Tuesday, 24 November 2015


NBA Fam.


Looking up to the glow that is his father, junior can't help but be in awe as his eyes attempt to scale the height of the television he see's before him. The V.H.S. is rewound to an NBA Classic and Larry Nance senior is taking the human highlight film of Dominique Wilkins, the good doctor of Julius Erving and the first ever NBA Slam Dunk contest by windmill storm. So much so whether you're someone as big as Michael Jordan or even Kobe Bryant you can't help but take inspiration from the first NBA player in history to win this now storied and epic contest back in 1984. Especially if you're Larry Nance Jr, the former NBA players son watching on tape delay as a young boy at a contest more than a decade and change in the making before he was born, becoming the new proudest thing Larry Nance had done. Rising like the Phoenix he was, Nance reduced the competition of the likes of Showtime Laker Michael Cooper, Portland Trail Blazer, Clyde 'The Glyde' Drexler, Dr. J and Nique to ashes even when he was still in his warm ups (we see your inspiration Kobe). No sweat, his combo of one, armed, outstretched windmills and tomahawks flying had the whole basketball world in a spin, years before the wheel turned and a lack of originality ruined the most creative of contests when it came to the freewheeling All-Star weekend. 'The High-Ayatolla of Slamola' deserved every 50, before the voice of the 'Got Talent' like panel came in to former champion, years after play. Before all that he was American's above the rim idol. Bar the free and high sock stance of the fun and entertaining ABA contest, the three time All-Star and Cavalier, whose 16 and 8 career average was great enough to have his number 22 raised higher than his hops to the Cleveland rafters, made his weekend in 1984 his living, lasting legacy of legend. One that still continues to this day. In more ways than one...or being the first and foremost.

The legendary and legacy line of father and son, family ties in this league is as storied as the NBA or the Walton's (Bill and Luke to be family tree traceable) themselves. We all know about the Barry's, the Dell and Steph Curry's (not to mention brother Seth and the rest of the ball playing family that like most court holding families extends to the womens league and probably one day, postgame superstar Riley Curry). His teammate Klay Thompson and his dad Mychael of the Lakers and the fact that Los Angeles Clippers head Doc Rivers coaches his son Austin like this chapter was written in the stars by the basketball gods themselves. But there's much more than meets the fathers eyes when it comes to father time. I mean did you even forget about Kobe's pops, Joe 'Jellybean' Bryant? Or speaking of that, George Karl's son Coby who also had some underrated time with the Lakers that should have birthed more? There's the Bibby's...Henry and Mike. Horace Grant's brother Harvey and his sons Jerami and Jerian Grant. Norm and Brian Cook. Tito Horford and Al Horford, Ed Manning and Danny Manning. And even the first Basketball superstar George Mikan and his son Larry. Or more recently John and David Stockton. And that isn't even the half of it. We haven't even got to the players named after players. Ron and Ronnie Brewer who where both Bulls in Chicago. Larry Drew and Larry Drew II. Rich and Richard Dumas. Or how about even the slight change of LeRoy Ellis and LeRon Ellis? Mike Dunleavy Sr and junior. Walter Szczerbiak and Wally Szczerbiak and Glenn Robinson Jr and Glenn Robinson the third. And more big guns today. Patrick Ewing and Patrick Ewing Jr. Glen Rice and his Junior. Tim Hardaway. And of course the legend of Larry.

Nance Jr rocking the Lakers number 7 like the great Lamar Odom is a swingman like no other, who I guarantee you'll see this mid-February in Toronto for the All-Star weekend, one way or another the city needs his heat. Sure this late first rounder could be a steal like the similarly slept on sophomore Jordan Clarkson and he could join the Julius Randle and D'Angelo Russell, young, hopeful future of the Lake Show in the rookie/sophomore duel. His energy, hustle and what he brings to the game on both sides of the floor, like rebounding, not to mention his genes can afford and assimilate that. He's already the off the pine, microwave time, hustle and lay-up line flow, spark  plug the Lakers have sorely missed since guys like Von Wafer, Shannon Brown, Devin Ebanks and Trevor Ariza. And thats just the tip of a very cold iceberg. But aside from that this kid has to be a dead cert for the Slam Dunk contest and not just because of his pops, who is now wearing a Laker cap in support like he never thought he would after all that 80's blow-out Showtime, Sun heartache. But because of that preseason dunk against the champion Golden State Warriors that caught the cool and crisp Hawaii air and so much more so that it may even be the dunk of the year...and it wasn't even officially recorded this season. The elevation, the pause for breath in the middle of air, the hammer, the nail in the games coffin and then the Jordan-esque shrug. I don't know that could be it. But then again did you catch the one he caught against the Pistons going full throttle to the hole with aggression, but the air-time, cruise control he displayed as he butterfly floated to the net before he stung like an Ali bee. It almost looked angelic in those Sunday Whites. Or how about everything else to come? Just like his alley-oop, lay-up against Orlando, it's all magic. Larry Springer has more in his sneaker step...better call Jerry! Now you know he can enter the ring and knock everyone else out, round for round in the ultimate bell-ringing contest with the tricks of his, 'now you see me, now you're a poster trade'. Like Larry Jr said, "it'd be fun". Like Larry Senior says of his boy; "he's playing hard", adding that his son at the young age of 22 already understands the game better than he did. Now Nance wants to take it one step further with his family legacy and have little Larry continue his dunking legend in the Slam contest, if not this year but one day. He'll be watching with pride, like son, like father, but this time from courtside whilst everyone else will be watching on T.V. Like father, like dunk! “He was going to put me in a wheelchair, roll me out under the basket and slam dunk on top of me,” senior told Lakers.com about junior. Father time is about to get a real facial.

Tuesday, 10 November 2015


Pennies From Hoop Heaven.



23 isn't the number of the greatest player of the golden era 90's and of the NBA all-time. Instead it really is the one. The one cent. From a dollar to a dream. The G.O.A.T. Just for a second imagine number one really was that. No spare change. 100% Penny. Anfernee Hardaway at full power. No 50 Cents. Getting basketball rich, without career death trying. Now lets take it back...with a twist. There's a wind and a season of change away from the city of Chicago and it's raging, stampeding Bull and it belongs in the talents of a Florida heat that you won't even find in South Beach. Instead the Disney town of Orlando, famous for theme-parks is about to have one roller-coaster ride on its hands that will even blow the Mickey Mouse ears off the head of this town. This city really was about to become the Magic's Kingdom. Years before Dwight Howard brought his infectious smile to the Orlando Magic as Superman 2, before taking his own brief, red-eye flight to Hollywood, Los Angeles for his Laker lay-over. The original Man Of Steel with the Kryptonite-proof, beaming smile ("Me?" Yes you!) , Shaquille O'Neal becoming the most dominant player of all-time who never had to escape to L.A. like a reverse Kurt Russell's Snake. No matter the millions! Why you ask? Because the most dominant ever had the greatest ever by his side and the closest to M.J. before he even met Kobe...or even the Superman/Flash partnership of Dwyane Wade back in Florida for Miami. You see that's just how good Penny's career could afford to be. You think you'd walk away from that...regardless of the money?!

What if?

What if Anfernee never got hurt? If Hardaway's career never saw the hard way, but a better way and the hardwood road of his classic career was paved the easy way on the Florida highway. What if Timmy wasn't the only Hardaway in Florida crossing over this game? What if Penny made everyone want to call his name, over and over again like Sheldon. Everyone knocking on his door. What if Penny, Penny, Penny brought champagne, not commiseration to Orlando and along with ticker-tape, fireworks to the Magic Kingdom like the Disneyworld palace at the beginnings of all Walt's films? But this is no fairytale. It could have happened to him. The fickle fate of injust injury can be as cruel as the basketball Gods seem at times. But in this game there's always more losers than there our winners. Just ask Mike. But Penny isn't one. Even if his career never saw the ring Penny's talent could afford. Those Penny's could have outsold those Air Jordan's. That Lil' Penny puppet could have been an even bigger star and personality in the 90's than well...it's voice Chris Rock. More than just something that spun-off into classic Blackstreet videos. No diggity...that was just how good he was with the way he worked it...no doubt. Shaq and Penny could have been more than just Shaq and Kobe before Shaq and Kobe. They could have been the most dominant and dynamic duo of all-time. Blue Chip brothers. Movie makers. Billboard blockbusters. Even Nick Nolte would remain calm and not have to throw things round the locker-room. A one, two punch that would ensure the corvette never met the brick wall. The 'Shaw-Shaq Redemption' of Brian and O'Neal would still be a hit without Hollywood and Nick Anderson wouldn't choke (cough...cough). Penny would be as clutch as Reggie. In the air every-night like Mike and winning like nobody else around him...because he would be the one. But somehow between the lines of that classic white, black and blue jersey it wasn't meant to be. Struck out like baseball opponents of the New York Yankees, because they couldn't take their eyes off the pinstripes. Catch me if you can.

Now picture this...

What if instead of imagining that, you imagine this. Because this was real. And Anfernee 'Penny' Hardaway was the real deal, no matter how genuine you think this article is. Penny still cashed in a career as one of the best players to ever play this game of basketball, inactive debt or not. One of this generations greatest who like the air and heirs of Jordan has inspired the best of today from Kobe to LeBron and the Durant's and Westbrook's. Even the Steph Curry MVP's. The man who came in this game like another M.J, who was said to have the Magic of Earvin Johnson and ended up making another number Magic 32 smile that big grin of his. He was a star in Orlando no matter how long he shone for. Even if this Magic man's tricks of the trade were a now you see me, now you don't spell, leaving us anticipating the second act. Even if the best years and legs of his career went down on one knee, One Cent Hardaway was still in matrimony with this game, 'till rafters did him part. Because that's where number one belongs like the banners he could have put up there. The former Golden State Warrior third draft pick that was traded for Chris Webber had just that high a ceiling. He made the Magic his Kingdom before as a rising Sun he made Phoenix more than just his All-Star resting place but a rising metaphor. Just like fellow former All-Star career crippled by injury, Grant Hill, this fellow heir to Air Jordan's throne turned his career round and salvaged what was left between the fluid of his knees and the father time he had left to be more than just a valuable veteran, but a man who managed to save his career like no other fallen All-Stars could. His New York times as a Knick showed that, even if that city, just like him needed some divine intervention from the basketball God's for their big-name. Sometimes this sport is more than just a game however and the order of this court can be cruel. But that doesn't mean this revolutionary form of entertainment can have some redemptive moments that truly make it a beautiful game. And that's what happened when Penny reunited with Shaq in Florida for the Miami Heat, where the four time All-Star got to relive the glory days for a couple of games. No matter the hate that comes from arm-chair fans (just ask Kobe) that wrote this guy off because of an injury they couldn't even get up to make happen, you had to love that. Sometimes this life throws a curve-ball at you and sometimes you just dribble it right back. Because sometimes it's not about knocking it out the park...it's about staying on the plate...or on the floor in this game. Just ask Mike, everyone can always come back. Just a penny for your thoughts.

Imagine that!