Archive for February 2012

Dunk Contest 2012 – NBA All-Star Weekend, A History

As promised, below is an article I wrote last year about the NBA All-Star Dunk Contest 2012. This is non-conclusive, and importantly does not include this year’s dunks. However, I firmly believe all these points should stand as is, making stronger my bottom line. KEEP IT SIMPLE, NAIL THE DUNK. Everyone is sick of bench players jumping over each other to hit the basket hard. We see that in games now — perhaps overdone at this point; players would rather jump over the defense then dribble around.

So, read what’s below. I think you’ll find it rather enlightening and extremely frustrating. Especially since I wrote this last year, and we are sans change.

Disclaimer: This post is not meant to offend Jeremy Evans, winner of the Slam Dunk Contest 2012. His dunk was cool and rather impressive. I don’t blame him for attempting to wow the crowd. But he was 3 props too many in my book.

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Jeremy Evans Slam Dunk - Video of the win, Slam Dunk Contest 2012

Props to the Dunk Without A Prop

 

Los Angeles Clippers rookie Blake Griffin cleared the front hood of a car, with the support of an on-court gospel choir, to secure the win in this year’s NBA Slam Dunk contest.  To say the least, the performance was excessive and made a spectacle of Hollywood flair in the L.A. Staples Center.

This year’s All-Star extremities forces the question: what happened to the years when a spectacular Slam Dunk performance required only three essential props: a ball, the basket and the athlete.

On Saturday, Griffin took the NBA “No Rules” contest to new extremes.  The incorporation of a 2011 Kia Optima into his final dunk made it nearly impossible for runner-up JaVale McGee to win the votes of fans across the country.

“You bring a car out, you’re going to win any dunk contest,” Washington’s McGee told The Washington Post.  “It was smart by his part… nothing is going to beat a car unless I bring out a plane or something.”  True enough, with all the excitement, Griffin won with 68 percent of fan voting in the final round.

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However, McGee should not be excused from steering clear of Hollywood hype.  Just because he didn’t have the car, doesn’t mean he wouldn’t have dunked it had he had the chance.

Seven-foot McGee opened the competition, receiving a perfect score of 50, after bringing out a second rim to sink two balls as part of a double-basket-dunk.  The basket might have been the one to take Larry Nance’s 1984 two-for-one special to the next level, until he performed his second dunk of the evening.

McGee’s mother, former WNBA player Pam McGee, delivered JaVale a red, white and blue money-ball from the stands in a glitter-encrusted box.  Pam kissed each of the judges on the cheek before JaVale juggled three basketballs for a “three-for-one” special dunk.

So, to pose the question again, what happened to good ol’ fashioned Slam Dunking?  You know, the days when an NBA All-Star qualified as Superman by flying from the free throw line for the winning dunk.

This year, Oklahoma City Thunder’s Serge Ibaka was slighted when he did not advance to the final round after he dunked with his foot fully behind the foul line – a distance dunk that Julius “Dr. J” Erving and Michael Jordan never fully reached. Dr. J’s foot was just ahead of the foul line, and he still won the ABA Slam Dunk Contest in 1976.  Jordan scored a 50 on his dunk; he leaped from the foul line, for the 1988 NBA All-Star Dunk Contest win.

There were no props, no Superman capes (Dwight Howard, 2008), no Gospel ensembles and certainly no $19,000 cars.

Ibaka, also not to be excused from the fanfare of a prop-assisted performance attempted a more “showy” dunk for the second round.

Ibaka’s second dunk this year consisted of a contrived performance: a child actor ran onto the court, or stage rather, exclaiming he had lost his toy, and petitioned for Ibaka to retrieve it for him.  The stuffed animal sat on the rim of the basket.

However, Ibaka required two attempts to rescue the animal, as the trick was to grab it with his teeth upon the dunk.  The clock was stopped for two minutes in between the attempted dunks, in order for the court crew to re-set the toy onto the rim.

When it comes to the Slam Dunk contest, an All-Star competition created for the purpose of seeing an All-Star performance, how much is too much?  If a two-ball dunk can become a three-ball dunk, and a one-basket dunk can become a two-basket dunk, can talent be replaced by fireworks?

If in the first-ever 1984 NBA dunk contest, the winning dunk by Phoenix’s Larry Nance was a reverse one-handed windmill, what does that say about the crowd’s expectations today?

In 2008, Dunk champion Dwight Howard won the tournament after declaring himself Superman by tying a red cape around his neck – only for him to bring a telephone booth and second basket onto the court in 2009.  Upon his second superman transformation, Howard dunked into a rim heightened to 12 feet, and came out as runner-up.

Nate Robinson, three-time NBA dunking champion, made Howard his own prop and dunked over him for the winning performance in 2009.  Even Robinson’s skyscraper basket couldn’t make him a back-to-back dunk star.

Perhaps, in order to stabilize the spiraling All-Star dunk competition, the NBA should lower the rims to ten feet and lower the fans and judges’ expectations to that of Larry Nance, Dr. J and Michael Jordan.

Griffin’s elbow-hanging dunk was impressive, even though the move was reminiscent of All-Star Slam Dunk Champion Vince Carter in 2000.  Both champions hung from the rim by their elbow after the dunk, but Griffin added an alley oop.

The fact that Ibaka could not even advance to the next round after perfecting Dr. J’s own dunk, defines the line between a props-worthy dunk, and a dunk with too many props.

Oscar Athletes: Ballgowns for the Ballers

If you watched last night’s 84th Annual Academy Awards, you know these Oscar Athletes made sure style didn’t go unrecognized. Yes, my readers, ballgowns are not just for the Hollywood celebrities. Athletica and A-Lister alike: all dressed up and somewhere to go. In this case, it was the Vanity Fair After-Oscar party. Now, I always thought this party was for those who didn’t snag an invite to the main event. On the contrary, statue-holders and statue-ladies all swarmed to this A-bar for garb and gossip.

First things first: who knew that Tim Tebow was the life of the party? Not exactly by-the-bible, but because he’s such a sweetheart, we will let it fly.

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Tim Tebow and Amy Adams

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It’s a Tebow-Tennis-Club! Tim, sandwiched by Serena Williams (yellow) and Venus Williams (raspberry). Both girls look quite lovely.

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Tim Tebow, Jon Hamm and a whole lot of love.

On another note: shout out to Sean P. Diddy Combs for supporting the Oscar-winning documentary “Undefeated.” Now, we know P. Diddy isn’t technically a pro-athlete, but Undefeated is heard to be a tear-jerking Football docu.

P. Diddy says that he cried “four times.” Nothing like a rapper with a soul.

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Okay, fine, so I’m officially obsessed. But nothing says haute like this athlete-designer duo. (David and Victoria Beckham)

Lastly, I’m sure you’re all wondering why I have cleverly evaded the topic of NBA All-Star Weekend. Truth be told, the event was an absolute bore.

Skills Test: Kyrie Irving didn’t shrug a shoulder or grimace at the fact that he totally blew the skills competition. It’s like the event never happened for him at all, especially after it took him every ball in the basket to knock down a shot.

Three-Point Contest: Alan Houston, you’re truly an incredible B-balller. Everyone else, nobody noticed you even stood at the 3-point line.

All-Star Game: East vs. West was really a “Who Cares Less” run-around. After Lebron gave up the winning shot for a failed pass and turnover, I think everyone realized they had just wasted three hours of their day.

Dunk Contest: I’ll be posting a story I wrote last year about this fine version of American competition. There’s nothing to be said about this year’s comp. Agreed?

Beyonce and Jay-Z, The Sweetest Style

I know I am a couple days late on this shot, but could Beyonce and Jay-Z could any cuter? Jay-Z, part owner of the NBA New Jersey Nets, took recent Mommy and wife Beyonce to the Knicks – Nets game. The Blue Ivy Carter Baby-momma had a little bit of pregnant leftover chub, but that’s okay. Just because she is 1) gorgeous and 2) the epitome of awesome, we don’t care at all.

Also, props to the two of them for totally dressing and acting laid back and cool.

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To be honest: I simply can’t stand seeing absurd superstars, sitting court side, all jazzed up. Beyonce and Jay-Z both nailed down the right swag for the big game.

Beyonce: Rag & Bone tuxedo jacket; Christian Louboutin pumps and to top it off: nOir Brooklyn Bridge two-finger ring. It’s like she’s been waiting for this game to wear that ring.

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Though, I can’t decide which bothers me more: B’s 5-inchers, or Z’s Tims. What are your thoughts?

Jeremy Lin: Off-Court Coolness

This post on Jeremy Lin (you all know the guy) isn’t style-centric, but it definitely hits on what could be considered “social swag.” Look for the phrase on Urban Dictionary next week.

Anyone in the know, meaning reads at least some form of news or media at least once a day, has recognized the unusual number of racial slurs pointed at Lin. It’s an unusual situation, as Lin is the first American-Asian NBA player, to come from Harvard, to turn the world of basketball as we know it: upside-down. But, does this justify the somewhat humorous remarks towards Lin’s Asian-ness?

One Asian fan, interviewed after the Knicks-Lakers game, said: “See, Jeremy Lin proves that Asians can play basketball and Asians CAN drive!”

I found this chart on Barstool Sports:

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ESPN Editor Anthony Federico was FIRED the other day, for headlining “A Chink in the Armour” in reference to Lin. Federico claims this was an honest mistake, and says he has used this phrase in sports writing many times in the past. Anchor Max Bretos was suspended for the same indiscretion.

I’d like to commend Jeremy Lin however, for his off-court coolness. He has openly forgiven the two, and seems to take all these racial assaults in stride. Perhaps Asians have a better handle on their own stereotypes, but no other basketball player to my knowledge has let the fans and public play around with him to this extent. (Ron Artest World Peace anyone?)

Jeremy Lin seems to have his forgiving hand in everyone’s pockets. Sources note that Lin actually approached Kris Humphries in the locker room, and in so many words said, “I think it’s B.S. that everyone boo’s you on the court. I don’t understand why.” Nobody asked Lin to do that, and he certainly has no affiliation with the Kardashian Khaos Kollection.

So, who votes Jeremy Lin as the first NBA and professional athlete to embody Social Swag?(While we’re on it, Humphries certainly does not embody social swag. Anyone who says they get off on crowd anger and says, “There’s nothing better than sending 19,000 people home upset [Monday] night at the Garden,” has serious social swag inhibitions).

In future posts, I plan to pick up on Social Swag-ities. Stay in line, superstars. We’re judging you.

 

New York Fashion Week: More Athlete Appearences

So, everyone knows the pleasure of New York Fashion Week, and all that there is to offer. Amazing street style, new colors, crowded clubs and a congested Upper West Side. But, the street looks make it all worth it. Take a peak at February 2012, and how these athletes make a game out of appearances. It’s nice to see our sweaty superstars all gussied up.

You have to give it to them, the Giants sure know how to keep a Superbowl Win fresh in the public’s mind. And by public, I mean New York, naturally.

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Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz at New York Fashion Week. (second from right)

Victor, how we love your oh-so-uncharacteristic preppy look. You shine like a new penny.

Pictured with Bradley Cooper (stud, swag, all of the above); Tommy Hilfiger (take it or leave it) and Kellan Lutz (Twilight, enough said).

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Minka Kelly at Oscar de la Renta, in OdlR.

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Okay, so she’s not quite an athlete. But, she was the star of Friday Night Lights, and every guy, gay or straight, knows Tim Riggins is the epitome of SWAG. AND, she is back together with Derek Jeter. This clip from the New York Times is too funny to pass up. We love you, Minka!

“Minka Kelly,” said Sasha Charnin Morrison, the magazine’s fashion director.

“Who?”

“You know, Derek Jeter…”

“What?”

“Charlie’s Angels?”

“Huh?”

“Friday Night Lights.”

“Oh.”

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Maria Sharapova, tennis and fashion femme.

Left: Vera Wang presentation, wearing a Carven top, rag & bone skirt and Jason Wu coat. Per usual, she is adorned with her sponsored Tag Heuer watch and just-not-cute Cole Haan shoes. Maria, where are your Tiffany earrings? If you’re going 2 for 3, you might as well finish it off.

Right: Rodarte runway show.

 

David Beckham and the Other Beckhams: New York Fashion Week

It’s New York Fashion Week, and what better to exemplify Sports and Style then a look at Victoria and David Beckham. Soccer star David Beckham is a nearly perfect specimen; an ideal representation of mankind when it comes to both appearance and athleticism. His marriage to Victoria “Posh” Beckham, Spice Girl-turned-Fashion Designer for luxe label, Victoria Beckham, is undeniably a gorgeous union, only sanctified by four adorable children.

On Sunday, Becks was spotted front row at Victoria’s runway show at the New York Public Library. With a fancy-schmancy camera in hand, his gorgeousness shat on every iPhone and Blackberry in the room. David said that everyone wants to be a photographer at one point or another; can’t argue with that. We’re glad you’ve got the goods to back it up. He next-seat neighbor, Anna Wintour, was an asexual stick in his presence. I’ll take British tats over Vogue tweed any day. C’mon Anna, take off the shades.

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Victoria’s new line was much to be expected: sleek lines and tailored fits. The clothes wore the model, in the best way possible. Classic and sexy.

Becks strutted into the library in a dapper grey suit. If anyone knows the designer, please inform!

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And could Harper Beckham be more adorable? Kids with swag. Enough said.

Side note, to carry on from my last post – Lin shot 38 points off of the Lakers. He killed it. Anyone who saw his slow take on Jared Jeffries knows what I’m talking about.

Jeremy Lin, the Knicks and the NBA: Absolute Linsanity!

This second post is just too easy. Jeremy Lin, you are killin’ it out there. When I first saw the headline in the New York Times on Monday, combining Ivy League and NBA, I scoffed. Typical Times, to make elitist plays off of American athletics. Clearly I was behind, and little did we all know of the LINSANITY to come.

Jeremy Lin, Harvard-grad, D-league alum was no more then Thanksgiving leftovers two days late. Cold potatoes and dry turkey on day-old rolls; a shadow of many, many delicious bites before that. So what happened? He was dropped, dropped again, and picked-up. Any Knicks fan, now I mean true Knicks fan, pre-Carmelo and pre-Amar’e, should be peeing their pants. With the Linsanity, has come chemistry. A much-needed anecdote to Superstar-itis.

Let’s talk about Lin style. American-born Chinese, first to play in the NBA and totally modest. What’s more humbling then $800,000 a year? Maybe if we cut all of the salaries… oh wait, that was tried. I love the fact that Lin knows he’s on a run, and he knows to take it slow. Game by game, play by play. Because once the big boys are back in, things are going to change. It’s important to keep a cool head.

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While the whole Linsanity phrase is a little lame, I am totally eating it up. I’ll be attending tonight’s Knicks vs. Lakers game, and I can’t wait to catch the vibe. Kobe dribbling the subhead, with Lin front page news? I’ll take it any day. There’s no style and swag like taking the spotlight from B-ball royalty, and not even flinching.

I want to know what my readers are thinking. Is Jeremy Lin a phase, or the real-deal? What will tonight prove, if he scores double-digits off King Kobe?

 

Sports and Style: First Game of the Season

Think of a penny: heads or tails? Well, I’ve got the homepage advantage, and we’re tackling them both: sports and style.

This blog for is the lady among men. You know, the girl who knows her stuff. The one the guys look at and say “Hmm, that’s impressive. I’m surprised you knew that,” after she mentions OSU’s Markel Brown and his ridiculously dirty dunk back in January. She understands that it’s always exciting when the defensive end intercepts a pass, but thinks it is absurd that they begin sucking down oxygen on the sideline after the 4-second play.

Believe it or not, boys, but style is at the heart of the game. Amar’e Stoudemire collaborates with Rachel Roy to design trend-based threads; Wisconsin’s Montee Ball would tap-dance his way into the end zone. Now, who’s got better style? In a nutshell:

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The Fab Five rocked these game time black socks

After four years at a Big Ten University, and three years working in an Editorial Fashion Closet, I know this blog will take a swig from the secret fountain of pure inspiration. Given that the Super Bowl was last night, and March Madness is just on the horizon: let’s skip the coin toss and get goin’ with on-and-off the court looks.