EDITORIAL WORDS BY: GREG TANNER Photo By: JAKE GREEN
Fadeaway Magazine Response Studios 369B High Road Leyton London E10 5NA E: email@example.com W: fadeawaymag.co.uk T: 020 8558 3501 Editor: Greg Tanner firstname.lastname@example.org Creative Director: Jake Green email@example.com Art Director: Harry Adams firstname.lastname@example.org Commercial Director: Mike Baptiste email@example.com Contributing Writers: Danielle Aumord, Simon Burr, Will Clapton, Mark Woods, Lex Rees & P Heard.
T HE P RODIGAL S O N R E T U R N S
ast issue, I wrote an article about Allen Iverson called “Fall Of A Rebel”. In it, I talked about A.I.’s descent from being one of the baddest motherflippers on the planet to virtual oblivion following his move to the Detroit Pistons. I prayed that my prediction - that Iverson’s career was virtually over - was wrong...and a short while after I’d written the piece he was (finally!) signed by a team - Memphis. But, as remarkable as it seems, it appeared the Grizz didn’t broach the oh-so-sensitive “starting” issue with Mr Iverson before the season began... and after just 3 games, he was gone. When I heard the news, I was shocked...yet also not surprised, if that makes any sense. And when the Knicks (who’d originally expressed some interested) said they didn’t want him, it looked like The Answer’s NBA career was over (he even announced his retirement). LeBron James said exactly what I was feeling: “He’s a person I watched growing up...and when you see a person who has talent and still loves the game and wants to be a part of this league, it’s kind of strange not having him. It doesn’t seem right.” But then, in a strange twist of fate, the Sixers came to his rescue...and Iverson now looks set to end his career where it all began, in the City of Brotherly Love.
“I just hope Allen can salvage what’s left of his pride and finish up his playing days with some dignity”
As I said in my article last issue, I’ve been an A.I. fan since waaaaaaaaay back - check me in his Georgetown vest, bought whilst I was still a teenager! So I just hope Allen can salvage what’s left of his pride and finish up his playing days with some dignity. But as the sun sets on Iverson’s career, a new generation of exciting guards is now coming through - including the phenom that is Brandon Jennings. This guy is similar to Iverson in terms of his stature and speed...and has been just as exciting as The Answer was in his rookie season so far. Check our article on him later. And don’t forget our cover star Derrick Rose. After a ridiculous rookie campaign, he’s now having to deal with the weight of immense expectations, whilst hobbling around on a bum ankle (not to mention a bum coach). Can he get back to becoming the star we thought he’d be? Or did he set the bar so high in his first year that nothing short of MVP numbers will do? We’ll see. As always, hit us at info@fadeawaymag. co.uk with any story ideas or feedback...a lot of articles in this issue are here because you’ve done just that.
Contributing Photographers/Illustrators: Thomas Angus, Mike Arnfield, Natasha Brown, Kévin Couliau, Mark Green, Kevin Joseph, Ismini, Nick Pavey & Tom Roberts. Special Thanks: Tom Rubashow @ Pitch. Printers: Printed by Cambrian using vegetable based inks. www.cambrian-printers.co.uk Published by: Nothingbutnet 2009 © Est: 2009. ISSN: 2041-2134 Printed on Recycled Paper. Distribution by: W.W.M.D. & Comag distribute & can be bought at all major basketball events. This publication may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form, in whole or part, without the express written permission of the publishers. Disclaimer: No part of Fade Away Magazine may be reproduced without written permission from the publisher.
Keep ballin’ Greg Tanner FADEAWAYMAG.CO.UK
CONTENTS REGULARS 06 | OVERTIME
Why LeBron is switching numbers...and is Obama ballin outta control?
48 | FASHION
From the new Kobes to k1x, we’ve got the latest kicks covered.
DERRICK ROSE How the sophomore season ain’t a bed of roses for the Chicago Bull.
FEATURES 10 | THE BIG BOSS
The hoops head who sketched his way to the top.
16 | RON SCOTT
Can a former Wall Street banker really re-invent pro-basketball in Britain?
18 | ESSEX BOYS
Why the BBL’s newest team is keeping it strictly homegrown.
20 | CAPTURING THE MOMENT
FadeAway visits 2K Sports’ motion capture studio in California.
22 | BBL ROOKIES
How are newcomers finding life in the basketball backwater that is the UK?
26 | STAR QUALITY
Will Clapton takes a look at the NBA players deserving of an All-Star place this February.
38 | I LOVE NEW YORK
Kevin Couliau and his camera capture a summer of streetball on some of the Big Apple’s most legendary blacktops.
44 | GOT GAME?
2K or Live? We review the top-selling bball video games, and find out what real ballers are playing when they’re not on the court.
54 | SCREEN AND ROLL
FadeAway’s favourite basketball movies of all time.
58 | CANARIAS BASKETBALL ACADEMY
How 40 ballers are chasing the dream in an island paradise.
62 | VERTICAL WORKOUT
Fly high with these tips from top trainer, Jacob Hiller.
BALLER 10 | TARRYN ALGAR It’s grim oop north.
16 | BRANDON JENNINGS
Maybe his “Italian job” wasn’t such a bad idea, after all.
56 | JLS
The boy band who can ball. Photos By: Kevin Joseph, Kévin Couliau & Adidas
z In issue one of FadeAway, we showed you an artist’s impression of what the Olympic basketball arena will look like. Well, here’s a glimpse of the reality. In this recent photo you can clearly see the outline of where the court will sit. Let’s hope our guys will be gracing that hardwood come the summer of 2012.
LEBRON TO CHANGE NUMBER IN TRIBUTE TO JORDAN z LeBron James is going to stop wearing number 23 next season in honour of Michael Jordan - and he wants others to follow his lead. “It’s time,” James said. “If you see 23, you think about Michael Jordan. He did so much, it has to be recognised, and not just by putting him in the Hall of Fame.” LBJ will rock number 6 next season - his U.S. Olympic team number, and the one worn by his second-favourite player, Dr J. But many say if you retire MJ’s number, what about Magic’s? Or Wilt Chamberlain’s? Or Bill Russell’s? You know what number he wore? Six!.
BOY BAND BALLERS z They didn’t quite have
the X-Factor...but it seems JLS have got some skills on the court. The group recently teamed up with triple jumper Phillips Idowu to thrash a squad led by DJ Spoony at the celebrity Dunk n’ Funk basketball tournament in Essex. See the whole story on p. 56.
NO WILDCARD FOR TEAM GB z Great Britain will not be competing in this
summer’s World Championships in Turkey, after FIBA passed us over for a wildcard. Instead they hooked up Russia, Germany, Lithuania and Lebanon. GB performance director Chris Spice has described it as a “bump on the road” and insisted it will not harm our chances of playing on home soil at the 2012 London Olympics. The word “bump” certainly does spring to mind.
schedule For those of you wanting to catch all the NBA action for the remainder of the season (plus a load of NCAA games and March Madness), check out ESPN’s schedule right here: 01/01/2010 00:30:00 NY Knicks @ Atlanta Hawks 03/01/2010 02:30:00 Dallas Mavericks @ LA Lakers 06/01/2010 03:30:00 LA Lakers @ LA Clippers 08/01/2010 01:00:00 Boston Celtics @ Atlanta Hawks
“BLAME BASKETBALL” SAYS BONEY BARACK
10/01/2010 02:00:00 Cleveland Cavaliers @ Portland Trailblazers
z Concerns for President Obama’s health were raised recently when pictures showed him looking particularly gaunt. One
12/01/2010 02:00:00 North Carolina @ Clemson (NCAA)
White House insider said that the big cheese was occasionally skipping meals because he was so busy. But Obama insisted “ just ‘cause I’m skinny doesn’t mean I’m not tough,” and put his slim physique down to regular, intense basketball training.
13/01/2010 02:00:00 Orlando Magic @ Denver Nuggets
z Speaking of Jordan, his son has cost the University of Central
z Before Guy Dupuy, another Frenchman
15/01/2010 01:00:00 Toronto Raptors @ NY Knicks
Florida $3m in a row over sneakers. Marcus Jordan says that when he was recruited by the college, he was assured he’d be allowed to rock Jordan brand shoes on the court - despite the fact the university had a deal with Adidas, which stipulated that all players wear the German brand’s kicks and clothing. When Jordan junior disregarded that and bust the Air Jordan XII Rising Suns for the season opener, Adidas cancelled the contract. Neither Nike nor MJ himself have expressed interest in taking over the contract. Deep.
MILLION SHOT MADNESS A dude in America is on a ridiculous mission... he’s trying to shoot ONE MILLION SHOTS in a year!!! Devon Brown - who works at a YMCA in Greensburg, Indiana - got the idea after Gilbert Arenas tried to shoot 100,000 shots in 73 days. Agent Zero failed - pulling out after injury worries. But Brown wants to go the whole hog...meaning he’ll need to average 2,740 shots a day, for 365 days!!! All shots will be recorded and charted on millionshotchallenge.com - check it out to keep up with Devon’s progress and even sponsor him.
was the king of dunking - Kadour Ziani. Now 36-years-old, you’d think he should be past it... but the 5’ 11” jack-in-a-box is still flying high... and now he’s sharing his secrets. “Zianimal” recently travelled to Phoenix to record an instructional DVD - featuring drills to improve flexibility, strength and vertical leap. Head to sportvideos.com to get your hands on it.
MIDNIGHT MADNESS z On the subject of DVDs, make sure you
cop the 10th Anniversary Midnight Madness film. It features an extended look back on the last decade of MM history - including interviews with the players and organisers who helped take the event from a small gym in Willesden to Wembley Arena and beyond. Also features all the action from this year’s event - including LeBron James’ visit to London and Team Flight Brothers shutting down Crystal Palace. Head to minight-madness. com or basketball247.co.uk to order it.
20/01/2010 01:00:00 Utah Jazz @ San Antonio Spurs 22/01/2010 01:00:00 LA Lakers @ NY Knicks 24/01/2010 23:00:00 LA Lakers @ Toronto Raptors 27/01/2010 TBC LA Lakers @ Indiana Pacers 29/01/2010 TBC LA Lakers @ Philadelphia 76ers
BA L L E R D I A R I E S
TA RRY N AL G AR
Hull was hell for hoops head Tarryn Algar. But a move to the capital changed his life.
rowing up in Hull, all Tarryn Algar wanted to do was play basketball. All the locals seemed to want to do was stop him. “They’d smear dog shit on the ring then shout ‘Tarryn, why don’t you dunk it mate?’,” he told FadeAway. “They set the backboard on fire, nicked the hoops, burnt out stolen cars on the court after they got done joyriding them. I was once even chased by a guy with a pickaxe.”
Words By: Greg Tanner Photo By: natasha brown
Tarryn says that in a city where football, drinking and fighting were the main passtimes, a teetotal white guy who was into baggy clothes, hip hop music and bball was an instant target. But despite the abuse, he and a small group of dedicated hoop heads stuck with it...until, that is, “real life” issues such as university, work and girlfriends began dragging them away from the game. “There would be times when it was the weekend, the sun was shining, it was perfect weather and I’d be on the phone begging my mates to come down to the court. But they’d be like ‘sorry mate, I’ve gotta go to B&Q with the missus’.” Tarryn began to lose hope - until he discovered Streetball.co.uk, a website showing video clips of all the street basketball events going on in London. “When you watch those American DVDs, you think it’s a completely different world. But when I saw these guys on Streetball.co.uk, I thought ‘they’re just like me!! And they’re only just down the M1!’” So he set his heart on moving to the capital - and when the opportunity to run the basketball section of a sports store in Brixton came up, he snatched it - even though it meant sleeping on his mate’s wooden floor for three months until he sorted a place for himself. Quickly, Tarryn established himself on the London streetball scene...and, before he knew it, started to get basketball-related work. As a member of the And1 UK touring team, he did
“There would be times when it was the weekend, the sun was shining & I’d be on the phone begging my mates to come down to the court.they’d be like ‘sorry mate, I’ve gotta go to B&Q”
shows and exhibitions around Britain. He also began getting modelling and promo jobs for global brands such as Adidas, Sony Ericsson and Motorola. But his biggest break came when he successfully auditioned for a place on Disney’s High School Musical promotional tour - a gig which has taken him around the world, with first class flights and five star hotels all the way. “You get treated really well,” he says.“The best trip was Tel Aviv. The afterparty was on a hotel roof - with a swimming pool and amazing views. On one side was the city, on the other was the sea. It was weird to think that basketball had taken me there.” Later this year, Tarryn will add another feather to his cap as he hits cinemas screens, playing a major role in British basketball film “Freestyle”. Having only gone for a part as an extra, he ended up being cast as the main character’s arch rival.
“I was goofing around at the audition, just being me, and I think my personality came across. The director asked me ‘can you act?’ and I said ‘I can act the fool!’ He laughed his head off...so they gave me another audition and I got the part.” But Tarryn insists he ain’t gone Hollywood... and says even if the work dries up tomorrow, he’ll still ball till he falls. “I’ll be playing forever bruv, I swear. At Ravenscourt Park there are some Serbian guys who are fifty - one guy’s sixty. I look at them and think ‘man, they’ve LOVE this game’. They still come to the court at fifty and mix it up with the young boys.” Pointing at his ankle - still swollen after a bad sprain sustained over a month before our interview - he adds “even if I have to get this amputated, I’ll still be out there on the court hobbling around, crossing people!”
R O N S C OTT “You have to have teams in major population centres,” he proclaims. “Geting the right venues is also a priority - you can’t have a professional league playing in facilities with a capacity of 1,200. But, you have to start with something practical. You can’t just start with the O2, because you’re not going to fill it. But something like Birmingham’s NIA or the Sheffield Arena would be ideal.” Whilst some have dismissed Scott’s plans as fantasy, it seems the NBA are taking him reasonably seriously. He’s already had two sit down meetings with David Stern - who mentioned the BBA more than once during his NBA Europe Live press conference at the O2 in September. “We’ve been talking constantly to the NBA for the last few years,” says Scott. “We didn’t go to them with our hands out looking for things, but they want basketball to succeed in the UK just as much as we do. They support us just as they’d support anyone trying to build a successful basketball organisation.”
“Britain is sports mad, and is basketball’s last untapped market. You wanna know where the u p s i d e i s ? I t ’ s i n t h e UK ”
Words By: Greg Tanner Photo By: JAKE GREEN
A LEAGUE OF HIS OWN
Is Britain ready for another basketball league? Meet the man who thinks it is...
aving spent 20 years as a Wall Street banker, Ron Scott is used to dealing with big numbers. But when he starts talking about running a professional basketball league in Britain next year, with each team having an annual budget of $3.5 million, you wonder if he’s thinking a little TOO big. However, the 45-year-old is convinced that his plans for a British Basketball Association can work. “Britain is sports mad, and is basketball’s last untapped market,” he told FadeAway. “You wanna know where the upside is? It’s in the UK”.
He’s not alone in this belief, and has brought on board an extremely impressive list of partners - from former NBA team bosses and players, to the man who brokered Roman Abramovich’s takeover at Chelsea. “This has to be a joint UK / US initiative,” he insists, “and you need guys who have built successful businesses, launched leagues and built franchises.” The American’s plan is to launch next season - with eight teams in eight cities - probably playing a shortened season of 21 games. For Scott, it’s all about location, location, location.
However, critics say all they’ve heard for the last three years is talk. When the BBA first started putting out press releases, they said they’d be launching for the 07-08 season. That then slipped to 08-09, then 09-10 and now 10-11. Scott says the global economic downturn was hugely to blame. “What happened? There was a credit crunch - you’d have to be a bad mama jama to still be standing after that,” he says in his defence. “But remember, the golden age of Hollywood was borne out of great depression. What we will offer is value for money. It’ll cost around £10 or £12 to go to a BBA game...how much do you have to pay to go see Chelsea play?” But where would all this leave the BBL? “I have the most respect for [BBL chairman] Paul Blake,” Scott insists. “What he’s achieved is miraculous given what he has to work with. But I don’t see it as a rivalry thing.” In Scott’s vision, the BBL could act as a type of “development league” to the BBA - giving British players the chance to stay in the UK, improve their games and then progress to his higher calibre BBA. Would the BBL go for that? And just how should we Brits feel about a group of American investors effectively taking over top flight domestic basketball here in the UK? Well, Scott is quick to offer reassurance that he’s in it just as much for the basketball as he is for the money. “I grew up on the south side of Chicago - a place where the only ways out were either getting great grades or being great at sports. I’ve seen how basketball can keep kids off the street. “I got tired of doing technology deals and wanted to do more sports and entertainment. I spoke to Mannie Jackson, the chairman of the Harlem Globetrotters, and saw how they changed lives. “I’m 45 years old, I just got married, I’ve worked on Wall Street - now I wanna see kids wearing BBA team jerseys in stadiums. Sure I’d like to make some money, but I’d also like to be knighted by the Queen!”
D E S IG N E R D O N
Ly n e l l Ji n ks
Words By: Alexandra Rees
“Art was my identity, my passion. I’d practice drawing the same characters over and over until I felt my pictures were perfect”- Ly n e l l J i n k s
IMPOSSIBLE IS NOTHING And you thought that was just a slogan? Read on to find out how one man put blood, sweat and tears into reaching his childhood dream.
ou probably don’t know the name “Lynell Jinks”. But you know his work, have used it and most probably, marvelled at it. Lynell is the artist behind the scarily life-like ballers on the number one selling game, NBA 2K9. Far from your average computer nerd, Lynell somehow made it from drawing cartoons of Snoopy to becoming Art Director of one of the biggest game design companies in the world. So how did he do it? How old were you when you starting drawing? I started drawing at four years old, drawing Snoopy and Mickey Mouse...then progressed to characters from cartoons such as the Thundercats. After that, I started sketching professional athletes, mostly Michael Jordan. At school, I drew on every piece of homework I submitted. Art was my identity, my passion. I’d practice drawing the same characters over and over until I felt my pictures were perfect - I’m highly competitive and a perfectionist. At that point, did you ever think you could make a career out of your talent? During my senior year, I was told to be realistic and give up on the idea of trying to draw for a living.
So I looked at my art as sort of a life-long hobby. I went to junior college, working nights as a UPS guy, which meant I fell asleep in class every day. I ended up failing and eventually dropping out. How did you get from college drop-out to where you are now? Bennie (a friend of my stepfather’s) was a 3D modeller for video games at a company called Vector Graphics. One day, he showed me around his office when I saw all the 3D modelling software, I knew that was what I wanted to do with my life. He let me hang around the whole day, sketching and learning the software, and I painted a picture of Michael Jordan using Photoshop. I left it up on screen so Bennie could see it. The boss of Vector Graphics saw the picture and offered me a job. So your talent spoke for itself. How did you end up at 2K Sports? After doing a bit of everything - from making 3D greeting cards and Flash cartoons - the ‘.com’ bubble burst, and I was out of work. A friend passed my details to someone at Visual Concepts and after an interview, they offered me the job the next day.
The first project I worked on was doing face textures on NFL 2K3, then NBA 2K3, modelling the heads. I was given more and more responsibility, and was made Art Director on NBA 2K9. What does an Art Director actually do? I oversee all the game’s artwork, and manage a team of great artists. It’s our job to ensure the user feels they’re a part of the world portrayed in the game. The player likenesses have to be very believable. One day, I hope the user will feel they’re actually watching a broadcast whilst playing our game. Which is your favourite player likeness? Michael Jordan on NBA 2K3. He’d only been in EA videogames, so when he returned to the NBA with the Wizards, I got the opportunity to create his head. It seems fitting that it be Jordan, as it was a drawing of him that got me my first job. If you weren’t working for 2K Sports, what do you think you would be doing? Probably still working nights at UPS! This is what I was born to do. The passion I have for games and art is such a big part of my life. I can’t imagine doing anything other than this. You didn’t go to university, but still got your dream job. How can people follow in your footsteps? The industry is very competitive, so get your hands on the software and practice. Search forums for information and tips, and improve your art. Then show it off. Work hard, make sure the right people see your work, and above all, have passion for your art.
Brandon J en nin g s
e h t G N I K C U B
D N E R T
Words By: Greg Tanner Photo By: NBAE/Getty Images
Six months ago, Brandon Jennings’ decision to ditch college for Europe looked like huge mistake to most. He’s quickly proved them wrong...
November 14th, Brandon Jennings dropped 55 points in just his seventh NBA game - all within a ridiculous 28 minutes of play. It was a middle finger to the eight teams who’d passed on him at the NBA draft...a night which had seen his agent pull him from the NBA green room, fearing he may not even be selected. Eventually the Milwaukee Bucks picked him - but not before FOUR other point guards had been snatched up ahead of him. How could a guy who’d been ranked as the number one high school player by ESPN and Scout.com have his stock drop so quickly? The answer, it would seem, was his Euro-experiment. After the NBA introduced their minimum age requirement, Jennings became the first guy to say “f*** college, I’m getting paid” and take a pro contract in Europe. But having signed for $1.6m with Lottomatica Roma, Jennings averaged just 5.5 points, 1.6 rebounds and 2.2 assists over the season...and didn’t even get off the bench during the play-offs. Many were staggered, considering it an absolute flop of a season. But for others, it didn’t come as such a surprise. The European game runs at a completely different pace and is so much more team-orientated...with clubs’ top scorers more likely to average 14 a game than the 30-odd that NBA stars do. So it was always highly unlikely that some speedy skinny kid fresh out of school was going to come in and start putting up serious numbers. “It’s a different game in Europe,” said Bucks scout Jeff Weltman. “It’s a slower game...it’s such a different setting over there, and it kind of masks things that make him who he is.” But even NBA GMs didn’t quite realise this...and chose guys like Jonny Flynn and Stephen Curry ahead of Jennings. Now they’re regretting their decisions, as in the far more one-on-one-based NBA, Jennings finds himself in an environment in which he can shine. And shining he is - averaging 21ppg, 6 assists and nearly 4 boards at time of writing. Before the draft, there was a lot of heat about Brandon Jennings versus Ricky Rubio - the Spanish prodigy who’d led the Euroleague in steals as a 16-year-old and more than held his own in the Olympics. But in Jennings’ mind, there was no comparison: “I think the dude is just all hype, I can’t even front,” he said. Many thought (and some still think) the Spaniard would have the last laugh - but they too are failing fully to appreciate the difference between the European game and the NBA. Rubio may be able to read the passing lanes like a book and drop some dimes - but his lack of strength, speed, hops and jumpshot will see him struggling in the L, if he ever actually makes it over. So will other high school leavers follow Jennings’ lead, and try the Euro route? Back in the summer, most would have said “hell no”. Now though, they might just want to make sure their passports are up to date.
”It’s a different game in Europe It’s a slower game... it’s such a different setting over there, and it kind of masks things that make him who he is” - Jeff Weltman, Milwaukee Bucks scout
THAR’ BE PIRATES A BBL franchise without American players? Only in Essex. Mark Woods looks inside the league’s newest team.
C Words By: Mark WOODS Photo By: Mike Arnfield
olin Sing’s part of The Project. Jamell Anderson too. Likewise, Taner Adu. If they weren’t inside The Project, they’d be on the outside of the BBL looking in. Playing but not players. That’s why The Project exists, you see. To open the door and let a chosen few come in from the cold. If one of the criticisms of the British Basketball League has been that, too often, it hasn’t given homegrown talent enough of a showcase, then Essex Pirates may be the answer. In its inaugural season, all bar one of their signings hails from the island of GB. That’s a key component in The Project. No American imports allowed. At least, not yet. It’s early days. At the club’s base in Southend, coach and co-owner Tim Lewis knows the statistics make grim reading. After winning the first game in franchise history (against local-ish rivals London), the Pirates took just one W in their next 13 outings. Up to Christmas, they were next to bottom in scoring. They’d the lowest field-goal and FT percentage. Last in rebounds, assists and three-pointers, it has been a tough initiation. “It was hard to know what to expect,” Lewis admits. “We’d have liked to have been in a stronger position. Looking back, we could have won games down the stretch but our lack of experience hurt us. A 2-10 start isn’t great but we’ve got better each week. We practice twice a day. The guys live together. There’s great chemistry. We’re able to do things. We’ll improve and that will start showing itself in wins.” The Project isn’t purely defined on results though. It’s about opportunity. Lewis’ other role in charge of Great Britain’s Under 20 team has given him unrivalled insight into the strengths and weaknesses of the talent coming through. His analysis? Plenty of athleticism. But not enough skill. Which is where bringing professional basketball back to Essex comes in. “Part of it was frustration,” he concedes. “I’d wanted to be involved in a BBL club for a number of years and nothing had really opened up.
A lot of the coaches are pretty settled at the clubs they’re at. And I guess, selfishly, I’d always felt that with the level of talent we have in this country, even though it’s unrefined, there are players who are more than capable of playing at the BBL.” And more are in the works. Several other prospects are training under Lewis each day, but passing up on the BBL in order to keep their American college eligibility intact. The Project includes plenty of time to practice, to focus and to develop. “We have young guys, aged 18 or 19, who are getting better individually. They’re starting to understand what it takes to be a basketballer, rather than just an athlete, which is what we see a lot of in British kids.” Some might go into mainland Europe. Some to the States. A few may even stay in the UK. “They’re learning the team structure and getting better,” Lewis adds. “Practicing twice a day. Playing two games a week, you’ll improve. Plus I’m doing countless hours a week coaching and that can only make me and the team better.” The Project will take a while to cement. Yet observers around the BBL have given cautiously positive reviews. Despite the abrupt departure of co-founder Ian Mollard, the launch of the Pirate ship has been smooth. But being a professional team costs money. The trick, as Lewis acknowledges, is to steer a safe course that balances basketball and business. “We were slow out of the gates. We had issues we needed to resolve that held us up. But we’re coming through that now and we have a large schools programme launching in the New Year. The enthusiasm in the local area’s been great. We’ve been up and down in terms of bums on seats - between 300 and 600 - but for a first year, it’s been good. “And we’ve had great help from Essex Audi, Southend Borough Council, David Lloyd and others. Those are relationships we can build on. We’re not a huge money club in year one and we may not be in year two. It’s about the long-term.” Read Mark’s blog at www.britball.com/blog
“We have young guys, aged 18 or 19, who are getting better individually. They’re starting to understand what it takes to be a basketballer, rather than just an athlete, which is what we see a lot of in British kids” - Tim Lewis, Essex Pirates FADEAWAYMAG.CO.UK
Mocap Studi o
LIGHTS, CAMERA, ACTION
FadeAway visits 2K Sports’ motion capture studio in San Francisco to see where the magic is made.
here are few video game releases which fill the calendar with year-long hype before they hit the street. The “action game” genre has titles such as Call Of Duty and Grand Theft Auto. Basketball has the 2K series. For the last couple of seasons, it has almost undeniably been the best basketball game on the market - having dethroned NBA Live following it’s decade-long reign. Now celebrating its tenth anniversary, the 2K franchise has taken it to another level once again with all sorts of added features. My personal favourite is the online update service, which means that if your player is going through a bad shooting spell in real life, it’ll be reflected in the game too. Likewise, if he’s on a hot streak, he’ll be lighting it up on your console. So, as a 2K junkie, I leapt at the chance to fly out to San Francisco to visit their motion capture studio and meet the creative brains behind the game. As a 6’ 2” guy, the 10 hour flight with very little leg room was loooooooong....but the 5 star hotel we were chauffeured to upon our arrival made up for it all. That’s how FadeAway rolls! Anyway, after being dragged across what felt like every inch of San Fran by FadeAway’s creative director (and sight-seeing junkie) Jake Green, we finally headed to the Mocap Studio. It’s here where all the player movements are captured, giving the 2K characters their realistic motions. To my amazement, we were given the chance to suit up and have our own “signature moves” captured - just like the NBA stars! I’m sure you’ve seen it on TV before, but basically this involves wearing what looks like a wet-suit covered with little balls of light. The cameras then record and map every movement of every ball, thus exactly replicating every single action you make. Sick! Now if only I could do the moves just like Kobe. After the motion capture madness, we headed to the 2K offices, where we had the opportunity to play the game itself (long before it hit the shops)..and you’ll be pleased to hear that I repped for the UK and destroyed my counterpart from Germany’s 5IVE basketball magazine...keeping my “2K first game unbeaten” record intact in the process! Jake also offered the designers some hints and tips - and may well be featured in 2K11. 18
Words By: Mike Baptiste PhotoS By: Jake Green
Even in the wetsuit, my game is pretty!
“To my amazement, we were given the chance to suit up and have our own ‘signature moves’ captured - just like the NBA stars!” FADEAWAYMAG.CO.UK
THE ROOKIE CLASS
Words By: MARK WOODS PHOTOs By: Mike Arnfield
Life in the low-rent world of the BBL ain’t a bed of roses. This isn’t the high-rolling universe of the NBA. It’s a proving ground, a test of mind and body that can make or break dreams of moving onto a bigger and better payday elsewhere. Dealing with bus trips, prehistoric gyms and three-figure crowds throws up constant challenges. Some sink, others flourish. A few opt to stick around. If first impressions count, what’s going through the minds of this year’s BBL rookies? Four of the best speak exclusively to FadeAway’s Mark Woods. Mike Copeland was a reserve on North Carolina’s NCAA title squad last year, before signing on for his rookie campaign with the Glasgow Rocks. Like his new team, the NC-native had an uncertain start to the season before finding his feet - on and off the court.
“When I first got here to Glasgow, a big thing was just getting around. I was left on my own. And I was scared. I’d never left the country before. HOM ESI CK BLU ES Never left the US. No-one else Mike Copeland, Glasgow had gotten here yet. I was in the house by myself. And I was scared to drive. They seem like aggressive drivers here. They’re going to pull out in front of you. It’s on the other side of the road to what you’re used to. It’s all different. “At one point, I sat there thinking: ‘This is tough. I don’t know if I can do this.’ I just had to stick to basketball. Once I started going with that, and getting in shape, I thought I’d forget about being scared. And that’s what happened. I just settled into basketball. I starting going around, getting to more places, seeing the city. And now I like it a lot. “What people don’t realise is that I’ve been around my whole family my whole life, even when I went to college. North Carolina was just an hour away from home. So I used to go home all the time. Any time off I had, I was there to see my family. Coming here, knowing that I can’t call my Mom to come help me, that I’m by myself. It’s helped me mature as a person - and as a player. I know I have to take care of my body on my own and do things the right way: going to sleep, eating better, all those things. It’s made me grown up and become a man.”
Aaron Drakeford joined Guildford in the summer out of the University of Rio Grande in his native Ohio. The Heat have had their own transition this term, with long-time favourite Chad McKnight taking on coaching duties. And during the team’s mid-table start, that’s meant listening and learning for him - and his rookie point guard.
“Playing for a player-coach is pretty unique. It has its good and bad points. Out there Aaron Drakeford, Guildford sometimes, you forget he’s the coach. He’s just Chad. Then you get to a time-out, he becomes ‘coach’. The good thing is he can see things from the players’ perspective in any situation. That helps. “I’ve talked a lot to him, and Mike Martin and Julius Joseph, not only about playing basketball at the professional level but also about the things I should do and shouldn’t do. They told me when I first arrived to sit back and watch, to learn how the culture is here, how I interact with people. That was a big help. “It’s the same around the team. Mike and Julius help Chad a lot in practice. He’s made it very clear that if they have something to say, they should voice their opinion. We have a pretty young team and we’re all learning. I don’t even think we’ve really come fully together yet. We’ve had injuries. We still have a lot of room for growth as a team. I feel once everyone is healthy and on the same page, a lot of good things will happen.”f
LEA RNI NG THE ROP ES
“ As the only new person…there’s more pressure. But that’s basketball. Good pressure is better than no pressure at all ” - Joe Chapman, Newcastle Eagles American guard Joe Chapman lit it up at Marquette University along side Dwyane Wade before turning pro. He joined Newcastle in the summer but the reigning champs have found defending their title a lot tougher than expected - with their off-season recruit under the spotlight.
“It’s tough being the only new guy on a team that’s been used to winning championships. It takes a while to mesh with everyone. But overall, I think it’s a NT ME UST THE ADJ good fit. Certainly, the overall Joe Chapman, Newcastle depth of each team and the competition around the BBL has been a surprise. Plus, I didn’t know anything about the city. I didn’t know what I was coming into. But it’s been a good surprise for sure. “It’s more of a team system in Newcastle. At a lot of places I’ve been to, it’s not been like that. They bring you in to be the guy who is the number one scorer. Here everyone’s almost the same. Everyone’s averaging, like, 15-16 points a game which is fine with me. We have a great balanced team. Not a lot of teams in the league have that. First, you have to get used to it. It’s a lot to get used to. But once you know your role on a team, you get better for it. “Certainly you feel the expectation here. As the only new person, you feel a little more. There’s more pressure. But that’s basketball. Good pressure is better than no pressure at all. On some teams, they don’t care if you win or lose. I’d rather have some kind of pressure there.” UPDATE: Shortly
Injuries and eligibility hampered Tack Minor’s hopes of being drafted into the NBA out of Louisiana State University. Now, he’s at Leicester and threatening to lead the BBL in points and assists - under the tutelage of Riders coach and former point guard Rob Paternostro. But the dream for the Houston native is still alive.
“Rob’s told me to be focused every day in practice. Be professional. Be a team leader. Just to THI NKI NG AHE AD go out there and run the team Tack Minor, Leicester and do whatever it takes. Do the little things that better you as a player. I want to make more steals a game. I get maybe 1 or 2. I strive to get more, things like that. “College is in the past but I do have a chip on my shoulder. I want to prove to everyone that I’m back. I worked hard in the summer with my cousin Joseph Fields who played in the NFL for the Carolina Panthers. He pushed me and I got in top shape. “John Lucas helped me a lot as well. I’ve been around him since ninth grade. Every time he feels I’m under-achieving, he pushes me and gets on me. I’m going to get to the NBA. John’s back there now so that’s even better for me. I’m just going through this whole year looking to win some trophies. My goal for the whole year is to win the whole thing, the league, the play-offs. Next year is next year. I’m going to go to training camps and we’ll see what happens. But I want to end up in the NBA one of these days.”
after this article was written, Tack’s contract was terminated - by mutual agreement - and he returned to the States. You can follow Mark on Twitter at twitter.com/markbritball 22
Words By: Will Clapton PHOTOS By: NBAE/Getty Images
S TA R QUALITY Will Clapton examines twenty-four players who have lived up to - and exceeded - expectations so far this season.
he NBA’s annual All-Star Game always throws up a few surprises. Ever since Yao Ming led all vote-getters as a rookie in ‘03, we have grown accustomed to the public voting with their hearts instead of their heads. The 2010 All-Star game at the Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas appears to be no different. Chinese NBA fans seem to be responsible for the alarming reality that Tracy McGrady is likely to start for the West. That’s the same Tracy McGrady who has yet to play so far this season due to injury. This anomaly is easily explained, of course, since T-Mac is the Rockets teammate of Yao Ming and, therefore, extremely popular with the Chinese voters - and there are a lot of them. Yao Ming himself will miss the game due to injury, but T-Mac’s selection could be at the expense of a number of more deserving Western Conference guards. The NBA All-Star Game is a popularity contest - an exhibition of the most entertaining and famous players in the league. But what if we overlooked the hype and selected players based purely on who’s getting the job done on the court this season? The teams would look something like this…f
“The NBA All-Star Game is a popularity contest. But what if we overlooked the hype and selected players based purely on who’s getting the job done on the court this season?” WES TER N C ON F E R EN C E
obe Bryant would be a lock for the Western Conference shooting guard position. With Pau Gasol missing a number of games at the beginning of the season, Kobe carried the Lakers on his back to the best record in the West while averaging 28ppg. The highlight of Kobe’s season so far was his astonishing buzzer-beating game-winner against the Heat on 4th December. Joining him in the backcourt should be Steve Nash, the leader of the West’s surprise team of the year, the Phoenix Suns. Nash is rewinding the clock and playing like it is ‘05 with averages of 18ppg and 11apg. The guard position is exceptionally deep in the West. Deron Williams is having the best season of his young career, as demonstrated by his Jazz team putting a halt to the Lakers’ 11-game winning D-Will
streak in December. He should be joined on the West bench by Chris Paul (21ppg and 10apg) of the Hornets and the Blazers’ Brandon Roy (21ppg, 5rpg and 5apg). Rivaling only Steve Nash in the ‘surprise MVP candidate’ sweepstakes is Nuggets forward Carmelo Anthony. His league-leading 30ppg are a large reason why the Nuggets sit atop the Northwest division. At power forward, Dirk Nowitzki deserves to start for the West owing to his 27ppg and 8rpg for the Southwest division-leading Dallas Mavericks. For those that witnessed it, Nowitzki’s 29-point fourth quarter against the Jazz on 4th November was something to behold. Pushing for a starting spot at forward will be Oklahoma City Thunder star Kevin Durant who, at the time of writing, was scoring more points per game than LeBron James and Kobe
Bryant. Tim Duncan’s Spurs have been one of the season’s biggest disappointments but the Big Fundamental is still a force to be reckoned with on both ends of the court. Pau Gasol’s return from injury was the catalyst for the Lakers’ 11-game winning streak in December and so the Spaniard also belongs on the Western Conference bench. Amar’e Stoudemire is likely to start for the West at center (despite playing power forward for the Suns) because of his popularity amongst the fans. In reality, the best true center out West this season has been the Lakers’ Andrew Bynum, who incidentally dropped 26 points and 15 boards on the Suns in November. The 22-year-old seven-footer is averaging over 17ppg and 9rpg and will be relied upon heavily in the Lakers’ pursuit of another championship.f
E AS T ERN CONFERENCE
he leading vote-getter for the 2009 All-Star Game was Dwight Howard. He will start at center for the East again in the 2010 game. The big man is scoring 18ppg (on just 9 shot attempts per game) and pulling down 12rpg while his Magic team sit atop the Southeast division. Andrew Bogut deserves recognition for the steady job he’s doing holding down the center position in Milwaukee, although a number of players are in contention for the backup center position. Brandon Jennings’ extravagant 55-point performance against the Warriors in November was one of the highlights of the season so far (rookie or not) but, in truth, the young Buck should only make the bench of the East All-Star team. More deserving of starting are two Southeast division guards - Dwyane Wade and Joe Johnson. Wade is capable of taking care of ball-carrying duties and is putting up impressive numbers as always. Johnson’s statistics aren’t as flashy as Wade’s but his Hawks team are the surprise package of the season so far and Johnson’s 21ppg, 5rpg and 5apg are no joke. Joining Jennings on the Eastern Conference bench should be the Celtics’ Rajon Rondo, who leads the East in steals and assists (so perhaps we can forgive him for his abysmal free throw shooting). Selecting a fifth guard for the East is enough to give anyone a headache. Andre Iguodala sneaks in. At small forward, LeBron James is a lock to start and is doing his best to keep hold of his regular season MVP trophy. LeBron is putting up 28ppg, 7rpg and an astonishing 8apg while leading the Cavs to the best record in the Central division. Meanwhile, the remaining forward position is wide open. Despite the Raptors’ losing record, it’s hard to ignore Chris Bosh’s 24ppg and 12rpg, so he gets the nod ahead of Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Josh Smith - all three of whom play for much better teams and deserve to make the bench at least. Smith is averaging an NBA-best 2.5bpg and is finally figuring out how to utilise his astounding athletic ability. Those are just some of the players who have made the headlines for all the right reasons this season. They deserve All-Star status. If only the fans voted with their heads instead of their hearts.
NBA ALL-STAR VOTING
(3RD BALLOT) EAST FORWARDS
LeBron James Kevin Garnett Chris Bosh Paul Pierce Josh Smith
1,579,530 1,317,739 644,473 320,499 293,680
Dwyane Wade Allen Iverson Vince Carter Ray Allen Gilbert Arenas
1,539,968 806,749 651,134 452,708 407,581
EAST CENTERS Dwight Howard Shaquille O’Neal Al Horford Andrea Bargnani Brook Lopez
1,479,625 536,681 157,050 146,595 133,106
WEST FORWARDS 1,410,356 753,971 685,390 667,767 474,506
Carmelo Anthony Dirk Nowitzki Tim Duncan Pau Gasol Kevin Durant
WEST GUARDS Kobe Bryant Tracy McGrady Steve Nash Chris Paul Jason Kidd WEST CENTERS
1,606,032 649,563 648,558 622,619 405,027
Amar’e Stoudemire 1,143,849 Andrew Bynum 676,634 Nene 235,276 Marc Gasol 190,476 Antonio McDyess 130,058
Derrick Rose’s Rookie Of The Year winning season made him “the man”. But with success come expectations...and, so far this season, neither he nor the Bulls are living up to them.f 30
PhotoS By: Adidas Words By: GREG TANNER
far as rookie campaigns go, Derrick Rose’s was just about as strong as they come. During the regular season he averaged an extremely impressive 17 points, 6 assists and 4 rebounds per game as he helped the Bulls to a .500 record. “Job well done”, everyone thought as Chicago went into the play-offs - lambs to the slaughter in the minds of most as they faced the Celtics. But D-Rose was just getting started. When the pressure was on, he upped his game to nearly 20 points, 6.4 assists and 6.3 boards - defiantly pushing the reigning champs to seven games in what many have called the best play-off series of the decade (one which featured a league-record FOUR overtime games!!) A star was born...and suddenly Derrick Rose was dubbed Chicago’s saviour. But during the off season, the NBA’s new golden boy began losing some of his shine. Firstly, a photo of him flashing gang signs made its way around the internet. Big deal - everyone does that. Things got more serious when his name was at the centre of an academic scandal at his alma mater, Memphis. It was alleged that someone had taken Rose’s SAT exam for him, as he wouldn’t have attained the required grades - a charge he denies. But thirdly - and most seriously was his ankle injury. It sidelined him for virtually all of the pre-season (much to the disappointment of Brit fans, who only saw him sit on the bench as the Bulls played the Jazz at The O2 in October). And at the start of the regular season, it was still troubling him. “There’s got to be something I’m doing wrong,” he said after three weeks of sub-par play. “I know the injury was something, but, man, it’s taking me too long to get back. I know I’m not playing like my regular self. I don’t remember (ever playing like this). This has got to be the first time in my whole life. I never had an injury or anything like that. This is the first time I’m not being aggressive.” “I think he’s got to gain confidence in his ankle,” said Bulls Coach Vinny Del Negro, stating the obvious. “He doesn’t have that explosion he had. He’s trying to get that back with his conditioning. I think he’s just a little bit tentative right now. He’s just got to keep on playing through it. “He knows how important he is to us with his growth. So we’ve got to be a little bit patient and give him some space and let him play and enjoy himself. He was set back with basically missing training camp. So he’s had to use the regular season games to get his conditioning in. It was unfortunate timing.” As the season progressed, Rose began to improve (although his scoring, rebounding and assist stats are all down on last year’s numbers). However, the Bulls’ win record nose-dived. At time of writing, they are a woeful 11 and 17... including a loss to the then 1-19 New Jersey Nets, and a 35 point battering at the hands of the Atlanta Hawks. It seems that was the final straw...and the usually mild-mannered Rose spoke out - publicly criticising his team mates.f 32
People say they want me to shoot the ball more, but I’m the point guard - I can’t do that. I’ve got to pass the ball to people and get people open - Derrick Rose
“We need some more wins,” he said. “I’m not worried about my play. I’m worried about us getting wins. Either you want it or you don’t. Hustle, if you want it. Rebound. The score tonight speaks for itself. We’re just not playing hard.” A short while later he complained about the Bulls’ “nonchalant attitude” after they allowed the biggest comeback in the NBA since 1996, wasting a 35-point lead in a 102-98 loss to the Sacramento Kings. The fact that the Kings’ rookie PG, Tyreke Evans (also a former University of Memphis baller), scored 35 of those points was duly noted. And this is the reality Derrick Rose finds himself in as we go into 2010...far from being the best point guard in the East (as many had predicted he could be), he’s actually putting up poorer numbers than first year PGs such as Evans and Brandon Jennings. So what should he do? Well, plenty of folks reckon that with his team stinking so much, Rose should try to concentrate more on putting the ball in the basket. But he, apparently, is not so convinced: “Yeah, but it’s hard when everybody’s focusing on you on the court,” he says. “It’s very hard being in the position where I’m the point guard and I’m supposed to pass the ball and everything. People say they want me to shoot the ball more, but I’m the point guard - I can’t do that. I’ve got to pass the ball to people and get people open. Taking over as a point guard is getting people open and shooting here and there. If I was a 2-guard, it would be something else.” Hmmm...tell that to Deron Williams, who exploded for 38 points and 13 assists last night. Or Chris Paul, who’s made 20-plus-point, 10-plus-assist games seem routine. Also, according to the god of basketball analysis, John Hollinger: “[Rose] doesn’t see the floor well, ranking only 42nd among point guards in assist ratio. He also had a near-comic reluctance to throw alley-oop passes despite the long, athletic finishers in his frontcourt.” Rose needs to take the Bulls by the horns and be the “Alpha Dog” according to Ricky O’Donnell from TremendousUpsidePotential.com “Derrick is barely into his sophomore season. He still has a chance. But it has to start soon. Not to go all Obi Wan Kenobi, but that boy is our last hope among the current players. If Luol Deng or Hinrich had it in them, things would have gone very differently over the last five seasons. John Salmons is a role player. Joakim Noah has the intensity and desire, but he lacks the presence and all-around skill set. Asking Brad Miller to go alpha would be like asking lead to turn itself into gold.” A change in Chicago is long overdue...and there’s a strong possibility that by the time you read this, Vinny Del Negro will have been sacked and there’ll be a new chief in the windy City. According to ESPN, Bulls bosses are trying to land a “big name” coach - such as Jeff Van Gundy, Byron Scott or Avery Johnson - to steady the Chicago ship and accelerate the development of their potential superstar. Whoever lands the top job, they’d be wise to consider telling Rose to forget the “point” bit and just think of himself as a “guard”...and hopefully he’ll get back to becoming the player everyone thinks he can be. 34
I’m not worried about my play. I’m worried about us getting wins. Either you want it or you don’t. Hustle, if you want it. Rebound. We’re just not playing hard FADEAWAYMAG.CO.UK
A passion for streetball has taken Kevin Couliau to some of the world’s most famous blacktops - first as a ball player, now as a photographer trying to share his vision of basketball. He spent this past summer in NYC...
ew York - “concrete jungle where dreams are made of ” - and a streetball centre I simply couldn’t ignore on my journey. As a French dude, barely fluent in English, I was lucky enough to spend last summer playing and shooting on some of the most famous playgrounds on earth. I’ve nearly fulfilled my childhood dream! During two months in the Big Apple, I met numerous players, tournament organisers and basketball activists. But the most interesting thing was the energy radiating from the various events. From the tourists grabbing the fence at West 4th, to the crazy loud speakers at Together We Chill, to the over-crowded Dyckman finals, no matter where you are - Downtown or Uptown - it’s nothing but love. Big names like Best Kept Secret, Serious Satellite, and Primal Fear now have young heirs like The Pirate, Optimus Prime or Yatta Gaines hot on their heels - all ready to shine for decades in the heart of the 5 Boroughs. If you venture to NYC to play ball, just make sure to have some connections. Whether its “Bobbito’s Anytime, Anyday” at the Goat Park, or at 14th Street Y gym, you can always find a good run, full of talented ballers. There’s no better training camp than a whole summer in Gotham. You’ll work your dribbling, one-on-one skills and self-confidence. Maybe New York streetball is too selfish, maybe it’s disorganised, but whatever people say it’s still the Mecca. The best basketball spot, period. In the following shots, I tried to capture the authenticity and great vibe reigning on the city’s best playgrounds. [www.asphalt-chronicles.com]
WORDS BY: GREG TANNER Photo By: KEVIN COULIAU
From the tourists g r a bb i n g t h e f e n c e at West 4th, to the crazy loud speakers at Together We Chill, to the over-crowded Dy c k m a n f i n a l s , n o matter where you are - Downtown or Uptown - it’s nothing but love
M a yb e N e w Y o r k streetball is too s e l f i s h , m a yb e i t ’ s disorganised, but whatever people say - it’s still the Mecca
Words By: Simon Burr PhotoS By: Nick Pavey
GOT GAME? With the winter weather too cold to play ball outside, video games can be a great way to take care of your basketball cravings. But at around £50 a pop, which game do you spend your left-over Christmas money on, NBA Live 2010 or NBA 2K10?
NBA 2K10 - 2K Sports This year’s edition of NBA 2K marks the 10th anniversary of the series, and to celebrate they’ve tried to make their best basketball game yet. The biggest new addition is the “My Player” mode that lets you create your own rookie, build up his stats and take him on a journey from training camp, to D-League to the NBA. If Live is an arcade game, you could call 2K10 a simulation. Gameplay can be intimidating at first - as soon as you turn on the game you have to 44
get to grips with the menu. The shot-stick controls can get some getting used too and post-up play is particularly hard to master (expect to get a lot of 3 second violations.) Once you’ve got to know the game however, it offers the most rewarding basketball experience. The game is slightly slower paced than Live, but feels more realistic because of it. Defending is responsive due to the lock-on trigger, and the offensive game flows well. You’ll see a lot of nice put-back jams, blocks and dunks...and because of the number of animations, it’ll be a while before you’ve seen them all. Presentation is polished and looks like an actual NBA game, with half-time reports and full highlights making you feel like you’re witnessing a real game on the box.
The same applies to the franchise mode. The menu is presented like the NBA.com site with photos of the night’s best game. The in-game commentary is more than just play-by-play, but discusses your previous games, season standings, league leaders and playoff chances. If you want an easy to play, fast-paced NBA game to pick up and play with friends, NBA LIVE might be the game for you. But with so many features like the dunk contest, create a team, street games and a better franchise mode, NBA 2K10 will keep you coming back for more. Plus you can usually get it for about £10 cheaper.
NBA LIVE 2010 - EA Sports For years, the NBA Live series was the most dominant basketball game on the market. But since age of next gen consoles, they’ve been playing catch up to the NBA 2K games. While 2K Sports developers were focusing on improving gameplay, EA was concentrating on graphics - and beneath the layer of polish, the games felt clunky and outdated. With the 2010 edition of NBA Live, EA look ready to regain some lost ground. A lot of time has been spent on improving the game mechanics, and it shows. The game is easy to get the hang of from the get-go. You can just pick up the controller and play without spending too much time staring at the controls in the manual. Because of its easy learning curve, it’s great to play with friends - even if they don’t know much about the sport. The whole game has a fast paced arcade feel to it that results in a lot of dunks and alley-oops which
are fun to watch. Unfortunately, the game still has the same flaws that plagued previous instalments. Animations look unrealistic and glitchy a lot of the time. Rebounding looks particularly bad, most of your bigs look like Stretch Armstrong when going for the ball. Sometimes when you try and grab a board, your player will just float away from the ball leaving it to the other team. And you’ll be shouting at the screen when your teammates will sit and stare the opposite direction from their man, rather than defending. The inclusion of FIBA teams and a championship mode is nice, but Team GB team is out-dated (if you’re reading, EA Sports, John Amaechi retired 7 years ago) and because you can’t bring in your created players to national teams, there’s no way to update them. The “Dynasty Mode” and online features are nice, but don’t offer anything unique. As improved as the game is this year, there aren’t enough features to keep you coming back. Games reviewed on Playstation 3. Both games out on all consoles. NBA 2k10 is also out on PC.
K1X h1ke Te rr ito ry You canâ€™t stand the winter, because you feel cold? Then the h1ke territor y is the right shoe for you. www.kickz.com
WORDS By: GREG TANNER PhotoS By: Kevin Joseph
As always, FadeAway brings you the latest sneaker releases....But which should be hung from the rafters, and which should be strung up? Judge for yourself....
a Adidas All sta r TS Supernatural Creator ASW10 www.adidas.com
K1X chiefglider 2 Low stance gives you comfort and keeps you from rolling your ankle. www.kickz.com
NIKE Zoom - Kobe V The nike zoom Kobe V is Nikeâ€™s lightest Basketball shoe ever. www.nike.com
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H ardwood to Hol lywood
SCREEN & ROLL
Words By: GREG TANNER PhotoS By: Lionsgate, New Line Cinema
With More Than A Game due for its UK release soon, we look back on our favourite b-ball movies.
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WhITE MEN CAN’T JUMP
ABOVE ThE rIM
SOlE IN ThE hOlE
(1992) To this day, people on basketball courts around the world still recite phrases from this film’s legendary opening scene. “That shit is too easy....nah, nah, nah.... that shit is TOO easy!!” The only basketball comedy to make the list (sorry, but Slam Dunk Ernest narrowly missed out!), White Men has a perfect blend of b-ball action and humour. The first of Woody Harrelson and Wesley Snipes’ many on-screen collaborations, the chemistry between the pair is great. And whilst the whole “black culture meets white culture” thing has been done to death in movies (see the Lethal Weapon franchise as a prime example) it works perfectly in the context of basketball.
(1994) The more observant of you will have noticed that the star of Above The Rim, Duane Martin, actually featured in White Men Can’t Jump (“You got that big “Z” in your ‘fro. What are you, the black Zorro?”) But that’s about all the two films have in common. Above The Rim portrays the life of a talented young baller, hoping to make it to Georgetown, but getting caught up in the thug life shown to him by local gangsta “Birdie” (played by Tupac Shakur).Although it came out just two years after White Men, Above The Rim seems infinitely more contemporary - and the basketball action is the best I’ve ever seen in any non-documentary b-ball film. And let’s not forget, it boasts the best soundtrack of any b-ball movie - with joints from Pac, Snoop, Warren G and Nate Dogg.
(1996) This fantastic documentary follows New York streetball squad “Kenny’s Kings” through the course of the summer of 1993, as they dominate every tournament they enter...a feat which brings them hood notoriety, but also plenty of haters. There’s drama off the court though, as the team’s star player - Ed “Booger” Smith - endures never-ending personal issues, causing major stress for team owner and surrogate father figure, Kenny Jones. Look out for Booger’s high-flying team mate, Charles Jones, who went on to have a stellar college career and stints in the NBA.
(1994) Quite possibly the greatest sports documentary of all-time, Hoop Dreams is a three hour epic, charting the lives of two high school ballers from Chicago. The original plan was to shoot for three weeks to produce a 30 minute programme for the Public Broadcasting Service. In the end, the makers filmed more than 250 hours of footage over EIGHT YEARS! It was worth it. Hoop Dreams shows the highs and lows of Arthur Agee and William Gates’ teenage years... including financial, family and educational dramas. Some crazy twists of fate over the course of their high school careers have things panning out very differently to how you might think at the start of the film.
BENCH PLAYERS hE GOT GAME (1998) Real life NBA star Ray Allen plays “Jesus Shuttleworth”, a high school phenomenon whose jailed father’s (Denzel Washington) only hope of freedom rests on persuading his son to attend the college of the governor’s choice.
lOVE & BASKETBAll (2000) Drama about a couple’s love for each other and their sport. Follows them from childhood sweethearts and high school ballers to the pros and parenthood. This bitter sweet flick is more one for the girls than the boys, to be honest.
ThrOUGh ThE FIrE (2005) Documentary following Sebastian Telfair from high school to the NBA. Examines the pressure he has on him to “make it” as the cousin of Stephon Marbury and playground legend of Coney Island.
MOrE ThAN A GAME (2009) FadeAway was lucky enough to attend the London premiere of this film back in the summer - and it did not disappoint. More Than A Game follows LeBron James and his high school team mates as they rise to national stardom and put Akron, Ohio, on the basketball map.Like the Hoop Dreams makers, director Kristopher Belman (an Akron native) only planned on making a 10 minute film about the team as part of a college project. He ended up producing one of the best basketball features of all time - splicing together grainy home video footage, present day interviews and clips of nationally-televised shows such as ESPN SportsCenter. What I love about this movie is that fact that it gives LeBron’s team mates just as much importance as LBJ himself. For example, as much time is spent on their tiny point guard, Dru Joyce III, as is spent on the reigning MVP. The way in which these characters combined - on and off court - to achieve so much success is a fascinating, not to mention moving, tale...and Bellman manages to capture it all perfectly. FADEAWAY RATING:
Think we’ve missed your favourite film off the list? Hit us on firstname.lastname@example.org with your choices.
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P O P S TA r S : T h E r I VA l S
”NEXT TIME, I WON’T BE TAKING IT SO EASY ON ThE JlS BOYS!”
Words By: BiG Fen Photo By: marK Green
A CElEBrItY line-up that heat magazine would be proud of takes to the court in Essex. Event host Big Fen gives us the low down...
ou don’t usually get too many screaming and swooning teenage girls at British basketball games. Then again, the teams don’t usually feature the likes of JLS, Kandy Rain, Phillips Idowu, Megaman and reality TV and soap stars. The Dunk N Funk Celebrity All-Star Game did though - and over a thousand fans, not to mention countless photographers, packed into Brentwood Leisure Centre to see them in action. JLS showed that they’re capable of so much more than just singing and dancing as they balled their way to victory. Coached by FadeAway magazine’s Mike Baptiste, Aston (small but lethal!), Ortise, JB and Marvin teamed up with World Champion triple jumper Idowu to thrash DJ Spoony’s squad 30-4 (unfortunately, I was on the losing side!). Idowu was the high scorer - throwing down several nasty dunks. Meanwhile, girl-group Miss Frank took the ladies’ title in a tight match against Kandy Rain. As well as
GIGGS DON’T GO THERE’ FEAT: B.O.B Giggs’ tune ‘Don’t Go There’ featuring B.O.B. has an irritating sing-along-catchy chorus, in-between which he tells his listeners in his husky signature style flow why it’s best for heads not to go there, so that he or his Black Gang don’t have to go there (if you get the drift...), well explained over a melodic bridge and head nodding beat with an arty black and white video’ to boot. Bound to be a smash! DAnIEllE AUMOrD
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JACK JONES OH NO ‘Oh No!’ has a catchy, bashy kind of twinge to it, exactly what you would imagine for a tune graced by Jack Jones, dancehall don Gappy Ranx and East London rapper Tug of War. An infectious club banger and no doubt one of the most hyped tunes for 2010! Ohh it’s getting hot in here... A perfect example of what Jones describes as one of his ‘diverse rap’ flows. Keep an eye on this one. DAnIEllE AUMOrD
the celebrity games, there was plenty of other entertainment courtesy of some of the UK’s top basketball freestylers - Andrew Wilding, Tarryn Algar, Simon Reibel, Junior Williams and Joe Harding. Meanwhile the International Allstarz dance team, led by Charlotte Duffy, did their thing in hot pants...leaving every bloke’s jaw on the floor! “The event went brilliantly with the support of all the celebrities who turned up to take part and watch the games,” said event organiser Mark Abery. “The JLS boys really enjoyed the day and gave the crowds a real good show, somersaulting and dancing during the games and supporting the other teams during their matches.” I’m looking forward to the re-match. Next time, I won’t be taking it so easy on the JLS boys! Start training hard, guys...we’ll be ready and waiting!! For the full photo gallery and some video footage, see my website www.bigfen.co.uk
B DUBBLE UP UP & AWAY B Dubble a.k.a Bashir Blenheim, actor, rapper, fashion designer, is there no end to his talents? Obviously not, hitting up with a slice of Hip-Hop laced with soft soulful vocals and catchy acoustic intro entitled ‘Up up and Away’, B Dubble lets us know why he’s so fly with a deep growl and that very shortly he’s bound to blow even if you didn’t know it up until now! So make sure you get to know. DAnIEllE AUMOrD
SOULS OF MISCHIEF MONTEZUMA’S REVENGE LP Another mid 90’s Hip-Hop group back with a new LP in 2010. Hailing from Oakland, CA they gave us a classic in ‘93 Til Infinity’.‘Proper Aim’ is the first single and is a strong effort with a tasty Prince Paul produced heavy bassed beat. This is Hip-Hop for those who love beats that boom-bap, lyrics that hold weight and a general nostalgiableeding flavour that carries on from where they left of 10 years ago. P hEArD
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B r I T S A B r OA D
CAnArIAs BAsKEtBAll ACADEMY
Words By: GreG Tanner
“Many kids were coming back disappointed. I thought the academy could be that bridge to a US college or a professional team in Europe”. Right from the start, Rob had an ace up his sleeve - he’d helped to develop young Brit Joel Freeland over in Gran Canaria. When he was drafted to the NBA, it put this tiny island off the coast of Africa firmly on the basketball map. With that feather in his cap, Rob opened the academy. Its selling points were his experience of both the US and European game - and the fact it gave kids a chance to train virtually like pros. “We train two or three times a day, five or six days a week,” he says. “We try to install the toughness, the agressiveness, the hunger you’d have in an American player with the technique and the fundamentals of a European player.” Alongside Rob are a team of highly motivated and extremely experienced coaches and personal trainers, who focus on improving individual skills and athleticism. Between them, they’ve so far helped CBA to send 14 kids to division one schools on full scholarships - 10 of them Brits. The current crop of CBAers are hoping to follow the same route, convinced the academy is giving them their best shot at doing so. “It’s tough, but realising how better you are on Friday compared to how you were on Monday - it’s definitely worth it,” says Henry Allen, who’s new to the camp this year following a disappointing season at an American high school.
PHOTO BY: WWW.basKEtball247.co.UK
“we’re all Focused - there’s no mucking aBout. we’re all together as a FamilY and working everYdaY to Further our chances” adam edwards
LA ISLA BONITA
thOUGht thE CAnArY IslAnDs WErE JUst ABOUt sUn, sea and pissed up British tourists? think again.
s unlikely as it sounds, the town of Taﬁra on Gran Canaria is currently home to some Britain’s most promising young ballers. Around 40 of them, in their late teens and early twenties, are there pursuing their hoop dreams at the Canarias Basketball Academy. Based at the University of Gran Canaria, CBA was set up in 2007 by Rob Orellana. After 15 years as an assistant coach in division one college basketball in the
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States, he moved to the islands to become the the head of youth development for Gran Canaria’s ACB team. Having seen the American high school dream fail for so many young players, he thought the European route might be a better fit for lots of kids looking to make it. “My travels through Europe made me realise that there was a hole that wasn’t being filled by the America high school system,” he told FadeAway.
His comments are echoed by Alex Evitts - who suffered similar disillusionment in the States: “In the first four weeks I’ve learned more than I did the whole season in Indiana. So, without a shadow of a doubt, I know I’m going to be a better player for this”. “Everyone’s got the same goal here - we’re all going for that division one, division two or pro contract,” says second year attendee Adam Edwards. “We’re all focused - there’s no mucking about. We’re all together as a family and working everyday to further our chances.” At thousands of Euros a year, attending the CBA ain’t cheap. But Orellana is so confident of the service he offers, he thinks anyone who sees it with their own eyes will be convinced. “Any kid can come and visit for a week - see what we have to offer, see if that investment that your parents are going to make is worth it. They can talk to our former players and their parents they’ll tell you how they feel about CBA, about the coaches, about the interaction. They have to see it for themselves and believe it for themselves.”
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B R I T BA L L E R S
PHOTO BY: JAKE GREEN WORDS BY: JULIE ADENUGA
B R I TA I N ’ S G O T T A L E N T
WORDS BY: JULIE ADENUGA PHOTO BY: ISMINI
ARE YOU THE SUSAN BOYLE OF BALLERS? Then pay attention...
aul Douglas is getting his Simon Cowell on. He’s running an X-Factor-style nation-wide hunt for the best under-18 ballers the UK has to offer. And just as Cowell knows a thing or two about the music industry, so “Dougie” knows a thing or two about basketball. His 25 year career (as both a player and coach) has taken him around the world...and he’s done more than his fair share of youth development. The idea for “UK Elite” came after discussions with his business partner. “We were talking about the state of basketball in the UK - what we thought was wrong, what we thought was good, and what we thought we could do in the future,” he told FadeAway.
“We decided that we wanted to do something to try and raise the overall standard of the skills and game play of kids in the UK”. So, having sought advice from everyone - from NBA and Euroleague heads to BBL and junior basketball figures - Dougie’s now assembled a team of top coaches and scouts. They’re set to hold a series of trials around Britain open to 15-18 year olds. And, like The X-Factor, UK Elite is offering a serious prize - a 12 month sponsorship contract from Adidas, and the chance to be made up in digital form to feature in the forthcoming NBA 2K11 video game. “I know that if I was a player and I had the opportunity to get a year’s sponsorship deal with Adidas, I would work my backside off,” Dougie told us.
The trials will be on an invitational basis - apart from three special workouts for the first 100 players to register online. If you wanna be down, head to www.2ksportselite10.com. Dougie says it doesn’t matter where you’re from, as his network of people involved in this project spreads far and wide. “We’ve got scouts from the North East, London, South Midlands, and we’re trying to get scouts in Yorkshire,” he said. “All the coaches and players I’ve spoken to have been very supportive of the project - and said that they’d like to get involved. I know a few of them wished that something like this was around when they were kids!”
”I KNOW THAT IF I HAD THE OPPORTUNITY TO GET A YEAR’S SPONSORSHIP DEAL WITH ADIDAS, I WOULD WORK MY BACKSIDE OFF” PAUL DOUGLAS 58
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V E R T I C A L W O R KO U T
W O R KO U T & N U T R I T I O N The vast majority of athletes are not anywhere close to their maximum athletic potential. This means that you should never do just one exercise, or focus on one single athletic attribute.
IF… 1. You are an extremely strong athlete, but aren’t efficiently using your strength to display speed and quickness. Perhaps you squat two times your own body weight. You may find that your standing vertical jump is the same as your approach jump. You may find that weaker athletes are able to out-jump you. An athlete of this type will benefit most from focusing training on quick ballistic movements and reaching high speeds in short period of time. Hang cleans, drop jumps, jump squats, sprinting, and all exercises that involve reaching high speeds in minimum time are recommended. Ballistic exercises and plyometric drills will enable a strong but slower athlete to harness their strength, and improve speed and quickness.
WORDS BY: JACOB HILLER PHOTO BY: THOMAS ANGUS
WHAT IS THE BEST VERTICAL JUMP EXERCISE? As a vertical jump trainer, I get asked this question all of the time. The blogosphere is packed with articles about the “#1 vertical jump exercise” or the “secret vertical jump training exercise.” The fact is, this is actually a trick question. But don’t worry, I’m not going to let you walk away from this article empty handed. The question just needs to be “tweaked.” Let’s ask a much better, relevant, and useful question! If you walk into my gym, and tell me you want to increase your vertical jump, I’m not going to whisper the top secret, don’t-tell-anyone “number one exercise” and then send you on your way. Each player has different sets of strengths and skills. Based on your current strengths and weaknesses you can designate a training focus that will yield the greatest possible results in the least possible time. So the question you really need to ask is…”what should my personal training focus be in order to yield the greatest possible results in the shortest possible time?” This is a question that can actually lead to a fruitful course of action! Now let’s get into some specifics.
THE 3 TOP ATHLETIC ATTRIBUTES FOR A VERTICAL JUMP ARE… Strength Speed Quickness
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body will be too great for you to move at high speeds. Relatively speaking, the stronger you are, the lighter your body will feel, and the faster movement will be. This is why sufficient strength is a prerequisite to reaching your maximum athletic ability in regards to the vertical jump.
SPEED | If you are sufficiently strong to overcome your own body weight, your training and effort should focus on using your strength to move at maximum speed. Speed is a skill that is developed by properly training your body to make the proper movements at the highest contraction speeds, and with the right timing.
QUICKNESS | Finally, quickness is your ability to reach top speeds in a short period of time. When you jump it takes you about a quarter of a second, this means you only have a quarter of a second to reach your maximum upward velocity! You may be capable of high speeds, but in exercises such as the vertical jump or the 40- yard dash, you need quickness in order to reach a high speed in a short period of time.
SUMMARY | You need to have enough strength to
These attributes are interdependent. This means that they rely on one another to reach the ultimate goal of explosiveness.
STRENGTH | Without strength, the weight of your
overcome your own bodyweight at high velocities and contraction speeds. For exercises such as a vertical jump, you need to have the ability to contract all involved muscles at their highest speeds possible, and overcome the resistance of your own body weight, in very short periods of time.
2. You are quick and agile but lack necessary strength. You are quick, and you find that you jump much higher with an approach than simply standing. While you can use your strength efficiently, you just don’t have a lot of strength available to use. An athlete of this type will benefit most from focusing on improving maximum strength, while maintaining or improving speed and quickness. Squats, stiff-leg dead lifts, hyper extensions, the leg press, and calf raises all using 85% of your max are going to yield the greatest results in the shortest period of time. Resistance training with a high percentage of your max will yield the fastest strength gains, and add more power to your already efficient movements. Focus on glutes, hams, calves, and lower back.
THE TRUTH Very few athletes are near the necessary levels of strength, speed, or quickness to maximize their abilities. Your greatest increase will come from increasing all lacking attributes. Unless you are strapped for time, don’t even think about just doing one exercise for your progress. A comprehensive approach will allow you to make the greatest progress, in the least amount of time, and reach your athletic potential. Questions about these tips? Visit Trainer’s Corner on the FadeAway website, and get answers to your questions now! Jacob Hiller is a performance enhancement specialist focusing on vertical jump and speed development. Jacob has worked with professional basketball and volleyball players, as well as professional dunkers, Olympic ski jumpers, martial artists, Parkour athletes, and ice skaters. Jacob is the author of The Jump Manual, considered by many around the world to be the authoritative guide to comprehensive vertical jump training.
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Published on Mar 4, 2010