and household names that have filled our living rooms for the past decade.

LeBron Cena

Salute!

Draft Preview: LAVARSZN

LaVar-Ball headshot 3

Lavar Ball’s mic skills are second to none. His promo work thus far has been so captivating, that no matter how ridiculous it is, people listen and people react. Give this guy a mic and you’re guaranteed a soundbite, which is one of the biggest reasons the media always has time for a Lavar segment.

I’m 100% sure, if he’s employed by the WWE, he would be the absolute best manager in history. It doesn’t matter which wrestler you pair him up with, Lavar could sell Santino Marella vs. Doink the Clown as the main event of Wrestlemania. Yes, I’m saying Lavar Ball is basketball’s Paul Heyman.

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Paul Heyman is a promo savant who’s instantly greeted by pops by the WWE universe as soon as he enters the arena. He consistently has the audience on the edge of their seats with the way he cuts a promo and hypes up a pay per view event or a marquee match-up. He knows how to get people’s attention and he does it by simply uttering words into a mic with unbridled passion and aggression. Heyman has been the mouthpiece of talented wrestlers over the years like Brock Lesnar, as he touts himself as “the advocate of the beast”.

With the draft days away, it’s sure to be a worldwide spectacle as to what Lavar Ball does during the event. Will my Lakers draft the hometown kid? What happens if their mission of getting Ball to LA fails? More importantly, what will the cameras capture when it turns to Lavar for a reaction after the 2nd pick has been selected?

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Lavar Ball is more than a father at this point. He is an advocate; the advocate of young phenom Lonzo Ball and the rest of Big Baller Brand.

Whatever happens, it’s safe to say the elder Ball will continue to be the mouthpiece of Big Baller Brand, as he builds Lonzo’s brand and hype up the Ball name.

After June 22, the NBA will never be the same.

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Flying Under The Radar: Dennis Smith Jr.

It’s no secret that the Los Angeles Lakers have been dwelling at the bottom of the NBA for the last four years. With the last winning season dating all the way back to 2013, the Lakers have been living in the lottery ever since, praying for ping pong balls to bounce in their favor seemingly every year. Now that the basketball gods have rewarded us with 4 consecutive top 10 picks, with the last three being in the top 2, the team once again has some decisions to make for the future of the storied franchise. Admittedly, four years in the lottery has forced me, a lifetime Lakers loyalist, to consume every scouting report found on the internet and watch film on prospects dissecting every strength and weakness like Alex getting rehab from “the old ultraviolence” in Clockwork Orange. This lead me to discover a few interesting prospects over the years.

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With all these talented young players entering the draft, it somewhat becomes difficult to even keep track of everyone, ending in some prospects flying under the radar. The so-called sleepers, the diamonds in the rough, the prospects nearly forgotten because of the sheer amount of talent coming into the NBA. This year, with all the commotion surrounding the Lakers pick, the drama of who they pick in the group of Lonzo Ball, Josh Jackson and De’Aaron Fox, or even whether they trade the pick or not, I feel as if the Lakers, and most other teams in the top 10, have been overlooking a talented point guard from North Carolina State: Dennis Smith Jr.

Dennis-Smith-Jr.

DraftExpress currently has Dennis Smith Jr. sitting at #10, but I believe he can easily be as high as top 5. I mean, scouts actually have him behind mystery man from France Frank Ntilikina, who played very limited minutes overseas! It’s still a mystery to me how a player like Smith is sitting as low as number 10 in draft boards.

His blend of physicality and athleticism would fit in well in today’s game, where he can thrive in an open court style of play. He’s not as tall as as some of the top lead guards in his class like Ball or Markelle Fultz, topping in at 6″1 with shoes and a meager 6″3 wingspan at the draft combine, but his explosive play style makes up for his lack of length. Some even liken him to an Eric Bledsoe, an athletic freak in a compact body, who can create shots for himself and finish through contact, and it’s not hard to see why.

Cleveland Cavaliers v Phoenix Suns

Smith recently worked out for the Lakers this past weekend, and via Mark Medina of the Southern California News Group he reportedly recorded an impressive 48 inch vertical, highlighting a valuable strength of his and if you combine that with his tough shot making ability as a score first guard, you have yourself an impact player on day one for any team.

While Smith would be a good pick up for any team, especially for a club that needs a point guard, he does not come without some concerns. If I were to sum up his flaws, the common theme would be inconsistency. Whether it be his jumpshot or his defensive effort, his inconsistencies hinder him from being efficient in games. He has the build and the foot speed to be a good defender but effort seems to be lacking at times and his over reliance on his athletic tools makes him settle for tough shots, and while he does have the ability to make them, it does limit his efficiency in the offense. Along with many young point guards coming into the league as teenagers, he also needs to strike a better balance of scoring and facilitating because as of now, he’s merely a score first guard, which I believe the Lakers don’t necessarily need more of.

Overall, I think Dennis Smith Jr. is a great talent that would thrive in today’s fast paced, open floor NBA. His athleticism and scoring ability is valuable and almost a requisite for today’s lead guards, and his consistency issues should be amendable in a professional setting. While there are some questions of fit for him in a Lakers uniform with so many scoring guards on the roster, his natural God given gifts should at the very least warrant some consideration. He is currently an underrated talent, and most underrated talent seem to do well in the NBA.

 

Spotlight: Julius Randle Is Poised For A Breakout Year

Many believe, both within the Lakers organization and the fanbase, that Julius Randle is one of the more significant pieces that will help bring the Lakers back to its former glory. While Randle is by no means a perfect player, evidenced by his flaws both offensively and defensively, the work he’s been putting in so far this offseason may very well lead to a breakout year. At only 22 years old, the future is bright for the young power forward.

The front office has already made it known to its players to come into training camp in prime shape, and Randle seems to have taken that challenge very seriously.

Randle body change

No doubt, Randle is in prime condition to handle the grueling schedule of an 82 game season. With the up tempo offense the Lakers would like to run, conditioning will be vital for the Lakers to carry out coach Luke Walton’s gameplan, and Randle seems to have answered the call.

From all the pictures and videos that have been released of his offseason, I am excited for what the 22 year old will be able to do next season. I would like to believe that the added strength and stamina from training would help him out tremendously in finishing through contact in the paint and push the ball even more in transition. I mean, he looks like he’s training to control that nine tailed fox sealed deep within him and become Hokage of the Hidden Leaf the way he’s been going after it in his workouts.

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With trade rumors going around lately, especially at this time of the year, it’s a shame to hear Randle’s name thrown around so lightly. And yes, I know he has a lot flaws and holes in his game. With his defensive issues, a dead right hand and the wingspan of a T Rex, I could see why a lot of people want him gone.

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But with only 3 years of playing in the NBA, and with one season lasting only 14 minutes, I believe this guy has so much more to offer and has plenty of room to improve. Many forget that he was the prize that came out of the first Lakers’ lottery in years, and we we’re lucky enough for him to still be available at number 7. He was one of our first big pieces talent wise, and I believe he’s ready to elevate his talents even further next season. With a much improved jumpshot (hopefully improved enough to make consistent threes), his entire game would open up even more opportunities for himself as a slasher and playmaker.

Playing with the motor that he has, he just need to find the balance of tapping into that aggression, whether it be on the boards, transition or on defense, because he appears to force the issue too much, appearing erratic on court and making things a lot harder on himself than it actually should be. With all the tough and gritty workouts he’s been through, one has to think one of them had to include training that right hand of his, arm wrestling style ala Lincoln Hawk going up against Bull Hurley in 1987’s Over The Top.

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Remember, this is the same guy that broke his leg after just 14 minutes of game action in his first game in the pros. To come back after such an injury and average a double – double (11.3 Pts, 10.2 Reb) in what was basically his rookie season (2015) and follow it up with a more all around game of 13.2 Pts, 8.6 Reb and 3.6 Ast last season speaks volumes of not just his world class work ethic, but also his effort to craft a more all around game.

As for the rest of the NBA, watch out.

Julius Randle is about to put the league on notice.

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*All Stats courtesy of Basketball-Reference.com

 

 

 

Big Baller Brand is the Anti – Michael Scott Paper Company

The Los Angeles Lakers are once again picking number 2 overall in the NBA Draft, their third consecutive year picking in that selection.

B is the second letter of the alphabet.

Three consecutive Bs is BBB. What’s that spell?

Big Baller Brand.

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Oh and Lonzo Ball, who many consider a Top 2 pick in this year’s draft also happens to wear #2 on the hardwood. Coincidence?

I think not.

With the Boston Celtics probably selecting Markelle Fultz 1st overall out of Washington, Ball would likely be selected by the Lakers, as he is reportedly the heavy favorite in light of the team keeping their pick.

It seems to be all lining up perfectly for Ball, and the potential of playing for the Lakers in a big market like L.A. would surely entice big shoe companies like Nike, Adidas and Under Armour to reopen negotiations with the Ball camp, right?

Enter Lavar Ball.

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Big Baller Brand is the “Anti” Michael Scott Paper Company. For those of you who have never watched “The Office” (you could check it out on Netflix btw, which I strongly recommend), Michael Scott is the regional manager of a paper company called Dunder Mifflin in Scranton, PA. In one particular story line of the show, Scott decides to quit Dunder Mifflin and start his own paper company, appropriately naming it “The Michael Scott Paper Company”.

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I’ll spare you some of the details, but spoiler alert (!) he proved to be a “threat” to the longtime paper company after convincing several paper clients to switch over and order paper from the new paper company. What Dunder Mifflin didn’t know (but would find out eventually) was that this “threat” was struggling to stay in business because of their extremely low paper prices. They negotiated a buyout, but Scott and his two employees, Pam and Ryan, went the safe route and negotiated to get their old jobs back instead.

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Lavar Ball is not one to walk a safe path.

He’s clearly not negotiating for a safety blanket to land on. He doesn’t see BBB as just any competitor to the big name brands. He has his own vision.

At this point, if there’s anything we can bank on about this man, it’s that he’s supremely unpredictable and does not back down from anything he says. No matter how ridiculous it is.

lavar ball

But if one thing is for certain, it’s Lavar Ball’s determination to push Big Baller Brand. He’s already stated in the past that he’s not looking for any old shoe endorsement. He’s interested in “co-branding, a true partner”, according to an interview with ESPN.

Who knows? Maybe a shoe company and the Ball camp (Lavar) will reopen negotiations and strike a deal.

Just maybe, he takes the millions of dollars being offered by Nike or Adidas,  and gives up BBB’s co-branding pursuit.

DO NOT UNDERESTIMATE THIS MAN.

Lavar Ball continues to walk the path of independence, and while most people criticize the father for costing his son, Lonzo (who by the way is the one actually getting drafted into the NBA), millions of dollars, the Ball family seem to be all on the same page here. They continue to build up the family brand and take pride in the creative freedom and independence that they’ve afforded themselves, which has set Lonzo apart from the rest of his peers in this year’s draft. They have everyone talking, and they’ve turned the public’s eyes squarely on their family and their brand.

Lavar Ball is the mouthpiece of BBB, constantly laying pipe bombs into the heart of the internet, sending social media into a frenzy every time. This man works the mic like prime Dwayne Johnson way back when he was simply called “The Rock”, wrestling in the attitude era. Whatever your reaction is, he embraces it, because he knows he has you by the palm of his hands.

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It’s looking more than likely that negotiations are officially done between Ball and every shoe company out there. While he may be cutting checks that his son has to cash in, I wish Lavar Ball, BBB and the entire Ball family good luck in their pursuit of independence. He may often sound ridiculous, but I admire his hustle and belief not only in his business, but his son’s ability to make it big in the NBA.

So once again, good luck to Big Baller Brand, the Anti – Michael Scott Paper Company.

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(Now go watch the show, it’s on Netflix.)