Bridges extended from Oakland’s Golden Gate to the Far East this Friday gone as the hot Steph Curry led Golden State Warriors debuted some special, traditional, new jerseys to help celebrate Chinese New Year.
The jerseys worn against the San Antonio Spurs last week also made an appearance last night against Washington and will also feature on the road against Brooklyn, March 2nd. Before coming to a special event, celebratory close, New Year party on the fourth, back home at the Oracle against the Milwaukee Bucks.
Representing the huge fan base in the Asian community the Warriors have reached new records in their Golden State merch sales. These cool sleeved numbers, based on their cool, charcoal, Golden ‘Slate’ alternative jerseys, feature hallmark yellow and red trim and Chinese characters next to the infamous, cult classic club logo of the bridge that joins these two powerhouses. This is one for the jersey collectors like this years awesome All-Star duds. Lets hope this new honouring homage trend continues like those political statement correct ‘Los’ jerseys.
NBA jerseys have been more than game garments for play since this leagues inception. Especially with the team logo of your favourite franchise being proudly placed front and centre to pop with passion. Add this with the individual players name and number, meaning you can be a fan of another team and still represent your favourite player (maybe unless living in the greater Los Angeles area) and basketball tops become more than just another sweat vest.
The only thing that could spoil this is those dreaded soccer like sponsorships fronting new jerseys, just like they’ve ruined the WNBA. We much prefer this look sharing something of cultural importance, instead of commercial one for gratuitous gain. The soaring Houston Rockets also got in the act with a sweet, sleeved red number featuring the Rockets name in Chinese characters (lets hope it doesn’t actually say something offensive) and a gold patch on the side arm. This celebration for Lunar New Year comes from a team that changed their identity to red and white and Asian styled typography the year they drafted the great Chinese legend Yao Ming. These jerseys that will be in play for a week certainly hyped more than the Asian community, as James Harden continued his bid for MVP with a terrific triple-double of 31 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists also leaving the skillful Ricky Rubio on his behind, after a sick crossover that put the Garnett recharged Minnesota Timberwolves down 113-102.
Look closer however and you can see that this idea was first coined over a decade back in 2003 from the R. in R&B R. Kelly who featured jerseys like this in the video for his hit ‘Thoia Thoing’. Check the Harlem Globetrotters, Sweet Georgia Brown remix and you can see that this ‘Space Jam’ man who believed he could fly knows how to ball!
Still now with the West representing the Far East and showing basketball has no borders, the whole world knows just how much the NBA cares for its off court culture on the floor.
From all of us at Basketball Buzz, Canada, we wish you a Happy Lunar New Year!
Giannis Antetokounmpo Is The Real MVP
Santa Monica, California was on an award tour like A Tribe Called Quest for the NBA’s end of season grand prize spectacle last night. Hanging out in the coolest performing arts theatre in all of Los Angeles (my apologies to the Hollywood Bowl), the converted airplane Barker Hangar played host to the 2019 NBA Awards. The Emmy’s, Oscar’s and Grammy’s of hoops Tony.
The best of the Basketball best and the cream of the future hops crop descended on this hangar, suited and booted like they were flossing injured courtside.
Shaq sized in the perfect setting in a place that houses feats of brilliance that take flight like Mike, this event could only be hosted by the one and only, Big Aristotle of the Diesel, Shaquille O’Neal (sorry Drake. Although you troll NBA players better than Kevin Hart telling Kenny Smith he’s so ashy if he smiles his lips will bleed as he goes to take a sip of his water). And the most entertaining NBA player ever (give him his award) laughed, joked, sang, rapped and danced his way to an enjoyable evening in the place he racked up three rings on repeat.
But how about the prize giving? Well your real Most Valuable Player this year is Giannis Antetokounmpo. Say what you will about last year’s MVP and this year’s runner up in the closest of recent races as tight as the Rookie of the Year voting, James Harden racking up triple-doubles like Charles Barkley says Lonzo Ball does triple-singles, but it’s the Alphabet’s time now after slaughtering this season gone. Sure he didn’t come away with the ‘chip like worthy candidate Kawhi Leonard and his (we still hope) Toronto Raptors, but that is his next challenge for the Mamba Mentality tweeted in congratulation by Kobe Bryant who predicted this MVP years back. And in a beautiful and emotional speech, Giannis dedicated all this to his dearly departed dad and his brothers and mom in attendance as every eye not dry in the house got out their seats in unanimous ovation.
And in a truly global game flying the flag outside the United States for each category winner, Antetokounmpo almost doubled up, finishing in second place for Defensive Player Of The Year, under the stifling Eiffel of French fly swatter, Rudy Gobert. As Paul George after an incredible season-no lucky shot-came in third place like he did for the MVP voting. Toronto not only got the ‘chip in the Six however as their X-factor Pascal Siakam came up with the Most Improved Player award ahead of Sacramento sophomore De’Aaron Fox and Brooklyn’s own (if they play their free agent cards right), D’Angelo Russell.
Coach of the Year was bucked by Milwaukee’s Mike Budenholzer dry-erasing for the MVP. And Bradley Beal was passed the Community Assist Award for all the good this All Star has done. Give him a hand for all the ones he has. Whilst the Sportsmanship award went to new Utah Jazz guard Mike Conley Jr., who also racked up the Teammate Of The Year award for his grit n grind time with the Memphis Grizzlies. But who else for the Sixth Man of the Year award then the ‘6 Man’ of all-time, Lou Williams?
And the House Of Highlights Moment of the Year of course went to Derrick Rose. Can you guess for what game?
We have a ball rattling around the rim forever in Toronto that shoots for even more stars though.
But how about that Rookie of the Year award? Who you got? Because in narrowly beating out Atlanta Hawk Trae Young it’s clear the award belongs to superstar right now Luka Dončić after a Maverick season in Dallas. Where the Texan gunslinger from Slovenia is about to draw on them all next season. Look out for the kid like Pat Garrett.
Sager Strong, broadcaster Robin Roberts took home that award named in honour after the suited courtside with a microphone presenter. And her “make your mess your message” speech was the most inspiring of the night after her fight against breast cancer and bone marrow disease, raising awareness. Executive of the Year went to Jon Horst of the Milwaukee Bucks (sorry Rob Pelinka…jokes) but the Lifetime Achievement? Well that went to a former President who has just left office. No not Obama (although POTUS does have game…WAP!). But the Magic man, Earvin Johnson. The Laker legend honoured in California for all he’s done since starting the fast-break of Showtime, to changing the game behind the back without taking a single shot. All the way to walking away from it bravely when he was diagnosed with HIV and then making a comeback so beautifully for the man who will always be purple and gold with all this entrepreneur pulls out the empire of his top hat. Say what you will about his presidency residency but as we look to free agency this crazy offseason, remember who started all this off by bringing the King to Hollywood last Summer, waiting outside his house in his car at one in the morning.
Now that can’t be tampered with.
But all in all last nights NBA Awards show of All-Stars showed us one thing like the NBA Finals. No matter who took home the gold, we all came away winners.
Philadelphia 76ers’ make Marial Shayok Ottawa’s first-ever NBA draft pick
Ottawa’s Marial Shayok has achieved his ultimate dream — becoming the city’s first-ever NBA draft pick. The Philadelphia 76ers selected Shayok with the 54th-pick overall in the second-round of the 2019 NBA Draft.
The former St.Patrick’s Irish high school standout celebrated his special and emotional moment at home with family and friends.
“You did it bro, you did bro…”
“Let’s go baby! You going to Philly…”
For Shayok and his family the historic moment is a culmination of life-long sacrifices that started in South Sudan with his 6’9″ father Makor Shayok moving his wife and three-daughters to America. The elder Makor set post at Alvin Texas Community College and earned a scholarship to the Dayton Flyers, playing from 1990-1992.
Makor’s eldest, Shayok Shayok (born in Miami) and his sister Yar Shayok also followed dad’s footsteps and played NCAA basketball – Shayok going to Bradley and transferring to UMKC and Yar playing with Detroit Mercy Titans women’s program.
The family migrated to Ottawa, Canada in the mid-90’s and on July 26th, 1995 the youngest Shayok was born.
Marial left Ottawa for New Jersey’s Blair Academy after three-years with the St.Pats Irish — he originally committed to the Marquette Golden Eagles but transferred to the Virginia Cavaliers after the coach (Buzz Williams) that originally recruited him bailed on the program in 2015.
Shayok had busy NBA draft process – showcasing his versatile skill-set to 14 NBA front offices. Here is footage of his 76ers’ work-out.