The NBA is the the best in the big four sports at a lot of things. They by far and away have the best commissioner in Adam Silver, they lead the charge in the “bubble” phenomenon while getting their sport back on track during the pandemic, and have been for the most part the league least afraid to take stands on both social and political issues.
They also are not afraid to get weird with it when it comes to uniforms, which I respect. Don’t get me wrong, I love the traditional uniforms of Alabama football, Yankee baseball, etc. But getting out of your comfort zone is always a good thing, both in uniforms and in life. In recent years, the NBA has begun creating new uniforms for teams, calling them “City Edition” jerseys that are meant to show “team history and unique city stories.” The 2021 versions were fully released today, and boy are they something.
Even though it seems like the NBA season ended last week, it will be back on Christmas Day. Bring on The Association and all of the great, and not so great, “City Edition” jerseys that come with it.
Sunday, it’s here…so is this week’s SSM. Let’s hop in:
Last week of baseball, wrapping as we speak The MLB made it through, and reached their seasons’s peak The postseason starts next week, will be a wild story To see who takes home the COVID World Series Trophy
The NBA is winding down, Lakers took out the Nugs The Heat and Celts could be done soon, makes me sadly shrug Either way, it’ll be the Lakers and LeBron A few more games and before you know it, the NBA will be gone
The NHL is also close to closing out their year The Lightning and Stars are wrapping up, with their grown out playoff beards If the Lightning win on Monday, they’ll be hoisting up Lord Stanley If the Stars pull it out, we’re talking game 7, the cup won’t be won handily
Your NFL surprise of the year, the Chicago Bears Moved to 3-0 today, and this writer cares Trubisky was benched, Nick Foles was the hero Who would’ve thought after three weeks the Bears losses would be at zero?
The NBA does their All-Star festivities better than any of the other big four sports. The rookie-sophomore game, three point contest, and dunk contest allow some of the best athletes we have to showcase their skills in unimaginable ways. We have seen some insane things over the years in the dunk contest. Why don’t we relive some of the greatness?
5. Dee Brown, “The No Look,” 1991
You know what makes dunking harder? Not being able to see. Dee went ahead and covered his eyes with the right, and threw it down with the left. Brown stood shorter than your average dunker at 6’1, making this dunk even more impressive.
4. Spud Webb, “The 360,” 1986
Spud Webb really did it for all of us short kings out there. Standing at the seemingly-undunkable height of 5’7, Spud couldn’t even palm a basketball. The athleticism to not only be able to dunk, but throw a 360 degree turn on top of it doesn’t even make sense.
3. Gerald Green, “The Cupcake,” 2008
This is by far the least athletic dunk on our list. However, it may be the most creative. Gerald Green brought a cupcake out, threw down a dunk, and simaltaneously blew the lit candle out mid-air. This dunk didn’t get points for freak athletic ability, but for thinking outside the (cupcake) box.
2. Aaron Gordon, “The Mascot,” 2016
My goodness. Aaron Gordon has always been a better dunker than a basketball player, so he clearly shined here. It seemed so effortless. Quick grab from the mascot, nice scoop under the legs, and a clean cut flush through the hoop. All while floating approximately seven feet in the air.
1. Vince Carter “It’s Ova,” 2000
This still gives me goosebumps. Vince Carter is the GOAT dunker, and there is no debate. This dunk itself, everything considered, is why it ends up at the top of our list. The visuals were so smooth, through the legs, flush, double point, and the cut throat statement afterwards: “it’s ova.” So simple, and so true. Long live Vinsanity.
The dunk contest has taken a hit over the last few years due to lack of creativity. I unfortunately tend to agree; how many different ways can one throw a ball into a hoop? Every once and a while though, we’ll see something that we haven’t seen before, which keeps me coming back every year.
The birth of #TompaBay got us thinking; what are the wildest player/team combinations we’ve seen in sports?
These kind of late-career transactions have happened for numerous reasons; a player got fed up with a coach/team *cough Tom Brady cough*, the team got sick of the player, or maybe the player was ring chasing or looking for one more payday with a big contract, and was willing to go wherever needed to get that money. Nothing wrong with that.
For whatever reason, the below combos make me feel quite uncomfortable:
Kerry Wood, New York Yankees
As a Cubs fan, this one cut deep. While I don’t hate the Yankees, Kerry Wood was who you thought of when you brought up The Chicago Cubs during his time in the majors. Kid K spent his best years (1998-2008) on the North Side. After singing a two-year deal with Cleveland, Wood was traded to the Yankees on July 31, 2010. He primarily worked as Mariano Rivera’s setup man.
Luckily for us Cubs fans, Woody came home after his half year in New York. He signed a one year deal to come back to the Cubs and end his career in the blue pinstripes instead of the black ones. The way it was meant to be.
Patrick Ewing, Seattle Supersonics
Patrick Ewing is arguably the best player in New York Knicks history. I’m not old enough to realize how great Walt “Clyde” Frazier or Willis Reed were, but seems only appropriate to throw them in the discussion with more current Knicks like Carmelo Anthony & Allan Houston. For such a “storied” franchise, this is actually a pretty brutal top five list.
On September 20th, 2000, one of the largest trades in NBA history ended Ewing’s 15-year run in New York. The trade included The Knicks, Phoenix Suns, Los Angeles Lakers, and of course the Seattle Supersonics. Tough break for Patrick in my opinion; nothing against Seattle but I think the Emerald City would come in third place of places I would prefer to move if I had the choice between there, LA, or Phoenix.
Emmitt Smith, Arizona Cardinals
When Emmitt Smith was released from the The Cowboys in 2003 after 12 years in Dallas, he was the all-time leading rusher in NFL history. He had racked up 17,162 yards, scored 153 touchdowns, and won three Superbowls. He was a part of the “triplets” in Dallas with Troy Aikman & Michael Irvin. The guy was the Dallas Cowboys.
When Bill Parcells took over the Cowboys, he decided it was time for a change, and released Smith on February 26, 2003. I think we all would have been happy to see Emmitt call it a career at that point. However, he decided he still had some left in the tank, and signed a two-year deal with The Arizona Cardinals. What resulted were two forgetful seasons highlighted by his return to Dallas to play the Cowboys on October 5, 2003, where he rushed six times for negative one yard.
Shaquille O’Neal, Boston Celtics
The Big Shamrock! One of the cornerstone’s of the Lakers early aughts dynasty ended his career with the rival Celtics, tragic.
I think it’s fair to say once The Big Aristotle’s runs with The Lakers and Heat were over, it was pure ring chasing time for the big fella. Shaq’s tenures in Phoenix, Cleveland, and of course Boston were a bit hard to watch as his body began to break down.
The silver lining we can take from all of these stops are the nicknames that we were given along the way: Superman, The Big Diesel, Big Daddy, MDE (Most Dominant Ever), Wilt Chamberneazy, and my personal favorite from the Phoenix days…Shaqtus.
Randy Moss, Tennessee Titans
Randy “Imma Play When I Wanna Play” Moss. One of the most supremely athletic wide receivers we’ll ever see. If you haven’t, I would suggest taking some time out and watching any highlight tape of Moss’ career, like this one. He was so good that his name became a verb. If you ever get “Moss’d,” you might as well hang up your cleats.
After setting records with Tom Brady in New England, things started to unravel for Moss. His second tenure with The Vikings lasted less than a month, he made six catches with The Titans in eight games, retired for a year, and played his final season with The San Francisco 49ers in 2012.
Michael Jordan, Washington Wizards
Not even going to talk about it.
More often than not, these late-career moves do not worked out well. While it’s nearly impossible in today’s business of professional sports for a player to spend an entire career with one team, loyalty is still something that can be appreciated. However, when the business side makes itself prevalent, we as fans can be given the gift of some hilarious and awkward visuals with players in new uniforms.