Archive for June 2012

NBA Draft 2012: picks, plans and pocket squares

Maybe it’s the tedious, commercial-ridden NBA Draft 2012 program or the prolonged decision period between each pick and round, but the boys this year certainly livened something up. And we’re not talking about the Million Dollar Smile.

Boys become men, and college athletes become professional players. And so it goes: black suits and white, wrinkled button-downs become sleek sport coats and crispy, checkered tops. A swift congrats is in order for these draftees, who chose to forgo the age-old (classic) backpack-and-slacks and instead, adorn their flat-rimmed team hats with Stern and swag.

And now, for our version of the NBA draft 2012 in Dapper

#1 Terrence Ross, Toronto Raptors

If the Geek-Chic Squad (Lebron, KD, Westbrook, that’s you) is leading the way in NBA swag, then Mr. Terrence Ross has it down to a tee. The bow-tie has never looked so cool.

David+Stern+Terrence+Ross+2012+NBA+Draft+Ki21JZlad23l NBA Draft 2012: picks, plans and pocket squares

#2 Dion Waiters, Washington Wizards

You know Dion’s mother chose this tie, and we love her for it. An homage to Syracuse, and the shirt-and-tie combo conveniently coordinates with the Cavs logo. Adorable!

Dion Waiters 1024x576 NBA Draft 2012: picks, plans and pocket squares

#3 Jeremy Lamb, Houston Rockets

If you ignore your instinct to tuck that pocket-square back where it belongs (the pocket), then you can eye those sharp black buttons on Lamb’s collar tips.

David+Stern+Jeremy+Lamb+2012+NBA+Draft+ofYBH4rD1wBl NBA Draft 2012: picks, plans and pocket squares

#4 Damian Lillard, Portland Blazers

Broadway meets B-ball, but we’ll take it.

crop NBA Draft Basketball t640 damian lillard NBA Draft 2012: picks, plans and pocket squares

#5 Anthony Davis, New Orleans Hornets

Maybe its the eyebrow, maybe its the height, but this man shouldn’t ever wear anything that is prompted with: “Can I pull this off?” This finely tailored look suits first-drafted Davis.

void0 NBA Draft 2012: picks, plans and pocket squares

And for the anti-draft. Well there’s just one. We’re sorry Austin Rivers, but even the actual McDonald’s staff got a new uniform this month.
nba g rivers15 400 NBA Draft 2012: picks, plans and pocket squares

Experiencing R.A. Dickey and his Magical Knuckleball

Baseball

New York

R.A. Dickey

New York Mets

 

dickey mound Experiencing R.A. Dickey and his Magical Knuckleball

R.A. Dickey during last nights' game at Citi Field. From Barton Silverman of the New York Times

Last night, as I sauntered out to the Field Level seats along the left field line in the middle of the sixth inning, I, along with the 29,014 others at Citi Field, realized that something special was once again taking place. R.A. Dickey was through six commanding innings and had surrendered only one hit, a line drive single to Orioles’ third baseman Wilson Betemit in the fifth, and one walk to Orioles’ pitcher Jake Arrieta in the third. He would go on to strikeout a career-high 13 batters on the way to his second straight one-hitter, becoming only the 11th pitcher in history to throw back-to-back one-hitters and the first since the Orioles’ Dave Stieb did in 1988. The first one-hitter came last Wednesday against the Rays and was largely overshadowed by Matt Cain’s incredible perfect game in which he matched a perfect game record by striking out 14 Astros. This time, Dickey’s feat stood alone and was truly an achievement to behold. Perhaps part of the night was aided by the fact that my buddies and I paid only $6 for upper deck seats and managed to sneak down to premium level sections, but the achievement of Dickey would have made this game worth ten times as much.

A big part of what makes Dickey so special, in my and many others’ opinions, is the remarkable adversity he has overcome, not only in terms of finding success in the big leagues, but overcoming serious obstacles in his childhood. A now well-publicized victim of repeated sexual abuse as a child, Dickey suffered for years from a variety of anxieties and distresses caused by the childhood trauma. Here is a link to the E:60 report on Dickey’s story from this past May: http://espn.go.com/video/clip?id=7879339. A big step, indeed one that is exemplary of his progression, was the publishing of his memoir earlier this year, titled Wherever I Wind Up: My Quest for Truth, Authenticity, and the Perfect Knuckleball (http://www.amazon.com/Wherever-Wind-Up-Authenticity-Knuckleball/dp/0399158154). The title brings up the knuckleball, which is the other most intriguing part about this story.

Currently the only pitcher in baseball to use the knuckleball as his primary pitch, Dickey has remade himself and found success at an older age by establishing himself around this pitch. Tim Wakefield, Phil Niekro, Hoyt Wilhelm are a few of the other most famous knuckleballers and Dickey seems to quickly be joining their ranks. The likely starting pitcher for the NL in the approaching 2012 MLB All Star Game, Dickey is now 11-1 with a flat 2.00 ERA and an insane 103 strikeouts. A great story, Dickey is an inspiring story whom everyone can root for. Seeing him at his best was a special experience, whether it cost $6 or $600 to be there.

mets game 1024x764 Experiencing R.A. Dickey and his Magical Knuckleball

The view from our "$6" seats was just too good not to snap a picture of...

Lil’ Wayne Gets Into Game 1 of the 2012 NBA Finals, Swag Outfit Ensues

Lil’ Wayne

2012 NBA Finals

Miami

Thunder

Nike
Dr. Dre

 


Following the recent controversy over rapper Lil Wayne’s denied entry to Game 3 of the Western Conference Finals between the OKC Thunder and San Antonio Spurs in Oklahoma City (http://www.cbssports.com/nba/blog/eye-on-basketball/19220331/lil-wayne-denied-by-the-thunder-for-game-3.), Weezy was spotted at Game 1 of the Finals, undoubtedly supporting the Miami Heat.

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Lil' Wayne at Game 1 of the Finals

Lil’ Wayne rocked a clean pair of orange and black Nike Dunk High’s and his usual assortment of jewelry. Note as well what appear to be his obligatory pair of Beats by Dr. Dre, again pointlessly wearing headphones while sitting courtside at the most important basketball game yet this year. Although these ‘phones weren’t diamond studded, (http://gizmodo.com/5888593/lil-wayne-wearing-diamond-studded-beats-by-dre-headphones-is-everything-wrong-with-rapper-headphones), Weezy managed to make his courtside return in style (left).

Because he got a ticket beforehand this time, Wayne was not prompted to publish another tweet like this…

wayne tweet 300x113 Lil Wayne Gets Into Game 1 of the 2012 NBA Finals, Swag Outfit Ensues

Lil' Wayne's tweet after his denied entry to the Thunder Conference Finals

Lil’ Wayne, whose real name is Dwayne Michael Carter Jr., is no stranger to controversy. Wayne has been arrested three times for various charges most of which have involved some kind of drug charge. A noted user of marijuana, Lil’ Wayne served eight months of a year-long sentence in 2010 following his 2007 arrest in New York. Police stopped him on July 22nd, 2007 when, after a concert at New York’s Beacon Theatre, they found him smoking pot outside the his tour bus, which they then searched, uncovering a handgun which landed Lil’ Wayne with an illegal possession charge and a year of jail time. The highly publicized sentence, which he served at Riker’s Island, prompted the famous “Free Weezy” mantra as he became a bit of a cult hero in prison, despite his incontrovertible conviction.

Lil’ Wayne has also constantly made headlines for his extravagant fashion statements. Often mixing skate culture brands like Spitfire or Vans with high-end fashion lines like Gucci or Louis Vuitton, Weezy’s outfits are as ridiculous as they are entertaining. For example, here’s a picture from earlier this year in which he wore snowboard boots to a Lakers game (from LilWayneStyle.com)…

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Lil' Wayne and his Vans snowboard boots at a Lakers game earlier this year

…and one from a concert in New York City where he combined the Air Jordan “Son of Mars” shoes with a leopard-print pajama/tracksuit (from SoleCollector.com).

wayne tracksuit Lil Wayne Gets Into Game 1 of the 2012 NBA Finals, Swag Outfit Ensues

Lil' Wayne and the Jordan "Son of Mars" at a concert in New York

It’s also noteworthy how many of his fashion moments come at basketball games. Here’s one from Game 4 of this year’s Eastern Conference Finals (from FreshnessMag.com) where Wayne paired the Nike SB Mid “Mama Bears” with shorts and T-shirt from Billionaire Boys Club and checkerboard socks, with a Lakers hat to top it all off. Compared to some of his other outfits, this one, amazingly, seems quite normal.

lil wayne mama bears Lil Wayne Gets Into Game 1 of the 2012 NBA Finals, Swag Outfit Ensues

Lil' Wayne and the Nike SB "Mama Bears" at Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Finals

 

Victor Cruz, Air Yeezy 2′s and New York’s Puerto Rican Day parade

New York

Cruz

Nike

Jordan

Puerto Rico
cruz at the parade Victor Cruz, Air Yeezy 2s and New Yorks Puerto Rican Day parade

Victor Cruz at the Puerto Rican Day Parade with Yeezy 2's

New York Giants star wide receiver Victor Cruz continued establishing himself as a premier New York sports celebrity this past weekend as he appeared in Sunday’s Puerto Rican Day Parade, marching down Fifth Avenue in New York. ( http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/giants-super-bowl-star-victor-cruz-heats-puerto-rican-day-parade-article-1.1093185) Of Puerto Rican heritage himself, Cruz joyously showed off his famous salsa moves throughout the afternoon, all while rocking perhaps the year’s most anticipated shoes, the Nike Air Yeezy 2’s. Extremely limited in quantity (only about 4,000 pairs have been released), the Yeezys have long been making headlines, most recently for the ludicrous ebay deal they sparked in which someone reportedly paid over $90,000 for a pair (article below) http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2012-06-07/nike-air-yeezy-2-auction-on-ebay-closes-for-90-300

yeezy 2 pink black 300x235 Victor Cruz, Air Yeezy 2s and New Yorks Puerto Rican Day parade

Air Yeezy 2's

Cruz first grabbed headlines last fall when he broke onto the scene as the bright spot on a New York Giants’ team riddled with early season woes. Teaming up alongside such established talents as receivers Hakeem Nicks and Mario Manningham, Cruz emerged as Eli Manning’s favorite and most productive target in a season that culminated in the Giants’ second Super Bowl victory in five years.

As a rookie, Cruz set the Giants’ single season record for receiving yards (with 1,536 on 82 receptions) to go along with 9 touchdowns. One of those nine was an NFL-record-tying, 99-yard, touchdown reception against the Jets in Week 16. Cruz’s breakout game came against the Philadelphia Eagles in which he had 3 receptions for 110 yards and 2 touchdowns. It was also during this game in which he unveiled his trademark salsa dance touchdown celebration (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8j1jkYAmIs4) that, along with his consistently impressive production, made him an instant sensation across the league.

The Nike Air Yeezys first made headlines in 2009 with the release of the original Air Yeezy. A collaboration between Nike and rapper Kanye West, the much-hyped shoe retailed for $215 but pairs now rarely go for less than $1000 because of their exclusivity. The Air Yeezy 2’s, which dropped back on June 9th came as the latest release in a year already full of chaotic Nike releases.

concord 115 300x214 Victor Cruz, Air Yeezy 2s and New Yorks Puerto Rican Day parade

Air Jordan 11 "Concord" Retro

Around Christmas time, the release of the Air Jordan Concord 11 Retro’s sparked widespread pandemonium, including violent riots at malls across the country as shoppers clamored for the latest re-release of the iconic basketball shoe (http://hypebeast.com/2011/12/air-jordan-11-concord-release-causes-riots-nationwide/). The Concord Retros now go for around $500. Later, in May, the Nike Air Foamposite One “Galaxy” editions sparked similar riots when they came out and the highly exclusive shoes today sell for over $1500. (http://abcnews.go.com/US/nike-foamposite-galaxy-shoes-riot-ebay-bidding-war/story?id=15784216#.T9jVaStYuFc).

foams1 300x214 Victor Cruz, Air Yeezy 2s and New Yorks Puerto Rican Day parade

Air Foamposite One "Galaxy"

Why Miami Should Embrace Being the Underdogs

Miami

LeBron

Thunder

Durant

The Big Three
2012 NBA Finals


lebron durant Why Miami Should Embrace Being the Underdogs

LeBron and Durant in Game 1


About a year ago today, LeBron and Miami faced Dirk and Dallas in the 2011 NBA Finals. It seemed a foregone conclusion that Miami, following the infamous “Decision” of that previous summer in which LeBron “took his talents to South Beach,” would walk away with their first championship under the reign of the Big Three. To call Dallas an underdog was a vast understatement. Aged and perhaps too reliant on their star power forward, Dallas nevertheless managed to shock the basketball world by becoming the 2011 NBA Champions. Now, for the second straight year, Miami is in the 2012 NBA Finals and despite many labeling the Thunder as the favorites, the pressure on Miami is even greater.

Miami, however, is a different kind of underdog than was Dallas. With experience in the finals that the Thunder don’t have, and a Big Three that (on paper) ought to be far ahead of Durant, Westbrook, and Harden, Miami doesn’t seem like the underdog. Yet the Thunder, after dropping Games 1 and 2 to the Spurs in the Western Conference Finals, won four in a row and cruised to the Finals. This came while Miami struggled with the Boston Celtics and thus prompted many to label the Thunder as favorites. Miami faced elimination in Boston, down 3-2 going into Game 6, when they rebounded to win the next two and make the Finals by the skin of their teeth.

For comparison’s sake, Dallas beat the Thunder in the 2011 Western Conference Finals in five games but everyone thought they reached the end of the road in the finals. Understandably, Dallas, with Dirk playing out of his mind, defeated an inexperienced and too-young Thunder team. The 2011 Miami team differed greatly from the 2011 Thunder with stars in the primes and plenty of playoff experience and were thus the heavy favorites. This year, with Russell Westbrook having been the league’s best point guard, Kevin Durant affirming his place alongside LeBron and Kobe as the best players in the league, and James Harden drawing comparisons to Spurs’ great Manu Ginobli, the Thunder are a different team. Coupled with Miami’s Conference Finals struggles, the Thunder have been labeled the Finals favorites.

For too long, it has seemed like everyone from Miami fans, to Coach Erik Spoelstra, to LeBron himself have thought that simply because LeBron, Chris Bosh, and Dwayne Wade were on one team, they would win, not only regular season games but titles. That they didn’t need cohesion or humility or indeed a point guard because other teams would simply roll over and concede victory.  Yet Dallas didn’t do it last year and if Game 1 in 2012 proved anything, it was that the Thunder aren’t going to do it, as they battled back from a 13 point deficit to defeat Miami 105-94 last night. See the New York Times' game wrap-up here: www.nytimes.com/2012/06/13/sports/basketball/with-poise-and-power-thunder-rally-in-nba-finals-opener.html?ref=sports.This Miami team needs to embrace their underdog status and fight back throughout this series the way the Thunder fought back in Game 1; by regrouping at halftime and not giving up on each other or on the game.  They need to rally when down in the series, as they are now, and repeat the perseverance they demonstrated in Boston in Game 6 of the Conference Finals.

If Miami wants to win this series, they need to drop the fanfare, tune out to all media outlets, and focus on their coach, their strategies, and their games. In short, while the Big Three must dominate, they also must act like any of the other 9 players on the Miami roster by bearing down and getting things done. There is a time for individual leaders but Miami will only win if they find the balance between supporting each other and encouraging dominance from the Big Three.