Friday, June 14, 2019

NBA Champions

Nike x Stranger Things

 – "Nike Heads to Hawkins for Debut Stranger Things Collection"

Stranger Things 3 Trailer
Lego Stranger Things
TV Living Rooms as Ikea Ads 

Adweek – "Burger King Is Creating an Upside Down Whopper for Stranger Things Season 3"
The Next Web – "Netflix is launching two Stranger Things games"

"The most polarizing figure in the NBA"

Sports Illustrated – "The King Maker: Why Rich Paul Will Own the NBA Summer"

"Turning point. The standard Rich Paul story has its cinematic hinge moment: In the spring of 2002, Paul was about to board a flight to Atlanta at Akron-Canton Airport when the 17-year-old James, traveling with friends to the Final Four, spotted him wearing a vintage Warren Moon jersey. They got to talking. Plane landed, and at baggage claim Paul directed James to his supplier, the Atlanta memorabilia store Distant Replays, and told him to drop his name. A friendship struck, a career made.

The Moon jersey is the tale’s talisman: What if Paul had opted for a Fran Tarkenton? Or no jersey at all? But just as important is what happened later that night in Atlanta. A friend gained Paul entry to Sean (Puffy) Combs’s roped-off section at Club Kaya; a member of James’s posse saw him there and figured—wrongly—that he must carry serious clout in hip-hop culture.

Days later Paul was home on his couch in Cleveland when Distant Replays called to say that Paul’s new pal was in the store, buying a 1987–88 Magic Johnson authentic jersey. And in retelling the legend yet again, Paul’s eyes widen and he hits the emphasis button. “LeBron’s buying Magic’s jersey. How crazy is that?” he says. “It all comes back full circle, right?”

But something about the fairy-tale nags. “It’s all random,” Paul says. Yes, he was only 21 then. But he’d also bought his first house at 19, persuaded Distant Replays owner Andy Hyman to tutor him on the business, and at the time was making so much—up to $10,000 on a good week—selling vintage jerseys out of his car trunk that he was scouting Cleveland malls for a spot to open his own store. Hyman estimates that he’d been approached by at least 100 others, “but Rich really did stick out.”

“He was willing to put whatever it took to be a success, and convinced me that he was worth investing my time,” Hyman says. “He doesn’t take no for an answer.”"


"Money used to be the primary marker of that power, but with the advent of the rookie wage scale in 1996 and ensuing restrictions on max salaries, the expression of clout—and of an agent’s skill—shifted.

“That changed the perspective,” Tellem says. “If the salaries are roughly similar, what can a player control? It’s no longer financial. Where he has his say, then, where he has some control, is in the choice of where he plays and with whom he plays.”"

Monday, June 10, 2019

Toronto Raptors Design

 – "Toronto Raptors" – "Studio Stories: Naming and Designing the Original Toronto Raptors"

"The Toronto Raptors started play in the NBA in 1995, offering up a movie-inspired dinosaur name and clad in purple, red, black and white. Getting to that point, though, was primarily driven by then-owner John Bitove and his family’s love of the “Jurassic Park” movie, says Tom O’Grady, then the creative director for NBA Properties and now partner and chief creative officer of Gameplan Creative in Chicago.

“When the movie came out with the ferocity of the evil villain being 6-foot-tall raptors, that echoed in everybody’s thought process,” O’Grady says. “And there was not a professional team named after dinosaurs. We all felt like it was a cool direction to go.”

Sure, Toronto officially offered up a bevy of names on which the fans could vote. The listed included the Beavers, Bobcats, Dragons, Grizzlies, Hogs, Raptors, Scorpions, T-Rex, Tarantulas and Terriers. The Huskies, thanks to the historical use of the name in the city, had some draw too but was discarded early. The Hogs played off Toronto’s “Hogtown” nickname, and Dragons was considered, as O’Grady says, almost as a placebo.

Three nicknames started to take hold for Toronto, the Raptors, Dragons and Terriers. “The owner and his family fell in love (with Raptors),” O’Grady says. “They did focus groups for a sanity check, but deep down John Bitove wanted Raptors as the name and something had to happen to dissuade that.”"


"Then came the colour. “We were having a hard time stumbling on a colour that nobody else had,” O’Grady says. “That is hard. Then we focused on what is a colour combination that might go together that nobody has.” Initially that meant, for Toronto, purple, green, black and bronze, all with a green raptor. Then just before the final approval from Bitove, the design team received a call from the owner that some of the investors were pushing back that the logo didn’t represent Canada."


"“Without question, it was the most polarizing project I’ve worked on,” O’Grady says. “You were either all in or all out.” And with the split almost always falling with anyone over 40 years old all out and those younger all in, the team knew they were on to something, even in the highly conservative sports design market that was Toronto.

In the end, though, those who grew up with the design adored it, O’Grady says. “It was designed for them,” he says, “and they owned it.”

That initial look did sit dormant for about 15 years after the initial design gave way to tweaks, but then Mitchell & Ness recreated a Vince Carter uniform a few years ago, which O’Grady credits with restarting the interest in the nostalgia of the original design (it also has become one of the top-selling designs for the company). Toronto then brought the original design back to the court for a series of throwback nights in to celebrate their 20th season in 2015. “It was coming back from extinction with a second life,” O’Grady pans. “Now you have people asking why can’t we wear purple uniforms for at least one NBA Finals game?”"

Action Network – "Rovell: How Drake Landed Retro Dell Curry Raptors Jersey"

The Toronto Raptors Original Dinosaur

Kawhi's Drive

ESPN – "Who is Kawhi Leonard?"
By Tim Bontemps

"When he was working out at San Diego State in 2010, between his freshman and sophomore seasons, he got word that Ariza -- then firmly entrenched as an NBA player, and already having won a title with the Los Angeles Lakers -- would be working out on campus.

So Leonard sought out Ariza, who had come to work out with his trainer, former Aztecs guard Tony Bland, and asked to take part. Ariza agreed, and found himself immediately impressed with how Leonard handled himself.

"Man, my first impression of him was, 'This kid is here to work, period,'" Ariza told ESPN with a laugh. "No matter what."

That summer in San Diego, Ariza was putting in plenty of work. Every day, he would get in the gym twice -- once early in the morning, and then again in the evening. It was a grueling schedule, one Ariza thought would put him above and beyond anyone else.

There was only one problem: Leonard.

"I prided myself on being there first person in all the time," Ariza said. "And, when I got there, he was already there. He'd done everything he needed to do, and he was ready to work out again. ... When I saw the work ethic he had, I knew he was going to be special."

Leonard was motivated to show up early to test himself against an NBA player. And Ariza wasn't just any NBA player. He was someone Leonard respected -- but also someone who didn't overwhelm the young forward on the court.

"Trevor was big for me in college," Leonard said. "Playing against him, I just felt like I held my own at the time.

"I probably won a game. I don't remember. ... [but] I was fortunate he would let me work out with him."

Leonard might not remember, but Ariza certainly did.

"He was winning one-on-one drills that we were playing. He didn't win them all, but he wanted to," Ariza said with a laugh. "He went as hard as he could every single time. ... He has that edge to him that you need to be the caliber of player that he is.""

The King of the North Is Coming (6/1/19)
Steve Kerr and the Warriors' 5th Straight NBA Finals (5/27/19)
The Toronto Raptors' First Trip to the NBA Finals (5/27/19)
Kobe Breaking Down Kawhi Leonard Game Tape (4/25/19)
Masai Ujiri Traded for Kawhi Leonard While in Kenya With Barack Obama (7/21/18)
Kawhi Leonard's On the Road Diet (3/10/17)

Foraging for Flavors and the Seattle Ice Cream Scene

Seattle Times – "Mushroom ice cream? Taffylike texture? Seattle’s ice-cream options are wider and weirder than ever."