Thanks for checking out this week’s edition of the WearTesters Weekender. Be sure to read through everything, digest and share your thoughts in the comments below. This week, we have members of the WearTesters team making predictions for this weekend’s All-Star festivities. I hope there is something for everyone in this article. This is all about engaging with our reader so we want you to share your thoughts and opinions as well![divider]
10 Years Ago
In 2005, the dunk contest was coming off a stretch with 2 captivating performances from Jason Richardson and a win from Fred Jones. Enter Josh Smith: a 19 year old with serious bounce, posied to pay homage to Hawks legend Dominique Wilkins. Remember, this is before he was ever vilified for being a ‘cancer’ to a team. This is before he fell in love with long twos and threes and hordes of analytical statisticians deemed him useless. Josh Smith entered the contest expected to finish second behind Amare Stoudemire. We are 10 years past his moment of triumph and fanfare and everyone seems to forget that Josh Smith was not always seen as an overrated, overpaid money-hole. He opened up with a graceful flush from just inside the free throw line, setting the bar. Next, he took a pass from a seated Kenyon Martin below him and windmilled ( and I mean a REAL windmill) for a perfect score. It was a dunk which had Magic Johnson excited and gushing with praise, in particular. Then, he donned a throwback Wilkins jersey and threw down a windmill from the side a la Nique from his duels with Michael Jordan in the dunk contest. Finally, he showed some serious hangtime with a 360 windmill slam to sink Amare’s chances of taking the crown. He was youthful, had promising potential and seemed to prepare for the event. He didn’t go across the line with any props, he didn’t miss attempts left and right, and he never threw the ball into the hoop ( I’m looking at you, Dwight).
The dunk contest has been a rollercoaster for at least a decade. There have been great contests and ones that put you to sleep faster than a Sixers vs. Knicks game this year. The quality and star power of the players entered in the contest and the amount they care are directly proportional to how entertaining and memorable they are.
I know I’m speaking for everyone when I say I hope the youth in this year’s contest come out with something to prove. Whether they are paying homage to a legend and solidfying their coming out party, or looking to make their mark on the fraternity of dunk contest winners, I want there to be some competitive fire this year. It is hard to get excited about the event (see Nightwing’s prediction) when there is still dissapointment lingering from previous years. One thing is for certain, these guys should be getting plenty high in the air knowing they don’t have to bring the adidas a3 Forum from 2005 in the air with them. Those things had the super heavy heel counter and clunky bounce cushioning that was the norm for big man shoes at this time. I have a few of Kevin Garnett’s adidas signature from this era and they are not fun to try and play in coming from a pair of modern performance shoes.
So, what do you think of Josh Smith’s contest efforts and his shoes? What a difference in ten years! In my opinion, he was oddly calm and collected throughout the contest. He dunked with confidence and let his acrobatics do the talking. Watch and respond!
With the All-Star festivities taking place in NYC this weekend, the WearTesters team would like to share their picks for winners amongst for the stacked 3PT contest, the Dunk contest, and the MVP of the All-Star game. No one here is an ESPN analyst or Nostradamus, but we wanted to share our thoughts and opinions and then hear back from our readers in the comments. Be sure to check back into the discussion throughout the weekend and let’s see who ends up calling it right! Also, hit up @WearTesters on twitter through the weekend to engage in some banter about players, their shoes, and their performances.
- 3PT: Kyle Korver. Honestly, I can’t bet against him after reading this article on Grantland. It’s a great read and all I’ll ever need to believe in Korver. The concept of Misogi is awesome. Though Korver is not a one-trick-pony of any sorts, but he does have this one trick called the 3 point shot that he’s pretty freakin good at. I considered Klay Thompson because I believe in his ability to zone in and catch fire, but I simply will not bet against Korver amid a superbly talented field.
- Dunk: Zach LaVine. The dunk contest format was dissapointing last year and it has stumbled in recent years without Nate Robinson and Dwight going at it, the JaVale McGee snub (in my opinion), and some noticeable lack of interest and preparation from certain participants. But, I like this years field and will maintain high hopes for these guys. LaVine has BOUNCE and a youthful enthusiasm that I think will translate to some captivating dunks. Also, as a KG fan since I was about 6 years old, I am naturally inclined to root for the Timberwolves in anyway I can. I considered the Greek Freak, but my eyes are on the rise and LaVine is my guy.
- MVP: Russell Westbrook. This is a real tough one to choose, but something tells me that Russell will be as explosive and fierce as ever in this game. He’s coming off the bench and seems to have haters in every corner of the world for one reason or another. As a pass first point guard with a different approach to the game, I have never been a huge fan of Westbrook at the PG position. But the reality is, he’s as talented and electrifying as they come. I see him entering the game on a mission to destroy his opponents and rivals whether they are on his team or not. Lots of dunks, drives, and mid-range jumpers and an MVP trophy to show for it. I’m a little worried he won’t get enough run off the bench to secure the award, but that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.
- 3PT: I think it will come down to Mathews and Curry in a final shootout, and my overall winner would have to be Mathews. He has the most made threes in the game this year and his mechanics are identical every time he shoots. Don’t get me wrong, if I had to choose one of these two for the game winning shot, I would choose Curry, but the 3PT contest is a different beast. Winner: Wesley Mathews. Dark Horse: Ashton Kutcher…I mean Kyle Korver.
- Dunk: I think it would be more fun if we guessed who would be the worst in the dunk contest this year. All jokes aside, LaVine is winning this thing. Wether or not he becomes a valuable NBA rotation player is besides the point, what we do know about the UCLA product is that he has hops. If you need more evidence just YouTube search: Zach Lavine Seattle Pro AM (you’re welcome), he can get up and I’m looking forward to pure dunks with no gimmicky props (Blaming you Dwight!). Also, would it be lame if Lavine did a reverse 360 windmill on his first attempt in honor of Vinsanity? Answer: No. Dark Horse: Victor Oladipo
- MVP: I’ll tell you this much, Carmelo will be gunning for this award, it would be the only highlight of his season as he is on the lowly New York Knickerbockers, the worst team in the NBA. Carmelo is most likely going to shut it down at the end of this break to rehab his knee, and he would probably shut it down now if the All-Star weekend was not in his house (MSG). He wants to be a good host and the un-official New York ambassador to the NBA this weekend. What better way than to win the All-Star game MVP. To me, this is the safe bet, Carmelo doesn’t want anyone but himself hoisting up that KIA Motors NBA All-Star MVP trophy in Madison Square Garden. Dark horse: #KDisNotNice
- 3PT: Wesley Mathews will win. Not just because I’m a Blazers fan (okay, it’s totally because I’m a Blazers fan.) Bias aside, you can’t discount the fact that Mathews barely jumps on his not-so-jump-shot, so there’s less shot mechanic errors (if that makes any sense.) With that said, I think Korver deserves at least a shoutout for shooting more than 50% on his 3-pointers this year, which is insane!
- Dunk: (LaVine) I’m one of the few people that is genuinely excited for the dunk contest. People say it needs star power? Tell that to Fred Jones, Jason Richardson and teenage Kobe Bryant, who all entertained without being that popular when they won. The contestants this year are freakishly athletic and I think all of them have a chance (except Plumlee who probably got in because the ASG is in Brooklyn.) While the Internet loves Anteta…uh… Greek Freak, I’m gonna go with the safe bet with LaVine, who probably has the best vertical leap in the competition.
- MVP: (Durant) The homer in me wants to say Lillard because of the snub from the roster but I don’t think the pace of the ASG fits his style of play (he admitted as much last year.) Melo would be my pick because the game is in New York but he may not play due to bad knees (as an aside: there have been way too many injuries to all-stars this year.) Since the West will likely win (the roster is stacked), I’m gonna say the MVP award goes to Mr. “whoever wants my spot can play me 1-on-1”. Durant will play mad due to all the pundits who said he didn’t deserve the All-Star nod.
Noah Goldowitz (@TheShoeRestorer)
- 3Pt: After going to the Under Armour event and hearing Curry speak, as well as all the research I’ve done on the contestants, I have to pick the Splash Brothers. I haven’t been able to watch a lot of this season but what I’ve been able to catch up on makes me want either of them to win. I think Belinelli will probably win, but I’d like to see Thompson or Curry take it.
- Dunk: Pretty uninterested in this category, so I rewatch the 80s and 90s dunk contests because they were so much better. I think Antetokounmpo will take it.
- MVP: I’d love to see either Curry or Lillard win. Curry because he’s inspiring and Lillard because he got snuffed originally and I think he’s going to bring fire.
- 3PT: I’ve gotta go with one of my hometown guys; Klay Thompson or Stephen Curry. Curry has been in the contest twice before – if I’m remembering correctly – and he hasn’t performed as well as he does while in a game situation… but maybe this year will be different. Klay on the other hand, is having an amazing year. So, if one Splash Brother doesn’t take it… hopefully the other will.
- Dunk: I’m not even excited for the Dunk Contest, and just looked up who is in it a few minutes ago. Back when I was a kid, the Dunk Contest was the highlight of the weekend… now its a prop filled disappointment. If I had to choose one person to take the crown it’d probably be LaVine. The kid is pretty athletic, and based on that along he’s my choice. Whoever wins will need to be more creative than the next guy (obviously) so whoever can pull that off will take it.
- MVP: Again, I have to give it to my hometown guy… Stephen Curry. Yes, being totally biased, but its just the All-Star game. However, I do think Lillard may be a surprise… since being snubbed and now being in the game. Maybe Lillard will bring a chip on his shoulder. Either way, I’m mostly looking forward to the 3Pt Contest.
In Case You Missed It…
The event featured Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank, special guest Jamie Foxx, the “creative director and author” of the Book of Will, and of course, Golden State Warriors star Stephen Curry. Additional guests included Olympians Natasha Hastings and Manteo Mitchell. The “Book of Will” is Under Armour’s latest global campaign to stay true to their roots and continue supporting the underdogs.
Here is your Nike SNKRS App event recap! The SNKRS app unveiled isn’t revolutionary by any means, and no permanent solution to bots, but the app does offer something that is interesting; the ability to be kept up to date with official Nike information however you choose.
In New York City this morning it was 29 degrees. When I arrived at the Token38 pop up at 8:45am I found a line of eager Reebok enthusiasts waiting. It was bitter cold and windy, but what Sneakersnstuff, Packer Shoes, Jason Markk, Stance Socks, and Reebok have put together for All-Star Weekend is something extraordinary and 110% worth the wait.
“Best Run Ever”. Tagline for the new adidas Ultra Boost, as put out by adidas Running. I have heard some outrageous claims in my life, but basically saying you have created he “best running shoe ever” is pretty large. But is it false? I know – we should find out!!!!
Nike Kobe X (10) Performance Review – by Nightwing2303
The Nike Kobe X is a solid shoe, especially if you’re body is beginning to age. The traction was awesome, the cushion was solid, materials are not something I personally enjoy, they fit like a glove throughout most of the shoe with some minor forefoot flex issues, and stability is a key support feature that many should enjoy… young or old. Do I think they’re a must have… not really, but if we’re being honest here… then you can get by just fine with a $50 clearance model.
WearTesters Wordplay of the Week
This week marks 11 years since Kanye West changed the rap game and released The College Dropout (technically, it was the third time though). Kanye has haters and hordes of fans as a result of his actions and attitude on the way to the top. He brought relatable problems, understandable diction and lyrics and beats unlike anyone before him. He deviated from the dominance of gangster rap and carved out a niche that has since become the norm. Back then, he was in and out of a small studio recording 15 minutes as a time for what may be the greatest debut rap/hip hop of all time. Fast forward to 2015, and the world awaits the drop of his new sneaker and an impending album to follow…but he wasn’t supposed to make it past 25, jokes on you he’s still alive…and he don’t care what people say.
If you’ve never listened to The College Dropout all the way through then I suggest you give it a listen. It may or may not be your kind of music, but we wanted to give it a shoutout given the occasion and the circumstance.
This week, for our spotlight on a basketball writer/analyst, Bryan Toporek of bballbreakdown (fantastic site for hoop heads), Bleacher Report, Hoop365, and quite a few others gets the shoutout. He has some superb articles of late on Eric Gordon’s resurgence, Jeff Green’s impact in Memphis, the future of the Lakers beyond Kobe, and many more. He provides great insight and enlightening deep dives into statistics on numerous occasions. Further, he is probably one of the few Sixers fans remaining that will openly admit their allegiance.
Seriously, check this guy out and keep an eye out in the wordplay section on each Weekender for someone new to learn from. Next time you get into a debate or discussion on basketball, don’t just cite numbers and stats that you’ve seen on TV or Twitter, read and understand as much as you can with the help of knowledgeable writers like Bryan.
That concludes this weeks Weekender segment from the WearTesters team! I hope you enjoyed reading and encourage all of you to engage in discussion in the comments below. We will be actively participating in the conversation both in the comments section and on Twitter. Let us know what you think of our All-Star weekend predictions, our music suggestion, the writer of the week, and anything else in the Weekender segment!
images and video via bballbreakdown, Wikipedia, Solecollector