Anfernee Simons joins Jr. NBA at Home initiative

Anfernee Simons joins Jr. NBA at Home initiative

Trail Blazers guard Anfernee Simons is the latest NBA player to get involved with Jr. NBA at Home.

The program is a free interactive digital content series that provides basketball drills featuring both NBA and WNBA players that can be completed individually as well as in limited space. The series looks to inspire youth around the world to stay active in a healthy and safe way.  

Simons demonstrated a seated dribbling drill for kids to do at home in their own living room.

With the COVID-19 pandemic keeping families at home and kids unable to play with their friends and teammates, Jr. NBA at Home is hoping these videos will inspire youngsters to continue to work on their game and connect with the NBA.

So far, the NBA has published dozens of Jr. NBA at Home videos. Current NBA and WNBA players have rallied behind the initiative including Thunder forward Danilo Gallinari, Seattle Storm guard Jewell Loyd, NBA legend Muggsy Bogues, and now Simons is the latest player to get involved. 

Damian Lillard explains how he'd structure the NBA's return

Damian Lillard explains how he'd structure the NBA's return

One day after making national headlines for telling Yahoo! Sports NBA Insider Chris Haynes that he will not play when the NBA resumes the season unless the Trail Blazers have a real shot at making the postseason, Damian Lillard joined Jalen and Jacoby where he clarified his comments.

"It was taken out of context because it was a casual conversation," said Lillard. "It was like expletive this and expletive that but it wasn't a demonstrative statement. I was just saying we've been off for two months and if we come back we want to play for something."

Later in the appearance, Jacoby asked the Blazers' franchise player if he could structure the NBA's return what shape would it take? 

If I could I would design some type of play-in tournament between all the teams that were in striking distance because Sacramento was playing their best basketball of the season, so was New Orleans, and so were we. And none of those teams were in the playoffs but we were within striking distance with enough games left in the season to catch Memphis. So I feel like a play-in tournament would be perfect. - Damian Lillard

The Blazers had possession of the ninth seed in the Western Conference when the NBA season got suspended indefinitely on March 11, sitting 3.5 games behind the Memphis Grizzlies for the final playoff spot. However, both the New Orleans Pelicans and Sacramento Kings had one less win and one less loss than the Blazers, making them both also 3.5 games behind the Grizzlies. 

Earlier in the day, ESPN's Ramona Shelbourne and Adrian Wojnarowski reported that the NBA's considering bringing back 20 teams, including the four teams within striking distance of the eighth seed in Portland, New Orleans, Sacramento, and San Antonio. 

[RELATED]: Trail Blazers path to the playoffs takes another step forward

Lillard did also mention if the NBA just goes straight to the postseason and takes the top-16 teams, then he'd be disappointed but able to accept the decision. 

"Just because we were within striking distance and had enough games to get into the playoffs but to that point, if they did decide that you know, we just going to go straight to the playoffs obviously we would all be disappointed but to this point we haven't performed to be in that top-eight so if that's the case then fine. But if we are going to come back to play games I feel that would be harder on everybody else."

Lillard originally said he'd want a chance to make the postseason at the end of March in a zoom press conference where he stated that the league should implement a play-in tournament similar to March Madness.

"When the season does come back, I feel like it’s only right that teams get a chance to make a playoff push, like ourselves, give us a chance to get in. Or, some type of tournament style where it’s fair," said Lillard. "It’s obviously gonna be a different situation than it has ever been, so maybe they should do something that has never been done. Or something that is going to make this year very unique like it already has been."

Will Lillard get his wish? It's looking likely, especially since the NBA will do everything in their power to get Zion back on the court who currently sits below the Blazers in the standings.

[RELATED]: Why the Trail Blazers' best bet to make the postseason is Zion Williamson

You can watch Lillard's full answer below.

Be sure to check out the full Talkin’ Blazers Podcast with host NBA Champion Channing Frye and Emmy Award winner Dan Sheldon.

Damian Lillard’s Dame 6’s shoe ranked among the best in the NBA

Damian Lillard’s Dame 6’s shoe ranked among the best in the NBA

Damian Lillard doesn’t just have game on the court or in the studio, but clearly his shoe game is at an elite level.

On April 14, 2014, Lillard signed a contract extension with Adidas for 10 years worth approximately $100 million. This was a very smart move from the three-stripe global brand for what has occurred for the past six years and what is to come.

Damian has proven to be not only an amazing basketball player, but a great partner, member of the community and someone who creates excitement for our products. His leadership and commitment to success on the court and his ability to interact and relate to fans through social media and the community make him the perfect fit to be one of the cornerstones of the adidas brand. — Adidas head of global basketball sports marketing Chris Grancio 

In 2015, Lillard’s frist signature shoe dropped: the DLillard 1’s. Now, Lillard has six shoes under his name. 

Mike D. Sykes of ‘For The Win’ ranked the NBA’s player signature shoes from best to worst, with Dame coming in at No. 3 on the list.

1. Kyrie Iving’s Kyrie 6’s (8.5/10)

2. Paul George’s PG4 (8/10)

3. Damian Lillard’s Dame 6’s (7.5/10)

Lillard's sneaker line has always been a model of simplicity and consistency. They go with what works in modern sneaker design. Sure, it'll never get you a 10. But you'll never fall below a 5 or so. That's a win! — Mike D. Sykes

Click here for completed list.

Be sure to check out the latest Talkin’ Blazers Podcast with host NBA Champion Channing Frye and Emmy Award winner Dan Sheldon.

Why the Trail Blazers' best bet to make the postseason is Zion Williamson

Why the Trail Blazers' best bet to make the postseason is Zion Williamson

The NBA season has been suspended since March 11 and the lack of games has cost the league millions.

That number could climb into the billions if the postseason doesn't happen in any capacity, which is why the NBA playoffs will almost assuredly get played. But in what form?

Many different variations have been speculated, including playing out the remainder of the regular season which seems unlikely to heading straight into the postseason using the standings as of March 11. No team outside the conference's top-eight was closer than 3.5 games from making the postseason, so that seems decently fair.

But the NBA wants to maximize revenue when it returns to minimize the league's losses.

In a league driven by star power, the NBA may shift to a model that allows some of the NBA's biggest stars to return to the court even if they were most likely going to be on the outside looking in. That mindset, as reported by NBC Sports NBA Insider Tom Haberstroh, could be a determining factor for the league bringing back more than 16 teams to allow Zion Williamson to draw more eyes to the games.

Zion Williams has quickly become one of the most popular players in the NBA. According to Variety, 2.36 million people tuned in for his debut game despite Williamson operating on a strict minutes restriction. Zion's first matchup against LeBron on TNT drew 2.24 million viewers while an Eastern Conference Finals rematch Bucks-Raptors earlier that night only had 1.15 million tune in. 

As fun as Ja Morant and the upstart Memphis Grizzlies are, everyone besides those living in Memphis would rather watch Zion take on the Lakers for four games than the Grizzlies. But the NBA can't just put Zion into the field of 16 as the Pelicans are 3.5 games behind Memphis for the final playoff spot, but they can expand the field of teams to fit in the Pelicans. Which by consequence would include the Portland Trail Blazers who have one more win than the Pelicans but one more loss for a winning percentage barely higher than New Orleans'.

In fact, ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported Wednesday afternoon that the Blazers are one of the four teams being explored in potential NBA return plans. 

NBC Sports Northwest Blazers Insider Dwight Jaynes later reiterated that the Blazers having one more win than the Pelicans could be the difference between returning to the court or not. 

Damian Lillard told Yahoo! Sports NBA Insider Chris Haynes on Tuesday that he would only participate in any more games this season if the Blazers have a real opportunity to make the postseason. 

If we come back and they're just like, 'We're adding a few games to finish the regular season,' and they're throwing us out there for meaningless games and we don't have a true opportunity to get into the playoffs, I'm going to be with my team because I'm a part of the team. But I'm not going to be participating. I'm telling you that right now. And you can put that [expletive] in there. — Damian Lillard

[RELATED]: Damian Lillard is sending a message to the NBA -- give us a shot at playoffs

The Blazers could be a dangerous team if they get the chance due to the return of Jusuf Nurkic and Zach Collins to the lineup, as reported by AJ McCord of KOIN.

The NBA announced this past Saturday that they have entered negotiations with the Walt Disney Corporation to play out the rest of the 2019-20 season at its ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando, Florida.

[RELATED]: NBA in talks with Disney to resume season late July in Orlando

Be sure to check out the full Talkin’ Blazers Podcast with host NBA Champion Channing Frye and Emmy Award winner Dan Sheldon.

Trail Blazers path to the playoffs takes another step forward

Trail Blazers path to the playoffs takes another step forward

Safety has been and will continue to be the forefront of all the decisions leading to a return for the NBA. Safety for the players, coaching staff, spectators, media, etc. 

But what about the families of the players and coaching staff? With talks of the NBA resuming play at the ESPN Wide World of Sports at Walt Disney World Resort in Orland, Florida, it was reported today by ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and Ramona Shelburne that family members may be able to join players in that Orlando bubble.

“Conversations have centered on the timing of family arrivals at Walt Disney World Resort, which are likely to start once an initial wave of teams are eliminated and the number of people within the league's bubble decreases, sources said,” reported by Shelburne and Wojnarowski.

The safety measures and coronavirus testing for the players will be the same for family members.

Here is the latest conversation on a potential timeline for return, according to The Athletic’s Shams Charania:

Additionally, it was also reported that a potential playoff picture would include 16 teams plus the four Western Conference bubble teams: Portland Trail Blazers, Sacramento Kings, New Orleans Pelicans and San Antonio Spurs.

More teams from the Western Conference compared to the Eastern Conference.

“Commissioner Adam Silver has calls set with the league's general managers on Thursday and the board of governors on Friday, where officials are continuing to discuss variations of plans that include a play-in tournament, pool play bracket and regular-season games moving into the playoffs.

The NBA has yet to formally rule out the idea, but teams have become increasingly skeptical of the league bringing back all 30 teams to complete the season,” sources told Shelburne and Wojnarowski.

Be sure to check out the latest Talkin’ Blazers Podcast with host NBA Champion Channing Frye and Emmy Award winner Dan Sheldon.

Carmelo Anthony, Jordan Brand announce full-ride scholarships for 32 students 

Carmelo Anthony, Jordan Brand announce full-ride scholarships for 32 students 

Carmelo Anthony knows what it is like to struggle. 

The Portland Trail Blazers forward grew up in West Baltimore with drugs and violence in the neighborhood. His father died of cancer when he was two, leaving his mother Mary to support her family with little means to do so.  

But Anthony found his safe place under the basketball hoop.

Hard work, skill and determination earned him the opportunity to commit and eventually play at Syracuse University, where he emerged as one of the best offensive talents in the game.

Now, the future NBA Hall of Famer, is using his presence to enact change. Anthony, an ambassador for Jordan Brand, helped named 32 Wings Scholars on Wednesday. Each student will receive a four-year scholarship to the university of their choice or any post-secondary education program.

Melo congratulated the 32 recipients from New York City, Chicago, Charlotte and Portland in a touching video. 

“Congratulations Class of 2024 Jordan Brand scholars, welcome to the family,” Melo said.

Anthony became Jordan Brand’s first signature athlete in 2003, but has recently shifted his focus to the Wings Scholars program. In addition to his work with Jordan Brand, he established the Carmelo Anthony Foundation, which has helped support disadvantaged youth and families in need.

Earlier this year, the Trail Blazers veteran gifted a Maryland mom a new car after finding out her previous car had broken down, making it tough for her not only to commute to work, but to watch her daughter play basketball.

Be sure to check out the full Talkin’ Blazers Podcast with host NBA Champion Channing Frye and Emmy Award winner Dan Sheldon. 

The Trail Blazers, no doubt, will get their chance to fight for playoff berth

The Trail Blazers, no doubt, will get their chance to fight for playoff berth

When the NBA finally figures out what the end of the 2020 season will look like when it gets together, likely in Florida's version of the Magic Kingdom, rest assured the Trail Blazers will have some way, some path, to competing in the playoffs.

It will happen.

This league is smart enough to know that as many of its superstars and their fan bases as possible need to be a part of the NBA’s grand reopening. This is going to be happening in the middle of the summer in an unprecedented time of other sports also launching at approximately the same time -- with no fans present at any of the games. And at least in the NBA, no home games for any team.

Television ratings will be everything. And that’s going to be a dogfight between MLB, the NHL and NBA -- with the NFL looming. Anything that can be done to bring eyeballs to games should and will be done by all the leagues.

That means compelling players and matchups. Storylines. Proven ratings-getters. It also means games that count. Real games. And if teams not currently in the top 16 in the league standings aren't given a chance to somehow play their way into the postseason, they won't be playing meaningful games.

They shouldn't even be there.

The NBA is not shy about attempting to make its product as relevant as possible. It has always done everything possible -- above board and maybe sometimes not above board -- to bring fans the matchups the league thinks people want.

Damian Lillard drew a line in the sand Tuesday, telling the league that if his team doesn’t have a chance to play its way into the playoffs, you won’t see him on the court.

And you can bet the league office listened. But I would also wager that the NBA already knew that not only Lillard, but many of the league’s best and most important players feel the same way. I do not believe the NBA wants any part of a situation that leaves Lillard, or other great players, on the sidelines.

If teams aren’t competing for a playoff berth at some point, they’re just playing exhibition games -- and the best players don’t bother much with non-counting games.

So there will be a mechanism for several teams -- not just the Trail Blazers, who should be rejuvenated by the presence of Jusuf Nurkic and Zach Collins -- but several other teams on the fringes of a playoff berth to have a shot at the playoffs.

The league wants Damian Lillard to play meaningful games. That translates into TV ratings.

Something else does, too -- and it plays into Portland’s playoff chances. Obviously, LeBron James is a ratings monster and the NBA was hurt all season by James playing on the west coast, making his games difficult to watch in the east. Ratings suffered.

And the league’s new ratings monster is Zion Williamson. Everyone knows this and you can’t talk to many people around the league who don’t believe that Zion makes a playoff/play-in scenario a necessity.

And guess what? The Trail Blazers have one more loss than Williamson’s New Orleans Pelicans but also one more win and thus, if league standings are frozen now and used to determine playoff eligibility, Portland is one single, scant percentage point ahead of the Pels in the standings.

I don’t see any way the entire remainder of the schedule will be played -- there isn’t enough time. Something will be done based on the standings as they sit now.

So if Zion is in, the Trail Blazers are in. It’s that simple. You can’t put New Orleans in without putting Portland in. 

The league needs Zion and Dame -- and I just can’t see any way they will be left out.

It won’t happen. They will get their chance. Maybe not a great chance, but a chance.

Blazer5 remains undefeated after a wild series against Bucks Gaming

Blazer5 remains undefeated after a wild series against Bucks Gaming

Blazer5 Gaming improved to 3-0 on the season following a 2-1 victory over Bucks Gaming on Tuesday.

However, Game 1 was equal parts historic and controversial.

Nidal "Mama Im Dat Man" Nasser put on a performance for the ages. 

He scored 31 of Blazer5's 33 points in the first quarter, setting an NBA 2K League single-quarter scoring record. 

Nasser's performance gave Blazer5 a 21-point lead after the first quarter, but he was just getting started. 

Nasser scored another 13 points in the second quarter, and by the end of third quarter he had 71 points. 

With one quarter left to play, Nasser was just 14 points away from breaking the single-game NBA 2K League scoring record. To make it more impressive, the record 84 points were scored in a double-overtime game, and Nasser was about to do it in regulation.

But Bucks Gaming decided to game the game, and prevent Nasser from setting the record. 

The Bucks began to hold the ball, not trying to score at all, opting instead to willingly take shot clock violations. In doing so they limited the number of possessions Blazer5 had down the stretch, thus hurting Nassers chances of breaking the record. The tactics didn't sit well with fans or players around the 2K League.

When it was all said and done, Blazer5 picked up the 105-62 victory in Game 1, and Nasser scored 77 points, a league record for points scored in regulation.

But you gotta play an entire series, so there was still work to be done. 

Bucks Gaming, despite there unprofessional finish to Game 1, should be given credit for the way they bounced back in Game 2. 

They looked nothing like the team that lost by 43 in Game 1. Instead, they rebounded in a big way to upset Blazer5 and force a decisive Game 3.

In Game 3, Blazer5 took care of business, leading most of the way and picking up the 71-65 victory to win the series and improve to 3-0 on the season.

No matter how the series played out, no one can get past what happened in Game 1. 

History for Nasser was robbed by petty gaming tactics from Bucks Gaming. Lucky for Blazer5 and Nasser, the entire league was watching. 

Bucks Gaming may have unintentionally made itself the arch-enemy of the entire league. 

As for Blazer5, they once again showed why they are one of the best teams in the league and are nearly unstoppable when the reigning MVP gets going.

Can they keep the hot streak going and improve to 4-0?

We'll find out on Wednesday when they take on Knicks Gaming,

You can catch all the action on the NBA 2K League's Twitch and YouTube channels at 4pm.

Be sure to check out the full Talkin’ Blazers Podcast with host NBA Champion Channing Frye and Emmy Award winner Dan Sheldon. 

 

Blazer5 Gaming remains undefeated after a wild series against Bucks Gamings

Blazer5 Gaming remains undefeated after a wild series against Bucks Gamings

Blazer5 Gaming improved to 3-0 on the season following a 2-1 victory over Bucks Gaming on Tuesday.

However, Game 1 was equal parts historic and controversial.

Nidal "Mama Im Dat Man" Nasser put on a performance for the ages. 

He scored 31 of the Blazer5's 33 points in the first quarter, setting an NBA 2K League single-quarter scoring record. 

Nasser's performance gave Blazer5 the 21-point lead after the first quarter, but he was just getting started. 

Nasser scored another 13 points in the second quarter, and by the end of third quarter he had 71 points. 

Sitting on 71, Nasser was just 14 points away from breaking the single-game NBA 2K League scoring record. To make it more impressive, the record 84 points were scored in a double-overtime game, and he was about to do it in regulation.

But Bucks Gaming decided to game the game, and prevent Nasser from setting the record. 

The Bucks began to hold the ball, not trying to score at all, opting instead to willingly take shot clock violations. In doing so they limited the number of possessions Blazer5 had down the stretch, thus hurting Nassers chanced of breaking the record. The tactics didn't sit well with fans or players around the 2K League.

When it was all said and done, Blazer5 picked up the 105-62 victory in Game 1, and Nasser scored 77 points, a league record for points scored in regulation.

But you gotta play an entire series, so there was still work to be done. 

Bucks Gaming, despite there unprofessional finish to Game 1, has to be given credit for the way they bounced back in Game 2. 

They looked nothing like the team that lost by 43 in Game 1, Instead, they rebounded in a big way to upset Blazer5 and force a decisive Game 3.

In Game 3, Blazer5 took care of business, leading most of the way and picking up the 71-65 victory to win the series and improve the 3-0 on the season.

No matter not the series played out, no one can get past what happened in Game 1. 

History for Nasser was robbed by petty gaming tactics from Bucks Gaming. Lucky for Blazer5 and Nasser the entire league was watching. 

Bucks Gaming may have unintentionally made itself the arch-enemy of the entire league. 

As for Blazer5, they once again showed why they are one of the best team in the league and are nearly unstoppable when the reigning MVP gets going.

Can they keep the hot streak going and improve to 4-0?

We'll find out on Wednesday when they take on Knicks Gaming,

You can catch all the action on the NBA 2K League's Twitch and YouTube channels at 4pm.

Be sure to check out the full Talkin’ Blazers Podcast with host NBA Champion Channing Frye and Emmy Award winner Dan Sheldon. 

 

 

Brandon Roy vs. Carmelo Anthony: Merry Christmas in May!

Brandon Roy vs. Carmelo Anthony: Merry Christmas in May!

Wasn’t it crazy seeing former (but at the time future) Trail Blazer Arron Afflalo in a Denver Nuggets jersey!?

What? Was Afflalo not the one who came to mind?

Okay, but for real, it’s a trip to think about Carmelo Anthony’s NBA journey, especially witnessing him in his prime with the Nuggets.

For Trail Blazers fans watching the 2009 Christmas Day Game between the Blazers and Nuggets on NBCSNW Tuesday night, who would’ve thought that 10 years later Melo would be a Trail Blazer?  

This Trail Blazers Classic Game was an instant classic for both Brandon Roy and Carmelo Anthony.

The B-Roy vs. Melo showdown was extra special in front of a sold out Rose Garden crowd. (86th consecutive sell out).

And boy, were Trail Blazers fans giving it to the Nuggets forward!

Melo picked up his fourth foul with just under eight minutes remaining in the third, and that ignited the Blazers crowd. It also helped that Martell Webster drained a corner three, but it’s funny to think about how much a fan base can give an opposing star player so much grief and now show him so much love.

Roy carried the Blazers in the scoring department, helping Portland beat Denver, 107-96.

Heading into this Christmas game, the Blazers were 13-2 in Christmas showdowns.

Roy went 9-of-14 from the field to score 25 points in the first half and continued his scoring tear in the second half.

It seemed as though Melo was prompted to drive it hard to the hoop or make sure he scored on the baseline following any Roy bucket at the other end. 

Roy’s 41 points in the win was a franchise Christmas record.

The Trail Blazers guard learned from his Christmas Day game experience the year before when he went 8-for-20 from the field in a 102-94 home loss to the Dallas Mavericks.

Melo finished with 32 points. At that point of the season, he was the NBA’s leading scorer, averaging 30.3 points per game.

After more than 10 years since this game was played, Rip City shared its emotions thinking about how much they miss watching B-Roy.

Seeing Roy in his fourth season in the league battle it out against Melo in his seventh season, makes it hard to not think about Roy still playing in the league today. 

During the Trail Blazers 2009-10 season, Roy averaged 21.5 points, 4.7 assists, and 4.4 rebounds.

Anthony averaged 28.2 points, 6.6 rebounds, and 3.2 assists.

Roy’s 41 points on Christmas tied him for 5th in the NBA for points on Christmas Day since 2000. 

The two players were, of course, critical scorers and leaders for their teams.

At 35 years old, Melo brought what felt like Christmas cheer to the Trail Blazers this season.

Now as we eagerly await the NBA’s decision on if/when the 2019-20 season will resume, and what the 2020-21 season could look like, just imagine the Trail Blazers hosting the Denver Nuggets next season with Melo still wearing a Blazer uniform.

That would be fun!  

Be sure to check out the full Talkin’ Blazers Podcast with host NBA Champion Channing Frye and Emmy Award winner Dan Sheldon.