New Shirt from Vandal-A Makes Dream a Reality

This is how you make a sneaker/basketball/hip-hop themed t-shirt right here!  With the Olympic VIIs releasing tomorrow and hopefully many restocks to come (I’ve really been striking out lately on releases, ok?!) shirts have been popping up from all over that will look nice paired with these classics.  But not until this shirt from Vandal-A has one seemed so on point.

The simplicity and obviousness of the shirt, along with the familiar Dream Team USA Basketball styled script, makes this shirt strikingly sharp.  Of course, wrapping the whole thing in a line by the legendary Notorious B.I.G. just caps it off to perfection.

 

Head on over to www.vandal-a.com to check out this shirt, but you’d better hurry.  Their stuff goes extra quick and with dope designs like this you can see why.  If you can’t grab this instant classic check out some of their other gear: some sneaker-theme, some basketball-themed but all 100% nice.  Keep up the good work.

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Go Spurs and Go Green, The T-Shirt

There have been few more pleasant surprises than the play of the San Antonio Spurs this shortened NBA season.  I suppose calling a Western Conference best record from a team that has been outright dominating over the last decade is somewhat insulting.  Many thought this compacted season would hurt the older teams like the Spurs and the Boston Celtics.  Trust me, it made total sense at the time.

But even if you had complete faith that Tony Parker would play at an MVP level, Gregg Popovich would do one of his best coaching jobs in a career littered with them, Tim Duncan would play on one leg for most of the season only to kickoff the playoffs by looking like he was still in Winston-Salem, and malcontent, cast off vets would mesh with unsung unknown young players…there is no way you thought it would look this good.

Over the last week when the Spurs were sweeping the Utah Jazz in the first round of the playoffs, a notion began seeping its way onto the internet that the Spurs are boring.  Not these Spurs, not this year, not now.  This Spurs team is an absolute joy to watch.  The efficiency with which this team runs its offense and closes out quarters is a pleasure.

Don’t misunderstand, the Spurs have seemed boring at times in the past.  But if you lump this group in with those teams you are doing them and yourself a disservice.  Simply put, the Spurs are a machine right now.

A staple of the Spurs over the last few years has been getting those players that aren’t the household names and finding production.  DeJaun Blair, Tiago Splitter, Gary Neal, and Kawhi Leonard are all names that have been signed or drafted over the last two years that give this team legitimate minutes.  So too is Danny Green.

Green played all four seasons at the University of North Carolina, won more games than any Tar Heel ever and was part of a national championship team in 2009.  He was a second round draft pick of the Cleveland Cavaliers playing in only 20 games and averaging under six minutes a game.  This year Green has blossomed under the coaching of Popovich and the leadership in San Antonio, playing in all 66 games and starting in 38 of those.  He’s one of those guys that, to even most hardcore NBA observers, came out of nowhere…except if you’re from North Carolina, like the guys from Thrill City.

Thrill City has put out some great Ts in the past, but they’ve really gone and done it now with this NBA T inspired by the play of the former Tar Heel.  There is nothing better than NBA Ts at playoff time and there is nothing better than one inspired by inspired play.  Thrill City needs some pre-orders to make this thing happen so head on over and secure your Go Green T-Shirt today and tell them about it on their Facebook page.  I for one have thoroughly enjoyed watching this Spurs team play, and can’t wait to watch it continue through this year’s playoffs.  If we can see a few Go Green shirts in the crowd or at the River Walk, all the better.

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New NBA T Celebrating The Truth

Paul Pierce’s latest playoff performance (Tebowing aside) did more than add to his already lengthy resume as a primetime performer.  It also convinced me to break down and pick up a new NBA T honoring The Truth.

Everyone knew that without Rajon Rondo the Celtics would need a monster game from Pierce to knot the series at one win a piece and go back to Boston with a little momentum.  EVERYONE KNEW THAT.  And PP still dropped 36 points and grabbed 14 boards leading the Celtics to a must win.

 

It was a thing of beauty, and so is this new t-shirt.  Grab one for yourself over at Townie News and continue enjoying the playoffs….like this kid.

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New NBA Caricature Shirts from Mitchell and Ness

We’ve all been searching for those classic NBA caricature shirts from our childhood recently.  No?  Just Me?  Ok, well in case you’re in the same boat the crew over at Mitchell and Ness has come through in the clutch, again.  These  shirts come in traditional cut or tailored, grey or team colored depending on the player of your choice.  Check them out here.

There is one noticeable omission from the selection available but there are plenty of hall of fame choices.

These things look great, are just in time for the playoffs and will be the perfect addition to your NBA T-shirt rotation.  No?  Just me again?

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Jordan Should Be Looking to Sign Davis One Way or Another

Anthony Davis has yet to officially announce his intentions to enter this year’s NBA draft.  But with all signs pointing to him being the sure-fire overall number one pick, it would seem it’s only a matter of time.  Michael Jordan’s Charlotte Bobcats will almost certainly have the best shot at grabbing Davis in this year’s draft, but will have to wait until May 30 to see if their likely 25% chance is good enough in the NBA draft lottery.

Certainly Jordan and anyone having anything to do with the Bobcats is praying the ping-pong balls bounce in Charlotte’s favor in May.  But regardless of whether or not Jordan will get the chance to sign him as a player, the Jordan Brand should be looking to add Davis to its stable of players.

 

Big men don’t usually sell shoes the way smaller players do.  But this year’s draft is interesting because what was once a loaded draft has quickly become one that isn’t exactly guaranteed to produce the next crop of NBA superstars.  There are plenty of young and talented players available mind you, but seasons like those had by Harrison Barnes and Jared Sullinger where those two didn’t show exceptional improvement from their freshmen season, have dampened expectations for some.

 

But even if those two had made a huge jump in their sophomore seasons, and younger players like Cody Zeller, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist played as well as they did I’m not sure there would be many marquee candidates for shoe companies to sign.  The draft’s top junior, Kansas’ Thomas Robinson had a fantastic season but even he lacks some cache when it comes to perceived marketability.

 

For the young guys, it’s somewhat a result of the system.  We don’t get to know these guys really until about half way through February when most people’s attention finally turns to college basketball.  And it’s really March and April when names of players start circulating through households that don’t belong to their school’s alumni.  Robinson actually had a similar circumstance as he played behind the Morris twins until this year.

 

Ironically, the one guy who has been open about wanting to build and establish his brand is Barnes.  And even though there can be a case made that he’s damaged that, there is still a lot to be written on him and the rest of these players coming out.  Barnes can still make a name for himself at the pro level and brands can be remade.  He just won’t ever be able to list National Champion or Player of the Year as part of his.  But the good news is, those are not exactly pre-requisites for having a successful brand in the NBA.

 

That leaves Davis, the most well-known and talked about player in this year’s draft.  He changed the course of the national championship game without being very effective on offense.  Generally, offense is going to make you more marketable than defense.  There aren’t many shoes sold on the pitch that a guy is a great lock down defender.  (Gary Payton being the most prominent argument to that but GP had his own style and “The Glove” worked as a label mostly because he sold the hell out of it and he was good on both ends.  But again, he was not a big guy.)

 

They say Davis can play the five and the four…they even say he can play the three.  The.  Three.  I have a hard time grasping ahold of that one myself.  If there’s anyone who can I suppose it makes sense that it would be a kid who was a perimeter player all the way through high school until he sprouted seven to eight inches between his junior and senior years in high school.

 

No matter where Davis plays, he’s projected to be extremely effective and help the team lucky enough to land him.

 

And in this draft he’s the only sure thing on the court which almost makes him the only sure thing off the court.  Certainly other players will get signed by shoe companies.  But where last year had Kemba Walker and Derrick Williams as perhaps the most recognizable names, this year we just have Davis.

 

Walker and Williams were both signed by Under Armour in a great move by the company looking to make noise in the basketball sneaker arena.  The draft’s best player, top draft pick and certain rookie of the year, Kyrie Irving was signed by Nike.  Overall, it has been a relatively quiet class for shoe signings, with the Under Armour duo being one of the sneaky smarter plays.

 

If you look at the Jordan Brand basketball roster on its website you’ll notice one thing is shockingly absent: youth.  Carmelo Anthony, Chris Paul, and Dwayne Wade lead the charge for JB and that’s a pretty damn good trio.  Paul is the best point guard on the planet, Anthony is one of the best scorers in the world and Wade is all world.  But none of them are getting any younger.  It’s understandable for a company to take a wait-and-see approach with young players, especially before giving them a signature shoe.  That just makes sense and JB in particular has a certain threshold because of its namesake.  But there is also something to be said for having new blood.

 

Look further down and you’ll see Joe Johnson, D.J. Augustin, Gerald Wallace, Ray Allen, Rip Hamilton, Kevin Martin…and we haven’t even gotten to Juwan Howard who is stil playing, God bless him.  JB’s roster rounds out with the likes of Jared Jeffries, Josh Howard, Mike Bibby, and Quentin Richardson.  No they’ve all provided us with some fantastic player exclusive kicks over the years (Allen edges Bibby as my personal favorite but I can certainly understand the other side), but most of these guys are on the backside of their careers.  There are other guys who wear JB on a nightly basis, Monta Ellis comes immediately to mind and Tyrus Thomas has worn the Flint Grey Air Jordan XIII retros for the better part of two years.

 

But JB could really use an infusion of youth and there is no one better in this year’s class than Anthony Davis.  He will certainly have his pick of shoe companies.  But as witnessed on the cover of this week’s Sports Illustrated (excellent placement by the way), Davis makes the Jumpman look pretty good.  If Jordan misses out on Davis with the first pick in this year’s NBA draft, the brand he inspired would be wise to put the full court press on to get him outfitted in Jordan Brand.

 

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New Tech: Nike+ Fuel

Nike is about to give you a new bracelet that could change the way you do…everything I guess.  Well, perhaps it isn’t that life changing but it could definitely change the game.  The new Nike+ Fuel Band will track all your movements and will allow athletes (and non-athletes as well) to compare workouts across the board.  So a basketball player can see how his or her run on the full court compared to a football players on-field program…or whatever.

It’s pretty groundbreaking when you think about it as Nike’s jump into the world of technology, as Darren Rovell summarized on his Twitter page.  They’ve pretty much done away with having to put a chip in your shoe (good) and base everything of this bracelet.  Of course, this bracelet will be either a complete flop or the hottest thing since the Livestrong bracelet and based on Nike’s track record I’d lean towards the latter.  (It does look a good bit more chunky though.)

Fads are fads for a reason so we’ll have to see how this plays out but the idea I like the best is being able to set a goal for yourself and constantly keep track of it by just wearing this bracelet…err, band..around.  This is of course the first of the line we’ve seen so there will surely be advances but this is an exciting start.  Is that $149 price tag too much though?  We’ll see.

Nike will start taking limited (smart) orders at 5:00 PM EST today and they’ll ship out for delivery on the 22nd of February.  The clamoring has already begun.

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Gimme Dat: Million Dollar Ballers Delivers

Million Dollar Ballers is one of my favorite new discoveries of this new truncated NBA season.  These guys get everything right in their unqique and limited t-shirts featuring NBA greats.  If you’re a fan of the game at its highest level, you will surely be a fan of these high quality shirts.

My personal favorite is the T featuring Larry Legend himself, but there are plenty to chose from and assumedly more classes to come.  Once this Chris Mullin T is available in blue it will be joining The Legend T in my collection.

Check these guys out at www.mdballers.com and give a shout to their hometown Blazers. Yeah that’s right, not only do these guys put out great shirts but they get to be a part of one of the best fan bases in the NBA.  Anyone going to Portland let me know.

 

 

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