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NBA Africa, Hakeem & Mutombo Bring A Motherland Court Connection

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It was all a dream…or so it seemed!

Then you were shook out of it by the steps of NBA legend Hakeem Olajuwon in the paint of green, red, yellow, black and blue and you just knew it was all real.

NBA Africa.

This weekend the league that cares headed to gorgeous Johannesburg to show that basketball really has no border for an exhibition like no other. Marking the first ever game to be played in the beautiful continent of Africa.

If only Nelson Mandela could have seen this. Sure Ellis Park Arena wasn’t as euphoric as when the South African Rugby team epically won the World Cup, but the crowd were still roaring like the pride of a lion. We’re sure Madiba was looking down and smiling too at quite the court connection in the motherland.

After a 14 point, fourth quarter rally, the Chris Paul led ‘Team World’ beat ‘Team Africa’ 101-97 in a game as exciting as it was entertaining, as competitive as it was compelling, as “basketball” as it was more than just a game.

Yet, still by the end of this exhibition that brought new meaning to the definition ‘friendly’, the score didn’t matter that much. The often quoted and shared feeling at the end of this night was that “everybody won”!

And they sure did…especially the fans.

“To be part of a team coming back to play for Africa. I can’t describe it”, said the Miami Heat’s Luol Deng who was born in Sudan and unable to watch NBA games on T.V., let alone play amongst the stars before he grew up. The player that moved to Britain before the National Basketball Association of America and the Chicago Bulls has been an ambassador to his native land as much as the U.K. where he was raised. Not just raising sports awareness, but that of the more important, critical issues facing this wonderful land. Issues this game hopes to be a welcome distraction from for only 48 minutes, before making its own statement about it based on the solidarity shown from the weeks worth of charitable events that have led to this landmark moment.

“It was an amazing experience. So proud to be able to represent the continent,” San Antonio Spurs role playing, championship great Boris Diaw told press after this African visit. Being part of a team built up of players either born in the continent or with African heritage and getting to share the experience with Coach Pop who even had a smile on his face.

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It’s just what this incredible nation of passion does to the soul of someone’s spirit.

A host of todays best NBA stars and international players were on hand for a world tour that took flight like Nike without economy seating for some first class play. The Spanish Gasol brothers of Chicago’s Pau and Memphis Marc manned the post. While Washington’s Wiz kid Bradley Beal led Team World with 18 points to captain Chris Paul’s 12. Whilst ahead of captain Deng’s 20, Milwaukee’s alphabet Giannis Antetokounmpo paced the African team with a nice 22 where every star across the board got theirs…even some legends.

Normally just suited up for the NBA Global Games around the world to provide a legendary international face to bring the fans out of their seats during timeouts, African NBA legends Dikembe Mutombo and Hakeem Olajuwon even got todays best NBA players off the bench as they stripped off their suit and ties like warm ups to actually play in the game themselves. In an incredible moment that almost brought down the rafters the two legendary big men brought their unique skill-sets to the centre of the court. They clearly still had it too with the finger wagging of Dikembe back on the block and Hakeem even dream shaking some of todays players in their prime off their new balance in the pine. It was almost as beautiful as this game being played here to see.

If only Manute Bol could have been there to. Yet he was, in name honoring in the retired rafters of this arena next to Mutombo and Olaujawon who brought their number 55 and 34’s down one last time. Between the iconic red and white of the ‘Clutch City’ championship Houston Rockets jersey and the spectrum of the Denver Nuggets iconic vintage look they brought the Mitchell and Ness best to this Hardwood Classic.

Now how’s that for a throwback? But in this moment mind, it was more like history!

NBA

New Toronto ‘City’ Jerseys Point North To The 6

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IMG 20180115 092655
Six Flag

Better late and sharp to the party than never looking fly.

Sometimes in the streets of Toronto you just have to wait for a good thing. Like that CN Tower forever in the distance drive from Pearson Airport to the downtown dot. Or waiting for a table and menu for something good to eat at Jack Astor’s on any given night. But Drake always delivers from serving up playlist picks to albums that offer ‘VIEWS’ that honour the great city of the six. So you know if you’re reading this it’s never really too late.

Now after Nike just gave us ‘Association’, ‘Icon’ and real ‘Statement’ jerseys for the new season where they are now the official uniform supplier of this National Basketball Association the ‘City’ line is complete like riding a Matt Bonner tram from King Street West to the Air Canada Center. As Toronto didn’t want to be left out like Kyrie Irving didn’t want to be the next Dwyane Wade. Now the only one rocking sleeves like Adidas is Lakers rook Lonzo again, looking to ball like his UCLA alumni days. Forget Christmas Day, unless you’re rocking Sixers script. As for the 6, the new Toronto Raptors jerseys that go back to black like the late, great Amy Winehouse with Octobers Very Own gold, couldn’t be more Drake or OVO if they had that Owl hooting from the shooting shorts. And you know these third blackouts will be a permanent fixture on ‘Drake Nights’ when the Raps court will be decked out in the black gold same lining.

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But these new duds that All-Star ‘Step Brothers’ DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry will rock like Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly did ugly sweater vests are less ‘Hotline Bling’ and more for the town he calls his own for the citizens of Toronto. ‘They The North’ and have that in six court copying chevrons that in glittering gold, road point to this very Canadian NBA destination. Do you see. And if you don’t know, now you know…player.

This is B.I.G. for the notorious north OVO town of the six. We’ve had the ATL neon, Boston parquet, Lakers Black Mamba snakeskin, Cleveland Land, Detroit ‘Motor City’ industry, New York’s F.D.N.Y. department, the Suns not losing the ‘Los’ love and Chicago’s classic city edition. But nothing for the homestand looks as good as this to the T-Dot.

And with all six signs pointing north to Toronto, we only wish these Raptors threads could be put on for the city every night.

Now the only ‘Fallen Kingdom’ in this Jurassic World will be found in cinemas with Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard and Jeff Goldblum this summer season Blue.

It took a minute for the sap to meet the tree but the Raptors and the Toronto city they call home are far from extinct.

Nike finds a way.

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The ‘Human Highlight Film’ Dominique Wilkins Almost Made ‘Showtime’ Worthy

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Wilkins
How Unique Would The Lakers Have Been With 'Nique?
Hollywood’s show kept fast break rolling last night like a Golden Globe as the young Lakers finally snapped their losing trend by clipping the Atlanta Hawks, 132-113 at STAPLES. All behind 20 points from Brandon Ingram, 15 and 9 from Julius Randle and 13, 10 and 6 from rookie Lonzo Ball. J.C. with 18 and K.C.P. with 14 also had three three’s each as the Lakers made a sweet 16 season best from downtown, to go along with a franchise record 42 points off fast breaks on a momentous night for the storied franchises record books.
It kind of looks like Showtime’s go on all over again.
But straight from the Fox Sports hole pregame did you know that back in the 80’s day the NBA’s Hall of Fame, Human Highlight Film, Dominique Wilkins was almost drafted by the Los Angeles Lakers to be the centerpiece of Showtime? The Atlanta Hawk legend who has a statue outside the ATL arena like all the Magic, Kareem’s, big fellas and logos outside Lakerland told us himself play-by-play as part of the pregame panel.
“Jerry Buss didn’t want me but Jerry West did”, ‘Nique said with warm affection to what could have been. And we can’t help muse like Shea Serrano’s brilliant ‘Basketball And Other Stories’ book to what legacy and Laker legend would have been like if the Basketball God’s didn’t cast down a thunderbolt. You see apparantly it all came down to an injury to Lakers Celtic bruising forward Mitch Kupchak, which will no doubt leave some Laker fans thinking this may be the first time but not the only time their former G.M. Mitch has messed up things for the Lake Show.
Kupchak’s season crippling injury made Buss want to go bigger and taller. And the rest is Big Game history as the Lakers drafted Wilkins’ fellow North Carolina alumnus James Worthy who made his own H.O.F. career more than just his second name that resides in the forever rafters like 42. The second in goggle command behind Cap remains one of the Lakers and the league as a whole’s most underrated legend.
But we can’t help but think what it would be like if we just looked up at the STAPLES ceiling and saw Dominique’s name up there like Kobe’s too (or two) with his 21 in that acclaimed area. It would have certainly brought more hard-nosed hostility to those Larry Bird fights and more Hollywood to that iconic Slam Dunk Contest between the Human Highlight and the G.O.A.T., M.J. And could you have imagined the Magic between a player who finished his career with Orlando and actually the legendary Boston Celtics and the man with the top hat himself Earvin Johnson? Now you thought watching Lake Show greats A.C. Green and former coach Byron Scott was good.
In the end it was all scripted the right way. The Lakers had their own Big Game dunking James worthy of a King and Dominique Wilkins soared as a Hawk in the A. But if Magic’s all smiling Showtime had a few more Human Highlights for the film? Now that would be something straight out of Hollywood.
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LeBron’s Land Now Has I.T. Support

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Portland Trail Blazers V Cleveland Cavaliers
I.T. Follows All The Kings Men

Cleveland plainly dealed their point prince Kyrie Irving away from the King’s Cavalier land this Summer, to make the NBA’s historical Boston Celtics storied again behind their new superstar handle. And in return they got a glorious gunner with an 80’s iconic name, albeit one hip checked to the new year with injury.

But even if Christmas has come late this year like changing your calendar to 2018, Isaiah Thomas is back like you’ve never seen him before, like a Detroit Piston legend kissing and making up with an 80’s Showtime one in an emotional NBA TV reunion.

Now that’s Magic!

Like Pennywise the clown, injury tempted I.T.’s reign into the gutter for the opening chapter of his story with the King like he was wearing a yellow raincoat. But just wait for part two…it’s about to get slicker as forget arms, Thomas is about to take everyone’s legs off from the ankles up.

He’ll float too.

The land was in need of a hand. One that even the way of Wade couldn’t help after the thorn that went in probably retired, former franchise player Derrick Rose’s side. And now they have it all for one and one for all in I.T.’s support. The King now has a fellow crowning talent ready to hold the throne with. Isaiah Thomas’ return to the trail against Portland was blazing too. Normally a nice 17 points and 3 assists would seem modest for a pocket dynamo of this young Iverson’s stature, but when we answer that it came in just 19 minutes of burn than you know it’s something else altogether.

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It’s the makings of something greater.

But all that failed to blend in Beantown as his reunion with the Celtics he was supposed to retire with and his renewed rivalry with the guard he was traded for was put on a DNP-CD hold (at least he too made up with 80’s great Danny Ainge). But the whole event game of the night turned out to be a wash-out as the Celtics 102-88 scrubbing of the Cavaliers on polished parquet only saw the real rivalry of James (19) and Kyrie (11) amass less than 20 points each when this explosive TNT match-up should have gone 30 for 30 for ESPN.

Still Ohio will rise again when the King and I.T. return to their land and maybe even the promised ones of the NBA Finals. As another Celts/Cavs conference finals match-up without Gordon Hayward and this time more Love could beat towards the heart of a lion. And the five foot something with a headband has plenty of that under his too.

And you best believe tooth and hip surgery nail he’s going to leave it blood, sweat and tears all on the parquet this playoff postseason.

But this time instead of against one, Isaiah won’t just be running alongside a King…he’ll be one.

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