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Special Championship Edition

Der Champ

Finals MVP Dirk Nowitzki brings home ďŹ rst NBA Championship for the Dallas Mavericks $4.99 USA

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The Gameplan DeparTmenTs

5 The Point 9 Jumpball numerology: Our look into the numbers of the NBA gets hijacked by Shaq; head2head: LaMarcus Aldridge vs. Zach Randolph; Know Your newb: Gordon Hayward; First Five: Sonny Weems, Ryan Anderson, Tyler Hansbrough, Gerald Henderson, DeAndre Jordan; Celeb row: Charlie Murphy; Dancelife: Dallas ManiACC Big Rob; Brack-It: Which player made the biggest jump?; In his shoes: Alonzo Mourning looks back at the biggest shot of his rookie year.

FeaTures

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Simply Mav-elous Going into the season, and even well toward the end of the regular season, the likelihood of a 2006 Finals rematch didn’t seem very plausible. That it did come to fruition was a pleasant surprise as the Dallas Mavericks and Miami Heat gave the world a series that will go down as one of the best in history. Take a look back at the six games that made the Dallas Mavericks first-time NBA Champions.

31 24 Seconds with Eric Gordon

46 Call Out The NBA and WNBA provide tornado relief; Brandon Jennings’ busy offseason; The Heat and Mavericks find time during the Finals to open up learning centers; Lisa Leslie is recognized for her inspiration to women.

49 Check It spin moves: Rodney Stuckey’s favorite TV show might shock you; Triple-Double: Thaddeus Young and Carl Landry debate two albums and offer up their summer playlist; Goods: Our summer picks for consumer tech highlighted by the iPad 2; Official Goods: The best in NBA gear; Gear: Summer basketball kicks, featuring the adidas Crazy Light; Wear: Stay fresh this summer with our T-shirt picks.

66 Stepback Looking back at Shaq’s first Finals appearance against Hakeem Olajuwon.

68 Final Exam Dwight Howard might be the class clown, but did he pay enough attention to pass our test?

PHOTO CREDIT/NBAE/GETTy ImAGEs

POSTER The latest Finals MVP Dirk Nowitzki is paired up with the latest Hall of Famer Dennis Rodman.

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2010-11 Greatest Hits Not since the days of Michael Jordan-led Chicago Bulls teams has there been as much attention on one team in the NBA. Everywhere the Miami Heat went, arenas were packed, wanting to get a glimpse of the power trio of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. The Heat aside, fan interest was at an all-time high thanks to the amazing aerial feats performed by Blake Griffin, Kobe Bryant making his gradual ascent atop the NBA scoring charts and rising teams like the Oklahoma City Thunder and Chicago Bulls led by their two young stars, Kevin Durant and Derrick Rose. Of course those were just the top line items. Peep the entire look back in our annual aggregation of the season.

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THE PoINT Volume 39, No. 4

Editor-in-Chief Ming Wong #2 Design Director Kengyong Shao #31 Editor-at-Large Jeramie McPeek #4 Online Editor Darryl Howerton #21 Copy Editor Trevor Kearney #8 Tech Editor Shane Battier #31 Style Editor Caron Butler #4 Straight Shooter Kevin Love #42 Videogame Editor Nate Robinson #4 Music Editors Thaddeus Young #21, Carl Landry #24

It is not without some irony that a team that calls themselves the Mavericks was the squad that played like a true team. And the losing team1 was the one that succumbed to their namesake.2 Whether it was the extra pass, the confidence in defensive3 rotations/assignments or the execution of the play to its perfection, the Mavs played with the efficiency and precision of a group of guys who trusted each other in battle. It didn’t matter that: the Mavericks’ best player, Dirk Nowitzki,4 who was possibly the third-best player5 in the entire series, went up against a team with a pair of top three talents coupled with an All-Star caliber third wheel; that the Mavs’ supporting offensive pieces to Nowitzki were a 38-year-old Jason Kidd,6 and a pair of 33-year-olds in Jason Terry7 and Shawn Marion;8 that their starting center, Tyson Chandler,9 (at various points in his career) has been labeled a bust, been rescinded in a trade due to health concerns and is playing for his fourth team in six years; that one of their best offensive options is a barely-if-that 6-foot JJ Barea;10 that their initial sidekick to Nowitzki was a suited-up11 Caron Butler; that middling career journeyman shooting guard DeShawn Stevenson12 was a subpar shooter his entire career; that backup center Brendan Haywood shot 36 percent from the free-throw line during the regular season and was barely available during the Finals; that one of their bench cogs is a guy whose nickname is the “Custodian”13 and looks a few years from collecting his pension; that one of their most promising young players, Roddy Beaubois, failed to log a single postseason minute; their hired gunslinger, Peja Stojakovic, shot 20 percent and didn’t log a single three-pointer; that the team has had a long-running reputation as being soft14 and coming up short.15 None of that mattered. The only thing that does matter is that the Dallas Mavericks came together and are the 2011 NBA Champions. The team that the Mavs beat out for the title? Well, I think everyone talked enough about them all season. Let’s properly give the Mavs their time in the spotlight.

WNBA Editor Lois Elfman #40 Senior Writer Michael Bradley #53 Contributing Writers Philip D’Apolito #14, Jon Cooper #10, Art Garcia #44, Anthony Gilbert #1, Brian A. Giuffra #17, Melody Hoffman #34, Andy Jasner #27, George Kiel III #15, Holly Mackenzie #32, Brett Mauser #25, McG #93, Jeff Min #12, Rob Peterson #9, Earl K. Sneed #23, Duane Watson #7 Illustrator Matt Candela #52 Retired Numbers #6, #11, #13, #30, #99

Professional Sports Publications 519 8th Avenue, New York, NY 10018 Tel: (212) 697-1460 Fax: (646) 753-9480 Executive VP Operations Jeff Botwinick Executive VP, Business Development Martin Lewis Executive VP, Sales Steve Farkas Executive VP, Sales Mitch Gibbs Executive VP, Team Relations Dave Gerschwer Executive Administrative Director Julie Wong Manager, Marketing Services Aron Sawyer Production Manager Jaime Ziegler Production Assistant Tara Malloy

NBA Publishing/NBA Photos Executive VP, and Executive Producer, Production, Programming, and Broadcasting Danny Meiseles Senior VP, Multimedia Production Paul Hirschheimer Senior VP, Entertainment & Player Marketing Charlie Rosenzweig Senior VP, Marketing Communications Mike Bass Senior Director, NBAE Production John Hareas Executive Vice President, Global Merchandising Group Sal LaRocca Sr. Director, Entertainment Products Licensing Anne Hart Sr. Manager, Entertainment Products Licensing Matt Holt Coordinator, Licensing Lindsay Milne

Ming Wong #2

Manager, Global Media Programs Felecia Groomster BONUS POINTS 1. This will all make sense when you get to the bottom. 2. Four-letter word that is slang for pressure. 3. Overlooked in the Finals was the great defense from Tyson Chandler and Shawn Marion. 4. I had questioned Rick Carlisle’s claims that Dirk belongs in the top 10 of all time. He’s still not top 10, but he’s certainly climbed up a few rungs after this Finals. 5. You may disagree, but it’s true. 6. It was great to see a team-first player like Kidd finally win one. If nothing, just to shut up childhood pal and notorious trash-talker, Gary Payton. 7. Jet walks the walk. Dude could’ve put that Larry O’Brien Trophy tatt somewhere discreet, but he placed it on his bicep for all to see. We can’t wait to see the finished piece. 8. Matrix proved he can still defend elite players. 9. Dallas isn’t champ without Chandler. Just ask any of his teammates.

004

10. As if the guy who’s dating a former Miss Universe needs to win a chip. Some guys just have all the luck. 11. Our Style Editor looks fresh in a suit, but don’t forget he was an integral part of the team before his injury, and served as inspirational figure during his recovery. 12. Whose claims to fame involve a viral YouTube video of him losing to Gilbert Arenas in a threepoint shooting contest after practice, his long-running beef with the Cavs’ best player from some years back, sporting an insane amount of tattoos (including one of Abraham Lincoln on his Adam’s Apple) and a beard-growing contest against Drew Gooden (DeShawn won). 13. Brian Cardinal, who owns one of the best NBA nicknames. 14. The 67-win Mavs team that was pushed around by a crappy Golden State Warriors team in a 2007 First-Round playoff upset. 15. Losing four straight after going up 2-0 in the 2006 Finals.

Senior Directors & Senior Official NBAE Photographers Andrew D. Bernstein, Nathaniel S. Butler Vice President, NBA Photos Joe Amati Director, Photos Imaging David Bonilla Official NBAE Photographer Jesse Garrabrant Senior Photo Editor Brian Choi Photo Coordinator Kevin Wright All NBA photos appearing in this magazine, unless otherwise indicated, are copyright of NBA Entertainment. All WNBA photos appearing in this magazine, unless otherwise indicated, are copyright of WNBA Enterprises. All NBDL photos appearing in this magazine, unless otherwise indicated, are copyright of NBDL Enterprises. HOOP is published monthly, December through June, by PSP. © 2011 Professional Sports Publications. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or part without permission of publisher is prohibited. To subscribe to HOOP, call (800) 829-3347. PRINTED IN THE USA

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HISTORY WITHIN REACH.

nba.com/nbatv Check yyour local listings g for channel location or call your local service provider today.

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Numerology

The 123s of The NBA

6 The number of nicknames Shaq has officially retired upon his retirement: The Big Aristotle, Shaq-Fu, The Big Shamrock, The Big Cactus, The Diesel and Superman. 24 The age at which shaquille o’Neal was selected as one of The 50 Greatest Players in NBA history, in 1996. It was slightly controversial at the time, but 15 years later, it has proved to be prophetic.

5,317 The number of career regularseason free throws missed. Consider that Kevin Garnett has attempted only 5,687 free throws during his 16-year career.

4 The number of special-edition All-star shoes that shaq has showcased during All-star. A shoe phone in 2005; the remote control car shoe and video camera shoe in ’06; and the slot machine shoe in ’07.

1

The number of career threepointers made.

4,250 Number of career regular-season dunks

2 backboards broken in career.

All PHOTOS: NBAE/GETTy ImAGES

#34 The number ThaT The Los angeLes Lakers wiLL reTire in honor of The 3 nba Championships, 3 finaLs mVp awards and 1 League mVp ThaT o’neaL earned as a member of The Lakers.

1016-510

The career regular-season record of teams that Shaq was on, a .666 winning percentage. In his 19 seasons, none of his teams have ever had a losing season and made the playoffs 18 times. HOOP

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DANce Life

Big roB

dallaS ManiaacS HOOP: You’ve been with the ManiAAcs from Day One; how did it all get started? Big Rob: Well, at first we were just supposed to come out as just a one-time act, just to try go and change things up and do something funny for the fans. Actually Mark Cuban had seen a big guy dancing at one of the away games and the crowd was getting into it, so he told the marketing department, “Hey, why don’t you put a team of those guys together for one game?” So, they put it together, ran some ads saying they were having an audition for big guys that can dance. [The payment was] playoff tickets and a chance to dance on the court. I think they received like 80 applications and from that they chose like 40 guys to come to the audition, and it was the funniest thing you ever saw. HOOP: So, what was that first audition like? Big Rob: They didn’t really know what to do

with us so they had a choreographer do a few eight counts. They were just looking to see if guys had rhythm or if they could just learn a few simple dance moves. So, they put this routine together, ‘It’s Raining Men,’ and the rest is just history. We’ve done so much stuff. This playoffs was our 10th one. We’ve done everything under the sun, but it still feels like the first time when we go out there. HOOP: How unique are the ManiAAcs when you look around the NBA, including in your own arena, and see more traditional dance teams? Big Rob: It’s extremely unique. And the one thing I know Mark can pat himself on the back about is that we started it. I know that there’s somewhere between 12-15 teams that have a variation of either older people or big guys and they got the idea from us. And really that’s a huge pat on the back. And we hang out. I see these guys at least four to five times a week. At the end of the day, I tell the guys that you have 17 guys that you can call for anything, and most people don’t have that. That’s about as unique as it can get. HOOP: You guys were already becoming one of the most popular dance groups in the League, and then you appeared on America’s Got Talent. Was that the best

“We’re not the prettiest bunch. We’re not the smoothest, either. if you look at our game, it’s kind of dirty. i just found a dirty name and called us the Goon Squad. We go out there and do the dirty work.” —Tyler Hansbrough on the indiana Pacers’ bench unit

achievement for the group so far? Big Rob: Yeah, that’s a highlight. And we’ve done two All-Star Games, we got a spread in GQ magazine, we’ve done two documentaries on Japanese TV, The Best Damn Sports Show a couple times, several times on ESPN, CNN and spot here and there, but the ultimate was this past summer going and auditioning for America’s Got Talent. And not only making it on the show, but making it past the first round to Las Vegas, and then making it past Las Vegas to Hollywood. It was insane. Nine days, the ManiAAcs in Hollywood, everything paid for? OK, let’s do this. [laughs] So, it was so much fun, man. HOOP: So, where do you see the ManiAAcs taking their talents to next? Big Rob: To be honest with you, every year we think, “We’ve done this, so there’s nothing we can do next.” But really to me the only thing we haven’t done is a movie role, so I could see us showing up somewhere in a movie. I could see us showing up in a music video, but other than that we’ve done just about everything else. But to be honest we’re having so much fun with it, and we understand exactly what it is and it doesn’t have to go anywhere. This is where we want to be, and really our ultimate goal is to just work hard and just be a part of the Mavs’ family and do this to a point where they feel they can’t have a game without us. Earl K. SnEEd #23

“You know i remember the time i was 19, i could get hit by a car and five minutes later i would be OK.” —Shaquille O’Neal on getting older

3 PTS

What’s your greatest nBa playoff memory growing up?

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Jose calderon “I remember the Lakers-Spurs series (2004 Western Conference Semifinals) when Derek Fisher hit the shot with 0.4 seconds. I don’t think anybody expected him to make that shot. I think everybody just thought it was over, but he just got it and made it. It was unbelievable. I think that changed the whole (series). It changed the momentum. I think those kind of shots, when you fight the whole game and you’re winning, and in the last second they hit a shot like that, it’s always something in your mind.”

Shawn Marion “Probably the [1998] NBA Finals, Michael Jordan’s crossover of Byron Russell. That was tough. That would have been tough for anyone to guard him in that situation. [Russell] tried, but what are you gonna do? You know, I was a Bulls fan growing up, so watching that series and that shot, I was like, ‘That’s for real! That’s for real!’ A bunch of us were watching it at Antoine Walker’s house. We were going crazy. It was hyped up, I’ll tell you that. It was a magical moment.”

Danny BOllinger; Jesse D. garraBrant; rOn turenne; glenn James/nBae/getty images

Kevin Durant “I just remember when I was about 8 or 9, and the Bullets were the eighth seed and they played the Bulls in the first round (1997 NBA Playoffs). That whole series was fun, watching it on TV. Washington never really got to the playoffs, but they had Chris Webber and Juwan Howard, Chris Whitney and those guys. I was a big Bullets fan back then. We weren’t a real dominant team year in and year out, but we made the playoffs that year and US Airways Arena—that’s what they called it back then—was rockin’. I remember that, watching it on TV from my house, me and my mom. So that really kind of brought that competitive spirit out of me as a kid.”

HOOP

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“When you lay on a bed and eat hamburgers and drink soda, actually your day is pretty easy, not too hard,” —Yao Ming

“Why would i shoot a floater when i can dunk on you?” —russell Westbrook

straight shooter

Kevin Love

The Minnesota big man aims for honest answers to your questions What’s your go-to take-out food order?

What about room service meal? Would you ever consider growing your hair, If so, what style would you rock?

When a teammate gets a new car does everybody go to the parking area to check it out?

I usually get takeout from Manny’s Steakhouse...probably a filet mignon with shrimp cocktail and a Caesar salad. With room service I’m always eating pretty healthy so anything that I can get that’s good for me. I would grow out my hair, definitely. I don’t know if it would look too good on a big fellow like me though rocking the Tom Brady haircut. I might do a mohawk or something just to be different because that’s me. Yeah, usually it’s Michael Beasley’s car that we’re looking at because he always has new cars around.

We were skeptical, but it’s actually not a bad look for Kevin.

When Michael Beasley debuts a new car, there’s almost this much fanfare in the Timberwolves locker room.

Other than working out and working on your game, what do you have planned for fun this coming offseason?

I want to take a couple of vacations but I don’t really know the destinations yet. That’s something I’ll start thinking about after the season, but definitely going out of the country a couple of times and going back home to see my family.

What is the best and worst part of practice?

The best part of practice is when you’re scrimmaging with your teammates and they’re keeping score and you’re getting down to the last couple buckets and you need a stop or a score. If you’re going to 11 or 15 and you have to win by two and it’s coming down to that last bucket and you’re getting into it. The worst part is probably when you turn the ball over a couple of times and you have to get on the “Thanks, Darko...you just cost us laps.” line and run.

What do you never go on a road trip without?

What would you like to do if you weren’t a professional basketball player?

Some vacation suggestions for Kevin while he grows out his mohawk.

My headphones, my iTunes, my laptop, my phone, my wallet...probably more than anything my Tumi backpack which carries all of that stuff. And I have to have my toothbrush, toothpaste and all my toiletries. I might take the Ocho Cinco route and try to play baseball and be a pitcher. But if I really had to go to another job I actually would probably go back to school. Headphones...check. iPhone...check. Crap, where’s my teddy bear?

got a question for Kevin? email it to hoop@pspsports.com 012

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head 2 head

LAMARcus ALDRiDge vs. ZAcH RANDOLPH Power forwards LaMarcus Aldridge and Zach Randolph may look dissimilar; their games are anything but, as they are two of the more effective players at the position. What separates them from one another?

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Floor Game: Neither guy is known for having an all-around game, and both are more of throw-it-into-them-on-the-block forwards who are capable of manufacturing their own points. Aldridge plays it careful with the ball and rarely turns it over for a guy who gets a lot of touches, but he’s also not known to be a type of player to set up mates either. The same goes for Randolph, although he has improved on his turnovers and assists in the past few seasons. That said, the two areas where Aldridge has an advantage over Z-Bo are in transition and off the pick and roll. Although the Blazers don’t run too much, on the break, Aldridge is good at beating most power forwards down court and finishing. On the ubiquitous pick and roll that every team employs, LA is a great target to set up for the pick and pop. And this season has seen Aldridge flash toward the basket more on the play, proving that he’s just as capable rolling to the rim.

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Scoring: If this comparison took place prior to this season, it would not be much of a debate that Randolph is the superior scorer. Even though he’s averaged about 18 ppg the past three years, until this season, Aldridge relied primarily on his capable outside stroke and finesse moves around the basket. This season, however, the should’ve-been All-Star has diversified his offensive game, namely developing some power moves inside (LA is one of the league leaders in dunks this season and even has bruises on his wrist to prove it) and getting to the line (just 71 games into the season, he’d easily surpassed his career-high in free-throw attempts). Randolph might be a one-trick pony since almost all of his attempts come in the paint, but this horse can get the ball into the bucket efficiently. Although undersized for a 4, Randolph uses his bulk to get position where he can muscle the ball through guys. This has served him well throughout his career, as he’s averaged 20 ppg five times in his 10 NBA campaigns. He has a passable jumper, but it’s not his strength, nor is putting the ball on the floor. A big plus to Z-Bo’s repertoire is his excellent offensive rebounding, which leads to many putback points. While Randolph’s offensive game might not be majestic like Hakeem or Kareem, Z-Bo just gets it done, finding ways to score even if it’s sometimes ugly.

Advantage: ALDRiDge

Advantage: RANDOLPH

Aldridge

Randolph

PPG

21.8

20.1

APG

2.1

2.2

RPG

8.8

12.1

SPG

1.0

0.8

BPG

1.2

0.3

FG%

.500

.503

3PT%

.174

.186

FT%

.791

.758

PER

19.2

22.6 ’10-11 stats

014

Doug Pensinger/nBAe/getty imAges

LAMARcus ALDRiDge

ForwArd 6-11, 240 pounds PORtLAND tRAiL BLAZeRs

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By Ming Wong #2 “I don’t care if my momma’s on the court, I’d hit her, too.” —Chris Paul on his competitive nature

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Defense: As effective as Randolph may be on the boards (he sits at 9.2 over his career with a personal high of 12.5 this year), he’s a poor defender. His lack of lateral mobility and speed means difficulty in staying in front of most players. A lack of commitment on the defensive end also means he gives up a lot of uncontested jumpers. His career mark of 2.8 fouls per game might also indicate a lack of aggressiveness on D. Although on the plus side, his attention to boardwork means getting to a lot of errant shots and preventing second-chance points. Aldridge is no world-stopper on defense, but he’s put in some time to improve himself. At an inch shy of 7 feet, LA uses his height and reach to keep scorers at bay. This season he’s even averaged a combined 2.0 in blocks/steals, which shows he’s active on defense. This season he added extra bulk, meaning he’s less prone to get pushed around on the block as in years past. Aldridge achieved a personal high on the boards this season, but eeking out another rebound of two per game would make him a vaunted 20-10 performer. Despite being a much better rebounder, Randolph’s other deficiencies on defense can’t overcome Aldridge in this area.

Advantage: Aldridge

Zach randolph ForwArd 6-9, 260 pounds

Leadership: Early in his career, Randolph was an impressionable youngster on a team full of veterans where he had a less-than-stellar reputation as a teammate. Now it’s exactly the opposite: Randolph is one of a few vets on a team full of younger cats. The turnaround has been dramatic. The player once labeled as immature and selfish is now the guy teammates turn to for guidance. In an Sports Illustrated article, Aldridge was cited as being the rock to his mother during her battle with cancer and was the guiding force in helping his brother not give up after he lost his job. In the Blazers locker room, Aldridge is already a lead-by-example guy with his work ethic. In addition, head coach Nate McMillan is always challenging Aldridge to become more of a vocal leader on the team. With his ascension to the team’s best player this year, things are primed for Aldridge to take the reins.

Advantage: Aldridge

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Round

Clutch: Throughout Aldridge’s career, the Blazers have put the ball in Brandon Roy’s capable hands in tight situations, but with the guard ailing most of this season, the next in line is #12. He’s not knocked down any YouTube-worthy game-finishers, but LA is one of the most dependable offensive players to throw the ball into. Opportunities beget clutch and Aldridge will soon be besieged with plenty of chances to play hero. Randolph is not known as a player to come up big in closing situations, only because he’s either not been afforded the chances or played on bad teams that saw little crunch time. He’s had some late-game heroics, most recently the 20-foot rainbow he knocked down to beat the Mavericks on the road in early March. A coldblooded scorer, Randolph certainly has the makeup to take and make shots like that.

Advantage: rAndolph

Joe Murphy/NBAe/Getty IMAGes

MeMphis griZZlies

The VerdicT It’s tough to argue for Randolph in this matchup against a counterpart that is equally as good right now, but who is younger and getting better. Randolph has been one of the best producers at his position for a long time now, but Aldridge is every bit as effective right now and we envision him surpassing Randolph’s peak, so we’re going with LA.

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FIRST FIVE

BY ART GARCIA #44 Larry Brownâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s departure opened the door for more than Paul Silas in Charlotte. Gerald1 Henderson2 went from being a bit player to a starter with the coaching change, and quickly rewarded Silasâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; trust with the most productive stretch of his young career. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Heâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s one of those coaches that gives you conďŹ dence, lets you play,â&#x20AC;? Henderson says of Silas. â&#x20AC;&#x153;For me Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve gotten a lot better learning his system and also getting conďŹ dence from my teammates, but I still have a lot of room to get better.â&#x20AC;? Henderson, 23, played sparingly last year as rookie lottery pick out of Duke.3 It wasnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t much different this season until the demanding Brown abruptly stepped down in December. The February trade of Gerald Wallace to Portland cleared up even more minutes for Henderson, an athletic 6-4 shooting guard looking for a chance. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s not fun when youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re not playing,â&#x20AC;? he says. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m always a good teammate4 and work on my game5 to get better, but at the same time you want to be out there on the court playing in a game setting like youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve done your whole life. When youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re not doing that itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s tough.â&#x20AC;? A leader and winner at Duke, Henderson wants to be part of the future in Charlotte and do his part with a franchise that hasnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t known much success. â&#x20AC;&#x153;The biggest thing for me is I want our team to do well,â&#x20AC;? he says. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I love how I can inďŹ&#x201A;uence and impact that.â&#x20AC;?

BONUS POINTS 1. His full name is Jerome McKinley Henderson Jr. His dad was given the moniker â&#x20AC;&#x153;Geraldâ&#x20AC;? in his hometown of Richmond, VA. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Gerald was a nickname for Jerome,â&#x20AC;? Henderson says. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I canâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t really explain it, but thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s where it came from.â&#x20AC;? 2. Geraldâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s dad, Gerald Henderson Sr., played 13 NBA seasons and won three titles, but Junior never felt any pressure to live up to his dadâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s legacy. â&#x20AC;&#x153;That pushed me, not to outdo him or be better than him, but earn my own way,â&#x20AC;? 3. Henderson credits Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski for helping mold him into an NBA player: â&#x20AC;&#x153;Coach

15 - Guard - Charlotte Bobcats

K has a vision for you as a player when you come into school. Heâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll push you as a player all the time youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re there.â&#x20AC;? 4. Gerald was high school teammates with Wayne Ellington at Episcopal Academy in Merion, PA.

GERALD

5. Gerald is a scratch golferâ&#x20AC;Śduring the offseason. â&#x20AC;&#x153;During the season my game goes to the basement,â&#x20AC;? he admits. â&#x20AC;&#x153;After, I try to ďŹ gure it out again.â&#x20AC;?

HENDERSON

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Ellington went to North Carolina before being drafted by the Minnesota Timberwolves.

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TRANSITION GAMe

Do you play basketball? No, I watch. My job is to tell jokes. Basketball is a contact sport. I’m in show business. I can’t do stand-up with a sprained ankle, I can’t be in front of the camera with teeth missing. On Chappelle’s Show, in “Charlie Murphy’s True Hollywood Stories,” the skit had you famously losing a game of 5-on-5 to Prince and the Revolution. True story? It was true! Of course he didn’t have on the outfit or the pumps and stuff; he had regular clothes on. Everything else was true. We went to his house after the club and we played basketball. We didn’t even think it was funny when it happened. So it’s true? Prince can ball? Back then he could, he has a slick little man’s game, very fast.

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If you had to pick four players for a rematch vs. Prince’s team, who would you take? My Celtics: Rajon, Ray Allen, KG and Paul Pierce.

Charlie Murphy When Charlie Murphy started in the entertainment game, he was simply known for being Eddie Murphy’s older brother. After the widespread success of Chappelle’s Show and performing his comedy around the world, the screenwriter and actor has established a successful stand-up career of his own. Murphy has an affinity for hoops that goes beyond his infamous pickup game against Prince, the portrayal of basketball guru Leroy Smit1h in an Air Jordan campaign and his passion for the Boston Celtics. You’re a New York guy, how did you become a Celtics fan? I liked Pierce, Garnett and Allen as individual players, so when they formed the big three that made me a Celtics fan. I was a Lakers fan, but then they broke up Kobe and Shaq. Now we have Shaq on the Celtics, it’s a perfect squad.

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So you recently started doing stand-up comedy after all of these years? That’s my main source of income, that’s what I do more than anything else. I’m doing this movie right now, but I’m booked doing stand-up all the way to December. I do real well so that’s good, but the bad side of it is I’m a single parent, which makes it kind of rough. What else are you working on? I’m getting ready to do another stand-up DVD in July, called The Charlie Murphy Acid Trip. Right now I’m shooting a movie with Will Saso from MAD TV, it’s called The Guys Who Move Furniture. I’ll be in another comedy called Cookout 2 coming out this year; there’s a lot of cameos in it: Jalen Rose, Rick Ross and Jay-Z. I also did some commercials with the NBA that will aired during the playoffs. It’s with some talking basketballs; one of those basketballs is Charlie Murphy. Duane Watson #7

COurtesy Of Charlie murphy

How did you feel about the Kendrick Perkins and Nate Robinson trade for Jeff Green and Nenad Krstic? I like Perkins. I didn’t want to see him go. But you know, it is what it is.

In your autobiography The Making of a Stand-Up Guy, you wrote about your awkward fan moment with Kareem AbdulJabbar. Have you seen him since the airplane incident? No, and I don’t want to see him. When you see somebody and you have a confrontation with them and admit to yourself that you did something childish, you don’t want to see them no more.

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BY DUANE WATSON #7

24 - Forward - Toronto Raptors

SONNY

With Chris Boshâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s departure, Sonny Weems, DeMar DeRozan and Amir Johnson are the promising future1 of the Toronto Raptors. Weems spent time up north during the offseason working out and training with team staff. He also endeared himself to the city when a fan invited him to play at a local run via Twitter. The West Memphis, Ark.2 native agreed: â&#x20AC;&#x153;Pick a day this week to have people at the gym and me and DeRozan will come play.â&#x20AC;? Fans and ballers alike arrived en masse and true to Weemsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; word they came, they saw and they conquered. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s just part of our personality,â&#x20AC;? Weems says. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s not for the attention or for anything else. We play open gym back home anyway; fortunately, we just have a bigger name here so whenever we do something like that it kind of always goes public.â&#x20AC;? On the NBA hardwood, the third year forward posted career stats of 10.7 points 2.6 rebounds and 2.3 assists through mid-December, before suffering a back injury that forced him to miss 18 games. â&#x20AC;&#x153;The season started off great, and then gradually went downhill. Getting injured was hard â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;cause I ainâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t ever really been hurt like that.â&#x20AC;? Yet he bounced3 back to post career season averages in points,4 assists, and free-throw percentage and remains positive despite the Raptors growing pains. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Hopefully next year will be a better season.â&#x20AC;? With new expectations, Weems has already proven that he doesnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t shy away from challenges.5

WEEMS BONUS POINTS

1. The trio have dubbed themselves â&#x20AC;&#x153;Young Onez.â&#x20AC;? 2. In the 2008 NCAA tournament, Weems led the Arkansas Razorbacks to their ďŹ rst tourney win in nine years, knocking off Indiana University and freshman sensation Eric Gordon.

FERNANDO MEDINA/NBAE/GETTY IMAGES

3. Weems won the 2008 NCAA Slam Dunk Championship and assisted J.R. Smith at the 2009 NBA Slam Dunk Contest and DeMar DeRozan at the 2010 NBA Slam Dunk Contest. 4. Weems scored a career-high 25 points in a Raptors win against the 76ers in 11/17/10. 5. Heâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s been on three other teams in his NBA career (Chicago, Denver, Milwaukee). In addition, he led the Colorado 14ers to the D-League championship in his rookie season.

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“Hard for me to come to work? That’s the funniest thing I’ve heard today. There’s challenges and obstacles whether you’re the CEO of a Fortune 500 company, whether you’re doing surgery and you’re in the medical field. There’s challenges every day. Sometimes you have travel issues getting from city to city, but guess what? You still show up, right? I love what I do.”—Avery Johnson

KnOW YOUr nEWB

gordon Hayward

Utah Jazz

How hard was it watching Butler and UConn go at it during the nCAA Tourney? Well it was tough because they played so well throughout the tournament. I don’t think they played poorly they just didn’t shoot the ball well. They picked a bad game to go cold and it was tough watching them because I know they wanted to win so badly. So from the college game to the pros, what’s been the toughest adjustment? I think the mental aspect is the biggest transition. You go from being the guy on the team getting the ball all

the time and playing the whole game to sitting. This year I’ve had to watch from the bench a little bit, and even when you’re in there you’re not the first option and it’s just been different. It’s an adjustment you have to make.

has the team got through that? Has it made the team stronger? I think so. It’s obviously been different, but at the same time, moving forward, I think it’s good for us. We’re excited as a team.

It’s easier to pinpoint what it would take physically to succeed in the nBA, but the mental hurdles are a little bit harder to overcome. Did any player take you under their wing? Raja Bell did a good job of showing me the ropes a little bit. Mentally though you just got to deal with the change in mindset and realize your time will come, and that right now you got to wait it out.

It seems like new head coach Tyrone Corbin is running a lot more plays through you. I think he just wanted me to be more aggressive and expand my game. He feels he can get more out of me so he’s putting the ball in my hand a little bit more and letting me make plays.

Did you experience any rookie hazing? Uh, at the beginning of the year we had to dance in front of everyone. We had sort of a rookie dance off. We had to carry pink bags to all the away games, which was kind of rough. I had to get bagels before the game and [fellow rookie] Jeremy [Evans] had to get doughnuts. We all had to go through that, so it was alright. When head coach Jerry Sloan resigned the entire culture of Jazz basketball changed. How

Any parts of your game you plan on improving on over the summer? I’m going to work on everything. When you come into this league you realize that everything’s got to improve, every part of your game has to be sharp. I’ll definitely hit the weights and get stronger. What about your free time? Hopefully I can go on a couple vacations with my friends, and kind of get away from the game for a little bit. It’s been a while since I’ve been away. I’ve been going nonstop. It’ll be nice to have a little break. Jeff Min #12

In HIS SHOES

Alonzo Mourning

on his game-winning shot in Game 4 of the 1993 NBA Playoffs, First Round

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Steve Freeman; nathaniel S. Butler/nBae/Getty imaGeS

When you think about professional basketball, most of the guys live to compete. It was very exciting because it was my first time in the playoffs. You’re ready to get your feet wet, prove yourself, and for us, it doesn’t get any bigger than facing the Boston Celtics in the first round. That was a pretty big hurdle to face in only my rookie season. Growing up and watching all those guys, Robert Parish and Kevin McHale, compete against the Lakers, and then to be on the court against them, I wanted to prove myself to them. For us to beat them was a pretty amazing accomplishment for the Hornets franchise. The play where I scored the series-clinching shot, the play was originally designed for Dell Curry. Because he was the inbounder, we were supposed to screen and throw it back to him, but when the whistle blew, he had no one to throw it to. I was the outlet pass and so I ran to the top of the key. I was so wide open and the seconds seemed to be ticking off the clock so fast, I just shot it and it went through and everyone jumped me on the floor. It was one of the most exciting moments in my professional career. Alonzo Mourning As told to Mcg #93 HOOP

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When the Indiana Pacers made coaching changes1 in the midseason, Tyler Hansbrough’s role changed, too. “[Head coach] Frank [Vogel] told me I was going to be a big part of the offense and he wanted me to help contribute on a nightly basis and see consistent minutes,”2 says Hansbrough. “ I kept my game up to par, really working hard. When I wasn’t playing, I was always in the gym working on my game with the assistant coaches trying to get a little better so when I did have my chance I would make the most of it. “All the time in the gym really paid off.” Limited to just 29 games3 during his rookie season, the 6-9 second-year forward has been an immediate source for points and rebounds4 for the young team. Over a 10-game stretch in March, the former North Carolina Tar Heel5 scored 20-plus points seven times. His scrappiness, midrange game and scoring ability down low and with pick and pops helped the Pacers get into the playoffs for the first time since in 2006. He does admit that he needs to continue to get better and this offseason6 he’ll be working on his defense7 with his younger brother, Ben,8 who is currently playing college ball at Notre Dame. If things go accordingly, the Pacers will have another piece in place on their burgeoning young team next season.

BY MELODY HOFFMAN #34

BONUS POINTS 1. Assistant coach Frank Vogel took over for Jim O’Brien on 1/30/11. 2. Hansbrough went from averaging 8.9 minutes a game in December to 30.4 min and 16.8 pts in March and started all six games in April. 3. The same number of games Tyler started this year. 4. For the 2010-11 regular season, Hansbrough averaged 11 points and 5.2 rebounds in 70 games. 5. The 2008 national player of the year led the Tar Heels to an NCAA championship in 2009. 6. This offseason Hansbrough says he will work on his game beyond the arc. “I want to develop my jumpshot farther, maybe possibly have three-point range and also work on my left hand.” 7. Says Hansbrough: “I think I’m growing as a defensive player and really starting to pick up on the rotation.” 8. Tyler and Ben played on the same Missouri high school team together and led Poplar Bluff High School to back-to-back state championships. Tyler says the possibility of the brothers both being in the NBA next year would be a dream come true. “It would be pretty cool. It would be awesome if I played with him, too.”

50 - Forward - Indiana Pacers

TYLER

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FIRST FIVE

09 - Center - Los Angeles Clippers

DEANDRE 024

From mid-December throughout all of January, DeAndre Jordan played like his old teammate and mentor Marcus Camby.1 “Marcus told me this game is really all about timing and where to position yourself,” recalls Jordan of his former Clipper teammate. “That goes for offense, offensive rebounding, defensive rebounding, blocked shots and screen and rolls.” In those 21 games, Jordan seemingly was always at the right place at the right time, averaging 2.3 blocks and 9.1 rebounds in 26.1 minutes per game, while starting for the injured Chris Kaman and playing like a Camby clone.2 Consequently, the Los Angeles Clippers were winning at unprecedented levels, taking 14 of 21 games3 and knocking off NBA elite in the process (Lakers, Heat and a road win over the Bulls).3 Rookie of the Year Blake Griffin was the showstopper, but even he was crediting4 Clipper D and good friend D.J. for getting the party started in L.A. “It was great,” says the 22-year Jordan. “I just tried to do my job, just do my role. Whenever I had a chance to block or alter a shot or even just contest it, that’s what I tried to do. Just try to limit shot opportunities to help my team out.” Injuries5 later took out Eric Gordon, ending the Clippers’ 2011 playoff hopes. But with Gordon and Kaman back in the lineup March 2, the team started to jell again, starting a string that went 10-7, despite losing Gordon for another half dozen games in the midst of that span. “If we come out and play the way we know we can play and execute all 82 games,” says Jordan, “then of course we’re going to be in the 2012 playoffs. I just really think with a full, healthy team and us playing the basketball we’re capable of playing, the sky’s the limit for us.”6

BONUS POINTS 1. Camby was the Clippers’ starting power forward/center in Jordan’s first two NBA seasons in 2008-09 and 2009-10. 2. In Camby’s two years as a Clippers’ starting big, he averaged 9.2 points, 11.6 rebounds, 2.0 blocks in 31.2 minutes per game; in his first season as Clippers’ starting center, Jordan averaged 7.1 points, 7.2 rebounds and 1.8 blocks in 25.6 minutes per game. 3. The team won nine home games in a row, bringing the excitement—and even old fan Billy Crystal— back to Clipper games in Staples Center again. 4. During that stint, Griffin said, “It starts with our defense. When we get steals and blocks and we start running the floor, that creates those exciting plays for us.” 5. The Clippers went 32-50 in 2010-11, despite Eric Gordon and Chris Kaman missing 26 and 50 games, respectively. 6. Jordan adds: “We’ll be a team that nobody thinks can do it, but we all have each other’s back and we believe in each other.”

NOAH GRAHAM/NBAE/GETTY IMAGES

JORDAN

BY DARRYL HOWERTON #21

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FIRST FIVE

BY BRETT MAUSER #36

He was hurt, he got sick, and on top of all that, he wasn’t playing much. For Magic forward Ryan Anderson, even after he committed to polishing his game last summer, the expectations he had for the 2010-11 season weren’t being met. At that point, it wasn’t his game that needed to be revamped; rather, it was his woe-is-me attitude. Anderson scrapped it and focused his energy on contributing when given a chance, and believing that things would turn around. They have, and the confidence with which he plays now is a byproduct of Orlando’s belief in him. “It was a really tough time for me, but it helped me grow as a person,” he says. “I realized that basketball is my life, and when I changed my attitude, everything started getting more positive.” Rashard Lewis1 was dealt to Washington2 in December, freeing up minutes for Anderson. He seized the opportunity, averaging three three-point makes a night in January at a 42 percent clip, and poured in nearly 12 points per game over the season’s final four months.3 The Magic have reaped the benefits as well, having won 50-plus games for the fourth straight season.

33 - Forward - Orlando Magic

RYAN

ANDERSON 026

BONUS POINTS

1. Lewis’ 10-game suspension to start the 2009-10 campaign opened the door for Anderson, who averaged 15 points a night over six games of that stretch before spraining his ankle. 2. That Anderson had proven his mettle allowed Orlando to trade Lewis to the Wizards for three-time NBA All-Star Gilbert Arenas in January. 3. Anderson’s stroke began to round into shape in eighth grade. When friends mocked his shoot-fromthe-hip form, he reworked his shot. After growing into a big man, he began to fire from outside during his freshman year at Oak Ridge High School. 4. Anderson has played in the 240-pound range this season but hopes to hold steady at 250, where he feels he’s most effective. 5. He was a first-round selection (21st overall) by New Jersey in the 2008 Draft. After his rookie year, he was dealt with Vince Carter to Orlando for a package that included the next pick in the ’08 draft, Courtney Lee.

FERNANDO MEDINAL/NBAE/GETTY IMAGES

“When you get consistent minutes, you play better more consistently,” Anderson says. “But it takes a lot of hard work to get those minutes.” Anderson’s been dynamite on the pick-and-pop, and opposing 4s have had trouble finding their guy crashing the boards from 22 feet out. He and Brandon Bass have been the perfect complements to Dwight Howard on the block. This offseason, he’ll work on getting stronger4 and, as defenses give him more attention, further developing his pull-up jumper. Anderson5 knows what it took to earn his role and how quickly he can be replaced. “It’s been pretty unbelievable,” Anderson said. “I’ve been given this amazing opportunity, and I feel so blessed. It’s been a great year.”

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BRACK-IT

EIGHT THINGS. ONE UNDISPUTED CHAMP.

WHO MADE THE BIGGEST JUMP THIS SEASON?

As much credit Kevin Durant deserves for Oklahoma Cityâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s success, it might not be possible without Westbrook. His ascension into the top ďŹ&#x201A;ight point guards of the League is equally as paramount to the Thunderâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s success. Comparatively against Chris Paul, the standard bearer of point guards, Westbrook compares favorably and might even have an edge on defense where his frenetic technique can wreak havoc on the opposing team. Aldridge began the season as a curious sidekick to Portlandâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s established and unquestioned leader, Brandon Roy. He was also viewed as a perimeter-oriented big man who preferred to pick and pop than roll. This year, with Roy missing swaths of time and Aldridge adding bulk and dedicating more of his offense inside, he put up a career year (21.8 ppg and 8.7 rpg) deserving of an AllStar nod. As big of a jump LA made inâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;10-11, Westbrookâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s leap was as high as one of his dunks that he routinely unleashes.

If you asked Wright and even the Miami Heat, the 16.2 ppg season that Wright displayed in his ďŹ rst year as a full-time NBA starter for the Golden State Warriors was no surprise. Miami always knew Wright had potential, plucking the swingman in the â&#x20AC;&#x2122;04 draft out of high school. But in order to assemble the Big Three, they relinquished the swingman to free agency. Heâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s more than doubled his scoring output and continues to show a three-point stroke. Little needs to be said about Rose and his massive leap to become one of the best young players in the game that has his name in the same sentences as Kobe, LeBron and Durant, which is to say heâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s joined elite status. Statistically, Rose only saw modest gains, but itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s really about his impact heâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s had on his team that puts him in the running. Taking nothing away from Wright, but he couldâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve tripled his scoring average and he might not get past Rose. Yes, Rose was just that good in â&#x20AC;&#x2122;10-11.

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It can be argued that Loveâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s potential was always there. Per 36 minutes, Love has always shown to be a double-digit rebounder. Even so, no one expected him to go Moses Malone (the last NBA player to average 20 points and 15 rebounds for an entire season) on the League. Loveâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s season put him on notice as one of the young cats to pay attention to for the rest of this decade. For his ďŹ rst four NBA campaigns, Millsap established himself as the best power forward backup in the game, spelling Carlos Boozer to an extent where many wondered if he might even be better. Boozerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s departure this year gave him that opportunity and he proved every bit as dependable, averaging two points and rebounds shy of a 20-10. The boards were down, but it can be a result of playing alongside an equally adept boardman in Al Jefferson. Still, Loveâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s season will go down as a special one since he pulled off a feat not seen in the NBA in 28 seasons.

Kevin Love Paul Millsap

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Russell Westbrook LaMarcus Aldridge

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Dorell Wright Derrick Rose

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Michael Beasley Eric Gordon

Gordon

In the 2008 NBA Draft, Beasley and Gordon were both highly touted prospects. After being taken ďŹ ve picks from one another (Beasley, No. 2; Gordon, No. 7), Gordon looked like he shouldâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve been the higher selection. During their rookie seasons, Gordon tallied 16.1 ppg while Beasley struggled to ďŹ t in despite a solid 13.9 pgg. This season, the two draftmates have both made good strides: Gordon making the jump to a 20-plus scorer (22.5, to be exact) while Beasley has established himself as one of Minnesotaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s go-to weapons on offense while averaging 19 points. A tough mid-seed matchup, but we have to go with Gordonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s smooth scoring over the spectacular, though sometimes-erratic Beasley.

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BY MING WONG #2

It’s hard to believe that the UCLA Bruins didn’t win it all in the 2008 NCAA Tournament with the Love-Westbrook tandem on the roster, one that would look equally potent in the NBA. Both were taken in consecutive picks in the draft (Westbrook, No. 4; Love, No. 5) and this year they both cracked the All-Star team in the West. Statistically, Love unequivocally made the bigger jump, putting up almost eight points and five boards above his career numbers. The 20 and 15 Moses line was unexpected, but most people could love at Love’s career per-36 minutes numbers and extrapolated his success. Westbrook was a bit more unexpected even though he’s put up two solid seasons. Even going up against an abundance of PG talent, RW has managed to shine at the position. The uptick in production has been modest, but Westbrook plays a tougher position and his role on the Thunder cannot be understated. Durant might be the constant force to OKC, but it’s Westbrook’s booming presence that gives the Thunder’s storm extra strength. Westbrook to the finals? Like his nickname, Why Not?

Westbrook

Who made the biggest jump this season?

Rose

Derrick Rose

It comes down to a battle of point guards who might soon, if not already, usurp Chris Paul and Deron Williams as the two top point men in the game. Both guys have jumped another notch on the NBA ladder in their third years and both look to stay on top for the remainder of the decade. Westbrook made the tough leap from being a 16.1 ppg scorer to a 21.8 one. While it may look simple. many players have struggled to conquer that ceiling. And it may not mean much in the grand scheme, it does demonstrate Westbrook’s drive to improve upon a game that was already pretty good to begin with. His fearless approach might sometimes seem overzealous, but it’s that exact quality that makes him so effective, dangerous and a game-changer. What made Rose the top pick in the ’08 draft wasn’t his deft ballhandling, ability to get to the basket, speed or any other natural skill he’s been blessed with. What made him stand out to the teams vying for him and Chicago the fortunate team to garner his services is the inner drive he possesses in wanting to be better. As he’s grown, the Bulls have improved with him. And just like this season when Rose made a quantum leap, so have the Bulls, making him an easy choice for this Brack-It.

Much like Rose’s first-round opponent, Gordon’s rise this season was predicated on scoring more points, which he did very well. If Gordon can improve on his 45-percent mark from the field next season, get to the line more and shoot the three ball better, he can explicably see 25 ppg next season. As good as ’10-11 was for him, Gordon still has room to improve, which speaks volumes. That said, if Gordon were to jump to 25, drop about four more dimes, beef up the defensive intensity, lead his Clippers to a top seed in the conference, there’d be more of a debate here. OK, the top seed part was unfair as that is a team accomplishment, but it does show the divide between Rose and Gordon’s ’10-11 performance. Rose in a second-round cakewalk.

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NBA Hoop Troop is the new place created just for young basketball fansâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;with highlights, activities, events and more. You can become a member at

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24 seconds

with Eric

Gordon

By JEramiE mcPEEk #4

HOOP: We hear you’re back in Indiana right now? GORDON: Yes, I am. I came back to see family. HOOP: Do they still call you Mr. Basketball1 when you’re back in town? GORDON: Yeah, yeah, they do. You know, that meant a lot. When you see the guys before you, like Oscar Robertson and Larry Bird, it’s always great to have your name up there with those guys. HOOP: Do you get priority seating at restaurants by checking in under the name Mr. Basketball? GORDON: I’d probably get comped or something [laughs]. Everybody knows who is Mr. Basketball in Indiana. HOOP: How soon after the season ends do you pick up a basketball again? GORDON: About a month and a half. I take a little break. HOOP: Was it difficult to watch the playoffs rather than being a part of it? GORDON: No, I love watching the playoffs, especially being at games in that environment. I mean, I wish I was in it, but you’ve also got to learn about the playoffs for when you do get there. HOOP: Now tell us the truth: You headed home to Indiana after the playoffs ended so you didn’t have to hear about the Lakers in L.A. for two months, right? GORDON: Yeah, basically [laughs]. The Pacers are in the playoffs, so I’m going to check those guys out. HOOP: What’s it like sharing the Staples Center? GORDON: It’s a good arena, but it’s different sharing it with another organization. It’s basically like roommates. HOOP: What’s the difference between Lakers games and Clippers games inside the building? GORDON: They are different environments. I like our Clippers2 environment better, because I think our fans are really in tune with the game. The crowds are into it and the attendance was really good for us this year.

Jennifer Pottheiser/nbae/getty images

HOOP: The Lakers, obviously, are known for their celebrity fans, but you guys have a lot of stars come out, too, right? GORDON: I’ve seen Billy Crystal at a lot of games. The guy from The Green Mile, Michael Clarke Duncan3 attends a lot of our games. We get a lot of different people that come at different points of the season. HOOP: You didn’t mention Clipper Darrell. He’s practically a celebrity now. GORDON: Clipper Darrell! He’s probably the No. 1 fan for the Clippers. It’s always good to have a guy like him. He has a fire about him, where he wants us to win. HOOP: You need to get a red and blue suit4 like his. GORDON: [laughs] I don’t know about that. He’s very supportive.

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HOOP: Let’s talk about Blake Griffin. What did he mean to your team this year? GORDON: He definitely means a lot. He brings a great work ethic every day, and he’s a rebounding and scoring machine. HOOP: How much fun has it been to play with him? GORDON: A lot of fun. You know, he makes spectacular plays up in the air. Not many guys in the League can do what he can and jump over people. It’s always good to see a big man like him come down the court, making plays, dribbling and also getting those dunks. HOOP: Have you ever dunked over a car? GORDON: No, I’ve never really dunked over anything like that. But I dunked over my brother5 once. He’s about 6-1. HOOP: NBA TV followed Blake around for 24 hours. What would fans see if they followed you around for a day instead? GORDON: A lot of people would think I am a comedian. I’m a jokester and am always pulling pranks on guys in the locker room. HOOP: How would you grade your season? GORDON: I would say a B+. Scoring wise, I showed I am capable6 of being one of the best in the League, and I did it while shooting a good percentage. And I was making plays for everybody on my team. HOOP: If you hadn’t injured your wrist7 and missed so many games, you would have been a contender for Most Improved Player. GORDON: Right. I think I probably would have helped our team’s record, too, if I was in some of those situations in late games where we were close and I didn’t get a chance to play. HOOP: When the season ended, what did Coach Del Negro tell you he wanted you to work on over the summer? GORDON: Just to keep working on my ball handling, my low-post game and become even more of a leader. HOOP: You’re still a young guy with a lot of room to grow. Where do you see yourself in five years? GORDON: Well, definitely an All-Star and hopefully an MVP candidate, and an NBA Championship contender. HOOP: What do the Clippers need to do to take the next step as a franchise? GORDON: We can make a big step up if we can just stay healthy. Every team has some injuries, but we can’t miss as many games as we did this year. I’m looking for us to be a playoff team next year and be one of the elite teams soon. HOOP: What else are you going to do this summer? Do you have any vacation plans? GORDON: Yeah, I’m going to do some traveling for vacation and business reasons, too. I’m doing a couple camps overseas in Europe and China. HOOP: You were in Turkey last summer for the World Championship. What did that mean to you to represent the U.S.? GORDON: It meant a lot. I always wanted to be a part of a USA experience. I still remember the first Dream Team like it was yesterday. Michael Jordan, John Stockton and all those guys. They just killed everybody. HOOP: Are you wearing your gold medal right now? GORDON: No, I don’t wear it. I’ve got it in a nice display case. HOOP: What’s it like having a birthday on Christmas day? GORDON: I enjoyed it growing up. We celebrated Christmas that day and my birthday at night, so I got presents all day.

Bonus Points 1. Gordon was named “Mr. Basketball” as a senior at North Central High School in Indianapolis,

3. Who also coincidentally voiced one of the “talking balls” for the NBA’s playoff commercials this year. 4. Check out the suit and the red and white ride at ClipperDarrell.com. 5. Eric’s younger brother Evan recently transferred to Arizona State University to play basketball. 6. Gordon averaged 22.3 points, 4.4 assists and 2.9 boards, while shooting 36 percent from behind the three-point line. 7. The third-year guard suffered a sprained wrist during a game in late January and missed 26 games. The Clippers went 7-19 without him.

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a year after Greg Oden won the award playing at Lawrence North. 2. The Clippers selected Gordon with the 7th overall pick in the 2008 NBA Draft out of Indiana.

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* According to 2000-2011 erankings.com and NPD data. © 2005-2010 Take-Two Interactive Software and its subsidiaries. All rights reserved. 2K Sports, the 2K Sports logo, and Take-Two Interactive Software are all trademarks and/or registered trademarks of Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc. The NBA and individual NBA member team identifications used on or in this product are trademarks, copyrights designs and other forms of intellectual property of NBA Properties, Inc. and the respective NBA member teams and may not be used, in whole or in part, without the prior written consent of NBA Properties, Inc. © 2010 NBA Properties, Inc. All rights reserved. Microsoft, Xbox, Xbox 360, Xbox LIVE, and the Xbox logos are trademarks of the Microsoft group of companies and are used under license from Microsoft. “PlayStation” and the “PS” Family l ogo are registered trademarks of Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. The PlayStation Network Logo is a service mark of Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. Wii is a trademark of Nintendo. © 2006 Nintendo. The ratings icon is a trademark of the Entertainment Software Association. All other trademarks are property of their respective owners.

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SImply Mav-elous Few predicted that a Dallas team featuring a veteran core would even make it to the Finals, let alone win it. But the Mavericks never stopped believing in themselves, reminding everyone that basketball played as team will always prevail. The victory gave four longtime NBA stars, Dirk Nowitzki, Jason Kidd, Jason Terry and Shawn Marion, their ďŹ rst taste of being NBA champions. NAthANiel S. Butler/NBAe/Getty imAGeS

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Dallas is all too familiar with what Dwyane Wade is capable of doing in a short series. Despite the difference in outcome, Wade was every bit as deadly as he was in 2006 when the two teams met in the Finals. Over the six games, Wade averaged 26.5 points while shooting 55 percent, 7 rebounds , 5.2 assists, 1.5 blocks and 1.5 steals. JeSSe D. GArrABrANt/NBAe/Getty imAGeS

With one of the most original nicknames in the NBA, Brian “the Custodian” Cardinal was a solid contributor for Dallas off the bench. JeSSe D. GArrABrANt/NBAe/Getty imAGeS

He might no longer be able to do the freakishly athletic things he once did in his career that earned him the “Matrix” moniker, but Shawn Marion can still get up to finish a dunk without the aid of any CGI.

In their 11-year run of playoff appearances, Dallas has always lacked a pivot who could control the paint. The addition of Tyson Chandler proved to be a difference as the Mavs were able to have a dependable presence in the middle. NAthANiel S. Butler/NBAe/Getty imAGeS

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In the 2006 Finals, Miami’s Udonis Haslem was able to keep Nowitzki in check. Five years later, no one on the Heat roster had an answer for him, as Nowitzki was able to constantly shed defenders off—including Haslem—to get to the basket. mike ehrmANN/Getty imAGeS SPort

Going into the series, all eyes were on Miami’s vaunted trio of stars and whether or not Dallas would be able to match up against the three. ANDrew D. BerNSteiN/NBAe/Getty imAGeS

A streaky but inconsistent shooter throughout his 13year career, it was fortunate for the Mavs that DeShawn Stevenson was on a hot streak during the Finals, shooting 54 percent from the field and an even better 56 percent from three. NAthANiel S. Butler/NBAe/Getty imAGeS

The series was a tightly contested battle between the two teams with many lead changes, so it was fitting that it came down to hustle plays and scrapping for the ball—like this one between Mike Miller and J.J. Barea. mike ehrmANN/Getty imAGeS SPort

The Dallas defense cooled the Heat attack for most of the series, but on the occasions that it showed some cracks, Dwyane Wade was able to capitalize in a big way. Pool/Getty imAGeS SPort

One of the few bright spots for Miami during the series was the play of Mario Chalmers. The third-year point guard proved he’s not shy on the big stage, averaging a solid 11.8 points per game and shooting 40 percent from three-point range. NAthANiel S. Butler/NBAe/Getty imAGeS

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Is it a surprise that someone with 11,578 career assists knows how to throw a perfect bounce pass? Just look at the precision of the pass, between two defenders to a cutting—and just barely in the frame—Chandler for what was likely an easy basket. Well played, Jason Kidd. ANDrew D. BerNSteiN/NBAe/Getty imAGeS

They weren’t of the gameending variety, but Mario Chalmers still managed to impress with two makes to end quarters. This one pictured ended the first quarter of Game 3. JeSSe D. GArrABrANt/NBAe/Getty imAGeS

We’re not sure if it was in French or English, but Ian Mahinmi, by way of France to the NBA, unleashed his pregame huddle scream to amp up his teammates. Besides providing hype, the backup center for Dallas gave the Mavs plenty of tough boards and some interior scoring when Tyson Chandler was on the bench. ANDrew D. BerNSteiN/NBAe/Getty imAGeS

In a rare crunch time miscue, Wade mishandled the inbounds pass at the end of Game 4 with 6 seconds remaining and the Heat down three points, fumbling away a good shot opportunity for Miami. Bill BAPtiSt/NBAe/Getty imAGeS

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What makes Dirk Nowitzki so difficult to guard is that his lights-out jumpshot sets up his forays to the basket. Once in the paint, the right-handed Nowitzki is adept at finishing with his left hand. GArrett ellwooD/NBAe/Getty imAGeS

An underrated matchup during the Finals was Tyson Chandler going up against Chris Bosh. The two 7-footers were regularly mixing it up in the paint for loose balls and positioning. ANDrew D. BerNSteiN/NBAe/Getty imAGeS

Dallas knew that LeBron James is at his best when he gets to the basket and commands extra attention, enabling him to create opportunities for his teammates. So when the Mavs were able to get James to shoot fadeaway 20-foot jumpers, they knew their gameplan is working. NAthANiel S. Butler/NBAe/Getty imAGeS

DeShawn Stevenson is not one who has a problem expressing himself. Throughout the series, Stevenson did his best to get under Miami’s skin as much as his tattoo artist has gotten ink onto his. With his blistering shooting from deep, Stevenson was able to flash his “three monocle” regularly. GArrett ellwooD/NBAe/Getty imAGeS

When the Heat were able to create turnovers and get into their transition game, the Mavericks were unable to keep up. It was a good thing Dallas did a good job taking care of the ball, preventing more of these breakaway Wade dunks from taking place.

Miami’s defense was every bit as good as Dallas’. It was just that when the Heat turned up the pressure,the Mavs were able to hit big shots with the shot clock expiring, get an offensive rebound or, in this case, make the right pass to negate Miami’s defensive efforts. Victor BAlDizoN/NBAe/Getty imAGeS

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In what was likely the best dunk of the Finals, LeBron James went strong into the belly of Dallas’ defense and was met with the Mavericks’ last defender at the rim, Ian Mahinmi. James went up and over the 6-11 center to flush it home. Victor BAlDizoN/NBAe/Getty imAGeS

The most demonstrative player on the court, Jason Terry feeds off the crowd, so he was regularly seen encouraging and rallying the Dallas faithful. GArrett ellwooD/NBAe/Getty imAGeS

He is smaller than some of the fans that packed the arenas during the Finals, but J.J. Barea proved that one’s game cannot be measured by size. His quickness and speed allowed him to dart around the Heat defense to score to the tune of 8.8 points per game. Joe murPhy/NBAe/Getty imAGeS

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Part of what makes Dwyane Wade so effective at finishing at the rim is that he possesses uncanny body control to squeeze himself through the tiniest sliver in any wall of defenders to get himself into a clearing to get his shot off.

Usually when a 7-footer and a 6-4 guard meets at the rim, it’s the smaller guy attacking the rim while the bigger guy is trying to protect it. In this case, the roles are reversed as Dwyane Wade goes up to block Tyson Chandler’s dunk attempt.

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Despite the burden of his newborn daughter Jaelyn’s heart condition weighing heavily on his mind and in his heart, Mike Miller soldiered on through the Finals. JeSSe D. GArrABrANt/NBAe/Getty imAGeS

When they first came together, some people wondered who of the Miami’s big three would take the last shot in games. In Game 3, the answer was Chris Bosh, as his clutch jumper in the corner sealed the win for the Heat. GArrett ellwooD/NBAe/Getty imAGeS

Jason Kidd took full advantage of Dwyane Wade’s aggressive defensive approach with the best countermove: the pump fake. It worked so well, in fact, that Wade flew up and over Kidd in an attempt to challenge the shot.

For those who have followed Jason Kidd’s 17-year career, it has been amazing to witness the improvement in Kidd’s three-point shooting. He’s gone from being a subpar shooter from distance to one of the best on the Mavericks. Heady stuff if you also consider that he plays with Dirk Nowitzki and Jason Terry. NoAh GrAhAm/NBAe/Getty imAGeS

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Absent during most of the regular season and playoffs, Udonis Haslem came back late in the postseason to provide the Heat with his rugged interior defense, rebounding and even a bit of scoring. ANDrew D. BerNSteiN/NBAe/Getty imAGeS

Sure, Dirk Nowitzki owns one of the best strokes in the game, and at 7-feet tall, he’s able to shoot it over everyone, but his ability to unfurl the shot at varying angles and positions, and still maintain a crisp release makes him almost impossible to guard.

Controlling the boards, especially on the offensive end, was a big reason the Mavericks were able to overcome the Heat. Tyson Chandler, particularly, took advantage of Miami’s smaller frontline to clean up the glass after one of his teammates’ misses. Pool/Getty imAGeS SPort

iSSAc BAlDizoN/NBAe/Getty imAGeS

With seconds remaining until victory, the Mavericks bench is ready to erupt off the sidelines to hit the floor as NBA Champions. Yes, that is team owner Mark Cuban to the right of Brendan Haywood. roNAlD mArtiNez/Getty imAGeS SPort

Dirk Nowitzki won Finals MVP, but Jason Terry was equally brilliant in the six games. He shot 49 percent from the field (including 39 percent from three) while averaging 18 points per game. NoSh GrAhAm/NBAe/Getty imAGeS

After his underwhelming Game 4 showing where he totaled only 8 points, LeBron James returned in Game 5 with a 17-point, 10-assist and 10-rebound triple-double, the only one during the Finals. Bill BAPtiSt/NBAe/Getty imAGeS

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If it wasn’t #41 hitting a big bucket, you can bet that it was #31. And after every momentum-shifting or rally-killing basket made, you will likely see The Jet take off back to defense. roNAlD mArtiNez/Getty imAGeS SPort

His teammates LeBron James and Dwyane Wade might be bigger stars, but Chris Bosh showed during the Finals that he can shine just as bright. For the series, Bosh averaged 18.5 points and 7.3 boards. Victor BAlDizoN/NBAe/Getty imAGeS

Even when the Heat were successful at preventing him from getting his shot off, Dirk Nowitzki was able to patiently locate his other four teammates. JeSSe D. GArrABrANt/NBAe/Getty imAGeS

One of the biggest subplots to the Finals was the mystery behind LeBron James’ game fading as the series progressed and his fourth-quarter struggles. NAthANiel S. Butler/NBAe/Getty imAGeS

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He might have one of the sweetest strokes in NBA history, but Dirk Nowitzki shows that he can occasionally display some power to his game as well. JeSSe D. GArrABrANt/NBAe/Getty imAGeS

Although in his 12 NBA seasons, Shawn Marion has proven to be an excellent defender, many thought he might be too old to take on the big task of checking LeBron James. Marion proved otherwise, even managing to block a James shot or two. GArrett ellwooD/NBAe/Getty imAGeS

Dallas’ clever mixing of defenses—from traditional man to zones to quick trapping double-teams—never allowed Miami to be comfortable on offense. NoAh GrAhAm/NBAe/Getty imAGeS

No NBA owner wears his dedication and loyalty to his team more on his sleeve than Mark Cuban. In past losses, he’s been as emotional as any fan, so it’s no surprise that in winning the NBA Championship for the first time, that Cuban would celebrate just as hard. Joe murPhy/NBAe/Getty imAGeS

As with most Finals, the stars get top billing, but oftentimes it’s the play of role players and the bench that decide the outcome of the series. Dallas’ reserves routinely outplayed Miami’s thin bench, putting even more pressure on Miami’s stars to shoulder more of a load. Dirk Nowitzki and Jason Kidd waited a total of 28 years of ring-less NBA seasons. When the two enter the Hall of Fame one day, they will now have NBA Champion to add to their storied careers.

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When Dirk Nowitzki hoisted the Larry O’Brien Trophy up in the air, the Dallas Mavericks officially entered the elusive club of NBA Champions, as this is the franchise’s first title since joining the League in 1981. Joe murPhy/NBAe/Getty imAGeS

The Miami Heat might have the bigger parts, but the Mavericks proved that it’s the sum of the parts that matters. GArrett ellwooD/NBAe/Getty imAGeS

Shawn Marion’s primary responsibility during the Finals was to defend LeBron James, which he did with aplomb. But he also found time to expand on his role by chipping in with 13.7 points per contest, forcing James to work just as hard on the other end of the floor. ANDrew D. BerNSteiN/NBAe/Getty imAGeS

He’s been one of the best players over the past decade and been bestowed every conceivable accolade including a League MVP, but Dirk Nowitzki managed to add a new one to the mantle—Finals MVP. At the postgame press conference, Nowitzki got emotional reflecting on the long road to becoming a champion. mike ehrmANN/NBAe/Getty imAGeS

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Brandon Jennings’ Milwaukee Bucks might not have qualified for the playoffs but he’s having himself an eventful summer nonetheless. He started his offseason on a goodwill tour of India, where he conducted several basketball clinics around the country, and then came back to Milwaukee to help install drywall as part of Habitat for Humanity. Gary DIneen/nbae/Getty ImaGes

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NBA and WNBA players did their part in helping areas of the country recover from the ravage caused by extreme weather, which left destruction and displaced lives across the country this past spring. D.J. White, Eric Bledsoe and DeMarcus Cousins were down in Tuscaloosa, Ala., with the American Red Cross to lend a hand with donations of shoes and clothing after a tornado. WNBA players Miranda Ayim, Kayla Pedersen and Betty Lennox organize food for victims of a tornado in Joplin, Mo. shane beval; bIll baptIst/nbae/Getty ImaGes

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It might’ve been in the midst of one of the more tightly-contested Finals in recent history, but members of both the Dallas Mavericks and the Miami Heat still found time between pressure-soaked games to open up an NBA Cares Learn & Play Center in partnership with HP and State Farm in their respective cities. As part of the NBA Cares Community Caravan, Miami team president Pat Riley and several members of the extended Heat family cut the ceremonial ribbon to the center at Paul Laurence Dunbar Elementary School, while in Dallas, Jason Terry took on a bunch of school children at the newly dedicated JW Ray Learning Center in a game of Clue.

03

Awards are nothing new for Lisa Leslie, one of the most highly decorated players in WNBA history (if you need a reminder: She’s a two-time WNBA champion, three-time MVP and eight-time All-Star, to name just a few) but even in her post-playing days, she’s still garnering accolades, including the CieAura Pioneer Award she’s shown here accepting during the 2011 Inspiring Women’s Luncheon in New York. nathanIel s. butler/nbae/Getty ImaGes

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Jesse D. Garrabrant(2)/nbae/Getty ImaGes

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CHECK IT

TEE TIME If you’re like the average guy, you probably own T-shirts. A lot of T-shirts. We’re certainly guilty of it ourselves. Our closets are filled with stacks upon stacks of the venerable, yet versatile, article of clothing. The T-shirt makes the perfect canvas of fashion expression and like blue jeans, Chucks and a pair of cool aviators, they never go out of summer fashion. We have a few suggested additions to your ever-growing collection on page 54.

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SPIN MOVES

BY PHILIP D’APOLITO #14

Rodney Stuckey Detroit Pistons Stuckey just finished his fourth season, where he led the Pistons in pergame scoring and assists. Despite the Detroit guard being often mistaken for 50 Cent, he doesn’t list Curtis Jackson as one of his favorite artists to listen to. During the offseason, other than working on his game, Rodney plans on catching up on all the movies he missed during the season since he’s not big on videogames and other tech. His one big guilty TV pleasure? It will surprise you.

Rodney’s Music I listen to a lot of stuff, different stuff. Mainly the artists I really like to listen to are Drake, Lil Wayne, I like Rick Ross, Fabolous. I like R&B, too. I listen to a lot R&B, too. You got Trey Songz, Marques Houston, Usher. I like all different kinds of music. I listen to it all, man.

CHECK IT

Rodney’s TV My favorite TV shows to watch are like The First 48, I like CSI Miami. One of my favorite TV shows is Entourage. I like, it’s called The Secret Life of the American Teenager. It’s like a high school show it’s funny though it’s like a drama show—if you haven’t seen it you should watch it. [Ed note: We were rolling in laughter at this point.] Yeah it’s funny though. Whatever’s on TV, I watch whatever.

Rodney’s Videogames

Rodney’s Movies All time, it’s a really old-school movie called The Sixth Man. It’s a basketball movie.

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ILLUSTRATION: MATT CANDELA; ALLEN EINSTEIN/NBAE/GETTY IMAGES

Nah, I’m not really a big videogame guy. If anything I’ll play the Wii, that’s about it though. [Growing up,] I was a big fan of the old Nintendo, like Super Mario and Contra and Double Dribble. So if I could get my hands on one of those I think I’ll be addicted back to playing videogames. [laughs]

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TRIPLE DOUBLE

Three albums. Two players. One dynamic pair of music critics

THADDEUS YOUNG

Beastie Boys Hot Sauce Committee Part 2

Raphael Saadiq Stone Rollin’

I can’t believe the Beastie Boys are still around! I remember hearing “Fight for Your Right” when I was just a little kid. This is their eighth studio album, with some of the old Beastie Boys flavor while sampling some new styles. The album ranges from punk to rap to rock. I really like “Too Many Rappers” featuring Nas. “Long Burn The Fire” sounds more like their old stuff. They have certainly earned their respect over the years and are still solid. And if you have a chance, check out the promo video “Fight for Your Right (Revisited)” on Hulu, with tons of celebrity cameos. Good wishes to MCA, who was diagnosed with cancer in 2009.

Raphael Saadiq is a soulful musician, and it shows in Stone Rollin’. His oldschool R&B style sounds much different than the club R&B of today. He plays a lot of instruments, including bass, drums, guitar and tambourine, to name a few, and handles vocals, showing his range as a musician. He also brought on more than 60 other musicians to work on the album. The single “Good Man” is one of my favorites on the album; his soul really comes through. The song “Radio” is another classic with an old school ’60s feel to it. Saadiq is one of the most talented musicians of our time, and Stone Rollin’ is a great album, a refreshing change from the normal radio R&B.

The Beastie Boys are a little before my time. I know a little of their history and have heard some of the more popular, earlier music. With that said, I was very interested in reviewing an album to see what these legends had in store. The first impression is that the Beastie Boys stay true to who they are, B-Boy hip hop. “Make Some Noise” starts off the album with an extremely uptempo track. Typical Beastie Boy sound, the guys have unmistakable voices and delivery. I liked “Don’t Play No Game That I Can’t Win” and it was great to hear the collaboration with Nas on “Too Many Rappers.” My only problem with Hot Sauce Committee Part 2 is that the music can be a little too busy and sometimes distracting. The sound can overwhelm the vocals at times and make it difficult to understand the lyrics. I know this is somewhat of a trademark for the Beastie crew, but it makes it tough for me to get 100 percent into the music.

Stone Rollin’ is a soulful and artistic album. Raphael’s music has a retro feel and a style all his own. He does an outstanding job of capturing the old ’60s Motown sound in tracks like “Radio,” “Movin’ Down the Line” and “Just Don’t.” It reminds me of when I was young and our family would play music on the record player. I really liked “Good Man,” which had a catchy hook and was well-put together. The title track was another favorite—I loved the guitar and lyrics. Raphael’s music is very chill and his lyrics do an excellent job of painting a picture of the message he is relaying to his listeners. If you are an R&B fan and enjoy unique music, this is a must have. I really enjoy listening to quality and creative music. Great Buy!

CHECK IT

JESSE D. GARRABRANT; ROCKY WIDNER/NBAE/GETTY IMAGES

CARL LANDRY

THAD’S SUMMERTIME PLAYLIST “Touchdown” - Yo Gotti “Tupac Back” - Rick Ross feat. Meek Mill “I’m On One” – DJ Khaled feat. Drake, Lil Wayne, Rick Ross “That Way” - Wale feat. Jeremih & Rick Ross “Oh My” - DJ Drama feat. Roscoe Dash, Fabolous, Wiz Khailfa “Motivation” - Kelly Rowland feat. Lil Wayne “Made Men” - Rick Ross feat. Drake “M-Town” - Yo Gotti “Light Up” - Drake feat. Jay Z “In the Morning” - J. Cole feat. Drake “Feel Love” - Sean Garrett feat. J. Cole “You Got It” - J. Cole feat. Wale

CARL’S SUMMERTIME PLAYLIST “I Smile” - Kirk Franklin “Tupac Back” - Rick Ross feat. Meek Mill “The Lazy Song” - Bruno Mars “In Da Club” - Canton Jones Motivation - Kelly Rowland feat. Lil Wayne “Sure Thing” - Miguel “I’m On One” – DJ Khaled feat. Drake, Lil Wayne, Rick Ross “Down On Me” - Jeremih feat. 50 Cent “All I Do Is Win” - DJ Khaled “Int’l Players Anthem” – UGK feat. Outkast “The Edge of Glory” - Lady Gaga “Eye of the Tiger” - Survivor

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the goods

Apple iPad 2 The folks at Cupertino changed the game with the release of the iPad and the follow-up to it merely cements the notion that a tablet device can be a replacement to most people’s basic computing needs. The ridiculously intuitive device improves on the original by being lighter and thinner, beefing up the processing speed under the hood and adding in a front-facing camera for facetime chatting. Also new is the Smart Cover, a simple, yet ingenious cover that hooks on via magnets and doubles up as a stand for the unit and a way to elegantly put the device to sleep.

$829 (for the pictured 64GB WiFi + 3G model) $39 (iPad Smart Cover)

ESPN 30 for 30 Vol. 2 The second part of the Worldwide Leader in Sports’ set of sports documentaries come bundled together in a six-disc DVD set (also available on Blu-ray) that includes three hours of bonus content (deleted scenes, extended interviews, trailers and director commentaries). Of the 15 films in the set, two notables include: Jordan Rides the Bus (about Michael Jordan’s brief foray playing minor-league baseball) and Once Brothers (about the relationship between Croatian Drazen Petrovic and Serbian Vlade Divac that was torn apart by political and ethnic strife).

CheCK It

$74.95

Apple TV Apple’s svelte streaming box is nothing new. The tiny (about 4-inch x 1-inch) box can do the usual for entry-level media streamers: shuttle your iTunes, Netflix, YouTube and photos to your TV, but new to the mix is the ability to stream NBA League Pass Broadband onto the big screen at 720p high-def goodness. You can opt to go with a wired approach (Ethernet) or wireless (802.11n) and HDMI brings it all to your HDTV. We usually gloss over the stock remote controls, but Apple’s included one-piece aluminum-shrouded remote is, like most things Apple, an elegant solution.

$99

Wet Circuits Power Strip

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Dyson Air Multiplier Tower Fan

Summer means bringing the indoors out. Devices like TVs, stereo systems and projectors find their way to the backyard and with it, the need for power strips. It also means an additional hazard as poolside splashes, water gun sprays and spilled beverages and power cords don’t make for a good mix. Alleviate concerns with the Wet Circuits power strip that can prevent electrical shocks from water contact. In addition, the power strip features overheating protection and protects against electric shock from insertion of metal objects into the outlets.

If you’re to believe the folks at Dyson, fans with traditional blades are so uncivil, what with an old-time propeller chopping up air in clunky waves. The Air Multiplier is akin to a wheel-less car, using their bladeless approach to smoothly push air to cool. The lack of blades means little Johnny and Jenny won’t lop any curious fingers off, there’s no dust-collecting parts to clean and it’ll capture the attention of anyone who comes across it. An analog dial means you can fine-tune the power of the fan and 90-degree oscillation disperses air accordingly.

$70

$449.99

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DYMO LabelManager PnP Admittedly, when this came across our desk, we were far from impressed. Label makers are nothing new and certainly nothing exciting, but the LabelManager impressed us in its sheer simplicity. You take it out, plug the USB cable in (it’s powered via USB), your computer (PC and Mac compatible) detects it like any USB device, you launch the software (no need to install anything) and you type and print your label using whatever system fonts you have. It’s perfect for the obsessive-compulsive organizer who doesn’t have the time or know-how to deal with complicated set-ups.

$59.99

Dell Streak 7 For those in love with their Android-based smartphone and wished for a bigger experience, Dell has come up with the Streak 7. A 7-inch tablet based on the quickly growing Android platform, the Streak 7 has a few good things going for it. The dual-core 1GHz processor gives the Streak 7 a very snappy user experience, flicking from page to page is almost instantaneous and apps launch and run quickly and video playback is excellent. The one glaring (a fitting word) is the screen. Using it under bright sunlight or overhead lights will mean fighting a huge glare that washes out the display, and on that note, the Streak 7’s paltry 800 x 480 left images and video looking less sharp than what it could’ve been. We got about 5-6 hours of use on a charge, which could’ve been better. But on the positive note, the Streak 7 comes with three iPadkilling features: a SD card slot for expandable storage, tethering capabilities so you can share your device’s data connection and a very friendly price point.

$149.99 (requires data contract)

Conair iStubble For those sporting the not-quite-clean/ not-quite-beard look, the iStubble is a device with the five o’clock shadow in mind. The motorized length control system can adjust the cutting length from 0.4 mm to 5 mm (shown on the digital LCD display), a floating contoured head guides along the nooks and crannies of your face and the rechargeable unit means wire-free operation.

$68.99

Where to Buy: Apple iPad 2 and Apple TV, applestore.com; Wet Circuits Power Strip, wetcircuits.com; Conair iStubble, conair.com; DYMO LabelManager PnP, dymo.com; Black & Decker Steam Mop, blackanddecker.com; Dyson Air Multiplier Tower Fan, dyson.com; V-Moda Crossfade LP Custom v-moda.com; Dell Streak 7, tmobile.com; ESPN 30 for 30 Vol. 2, amazon.com

V-Moda Crossfade LP Custom

Floor cleaning could mean doing it OG style with a bucket of soapy water, a mop and plenty of elbow grease from wringing it out. Or it can be filling up the B&D Steam Mop’s chamber with tap water, attaching a washable microfiber pad and harnessing the power of hot steam to power away the grime and disinfect surfaces. The mop is good for wood, tile and laminate floors (a dial controls the steam output for each floor type), and has a quick power-up time of just 15 seconds and a built-in filter for areas with hard water.

Your one-of-a-kind playlist of Rebecca Black, Rick Ross and Neil Diamond demands that you listen to it from headphones as unique as your musical tastes itself. Rather than looking like the masses of white ear buds or similar headphones, V-Moda can help you trick out your own set of Crossfade LP. The options include a palette of colors, metal plates and laser-engraved designs or words on a set of over-theear headphones that deliver deep lows and vibrant midranges with high-def clarity. The headphones’ lightweight and memory foam ear cushions ensures extended wear without fatigue and the steel frame and Kevlar-reinforced cables provides durability. The in-line microphone/remote allows phone call management and volume and playback control. It also comes with a snazzy exoskeleton case (not pictured) that handsomely houses the headphones.

$89.99

$199.99

Black & Decker Steam-Mop

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OFFICIAL GOODS

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1. NBA Marvel Headwear New Era’s NBA Marvel line combines Marvel’s legendary superheroes—The Incredible Hulk, SpiderMan, Iron Man and others— with team logos of the NBA. The visor graphic for each hat features an image of the Marvel superheroes in NBA team colors. These caps come in both adult and kids sizes and are available at NBAStore.com, marvelstore.com, Lids and shop.neweracap.com.

$34.99

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2. Team Grill NBA Patio Series Game Day Grill Cook up whatever it is you desire with the Team Grill NBA Patio Series Game Day grill. The three stainless steel tube burners and porcelain-coated grates are sure to cook your food perfectly, while the side shelves extend for additional preparation room. The high-quality finish cleans easily and is weather resistant.

$899.99

3. NBA Marvel T-Shirts C-Life provides another element of the NBA’s collaboration with Marvel. Designed for fans of all ages, this t-shirt collection features your favorite team’s name and logo, paired up with comic-book superheroes dressed in team colors. Each oversized bold graphic is screenprinted on the chest. Available at NBAStore.com, JC Penney and Champs Sports.

4. Spalding NBA Game Ball Series NEVERFLAT Ball Never lose air during your next pick-up game with Spalding’s NEVRFLAT basketball. The indoor/ outdoor composite leather basketball with Nitroflate technology, is guaranteed to stay fully inflated for a year—10 times longer than traditional basketballs. Available at sporting goods retailers.

5. NBA Digi Socks You may recall these socks from the All-Star Friday and Saturday Night events during NBA All-Star 2011. The For Bare Feet Digi-Fade crew sock is crafted with an all-over printed pattern in six different colorways and is finished with an official NBA logoman on the cuff. Available at NBAStore.com and Champs Sports.

$11.99

$39.99

$23.99

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GEAR

adidas

Crazy Light $100 weight (size 9): 9.8 oz.

Construction: Comfort: Playability: Value: Style: Innovation:

We understand the logic behind adidas choosing the “Crazy” moniker to its revolutionary basketball shoe. When you pick it up for the first time, one of the words that come to mind is exactly that; that’s how light the shoe is. To put it in perspective, the Crazy Light weighs roughly the same as two iPhones, a little less than half the weight of an official NBA basketball and almost an ounce under Nike’s lightest basketball shoe, the Zoom Kobe VI (as demonstrated in those web ads that has adidas slicing/chopping/hacking the competition’s shoes). The shoe weighs in at 9.8 ounces, making it the first sub-10-ounce basketball shoe in the market. Unlike some shoes where it’s designed first and then weight is pared off of it, the Crazy Light’s genesis had lightweight in mind. Much of it was accomplished through adidas’ Sprint Web, a light, yet strong exoskeleton that makes up the upper of the shoe. Cut-outs on the Sprint Web were made judiciously to pare more weight down while keeping the integrity of the shoe intact. The end result is much like a web, a relatively strong structure that requires minimal material to create. Bonded to the Sprint Web is nylon mesh that serves as reinforcement and to provide ventilation. The other component to the Crazy Light is the Sprint Frame that is a one-piece heel counter and midfoot support that locks the foot in and provides energy return. Speaking with the lead designer of the Crazy Light, Robbie Fuller, he went into how no small detail of a shoe was overlooked when it came to engineering it for maximum lightness. Even taken-for-granted details like eyelets and shoelaces were scrutinized in the process. It didn’t make the final cut, but a prototype version of the CL had these “hollow” shoelaces that were loosely woven tensile strands that were designed to shave even more ounces. But according to Fuller, they were scrapped from the final version due to durability issues. And like the Air Jordan 2011, the CL comes with a choice of two insoles to customize the experience. One insole is the “Crazy Light” for, you guessed it, maximum weight reduction and “Crazy Comfort” for a more padded ride.

CHECK IT

Upon first lacing up the shoes, the lightweight sensation is felt immediately, especially if you’re used to wearing a 13-ounce-or-heavier shoe. It feels almost like wearing sandals or having a basketball midsole/outsole bonded to the bottom of your feet. And speaking of the outsole, the traction surprised us. From looking at it, the pedestrian-looking outsole pattern didn’t instill much confidence, but it’s one of the better performing ones we’ve tested recently, providing a nice stickiness to the court. Those looking for low-profile and responsive shoes will be glad to hear that the shoe has great “feel” to the floor. Coupled with the traction, hard cuts and changes of direction will not be a problem for the CL. That said, the cushioning is a bit lacking, but it’s not to say not good enough. For the smaller player, the small sacrifice of shock absorption is well worth the trade-off for explosiveness. A bigger player, however, might not see this as a good compromise. As for ventilation, the 360 mesh cutouts leaves your feet feeling like a sleeping with the windows open on a cool spring night. The one drawback to the shoe, and potentially a big one depending on the particular wearer, is the stability of the shoe. The Sprint Web upper, while strong, might not be suitable for a big man. In our testing, the smaller players had almost no issues with it, while the bigger players felt a lack of security on the foot during lateral movements. This is less a blemish on the shoe than it is a warning to bigger players. We were excited when we first heard about the Crazy Light and after testing we walked away impressed. No, it’s far from being a versatile shoe for everyone (that shoe has yet to be created), but for a smaller player looking for light and fast, adidas really got very close to a perfect shoe for them. But at $130, it’s certainly not cheap. Considering it’s the lightest shoe in the game with the high price tag, pound-for-pound, this easily makes the Crazy Light the most expensive basketball shoe—the saffron of b-ball kicks. Nevertheless, it’s adidas’ best effort in a while, and we just hope it’s a signal for more great innovation and creativity in the basketball shoe game to come.—Ming Wong #2 HOOP

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GEAR

Nike

Zoom Hyperfuse 2011 $100 Weight (size 9): 12.25 oz.

The Jordan Play In These F was the go-to model for Jordan Brand members such as Gerald Wallace, Ray Allen and Joe Johnson during the first round of the 2011 NBA Playoffs. Its mid-cut, ridged-side panel look is something very unique that we have not seen from Jordan Brand in terms of aesthetics. Although it is classified as a lightweight sneaker, the Jordan Play In These features a bulky build, and this is a testament to how the shoe plays. It owns a very sturdy, firm wear, which gives way to very little flexibility. There is not much room for one’s foot to maneuver in the shoe, which can positively aid comfort on the court or decrease one’s ability to move freely. Nevertheless, the Jordan Play In These does possess a maximum, snug fit and the ever-so-comfortable Podulon cushioning, which is one of the main characteristics in Chris Paul’s high-performing Jordan CP3.IV. Another interesting attribute on the Jordan Play In These is the supreme amount of breathability it owns. A snug-fitting shoe usually ranks very low in the breathability column; however, Jordan Brand incorporated a limitless amount of perforations throughout the side panels and toe area eliminating the sweat factor after playing a number of games. Although the Jordan Play In These fits very snug, the smothering feeling was non-existent thanks to the previously mentioned perforations. The hardened rubber outsole, along with the herringbone pattern on the outsole, provides the wearer with a great amount of traction in multiple directions; but the bulky feel again keeps one from feeling explosive in this shoe at times. The Jordan Play In These F is definitely a peculiar shoe in terms of aesthetics and performance capabilities. Jordan Brand incorporated a very interesting look on this shoe and put a lot of focus into the extreme grip and breathability columns. One of these qualities is usually the benefactor of the other’s inability to exist, but the Play In These oddly ranks high in both categories. It is not the most comfortable of shoes and may be a bit low in value considering its $115 price tag.—George Kiel III #15 Construction: Comfort: Playability: Value: Style: Innovation: 056

The Zoom Hyperfuse made its debut last year and was met with positive reviews, including our seal of approval. Inspired by outdoor basketball in China, the Zoom Hyperfuse makes for a very versatile shoe. I keep a pair in the office and in the car for impromptu pick-up opportunities. The follow-up doesn’t stray too far from the original (it even has the same weight). The fused upper is basically the same. Ditto for the tongue and midsole/outsole. The two big changes lie in the ankle collar of the shoe and the midfoot area on the lateral side. The 2011 moves away from the more padded ankle collar and adds in additional support in the midfoot with some stiff reinforcement material (where the Swoosh lies). We’re not sure if either change was prompted by any issues with the 2010 as we didn’t have any problem with either area when we reviewed the shoe. As expected, on the court, there was little deviation from the 2010 and 2011—which is a good thing. Nike knew it had a winning formula with the original and stayed close to it. The fit remains as snug even for the narrowest of feet, thanks in part to the Hyperfuse material’s foot-molding properties. The Zoom Air supplies low-profile responsiveness, making this an ideal shoe for the nimble player. We were a initially disappointed in seeing the same outsole pattern as we experienced some minor sliding in the 2010, but we had no issues this time around. We’re giving the Zoom Hyperfuse 2011 high marks, but we’re not recommending it. For those who like the tweaked look of the 2011 or absolutely have to have the latest kicks, buy it, as you won’t be disappointed. But for those with a limited sneaker budget, we recommend you pick up a pair of the 2010 instead since it’s so similar in performance. There’ll be more colorways to be had and you’ll likely be able to find it marked down.—#2 Construction: Comfort: Playability: Value: Style: Innovation:

Jordan

Play In These F $115 Weight (size 9): 14.8 oz.

Where to Buy: adidas Crazy Light (previous page): adidasbasketball.com Jordan Play in These F; Fly Wade: jumpman23.com Nike Zoom Hyperfuse 2011; LeBron 8 PS: nikebasketball.com

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Everything seems to be getting lighter these days in regards to performance basketball shoes. Recently, Jordan Brand made sure it was apart of the lightweight craze by introducing Dwyane Wade’s first Jordan signature shoe, the Jordan Fly Wade. Although we have witnessed a ton of lightweight sneakers from the brand, this shoe instantly becomes the lightest Jordan basketball sneaker ever created (13 oz.). At first thought, it seems a little odd for Jordan Brand to make an extremely lightweight shoe for a player like Dwyane Wade considering his physical, rugged approach to the game of basketball. However, the Jordan Fly Wade possesses a very unique mixture of lightweight synthetics, durability and explosiveness to coincide with Flash’s aggressive style of play. Usually, extremely lightweight sneakers are built for finesse and a perimeter-oriented game. Yet, the Jordan Fly Wade’s combination of a Nike Zoom unit in the forefoot and a Max Air unit in the heel provides the wearer with unmatched responsiveness and impact protection. When lacing this shoe up, one will immediately notice the springy footbed surface in addition to the almost weightless construction this shoe owns. These aspects, along with the close-to-the-foot attribute, make this shoe feel as if nothing is covering you foot. Basketball has evolved into a more athletic, speedy competition, so it is very important to not lose seconds if possible. The Jordan Fly Wade’s uncanny ability to provide a weightless feel with an encapsulating grip of the foot definitely aids those who rely on their athleticism as an advantage. The Jordan Fly Wade has a very slim, confined construction, which can be a positive or negative depending on the wearer’s foot shape. Therefore, versatility from a position standpoint can be a bit of a concern. It seems more guard-ready than any other position. The upgraded herringbone traction element proves more to the fact that this shoe is designed for the quicker athletes that rely on speed and deception on the perimeter. Jordan Brand also added an aesthetic side to the traction by incorporating an elephant print design throughout the outsole. The overall construction of the shoe will not grab your attention instantly. At a first glance, it seems to borrow a few characteristics we have seen on past team Jordan models, but, as stated earlier, the Jordan Fly Wade is one of the better performing sneakers on the market currently, even at $140.—#15

Nike

LeBron 8 PS $150

Weight (size 9): 14.5 oz.

Jordan

Fly Wade $140 Weight (size 9): 13 oz.

CHECK IT

The third part in the LeBron 8 trilogy, the PS stands for Post Season. The reason behind the three-shoe approach was that LeBron wanted to start off the season in a luxe ride (V1), then streamline things for the second half of the season (V2) and then really go barebones for the title run (PS). Gone is the heavy leather upper from the V1, the Flywire in the V2 is swapped out for Hyperfuse construction and the 360 airbag in the V1/2 gets replaced with a 180 bag in the heel coupled with full length Zoom in the forefoot. A carbon fiber midfoot arch transitions the 180 Air in the heel to Zoom in the forefoot. The result is a nice mix of speed and responsiveness with big man cushioning in the rear—much like LeBron’s game. The other new wrinkle in the shoe is the Hyperfuse upper. It cuts down on material, thus making it lighter, but at the sacrifice of fit. Because the shoe is a bit wide in the toe box, those with narrow feet might experience pinching in the front when laced tight. Yes, the Hyperfuse should mold to feet after some time, but if you have very narrow feet, the PS might not be the best choice. Performance-wise, the PS gets high marks. It’s a heavy shoe, but it doesn’t feel plodding, especially when compared to the V1 and V2. Cushioning as touched upon earlier is where the PS shines. Ventilation is a close second as the Hyperfuse upper provides ample cooling. The one complaint to the shoe would be the traction. Overall, it’s fine, but when making sharp cuts or turning corners, there would be some slippage along the medial and lateral sides. The PS does feel like a different shoe from the previous in the series, while remaining close enough to the original. Of the three, we still like the V2 the best as it was the perfect medium. The V1 and the PS seem like opposite extremes of the LeBron 8. Call us Goldilocks.—#2 Construction: Comfort: Playability: Value: Style: Innovation: HOOP

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wear

Sportiqe $28 Kidrobot $40

Nike $25

Nike $25

LRG $28

Nike $25

Sportiqe $28

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CHeCK IT

Jordan $32

Nike $25

Junk Food $32

Reebok $30 Jordan $32

Kidrobot $40 Nike $25

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wear

Nike $25

LRG $28

We Are The Process $25

adidas Originals $35

Junk Food $32

We Are The Process $25 060

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CHeCK IT

Converse $48

Kidrobot $40

Sportiqe $28

Nike $25

Jordan $32

Converse $48

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wear (Clockwise from top) Reebok RealFlex Run, $89.98; Reebok x Swizz Beatz Kamikaze III, $99.99; Rockport, Berkeley Place Boat, $140; Modus Optimus, $295; LRG Clear Cut Woven, $56

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(Clockwise from top) Vans Thurso, $65; Reebok CL Leather Ultralite Packable, $80; adidas Originals Azzie Lo Textile, $75; New Balance Custom 574, $114.95

CHeCK IT

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wear (Clockwise from top) Converse Chuck Taylor All-Star Premium, $110; Vans Rata Vulc, $40; LRG, Trees Company Woven, $56; Nike Sportswear, Dunk Hi $82

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CHeCK IT

(Clockwise from top) Reebok CL Leather Ultralite, $69.99; New Era 9FIFTY Snapbacks, $24.99; Nike Sportswear Dunk Hi Hyperfuse, $150; Nike Sportswear Air Force 1, $88

Where to Buy: adidas Originals: shoporiginals.com; Converse: converse.com; Jordan: jumpman23.com; Junk Food: junkfoodclothing.com; Kidrobot: kidrobot. com; LRG: l-r-g.com; Modus: moduswatch.com; New Balance: shopnewbalance.com; New Era: neweracap.com; Nike: nikestore.com; Reebok: reebok.com; Rockport: rockport.com; Sportiqe: sportiqe.com; Vans: vans.com; We Are The Process: wearetheprocess.com;

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STEP BACK June 7, 1995: HOUSTON ROCKETS vs. ORLANDO MAGIC, 1995 Finals, Game 1

After winning the 1994 NBA Championship, the Houston Rockets won just 47 games in 1994-95 and entered the playoffs as the sixth seed.

BY JERAMIE MCPEEK #4

The NBA’s highest-scoring team, Orlando (110.9 ppg), was led by Shaquille O’Neal, the NBA’s scoring champion, who averaged 29.3 points along with 11.4 rebounds and 2.4 blocks in his third pro season.

Despite their playoff position, the Rockets defeated the 60-win Utah Jazz, 59-win Phoenix Suns and the 62-win San Antonio Spurs, who were led by the 1995 MVP David Robinson, to return to the Finals.

Hakeem Olajuwon recorded 35 points and 15 boards in Game 4, and was unanimously named the Finals MVP, joining Jordan as the only person to have earned the honor in back-to-back years.

The Rockets acquired a tag-team partner for their All-NBA center midway through the season when they traded for All-Star guard Clyde Drexler, Olajuwon’s former “Phi Slama Jama” teammate from the University of Houston.

The Rockets defeated the teams with the four best records in the NBA in ’94-95.

Houston had averaged 86 points a game in the 1994 NBA Finals to defeat the Knicks, but put up 114 a game in the ’95 Finals vs. Orlando.

Shortly after the 1995 Finals, Olajuwon and O’Neal were featured in an advertising campaign for Taco Bell. In the commercials, produced by Spike Lee, the two All-Star centers rode a tandem bike together.

Houston also took Game 2 in Orlando, the Rockets’ seventh straight road win of the postseason and ninth overall, both new NBA Playoff records.

Games 3 and 4 of the Finals were held in Houston at The Summit, which today is known as Lakewood Church. The Rockets played in the building from 1975 to 2003, before moving into the Toyota Center.

The Rockets became the lowest seeded team in NBA history to win a championship and did so in dramatic fashion by sweeping the Magic.

The Orlando Magic defeated Boston (3-1), Chicago (4-2), which had recently welcomed back Michael Jordan out of retirement, and Indiana (4-3) to reach the Finals for the first time in franchise history.

The Magic also boasted second-year guard Penny Hardaway, who contributed 20.7 points, 7.2 assists and 4.4 boards a game in ’94-95.

The 1995 Finals tipped off at the Orlando Arena, where the Magic ran out to an early 20-point, second-quarter lead. The Rockets showed the heart of champions, however, and fought back to force overtime and pull out a 120-118 road victory.

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ANDREW D. BERNSTEIN/NBAE/GETTY IMAGES

Rockets guard Kenny Smith hit a Finals-record seven three-pointers in the Game 1 win, including the three that forced OT with 1.6 seconds left.

The NBA’s senior photographer, Andrew D. Bernstein, joined the League in 1983 and has his images featured in thousands of magazines, as well as a number of books. He is also one of only four photographers whose work is on permanent exhibit in the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame.

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Own all of your favorite moments from all your favorite seasons. Award-winning HBO Original Series, now available on DVD and Blu-ray. ®

TM

AVAILABLE AT © 2010 Home Box Office, Inc. All rights reserved. HBO® and related service marks are the property of Home Box Office, Inc.

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DOES DWIGHT HOWARD MAKE THE GRADE?

FINAL EXAM

NATHANIEL S. BUTLER/NBAE/GETTY IMAGES

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HOOP issue 28 2011 Finals  

Der Champ - Finals MVP Dirk Nowitzki brings home first NBA Championship for the Dallas Mavericks