It wasn't officially basketball season until we got a dunk that broke the Internet. We've had dunks, obviously, and the last few weeks have been fun, but we need the kind of dunk that leads to text messages to friends to make sure everyone has seen it. The kind of dunk that produces two points and a victim, destined to be slandered on social media for the next 48 hours. It happened in Los Angeles on Tuesday.
Xavier Henry declared war on Jeff Withey last night.
Pictured above are the new alternate jerseys for the Detroit Pistons, a.k.a. Detroit Rack City, a.k.a. America's Team. Here's Greg Monroe introducing them on Instagram:
Oh man, Greg Monroe is just FULL of personality. He's a rock star.
But yeah, as for the jerseys ... what do you think?
One the one hand, we support any movement to officially make the Pistons a point of civic pride for the city of Detroit. The current financial crisis is just a prelude to Andre Drummond and Coach Sheed saving the Motor City. Likewise, this could be an important step for NBA uniforms, in general. If the Wizards change their name back to the Bullets and start rocking "Chocolate City" alternates, we'll all be eternally indebted to the Detroit Motor City Pistons.
On the other hand, these jerseys would be much cooler if they said Detroit vs. Everybody. As it stands, they kind of look like one of those sad off-brand jerseys you might buy at a department store. So, you know, that's not ideal.
Most important: There's Pistons news this week, so of course we're bringing it to you, because The Triangle is committed to covering America's Team from top to bottom, all year long. Go Pistons, Go America.
The NBA is holding something called the #PaniniNBARookie photo shoot today, which is both a testament to David Stern's tireless quest to sell advertising on every single thing that could possibly be associated with his sport, and also a great excuse to look at some fun portraits of NBA rookies. But none of that is important.
On a bad night, Marijuana Deathsquads is a band full of sound and fury, signifying nothing. This is the risk of music that relies heavily not on rote performance but on a kind of high-wire act of endlessly unfolding possibilities driven by a couple of things, including faith, instinct, adrenaline, and Ryan Olson, who for tonight has jumbled and crushed more than 600 slam dunk clips together and set them to MIDI triggers in order to cue and manipulate them while two drummers, an endless procession of MCs, and a half-dozen guys with samplers do their best to burn down the Icehouse in Minneapolis on a rainy Wednesday night.
Olson is just a little concerned. A giant screen hovers above the empty drum kits. TVs dot the stage’s corners and another pull-down screen looms over the room from above the entrance. He’s run it through a couple times, but he doesn’t know exactly who is going to be getting up to freestyle or when. It probably won’t be as smooth as he wants it. There are likely going to be a couple car wrecks along the way, but in my experience, a good night for Marijuana Deathsquads is going to involve some car wrecks. Some bruises. A pitchless humming in your bones.
In the never-ending scramble to somehow make the NBA All-Star weekend as exciting as it once was, it doesn't help that its once-marquee event, the Slam Dunk Contest, is now the third most exciting dunk contest on the basketball landscape. Earlier this week, the Powerade Jam Fest, part of the McDonald's All American festivities, took place, and the overgrown man-child teenagers showed out:
Then last night, it was the college kids' turn.
Even before the first dunk was completed, it was clear this would be more exciting than the professional competition.
Andrew Wiggins, for those unfamiliar with his work, is the Canadian basketball sensation who spent this season as the Gatorade West Virginia Player of the Year at Huntington Prep. He still has yet to make a decision on where he'll attend school (for six months), but I'd say this 2:55 puts him firmly next to Jadeveon Clowney among candidates for bypassing those pesky NCAA rules. If you don't have a free three minutes, skip to the 2:17 mark. I would describe what happens — if I had any idea how.
Rest easy, everybody. LeBron is not stopping his now-famed pregame dunk routine. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, here’s a quick primer: For the past few weeks, the Heat have been holding impromptu dunk contests before games. Because no one gets to Miami Heat games before the third quarter, LeBron’s pregame craziness hadn’t been widely circulated until early this week, when a cell phone video started making the Internet rounds.
So much amazing is happening, and the Shootaround crew is here to help you keep track of it all. You'll find takes on moments you might've missed from the previous night, along with ones you will remember forever. And also ones that happen in zoos.
Shout-out to Grantland copy editor Dave Mesrey, who must have seen this come through his "sea otter dunking" Google Alert. This is the most interesting thing that's happened in basketball today. Hold your head, Terrence Ross. — Chris Ryan
I'm not going to lie to you all — I've been low. Life's hard, ya know? There are times where stuff really starts to pile up, and there's no worse sound than that alarm clock buzzing in your ear, no worse thought than having to put your feet on the floor. But do you know what I do when those mornings come? I think of Timofey Mozgov.
The life and death of Spencer Hawes! Blake Griffin (sorta) switched hands in midair against the Sixers last night. According to the announcers, the crowd went crazy — though given the fact that the crowd was in Philly, this could have been for any number of reasons (fighting over the spoils of a T-shirt cannon, mourning Hip-Hop, Iverson sighting, etc.)
1. David Lee’s unnecessary but appreciated post-fancy-pass spin away from the play.
2. The realization that Kevin Love’s return opens the door for both a T’Wolves whiteout and an all-bearded, zero-defense Minnesota frontcourt.
3. The suspicion that Andrew Bogut was a bit too inspired by Adrien Brody’s look in that Gillete ad.
4. Andris Biedrins. Everything about Andris Biedrins: that he’s the first one off the bench, that his celebration involves lifting one leg off the ground and a pelvic thrust, that there’s more joy in his towel-draped face than I’ve ever experienced.
5. The Barnes stare-down.
6. The chance to tell my Nikola Pekovic story. It goes like this. Apparently, last season, a group of reporters had gathered in the Minnesota locker room, and one inquired about the tattoo on Pekovic’s left arm — what looks to be a knight thrusting a large sword into a pile of skulls. Asked whom the tattoo was supposed to represent, Pekovic responded, “Oh, that’s just my friend.” It sure is.
Remember when I said a couple weeks back how the Pacers needed to make Gerald Green's Blue Angels routine a focal point of their offense? Yeah. That. Best part of this particular jam isn't the stuffing so much as Green's initial dry run at the hoop.
This is immense. Eric Bledsoe streaking down the court, locking eyes with Blake Griffin like they were about to reenact the kiss scene from The Notebook, going way beyond telegraphing a pass to some sort of I don't know, sky-writing of a pass, and then NOPE! DeAndre! Flush! I hope people start doing this to Blake in real life. I want to spot Blake at Yard House, stare DEEP into his eyes, start walking toward him with a napkin and a pen, and then BOOM ask the waitress for her autograph.