Tweet of the Day: Nate Robinson in new “Uncle Drew” commercial


Nate Robinson as Lights

If you’ve ever played basketball in a recreational setting, whether at the YMCA or the local city park outdoor court, you have probably experienced the inexplicable, near magical quality that old men often display when running the court.

Some old guys have that unstoppable post game, anchored by an unfailing hook shot. Some have that mid-range jumper that never misses. Still, others school young guys in the lost skill of abusing the backboard with that timeless bank shot.

In continuing his part in promoting Pepsi Max, Denver Nuggets guard Nate Robinson—who plays the role of point guard “Lights” in the most recent “Uncle Drew” video alongside Cleveland Cavaliers guard Kyrie Irving—took to twitter to discuss the magical qualities of old men who still play pick-up basketball with his followers.

SH Blog: Waxing poetic on new Brooklyn Arena, which is dark tonight

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Congratulations to the New Jersey Brooklyn Nets for resisting the urge to relocate tonight’s opener to the Meadowlands, or to the Prudential Center in Newark, or to the Teaneck Armory (if it still exists) — all places they used to call home.

Their super-hyped opener against the New York Knicks has been postponed until Nov. 26 because of the effects of Hurricane Sandy, which caused more devastation than New Yorkers and NewJerseyans are accustomed to handling.

Fistfights at gas stations? Check.

An inordinate amount of traffic accidents by distracted drivers? Check.

Shortages of white break, milk and toilet paper? Hah, no way! Those items were purchased in bulk Sunday, as they are prior to every impending storm that carries a dire warning. Only it turns out this time those dire warnings should have been heeded.

The SheridanHoops office tower is without electricity or heat for the fourth consecutive day now, and judging from the inaction on the downed trees at both ends of my street, the folks at Con Edison have bigger fish to fry. Thankfully, we have columnists around the country who have not been impacted by the big storm, and we are running like clockwork. (For instance, check out Mark Heisler on the 0-2 Lakers.)

Speaking of clockwork, 7 p.m. EST Friday is the deadline to enter our first fantasy freeroll. These contests were a huge hit last season, and we had a turnout of 555 people for last night’s $2 challenge. Our partner FanDuel is paying the top 18 finishers, so go ahead and give it a whirl. It’s a freeroll, so it is free.

Anyway, back to the Brooklyn Nets and the brand new Barclays Center.

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Uncle Drew is Back; Jumps the Shark

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Uncle Drew is back, and Kevin Love and Bill Russell have joined Kyrie Irving for a second installment of the extended mockumentary commercial that went viral over the summer.

Yes, Kyrie Irving once again spent several hours getting made up to look like a 70-year-old man, and the makeup folks apparently spent considerably less time adding a few years to Love’s look.

As you will see below, this sequel can’t hold a candle to the original, which is shown below — underneath the first embedded video.

Memo to Kyrie, K-Love and Pepsi: Ask someone Uncle Drew’s age, or even someone 30 years younger, what happened when Fonzie jumped a shark.

Here is the original (which was not cheapened by blatant product placement).

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Tweet of the Night: Kyrie Irving

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OK, Kyrie. Then how the heck did you break a bone in your hand?

Perhaps Irving is taking issue with the word “punched.” Maybe he just slapped the wall.

Either way, he now needs surgery but is expected to be healed in time for the start of training camp.

(RELATED CONTENT: Kyrie Irving and Kobe Bryant go one-one-one for $50,000)

(RELATED CONTENT: Irving dominating against Team USA point guards at camp in Las Vegas)

From Mary Schmitt-Boyer of the Cleveland Plain-Dealer: “The injury occurred during the first of two practices when Irving hit some padding on the wall after turning the ball over near the end of practice. He shook his hand repeatedly afterward and tried to return to the scrimmage before eventually taking himself out. He left the session with his hand wrapped in ice, went to Spring Valley Hospital and returned for the evening practice with his right hand in a cast. “It was just a freak accident,” Irving said. “I broke a really delicate bone in my hand.” He said there was not enough pain to indicate a serious injury, but when it got hit again during the scrimmage, he knew something was wrong. Right now, it sounds as if his spirits hurt worse than his hand. … “I’m fine,” he said. “I am a little disappointed, a freak accident like that. I have to be more responsible about my health. It was just crazy. It happened so fast. That thing that I did — hitting the pad on the wall — I’ve done it so many times. This time was just a freak accident. I’ve done it before. I was like, ‘Oh, man. Dang I messed up.’ I kept playing and then once I hit it again that’s when I knew something was wrong.”

(RELATED CONTENT: Kyrie Irving as Uncle Drew – The 5-minute version)




Hubbard: Kyrie Irving excelling against Team USA


After beginning training camp with a couple of five-minute scrimmages that were open to the media, U.S. Olympic coach Mike Krzyzewski has pulled the curtain shut.

The last four days have featured games divided into four 10-minute quarters between Team USA and the select team, which consists of younger NBA players. Media has not been allowed to watch.

Although statistics have not been made available, the message from those who are Coach K-approved is that there has been one player who has consistently excelled – 20-year old Kyrie Irving of the Cleveland Cavaliers, a member of the select team.

That’s not to say the Olympians have not had many moments. Any team with LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and Deron Williams is going to put on a show. And then there is Blake Griffin, a.k.a. Human Highlight Film 2.0, who has put on a private dunking exhibition for those allowed in the gym.

But Irving, who had 11 points in a 14-11 select team victory on the first day of camp, has been consistently excellent, and although the next Olympics in Brazil is four years away, it may not be too early to predict that he has locked up a position on the team.

“Kyrie Irving is a player that literally you could move from one court to the other court,” Team USA managing director Jerry Colangelo said, referring to shooting drills that have the Olympic team and the select team on adjacent courts.

“He’s that far advanced in terms of his talent, it appears. He’s made a good showing here. He had a terrific rookie season in the NBA and certainly he will be one of the leading candidates going forward.”

Irving recently released a Pepsi commercial that had him disguised as an old man who joins a pickup game against young players and dominates. The video was first released on Youtube and it has gone viral with more than 12 million hits.

While the disguised Irving puts on a dribbling and scoring show against the unsuspecting playground players in the commercial, the real Irving has been just as good against the Olympic team. Someone filmed part of a scrimmage and put it on YouTube. It showed Irving making Westbrook, Bryant, Durant and James Harden look like Washington Generals trying to stop a Harlem Globetrotter.

But Irving said those moves are nothing new, although he understands that Cleveland is a small market and highlights of Cavalier games are not exactly in demand.

“I’ve always had that in my game,” he said. “It’s just that we’re not as much nationally televised as everybody else. It’s weird that everybody is saying, ‘I didn’t know Kyrie Irving had handles like that.’ It’s always been a part of my game. It’s just that nobody has really gotten a chance to see it.”

Previous columns from Jan Hubbard at Team USA camp in Las Vegas:
Monday, July 9 - Original Dream Team is ancient history for Team USA
Sunday, July 8 - Days of self-destruction are over for U.S.
Saturday, July 7 - Versatile American squad on a mission
Friday, July 6 - The Olympic rich get richer, and the good get better

 Irving had a spectacular first season in Cleveland – considering he did not turn 20 until March. He averaged 18.5 points a game, shot 46.9 percent from the field and 87.2 percent from the free throw line.

“He has excellent speed and a great feel for the game,” said Olympic assistant coach Nate McMillan. “He’s played well here that last week, going put against these guys. He shoots the ball well and had a really good rookie year. He’s going to be an All-Star someday.”

Irving was the No. 1 pick in the 2011 draft despite playing only 11 games in his freshman year at Duke. He was sidelined most of the season with a toe injury but returned for the NCAA tournament. While there were some concerns about his limited time playing in college, they obviously were not major enough to keep the Cavs from drafting him.

As impressive as his basketball skills are, however, McMillan said Irving’s confidence sets him apart from most 20-year-old players. And it is the right kind of confidence. There are many young players who are cocky. Irving’s confidence is healthy.

“After practice, he doesn’t go with the select team to shoot,” McMillan said. “He goes right in the middle of those [on the Olympic team] and he gets his shots and works on his game. You’re looking at him and you can tell he wants to be a part. He feels that he can play with these guys. It’s just not his time right now but he wants to be a part of it.”

Irving was born in Australia and considered playing for that country’s Olympic team. There was some doubt that he would get approval from the International Basketball Federation, the governing body of Olympic basketball. Irving had played on two U.S. teams in international play and would have had to receive a waiver to play for Australia.

Ultimately it was not an issue because Krzyzewski urged Irving to continue playing for the U.S.

“I made a decision a couple of months ago and I’m sticking with it 100 percent,” Irving said. “The USA is going to be in my future. If I am called up to play with USA Basketball I’m going to do so.”

For now, Irving and the select team will continue help to prepare the U.S. for the Olympics. Although the select team had a couple of tough days – “it was brutal for them,” Bryant said – Irving said the select team beat Team USA “twice or three times” on Tuesday. “It was pretty balanced, more than the first couple of days,” he said.

When the competition begins in London, Irving will be watching on TV. When the 2016 Olympics arrive, however, count on Irving will be a player, not a viewer.

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Jan Hubbard has written about basketball since 1976 and worked in the NBA league office for eight years in between media stints. Follow him on Twitter at @whyhub.