Over the past ten years, I’ve fallen out of love with the NBA. I’m not sure exactly how it happened, but it was a slow drift away from my favorite childhood sport. Maybe it was the Seattle SuperSonics being ripped from my soul. Or maybe I got lost in the hustle and bustle of life. Whatever it was, it feels like it’s coming back to me like an estranged sibling. This is how I’ve managed to follow the NBA without watching a game this season.
ALL THE SMOKE
ALL THE SMOKE is a TV show/podcast hosted by Stephen Jackson and Matt Barnes. The duo gives their takes on all things NBA, culture, politics, and cannabis. Except it feels like they always circle back to their basketball roots.
Jackson played 14 years in the league, averaging 15.1 points, 1.3 steals, and won a championship with the San Antonio Spurs in 2002-03.
He was a spot up shooter and terror on defense throughout his career. However, he may be most well-known for his right hook during the ‘Malice at the Palace,” which may have placed a black mark on his career.
(Skip to 0:50 – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UdyqIh4nJ3Y)
On the other hand, Barnes was a journeyman lockdown defender who won a championship with the Golden State Warriors in 2016-17.
He averaged 8.2 points, 4.6 rebounds, and brought a spark of intensity every time his sneakers touched the hardwood.
He was also the guy who did this.
(Skip to 2:29 – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UdyqIh4nJ3Y)
Their show is an in-depth look at the league featuring analysis, players’ profiles, and interviews of all kinds.
But what separates them is their authenticity. It feels like athletes are willing to open up to them because of their no-frills persona. They’re not phony and willing to stand by their takes even when unpopular.
This show shouldn’t work, but it does. And it does a lot more than basketball.
There are a lot of good sources out there, but nothing hits the tummy better than NBA.com.
The association’s flagship website is a utopia of information about all aspects of the league.
In the past week, I’ve read articles on the Rookie of the Year chase between Evan Mobley and the rest, what to expect in the second half of the season, and why the Portland Trail Blazers must keep Anfernee Simons.
The site also features throwback videos called “75 Stories,” a short five-minute style documentary series highlighting the legends of the game.
Tuesday’s edition featured Bill Walton looking sharp in his red throwback Blazers jersey.
I may not always have enough time to watch an entire regular season game, but there’s always enough to glimpse a video of Walton and his “Goldilocks flow.”
And it’s all possible because of NBA.com.
YouTube Top Ten
Highlights are what separates basketball from the pack. And there’s no better place to get your a-e-i-o-u-s’ in than YouTube.
For example, on Wednesday’s edition of NBA Top 10 Plays, the countdown started with a phenomenal chase down block by Cade Cunningham. It ended with Luke Kennard scoring seven points in 8.2 seconds to lead the LA Clippers to a remarkable victory.
Kennard may have channeled his inner T-Mac.
(Skip to 1:15 and watch to end – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8TnAVuAlXAM)
But more than just the plays, highlights prove an opportunity to learn what a player is capable of.
It’s not scout film, but it does enough to prepare me for my morning conversation with co-worker Jim.
It’s also a swift watch with videos usually lasting no longer than four minutes just in case my boss strolls by my screen.
But maybe, most importantly, it’s darn freaking entertaining. Some of the top 10’s are just plain stupid. Hence, Ja Morant’s spin layup package.
(Don’t skip and enjoy https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xm12E0phiw4)
It’s been a while since I’ve followed the NBA, and it feels good to be home. Man, I love this game.