This article originally appeared in the premiere issue of Inside Sports and appears here with permission from the author’s estate.
This article originally appeared in the premiere issue of Inside Sports and appears here with permission from the author’s estate.
When I was 12, shortly after I joined a youth-basketball team, my father summoned me to the living room. He was holding a set of VHS tapes called “Pistol Pete’s Homework Basketball,” which he thought might help me get ready for the coming season. Naturally, I was dubious.
This article originally appeared on VICE Greece. Translation by Mary Keramida. My meeting with Spiros Velliniatis was at 9:00PM in Argentinis Dimokratias Square, off Alexandras Avenue in northern Athens. I was meeting him in person for the first time.
Spring is ripe with opportunity to get outside, but getting the right gear for the weather is always the hard part.
The ink spilled on Russell Westbrook during this Thunder-Rockets series obscured how far apart these two teams were. Despite it being the rare early-playoffs matchup between MVP front-runners, this series brought out the worst in each team. I’m not sorry it’s over.
When the news broke on April 5 that St. Anthony High School in Jersey City would shut down at the end of the 2016-17 school year, the school’s famed basketball coach, Bob Hurley, and his assistant Eric Harrield began fielding phone calls from coaches at other high schools.
IT'S OCT. 7, 2015, and the Cavs are hosting the Hawks in Cincinnati. It's the NBA preseason, a nothing game, really -- save for one detail: LeBron James is debuting his new, flashy signature sneaker, the LeBron 13.
Russ? Harden? Kawhi? LeBron? Bill Simmons makes his Most Valuable Player pick. It’s historic.On Sunday afternoon, I was watching my daughter play soccer in Parts Unknown, California, right as Sergio Garcia was stealing the Masters from Justin Rose.
After a long summer of topless championship parades, free-agency meetings in the Hamptons, Snapchat mishaps, and gold medals, the NBA is finally, truly, really, almost back. The start of training camp marks the beginning of our NBA Preview. This is How Basketball Works Week.
Imagine if points scored didn’t determine the winner of a basketball game. Instead, imagine the victor was chosen by a panel of judges that assigned points to each team for every action that occurred on the court — much like a gymnastics meet is decided.
NBSheaThe postseason comes with its own set of acknowledged rules and lessons. This is the secret understanding behind a Steven Adams mega-screen, or a LeBron elimination game.
NBSheaHow devious are the Warriors? Can Wall and Beal be stopped? And more unasked questions as Round 1 kicks into gear.The Thunder-Rockets game Wednesday night was a perfect distillation of the Russell Westbrook vs.
The king of the triangle is gesturing at accountability while passing the buck — and alienating his team’s longest-tenured playerIn March 2014, when James Dolan, the rumpled regional cable empire heir and owner of the Knicks, hired Phil Jackson, the move was simultaneously the team’s best
Russell Westbrook is going to be named MVP. His team is also going to lose in the first round of the playoffs. His successes and his failures are not equitable.It is possible to be both amazing and wrong. It is possible to be iconoclastic and misguided, to inspire and to fail.
With the individual awards out of the way, let's shift to the team-based set. These were a little less agonizing -- a little.
Let's bounce around the big questions in three Western Conference series resuming with pivotal games tonight ... It is cliche, and usually inaccurate, to say any player almost "single-handedly" won an NBA game. Not with Game 4 in Memphis.
Milwaukee plays small ball without ever going small. It’s a nightmare for Toronto, which already had problems figuring out its big-man rotation before the Bucks forced the Raptors’ hand.
After 82 games, six major awards. Here we go: 1. Kawhi Leonard 2. James Harden 3. Russell Westbrook 4. LeBron James 5. Stephen Curry
KOBE BRYANT SWEARS HE SAW IT—Michael Jordan's ghost, not two months ago, right there on the floor of Madison Square Garden. It took the form of DeMar DeRozan, working his mid-range magic against the Knicks. That fadeaway jumper from the elbow. The game-winner. The sly smirk.
Chris Paul and the Clippers are on the brink of elimination and the future of Lob City is on the line. What is the lasting legacy of this team, and its leader, CP3?“The Clippers are the Wile E. Coyote of basketball. They can’t win. If they win, everything is ruined.
Finally, the basketball games that matter! The playoffs are here, and we can’t wait to get them started. We’re so excited, we already know what’s going to happen. Have a look into the future with us. Playoff Rondo is the greatest urban legend of the millennium-era NBA.
All around them, people are complaining, even as their beloved team has kept a grip on the No. 1 national ranking. The father looks down as they navigate the sea of fans exiting Pauley Pavilion. "The expectations," he says, "are a little higher than that."
Among the many legacies President Obama will leave behind, there is this: he was the best basketball-playing President we've ever had.
In Game 3 of the Bucks’ series with the Raptors, the Milwaukee unicorn did things that won’t show up in the box score, but only helped build his legendYou’re going to see this Giannis Antetokounmpo elbow block on a lot of highlight reels:He blocked Norman Powell’s shot with his elbow.
It was still dark one morning early this year when Joe Lacob, the majority owner of the Golden State Warriors, drove his Mercedes station wagon through the Stanford University campus.
Does every possession matter? Does defense win championships? Does the pressure really ramp up in the postseason? Is the competition that much better? Coaches and analysts talk about the truth behind the playoff basketball clichés.Kyrie Irving and DeMar DeRozan are the same player.
Why does everyone hate the Hawks center? His performance in Game 2 against the Wizards provided an explanation.I don’t mean to brag, but before Wednesday night it had been seven years since I’d watched an entire game featuring Dwight Howard. Every basketball fan should be so lucky.
I knew it was going to happen, but I still couldn’t stop myself. It was the fourth time in my career I had prepared a playoff analysis, the fourth time I had spent days diving deep into our data to try and find any kind of edge, and the fourth time I could feel my perspective begin to shift.
The Thunder-Rockets first-round series was easily framed as a battle between the NBA’s two leading MVP candidates, but what unfolded in the final minutes of Game 4 was bizarre.
He was one of the NBA’s finest sharpshooters and a two-time champion alongside Michael Jordan, but was run out of the league for his outspoken views. A quarter of a century on, Craig Hodges is still fighting the good fight
Two of the East’s elite have regained control of their respective series by going small. How should the Bucks and Bulls respond?Order has been restored to the Eastern Conference.
From mutated pick-and-rolls to off-kilter handoffs, these are some of the ways players like James Harden, Isaiah Thomas, and Giannis Antetokounmpo create easy bucketsThe relationship between pick-and-roll offense and defense is not unlike the relationship between the flu and its vaccine.
The Grizzlies head coach has inspired us with an all-time catchphrase. Here’s how to use it.Following Game 2 of the Spurs-Grizzlies series — a 96–82 San Antonio win — Memphis coach David Fizdale angrily ran through several stats at his postgame press conference.
Wild cards are essential in the postseason, and these five hidden gems could help decide the outcome of the first round and gain their fair share of publicity in the processNo one really knew who Goran Dragic was before the 2010 playoffs.
This story appears in ESPN The Magazine's March 27 Analytics Issue. Subscribe today! The legend has been passed down by NBA generations, chronicled like a Homeric odyssey. The tale they tell is of Kevin Garnett and the 2007-08 Celtics, and the seminal moment of a revolution.
I didn’t expect much from the Chicago Bulls in the playoffs. They were a moribund outfit rife with internal squabbling that squeaked into the playoffs on the final day of the season. And yet they’ve straight-up walloped the top-seeded Celtics, taking a 2–0 lead with two wins in Boston.
On a sweltering day in the summer of 2002, some of Baltimore’s finest basketball players assembled for a game on the city's east side at Collington Square Park. It was something close to an All-Star contest. And millions of people would end up watching.
The 2016–17 Chicago Bulls are not fun to watch. Rajon Rondo used to be fun to watch. Dwyane Wade can be fun to watch. Jimmy Butler is usually fun to watch. But this team is one of those rare cases where the whole is less than the sum of its individual parts.
One of the most consistent teams of the past five years faces a serious question.
What a strange, sad week for Carmelo Anthony. Three days ago, his president of basketball operations began a very public campaign to get him to waive his no-trade clause.
A packed room awaits Allen Iverson at a studio a few minutes outside of uptown Charlotte, North Carolina. His arrival ignites a flurry of activity among the filming crew.
Kawhi Leonard and Mike Conley Jr. put on performances of a lifetime.Saturday night’s epic overtime game between the Spurs and Grizzlies was a classic Grindhouse production that culminated in a 110–108 win for Memphis. And if you were lucky enough to catch the local feed, you knew it from tipoff.
The first round of the N.B.A. playoffs is always a smorgasbord of basketball pleasures. The talent level is so high. Everyone is playing hard, and egos are on the line.
By the time Russell Westbrook jogs onto the court, his work is already done. It's three hours before the Thunder are set to tip off against the Denver Nuggets in their season finale, but there's nothing left to play for.
After years of ridicule for being the most “overpaid” player in the NBA, the 16-year veteran has won back the masses as a Jazzman by doing what he’s always done — just with a lower profileJoe Johnson has always been defined by money.
As someone who each week watches about a dozen NBA games for a living, I have my fair share of pet peeves. Like many fans, I lose my patience with the glitchy League Pass whenever I’m forced to stream a game on my laptop.
Fear the Sword was able to catch up with Cleveland Cavaliers General Manager David Griffin before Game 3 of the NBA Playoffs in Indiana. Griffin was gracious enough to give us the exclusive interview.
The Clippers rebounded from their Game 1 loss to tie their first-round series against the Jazz. But with a short bench and the nagging memories of playoff failures past, the team is still trying to find out what they’re made of.Doc Rivers made it sound so simple.
"You looking at LeBron James of the game," J. Cole rapped on his breakout mixtape, "The Warm Up," in 2009, just as he was catching the attention of future label boss Jay Z and long before his unstoppable record sales spawned its own meme.
The soft runner down the middle of the paint that won Utah its Game 1 against the Clippers was classic Joe Johnson. Both Johnson and the man defending him, former Hawks teammate Jamal Crawford, had seen this one before: down late in the game, a one-on-one situation followed by a sure-fire bucket.
The NBA Playoffs begin Saturday, but these NBA teams and players have been building up to this moment for years. They’ve honed their skills, sharpened their set plays, and built in different counters to keep defenses off balance.
The first piece of Phil Jackson–related news is that on Thursday, the Knicks and Jackson agreed that Jackson will remain the team’s president for the final two years of his contract. Jackson’s five-year deal had an opt-out this summer, and both sides opted in.
There was something remarkable about John Wall’s Game 1 exit, as red, white, and blue streamers fell all around him in the nation’s capital. It wasn’t Wall’s finishing stat line that stood out — though his 32 points on 50 percent shooting and 14 assists made for a career day.
A COUPLE OF SEASONS AGO, the Olate Dogs, winners of the seventh season of "America's Got Talent," performed at halftime of a Memphis Grizzlies game. The act consists of a series of tricks and rarely travels with fewer than a half-dozen dogs.
The low point came last March. Or maybe it was April. Monty Williams isn’t sure. Time blurs. For two weeks Micah and Elijah passed the stomach flu back and forth, as five- and eight-year-olds do. They threw up on the carpet, in the bed, on the bathroom floor.
This is a basic tutorial using pandas and a few other packages to build a simple datapipe for getting NBA data. Even though this tutorial is done using NBA data, you don't need to be an NBA fan to follow along. The same concepts and techniques can be applied to any project of your choosing.
The Memphis point guard has played second fiddle his entire career, from AAU up through the pros. Heading into the Grizzlies’ Game 6 matchup against the Spurs, it’s time to recognize him for what he is: one of the best players in the NBA.
If all of the Lakers legend’s … musings over the past few weeks have confused you, his latest explanation might clear things up. It involves hunting seals.There are only two steps to creating new slang, but neither is easy.
This story appears in the Jan. 9, 2017 issue of SPORTS ILLUSTRATED. To subscribe, click here. On the worst nights, when the fadeaways are short and the pocket passes are late, Giannis Antetokounmpo skips the showers.
As always, Cleveland’s championship hopes rest on its King’s ability to do everything for his team, and not a drop less. Never mind that plan’s sustainability — is it even enough to make it to the Finals anymore?The 2016–17 NBA season has provided total entertainment forever.
One of the best teams in the West has no postseason experience as a group. The roster as we know it could dissolve over the summer. There are so many questions left in Salt Lake City. We’ll finally get some answers in the playoffs.There’s still a lot we don’t know about the Utah Jazz.
Bill Simmons and friends look back on the best Woj scoop, the best in-game dunker, the most improbable turnaround, sweet Jokic passing, the glories of Waiters Island, and much moreIf you were expecting to read my choices for Most Valuable Player, All-NBA and every other major NBA award on the offic
This week's mailbag features your questions on Robin Lopez balling against teams without mascots, home-court advantage in the playoffs, and more. You can tweet your questions using the hashtag #peltonmailbag or email them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
It has become the must-have play for any serious postseason team: a pick-and-roll involving a wing ball handler and whichever teammate is being defended by the opposing point guard.
It was the best of Westbrook, it was the worst of Westbrook. For three quarters on Tuesday, it seemed possible that Russell Westbrook did not care about the MVP award.
Russell Westbrook is the MVP. You are likely already familiar with Westbrook’s claim to the award because every conversation that suggests someone else is the MVP must do the work of explaining why it is not, obviously, Westbrook. Westbrook’s case for MVP is self-evident.
Kawhi Leonard made a joke once. The San Antonio Spurs’ do-everything virtuoso forward reluctantly held court before a media throng at February’s All-Star Weekend. A reporter asked what he looked forward to most while in New Orleans.
The most important play at the end of the Cavs’ sweep of the Pacers was a Paul George 3 that completely missed the rim.