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Frenchman Kevin is widely recognised as the most proliﬁc outdoor basketball photographer of the last decade. He also shoots video - and spent this summer making a documentary with Bobbito Garcia about New York’s famous pick up basketball scene.
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Editor Greg Tanner greg@MVP247.com Assistant Editor Mark Woods mark@MVP247.com Creative Director Jake Green jake@MVP247.com
PHOTO: JACK HOLDEN
Art Director Harry Adams harry@MVP247.com Contributing Writers Sam Hart, Sam Neter, John Harris, Jacob Hiller,
Contributing Design, Photographers/ Illustrators Mansoor Ahmed, Thomas Angus, Linnea Apelqvist, Hugues Body-Lawson, Paul Calver, Julio Gonzalez, Kieran Halil, James Midwinter, Ville Vuorinen.
Special Thanks To Damon & Nick at ESPN, Simon at Nike, Dan & Hannah at 2K
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Me keeping watch at the Olympic Test event
TIME WAITS FOR NO MAN
’ve spent most of my career as a journalist working in live TV news. I’ve dabbled a bit in online and mobile too. When a story breaks, you get it on air or online as soon as possible. If it changes, you can very quickly alter it. News is ﬂuid, but so too are the media you’re using to report it. This magazine business is a completely diﬀerent beast. On the positive side, there’s nothing better than producing an amazing-looking and feeling mag, packed with great features and brilliant photos (which I like to think we do). Plus, a hard copy magazine is so much more tangible than an article on a website - and something you can keep forever. But on the downside, there’s a good two or three week period in between writing your last sentence and the end product actually hitting news stands, and that causes plenty of dilemmas - never more so than with this issue. As I write this, the NBA lockout remains in full eﬀect. The season is due to tip in one month’s time, but everything is pointing towards a late start - and even that’s being optimistic. So, in my opinion at least, there is no other NBA story worth covering. It’s gotta be the lockout. But what if the owners and the Players Association suddenly resolve it
next week? It’s a risk you take. Likewise for Mark and his BBL preview piece. As we go to print there are questions about whether the Mersey Tigers will be ﬁelding a team this season. Do you include them, or don’t you? Again, it’s a risk you take. The good news is that we also have the website - MVP247.com - where we can give our readers the very latest info. So, after poring over this beautifully-crafted publication, make sure you hit that for the very latest on both situations (and more, of course)! Anyway - this is a bumper issue. It was a crazy busy summer for the national team, and we’ve got all the action from the Olympic Test Event and EuroBasket covered. We’ve also got an awesome gallery of some of the biggest summer streetball events from across the globe. Dick Vitale gives us his insider guide on which college basketball teams to watch out for this season, Tony Parker breaks down his new occupation to Mark, and FIBA boss Patrick Baumann tells me why the governing body is so keen to bring street basketball in from the cold. I really do hope the lockout ends soon so we can get back to normal. If it’s over by the time you read this, even better!
Keep ballin’ Greg Tanner
This 34-year-old, Parisbased photographer has shot for clients including Nike, Ikea and Orange. Hugues snapped the fantastic pictures from this year’s Quai 54. He is currently editing a book with the Parisian youth.
MALIK TAYLOR AKA PHIFE DAWG
One third of the legendary hip-hop group A Tribe Called Quest, Malik claims to be “the biggest damn sports fan in hip hop PERIOD”. He even says that he loves sports more than music.
Julio has been shooting internationally for the last 20 years. Lucky for us, he’s also a big fan of Shystie. Shooting still-life and motion aquatics gives him a unique perspective on life. We look forward to seeing his work on display in the National Maritime Museum in Jan.
> INSIDE > REGULARS
10 | OVERTIME
Presidential trash talk...and your chance to win an awesome NBA DVD.
12 | MARK’S VIEW POINT Why British basketball needs to be its own best cheerleader.
50 | GALLERY Summer sizzler. All the action from three of the world’s hottest events.
60 | FASHION Step your sneaker game up for the new season.
70 | WORK OUT Mind games. Get a head for success with our expert’s top tips.
> FEATURES 24 | BBL PREVIEW
Who’s hot and who’s not for the new campaign.
20 | NCAA
ESPN’s Dick Vitale breaks down his ‘Super Seven’ college basketball teams.
28 | 3 IS THE MAGIC NUMBER Why 3-on-3 basketball is going from street to elite.
32 | OLYMPIC TEST EVENT Team GB christens the 2012 site as the stars hit London.
38 | EUROBASKET Spain triumph but Great Britain earn respect.
44 | KING WITHOUT A CROWN Why the Heat is on LeBron James
66 | NBA 2K12
Why the most advanced basketball video game ever made is going retro.
14 | ROBERT GILCHRIST Things are looking bright for the young Brit in the Sunshine State. TOP TO BOTTOM: NIKE, FIBA EUROPE & KEVIN COULIAU
MVP ISSUE 6 OUT JANUARY 14 2012
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18 | TONY PARKER From PG to GM, TP is adding a new string to his bow.
16 | EURO YOUNG GUNS Jonas Valanciunas and Andrew Albicy step up.
> 3-ON-3 BASKETBALL
Words: Kamran abdul-rauf Photos: richard Juilliart /fiba
Streetball at the Olympics? Believe it.
ix players, a hoop and a ball. Its simplicity is its beauty. It’s also the reason why every day, millions of people across the globe pick up a basketball. Now, in a move that has surprised many, the world governing body, FIBA, is pushing to have 3-on-3 basketball made an Olympic sport - ideally by 2016. “We have a much larger basketball family than the one that just comprises regular 5-on-5 basketball,” FIBA boss Patrick Baumann told MVP. “We know that there are many more players out there playing 3-on-3 or other variations of grassroots, street basketball. At the end of the day, you want to promote your game to the largest population possible. We would like to unite this
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population under one banner - the game of basketball.” He also reckons that in these tough economic times, appealing to the grassroots makes good strategic sense. “We can help develop the game in a much more sustainable way for the next 10 to 20 years, rather than it just be driven by the top leagues in the world - like the NBA. If you are in an economic slump for the next six years - and in double dip recession - those top leagues won’t be having the success they’ve had in the 90s and the early 2000s. But the grassroots will keep playing. That’s going to ensure the long-term success of our sport. That’s why we think 3 on 3 - and some variations around it - is something we have to target.”
History certainly suggests that 3-on-3 basketball is popular with sponsors. In the States, many of the big sneaker companies use 3-on-3 tournaments to promote their brands. Here in Britain companies such as Nike and Converse used to run huge 3-on-3 tournaments in London’s Battersea Park during the 1990s. Ten years ago, the NBA and Sprite held a competition on Clapham Common. And in 2007 the League brought its NBA Madness tour to The O2. So even in these turbulent economic times, monetising the game shouldn’t prove too tricky. FIBA’s move has been welcomed by many, including one of Britain’s most famous streetballers, Stuart Tanner - who features on FIBA’s new 3x3Planet.com website.
> GB BASKETBALL
The summer of 2011 was the biggest and busiest in the history of British basketball. GB ballers became the ﬁrst athletes to compete at the Olympic Park, in the most high-proﬁle international basketball tournament ever to be held in the UK. And just weeks later, they helped Britain register its ﬁrst ever EuroBasket wins. So how are we set, 10 months out from the Olympics? Greg Tanner and Mark Woods watched on. 32 MVP ISSUE 05
> EUROBASKET 2011
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Words: Mark Woods Photos: FIBa EUroPE/ PaUL CaLVEr
Great Britainâ€™s thoughts now turn to 2012 after exiting EuroBasket in the opening round. MVP247.COM 39
> MAIN FEATURE
He’s basketball’s leading superstar and the face of the NBA. But nobody - and we mean nobody - wants this season to go the distance more than LeBron James. Words: GreG Tanner
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> SUMMER STREETBALL
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Words: GreG Tanner
PHoTos: Kevin Couliau / HuGues Body-lawson / THomas anGus
EuroBasket, AfroBasket, FIBA Americas, Olympic Test Event...it was a busy summer of basketball on the hardwood. But across the globe, blacktop ballers were also doing their thing - with the streets of New York, Brighton Beach and even the EiďŹ€el Tower hosting some of the hottest hoops action. MVP247.COM 51
PHOTOS: KIERAN HALIL SET DESIGNER: LINNEA APELQVIST
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60 MVP ISSUE 05
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