Who are the Youngest Players in the NBA

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There are plenty of NBA players who have hit the court for many seasons and are honed in their craft, but there is also a definite youth movement as new players enter the league and hope to make their mark. So who are the youngest players among the professional basketball bunch? Read on to meet the baby-faced ballers filling each team’s roster.

Youngsters on the Way Up

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Looking over the NBA players from the 2016-17 season, we’ve scouted out the 10 youngest players in the league. Ike Anigbogu of the Indiana Pacers tops the list as the freshest face in the NBA. He was drafted 47th overall in 2017 and, at 18, was indeed the youngest player in this year’s draft class. He’s followed by Frank Ntilikina, who was selected early on in the draft (No. 8 overall) by the New York Knicks.

Markelle Fultz was the No. 1 overall draft pick in 2017 and is also the third youngest player in the NBA. The Philadelphia 76ers player had a strong pre-draft hype and was expected by most to be the top overall pick, spending his one college year in Washington after a few brilliant years balling in high school. Fultz was the only college player over the last 25 years to average 23 points, five rebounds, and five assists per game.

No. 4 on the list is Terrance Ferguson, a 19-year-old rookie suiting up for the Oklahoma City Thunder. Ferguson is followed by New Orleans Pelicans point guard Frank Jackson, Sacramento Kings forward Harry Giles, and Jarrett Allen of the Brooklyn Nets.

The eighth and ninth youngest slots are filled by Jayson Tatum (Boston Celtics) and Malik Monk (Charlotte Hornets). Tony Bradley ranks as the “oldest” youngest player on our top 10 list and takes the court for the Utah Jazz.

Ballin’ With the Stars

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The 2016-17 All-Star Game had some of the league’s youngest players suit up for their respective conference. For the Eastern Conference, the youngest player was a member of the so-called “Future of the NBA” – Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Milwaukee Bucks. The 22-year-old led the East by scoring a whopping 30 points (the most points scored by a Bucks player in an All-Star Game) and pounding in some scoreboard-adding dunks against the West.

Over in the Western Conference, Anthony Davis was the youngest player selected to grace the All-Star roster. The 24-year-old showed out for the West, scoring 52 points and smashing Wilt Chamberlain’s standing record of 42 points. Hailed as the “Hometown Hero,” Davis helped to secure the title for the West as well as his host team, the New Orleans Pelicans.

The Youngsters

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In addition to the 10 youngest NBA players, we went through and looked at the youngest players from each team during the 2017-18 season. The “oldest” youngest player is 22-year-old Sindarius Thornwell of the Los Angeles Clippers.

Other notable youngsters include players like Lonzo Ball (Los Angeles Lakers, 19), Dennis Smith Jr. (Dallas Mavericks,19), Zach Collins (Portland Trail Blazers, 19), OG Anunoby (Toronto Raptors, 20), and Justise Winslow (Miami Heat, 21).

Forever Young

No matter which NBA team you root for or whether you’ve followed college players since their NCAA days, we’ve got excellent news: Fanatics.com has loads of amazing authentic NBA gear, from jerseys to slippers and even outfits for your dogs (yes, really).

Top 10 youngest players in the NBA

  1. Ike Anigbogu (19) Indiana Pacers
  2. Frank Ntilikina (19) New York Knicks
  3. Markelle Fultz (19) Philadelphia 76ers
  4. Terrance Ferguson (19) Oklahoma City Thunder
  5. Frank Jackson (19) New Orleans Pelicans
  6. Harry Giles (19) Sacramento Kings
  7. Jarrett Allen (19) Brooklyn Nets
  8. Jayson Tatum (19) Boston Celtics
  9. Malik Monk (19) Charlotte Hornets
  10. Tony Bradley (19) Utah Jazz

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Comeback Kings – the Comeback Player of the Year Award

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Coming back from an injury or rough day at the office can be challenging for your average Joe. With that in mind, one can imagine how difficult it is for premier athletes to return to elite condition after a disappointing or injured season.

With all the odds stacked against them, many players across sports have overcome adversity and returned to elite performance. The NFL and MLB recognize these feel-good returns with an award unlike any other: the Comeback Player of the Year Award. The NBA stopped giving out this award in the mid-1980s, and the award has now been replaced with the Most Improved Player Award.

Let’s take a look back and appreciate the past winners of this award across the NFL, MLB, and NBA.

The Unstoppable Comeback Kid

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The inaugural NFL Comeback Player of the Year Award was given to Earl Morrall, best remembered for leading the Baltimore Colts to a Super Bowl victory in 1971. Morrall continued this knack of spectacular backup work the following year with the Miami Dolphins. Morrall’s age of 38 made him a tough sell, and he ended up being claimed off waivers by the Dolphins. Despite bouncing from team to team, Morrall persevered and led the Dolphins to a perfect regular season after starting quarterback Bob Griese sustained injuries.

A name from this timeline that doesn’t need much introduction is Joe Montana. Whether you’re familiar with football, you’ve likely heard of one of the greatest football players to ever grace the gridiron. However, “The Comeback Kid” may have never earned his nickname if he had taken doctors’ advice. Physicians told Montana that he should consider retirement after suffering a gruesome back injury in 1986. Montana returned to the NFL only two months later, and football fans around the world rejoiced. After suffering what was once thought to be a career-ending injury, Joe Cool carried the San Francisco 49ers to the Super Bowl in 1989 and 1990. Montana is the epitome of perseverance and dedication.

Due to the competitive and physical nature of the sport, the NFL has seen a number of its players overcome adversity. More recent examples include Peyton Manning’s 4,600-yard season following neck surgery and Eric Berry’s return from cancer.

Never Count Chris Out

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The MLB’s spring training, a 162-game regular season and postseason forces players to stay in season-form nearly the entire year. Considering the longevity of many players’ careers, it’s entirely expected for players to have multiple injuries over time. Naturally, the MLB recognizes those who have overcome a poor performance or injury for a full season with their own award.

Chris Carpenter, a former St. Louis Cardinals flamethrower, faced every pitcher’s worst nightmare: arm injuries. The only thing scarier than an injury? Recurring arm injuries.

The MLB only began officially presenting the Comeback Player of the Year Award in 2005, but it’s not far-fetched to believe that Chris Carpenter could have been the first two-time winner if they began just a year sooner. Carpenter overcame a shoulder surgery that sidelined him for the 2003 season and finished with the 13th best ERA in the NL in 2004. Additionally, Carpenter missed nearly two seasons due to elbow and shoulder injuries later in his career but made another heroic return in 2009 – finishing with an NL best 2.24 ERA.

Buster Posey’s return from an ACL tear to win an MVP award and World Series championship and Mariano Rivera’s return from injury in his retirement season with a 2.11 ERA highlights some of the most electric returns in recent history.

The Career of a King

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Although the NBA hasn’t distributed nearly as many Comeback Player of the Year awards as the NFL or MLB, its five-year lifespan provides many inspiring stories.  

King of New York Via @trmndsupside #bernardking #newyorkknicks #knicks #nba #ballislife

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Bernard King appeared in only 19 games of the 1979-80 season due to treatment for substance misuse. After this disappointing season from the budding star, King was shipped off to the Golden State. He didn’t let lowered expectations or a new environment bring down his performance, though. Instead, King averaged a respectable 21.9 points per game while maintaining a .588 field goal percentage.

King was dealt again after his 1980-81 season, this time to the New York Knicks. Ironically, the Knicks gave the Warriors a young Micheal Ray Richardson, who would later go on to claim one of the five Comeback Player of the Year awards given after King’s historic 1980-81 season. The year King secured this prestigious accolade award wasn’t the only time his tenacity inched him closer to his Hall-of-Fame career. King missed the entire 1985-86 season with an ACL tear, but once again returned the following season. His post ACL-tear ascent was complete once he reached the all-star team in 1991.  

Rise Up to the Challenge

While your favorite players face challenges on the field, you can cheer them on by picking up their official gear at Fanatics.com.

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Oldest Players in Sports: NBA

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In the NBA – as with most professional sports – time isn’t necessarily on the player’s side as he tears off a page on the calendar every year. While basketball, even at the professional level, doesn’t involve a ton of contact between players, the human body naturally starts to wear out as it ages.

This doesn’t mean, however, that NBA players don’t play into their late 30s and even into their 40s. Here, we checked the rosters of all 30 teams to see who made the list of the oldest players in the NBA.

Ageless Success

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The oldest person currently in the league is Kings player Vince Carter. At 40 years old, he’s lived four decades, nearly two of which have been spent playing in the NBA. Carter was drafted by the Golden State Warriors fifth overall in 1998 and has spent time with six teams. He is an eight-time All-Star and was the Rookie of the Year for the 1998-99 season.

Coming in second is none other than San Antonio’s shooting guard Manu Ginóbili. Gino was selected in the second round of the 1999 draft by the Spurs and has remained a prominent player on the roster since.

Dirk Nowitzki is the third oldest NBA player at age 39. He was drafted ninth overall by the Milwaukee Bucks in 1998 and immediately traded to Dallas, where he’s remained for his entire 19-year career. Nowitzki is a 13-time All-Star, the 2006-07 MVP, and led the Mavericks to their sole NBA Finals in 2011.  

Fourth on the list is Richard Jefferson of the Cleveland Cavaliers. He’s 37 years old and was also a high draft pick – going 13th overall to the Houston Rockets in 2001 – and similar to Nowitzki, was immediately traded to a new team right after the draft. His new team was the New Jersey Nets, where he spent seven seasons. He eventually made his way to the Cavaliers, where he helped the team grab its sole NBA Finals win in 2016.

The fifth oldest NBA player is Damien Wilkins, age 37. Wilkins was undrafted but was signed by the Seattle SuperSonics in 2004. The veteran player has actually been out of the league for four years (last playing for the Philadelphia 76ers) but was recently signed by the Indiana Pacers.  

No. 6 on our list is Udonis Haslem – suiting up for the Miami Heat at age 37. Haslem has three NBA Finals under his belt with the Heat but had to overcome a few obstacles in his career to get to that point, considering he went undrafted and spent a year playing for Élan Chalon in France.

Jamal Crawford, also age 37, is the seventh oldest NBA player. Crawford was drafted eighth overall in 2000 by the Cleveland Cavaliers and was immediately traded to the Chicago Bulls. Crawford was awarded the NBA Sixth Man of the Year Award three times and has played for six NBA teams.

The rest of the top 10 include David West (age 37, Golden State Warriors), Nick Collison (age 36, Oklahoma City Thunder), and Joe Johnson (age 36, Utah Jazz).

Aged All-Stars

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While the oldest players in the last NBA All-Star Game weren’t that old, they also were not considered to be very young by professional sports standards. Carmelo Anthony, representing the Eastern Conference, was 32 (now age 33), and Marc Gasol, representing the Western Conference, was 32.

Carmelo Anthony, or Melo, has quite a few accolades. Including last year, he’s been selected to 10 All-Star Games over his 14-year career. He was also the NBA scoring champ during the 2012-13 season and was selected to the 2003-04 All-Rookie team. Drafted third overall in 2003 by the Denver Nuggets, Anthony spent the first chunk of his career in The Mile High City and is currently playing for the Knicks, where he’s been for the last seven seasons.

Marc Gasol is a Spanish-born player who has spent his entire career with the Memphis Grizzlies (after a post-draft trade). In total, Gasol has appeared in three All-Star Games and was selected as the 2012-13 Defensive Player of the Year. He was also selected to the 2008-09 All-Rookie team and continues to make an impact in Memphis.

Professionals at Any Age

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While some of the oldest players in the NBA aren’t really up there in years at all (yes, the list even includes a player in his 20s), we did look through each team’s roster to highlight the oldest player for each team.

Aside from the top 10 oldest players in the league, one name that stands out almost immediately is Dwyane Wade, the oldest baller on the Chicago Bulls at age 35. Wade played his first 13 seasons with the Miami Heat, where he was a part of three championship teams and was a nearly annual All-Star select with 12 appearances in a row. Wade now plays in Chicago for the Bulls.

Tyson Chandler, age 35, currently suits up for the Phoenix Suns. He was drafted No. 2 overall in 2001 by the Los Angeles Clippers, who subsequently traded him to the Chicago Bulls where he played for five seasons. Over his 16-season career, he’s played for several NBA teams, been an All-Star select in 2013, and an NBA Finals champion in 2011 with the Dallas Mavericks.

The youngest “oldest” guy on an NBA team is Evan Turner of the Portland Trail Blazers. At 28, his age indicates that the Trail Blazers are a pretty young team overall. Turner was drafted second overall in 2010 by the 76ers and over his 7-year career has played for four teams.

Grab Some Gear

No matter which NBA team you root for or which seasoned vet is your long-time favorite, Fanatics.com has an amazing selection of NBA gear that will make any fan happy.

Top 10 Oldest Players in the NBA

  1. Vince Carter (40) Sacramento Kings
  2. Dirk Nowitzki (39) Dallas Mavericks
  3. Richard Jefferson (37) Cleveland Cavaliers
  4. Damien Wilkins (37) Indiana Pacers
  5. Udonis Haslem (37) Miami Heat
  6. Jamal Crawford (37) Minnesota Timberwolves
  7. Pau Gasol (37) San Antonio Spurs
  8. David West (36) Golden State Warriors
  9. Nick Collison (36) Oklahoma City Thunder
  10. Joe Johnson (36) Utah Jazz

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Dwyane Wade: Heat, Bulls, Cavs

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The Story

Former Miami Heat and Chicago Bulls player Dwyane Wade has decided to reunite with his friend LeBron James as the newest member of the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Now that the Cavs have traded Kyrie Irving for Isaiah Thomas of the Celtics, Wade is looking to join on for a chance to grab a potential fourth championship title.

Wade’s Career

Wade played for the Miami Heat during his first 13 NBA seasons and is a self-proclaimed “Heat lifer.” In the process, he’s gathered many awards while playing alongside teammates LeBron James, Chris Bosh, Shaquille O’Neal, Alonzo Mourning, Jason Williams, and Gary Payton, to name a few.

Accolades

  • 12x All-Star
  • 3x NBA Champ
  • 8x All-NBA
  • 3x All-Defensive
  • 2005-06 Finals MVP

During his time in Miami, Wade averaged 23.7 points per game with a 0.562 true shooting percentage and won two championships alongside LeBron James, a fellow 2003 draft class member.

In the 2016 off-season, Wade decided to sign with his hometown Chicago Bulls with teammates Rajon Rondo and Jimmy Butler. The Bulls finished the regular season eighth in the Eastern Conference, just beating out the Miami Heat for the last playoff spot. Despite the Heat setting an NBA record for the best second half of a season to tie Chicago at 41-41, a 2-1 head-to-head record gave the Bulls the tiebreaker. Still, the Bulls eventually lost the opening series against the Boston Celtics.

The Move

Wade will likely start for the Cavs because of the Kyrie-Isaiah swap and Thomas’ hip injury sustained during the postseason. Here’s a quick projection of what the new starting five would look like based on a linear regression of the past five seasons of player Win Shares – a measure of a player’s contribution (both offensive and defensive) to the team’s wins. Can this new five blow past the projections?

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The Future

Ultimately, time will determine whether this is a good move for the future Hall of Famer. Although the Cavs have reached the NBA Finals in each of the past three seasons, winning one in the process, they’ll continue to face difficult opponents in the West – whether it be the Golden State Warriors with Curry and Durant, the Houston Rockets with Harden and Paul, or the newly formed Oklahoma City Thunder with Westbrook, George, and Anthony.

Whether you’re looking to represent the newest member of the Cavaliers or are cheering on some of the other movers and shakers of this off-season, make sure to checkout the latest NBA gear here at Fanatics.

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2017 NBA Offseason Free Agent Tracker

NBA Free Agent Tracker

Free agency in the NBA is a time for fans to dream – their team could sign almost anyone! Well, if they have the available cap space, strong pitch to the prospective player about the club’s vision for winning a title, and legions of fans ready to rally at airports to welcome them to their city. With the rise of player-controlled media communication from social networks, like Instagram and Twitter, NBA free agency has morphed into a media circus.

We went ahead and looked at the teams who’ve re-signed their star players, those who will be suiting up in different colors next season, and those who still have an uncertain future about where or if they’ll be playing in the NBA on Friday, October 20, 2017.

Veterans With New Beginnings

NBA Free Agent Tracker

With four free agent signings already complete, the Houston Rockets are looking to give MVP finalist James “The Beard” Harden complementary players to push for postseason glory. While Tarik Black and P.J. Tucker are nice pickups, their largest acquisition came in springing Chris Paul out of Los Angeles in a blockbuster trade. Seven players, over $600,000 in cash, and a top-three protected first-round pick in the 2018 NBA draft was the hefty price the Rockets were willing to part with to bring CP3 to the Lone Star State.

 

The Oklahoma City Thunder are one of six teams who have signed three free agents as of this writing. They’ve acquired Raymond Felton, Joffrey Lauvergne, and Patrick Patterson in the hopes of keeping the NBA’s MVP Russell Westbrook feeling supported. He’ll at least be receiving a cinephile in Patterson, whose Twitter account is devoted to sharing his opinions on film and television he’s consumed.

Gordon Hayward had many teams and their fans – the Celtics, the Heat, and the Jazz – wondering where he’d land. He ended up choosing the Boston Celtics for a chance to chase an NBA championship with his former college coach Brad Stevens. He did, however, thank Utah and all of the Jazz supporters in a letter in The Players’ Tribune.

They Can’t Leave Home

NBA Free Agent Tracker

“Don’t break up a good thing” may be the Golden State Warriors new team motto – they’ve re-signed six players during the free agency period, including issuing the first supermax contract in league history to Steph “Chef” Curry. Even after being bested by Curry and the Warriors in the postseason, the king himself, LeBron James, had to tip his hat to his rival. This is on top of Kevin Durant taking less money to stay with the Warriors for another two years!

The Miami Heat have also been busy working to retain talent. Udonis Haslem, James Johnson, Josh McRoberts, and Dion Waiters are all staying in the sunshine and waiting for some much-needed additions to their roster. So far they’ve only been able to add Kelly Olynyk to their roster. Pat Riley seemed rather happy they were able to keep Haslem in the red and white as he heads into his 15th season in Miami.

Still Searching for Their Spot

NBA Free Agent Tracker

While the biggest players available in free agency have already found new homes or stayed put, there are still a few interesting options out there for teams still looking. Sports Illustrated said the best remaining individual player is restricted free agent Nerlens Noel, formerly of the Dallas Mavericks. But with the Mavs making cap room available to pay him a larger deal and ward off suitors, it may be difficult for Noel to find his way to a different team before the start of the next season.

The Cleveland Cavaliers and Indiana Pacers put themselves in the most precarious positions, as each team has six free agents yet to re-sign to new contracts. The Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers landed right behind the Cavs and Pacers, each with five free agents still unsigned for the 2017–18 NBA season. Perhaps they’re still questioning how much to pay these players, or are pondering if better options remain on the market for various off-the-bench positions.

Shootaround

Your favorite team may be celebrating a big signing like Gordon Hayward or rejoicing that the franchise kept the team together like Golden State, but you can still be cheering on your team in the best officially licensed NBA merchandise and apparel, available right now on Fanatics.com.

Sources

http://www.espn.com/nba/story/_/id/19758509/la-clippers-trade-chris-paul-houston-rockets

http://www.espn.com/nba/story/_/id/19779626/golden-state-warriors-star-stephen-curry-inks-super-max-contract-five-years-201-million

https://www.si.com/nba/2017/07/03/kevin-durant-warriors-contract-discount

https://www.si.com/nba/2017/07/24/nba-free-agents-best-players-available-derrick-rose-nerlens-noel

The Big3: Professional 3 on 3 Basketball

The Big3 Basketball League

A stocky veteran point guard moves the ball up the court. His jersey ripples across the arena as the fans roar his name. This all-star has had an acclaimed career. He’s a mentor and a captain.

He’s a legend … but his knees can’t take it anymore. He retires. He loves the game, and he swears he’s still got something in the tank. What does he do?

If he’s got his finger on the pulse, he calls West Coast rap icon and movie star Ice Cube. In early 2017, Ice Cube and his business partners founded BIG3 basketball, a 3-on-3 professional eight-team league comprised of NBA greats.

The Half-Court Story

The inaugural 10-week season kicks off June 25, 2017, at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. The BIG3 operates as a touring travel league, playing in arenas across the country. Sundays will be game days, structured as a league wide event with all eight teams competing (four games per day) under the same roof. Game format will be played on a half-court, with three players to a side. The creators of the BIG3 have done away with the tip off and instituted a “do-or-die” half-court shootout to determine initial possession.

So how did the BIG3 come about? Ice Cube dreamed up the idea of getting his favorite retired NBA stars back on the court. The generation of players involved in the BIG3 includes some of the most electric competitors the NBA has ever seen. These are players Ice Cube followed throughout their entire careers, all of whom are still vibrant enough to compete on a national stage. The league will become a reality this June thanks to co-founder Jeff Kwatinetz (media production CEO); president and commissioner Roger Mason Jr. (former first deputy executive director for the National Basketball Players Association); and CEO Amy Trask (former Oakland Raiders CEO).

The Ballers

As the league tours around the country, teams are not designated by a hometown host city. Instead, each five-man team has a moniker and head coach. The founding eight teams, coaches, and star players of the BIG3 are:

With a league packed with former All-Stars and NBA champions, the BIG3 has created a new platform for fans to reconnect with the players they grew up cheering. Some of the league’s human highlight reels include:

Allen Iverson, who played 14 seasons in the NBA, primarily with the Philadelphia 76ers. Iverson, the 1997 NBA Rookie of the Year and 2001 NBA MVP, was a transcendent ballhandler and clutch scorer.

Chauncey Billups is a 17-year NBA veteran and 2004 NBA Finals champion and MVP.

Mike Bibby played a storied 14-year NBA career but failed to win a championship. Bibby’s most memorable moments were played in Sacramento, with a very talented supporting cast.

Kenyon Martin was a member of the 2001 NBA All-Rookie First Team and was selected for the 2004 Eastern Conference All-Star team.

Jermaine O’Neal battled in the paint for 18 years in the NBA, racking up six All-Star team selections.

Jason Williams is known for having the best “handles” of all time. His talent for ballhandling and deception were unparalleled for 12 seasons in the NBA.

It’s also worth noting one of the most mythic performers in NBA history – Dr. J himself – is coaching team Tri-State, led by the aforementioned big man Jermaine O’Neal.

The Rulebook

The BIG3 has a unique set of rules and points system. Some of the more interesting league rules include:

  • Exclusive 4-point shots when a player is touching ANY PART of the “4-Point Circle”
  • The first team to 60 points wins
  • Halftime happens after a team scores 30 points
  • A team must win by four points
  • The ball is cleared when the player with the ball establishes both feet behind the 3-point line

The Schedule

This summer is going to be a nonstop highlight for basketball fans as the BIG3 league rolls across the country. Here’s what the inaugural 2017 schedule looks like

June 25: Barclays Center, Brooklyn, NY
July 2: Spectrum Center, Charlotte, NC
July 9: BOK Center, Tulsa, OK
July 16: Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia, PA
July 30: American Airlines Center, Dallas, TX
August 6: Rupp Arena, Lexington, KY
August 13: Staples Center, Los Angeles, CA
August 20: KeyArena, Seattle, WA (playoff round)
August 26: T-Mobile Arena, Las Vegas, NV (Championship Finals)

With international celebrity Ice Cube at the helm of the BIG3 basketball league, its inaugural season beginning this summer is guaranteed to excite. He’s assembled a rock star roster of players and coaches ranging from NBA legends to former Rookies of the Year to career All-Stars and NBA champions.

Catch the Action

With the BIG3’s first tour making stops in nine major cities, fans around the country have the opportunity to see the action firsthand. Imagine sitting down to Allen Iverson versus Jason Williams again, in a battle of crossovers and pull-up jumpers! Who doesn’t want to see Bibby and Billups battle beyond the arc one more time? Grab your vintage gear at Fanatics.com and be sure to tune in June 2017 to catch all the star-studded 3-on-3 action.

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Golden State vs. Cleveland Rivalry

The Golden State Warriors and the Cleveland Cavaliers made NBA history with their third subsequent appearances in the Finals, a feat that had yet to occur in the league. The highly anticipated series had fans rallied on both sides of the court, and shaped one of the greatest rivalries the NBA has ever seen – especially this season, with Golden State’s addition of Kevin Durant.

Recent memory evokes a Golden State Game 5 victory against a group of hopeful Cavs. Considering the California-based squad intentionally crafted a superteam specifically to contain LeBron James in hopes of dethroning the defending champs, it wasn’t much of a surprise that the series did not make it to a Game 7 finale.

Golden State’s ascension, along with a supercharged roster, sets them light-years ahead of other teams. That being said, Cleveland is faced with making some difficult roster decisions in the offseason to prevent a potential Golden State dynasty.

Read on to see how this fierce rivalry all began and what events led to each team’s claim of national basketball supremacy.

NBA Finals Three-Peat

2015 NBA Finals: During the summer of 2014, King James abandoned the surf and sand offered by Miami’s beaches and returned to Cleveland for a heartfelt homecoming. The Ohio ballers were anticipated to be a dominant force in the league, but the Warriors shattered all expectations.

The Dubs took the league by storm with newly hired Steve Kerr at the helm of the team. The Cali-based squad was led by the NBA’s most valuable player, Steph Curry, as well as breakout baller Draymond Green. Needless to say, each “superteam” cruised their way into the Finals.

As history tells, karma doomed King James and his beloved Cavs. The first blow was delivered when Kyrie Irving incurred a broken knee during Game 1. James attempted to carry the undermanned team and even secured two victories for the Cavs, but it wasn’t enough. Chef Curry and the Warriors powered through to down the once-feared Cavaliers in Game 6 to end the franchise’s 40-year championship drought. Andre Iguodala was crowned as the 2015 Finals MVP.

2016 NBA Finals: Revenge was the Cavs’ theme this season and fueled them into another Finals appearance. The Ohio-based squad endured a rough regular season, but a new coach, Tyronn Lue, ignited a new flame at the core the franchise. Curry became a dominant force in the league and launched the Warriors to another level by posting a 73-9 record – a first in the NBA.

The outmatched Cavs were on the verge of defeat for the second year in a row, as the end of Game 4 marked a 3-1 Warriors lead. But one Game 4 incident between Draymond Green and LeBron James changed the trajectory of the entire series.

Green was suspended for Game 5, and the Cavs pounced on this “golden” opportunity. Dominant performances by James, Irving, and Kevin Love ultimately led to the Cleveland players hoisting the Larry O’Brien Trophy over their heads. And of course, King James was rightfully named the 2016 Finals MVP.

2017 NBA Finals: The Warriors and Cavs meet for a third clash in the 2017 NBA Finals. The first two games of the series resulted in unexpected blowouts, with Golden State crushing the Cavs at home and again at Quicken Loans Arena.

It wasn’t until Game 4 that the Cavs secured their first victory against the NorCal superteam – giving Cleveland fans hope for another 3-1 comeback. Unfortunately, the Cavs fell short. Between KD’s unstoppable form and Chef Curry’s impressive performance, the Curry-Durant tandem came full circle.

The Cleveland Cavaliers were poised with a challenging Game 5 at Oracle Arena. Between the hostile environment and the Dubs energized lineup, the Cavs fell short – handing the Warriors another championship title. Kevin Durant emerged as the Finals MVP and made a point to heap glory on his new partner in crime, Steph Curry.

All They Do Is Win

While the Finals come jam-packed with buzzer-beating moments and heated courtside exchanges, the regular season primes the pump for the drama to unfold later.

The rivaling Cavs and Warriors compete in different conferences and have only faced off against each other 127 times – easing stress levels of diehard fans. (The Cleveland Cavs contend in the Eastern Conference Central Division, while the Warriors play in the Western Conference Pacific Division).

Golden State leads the rivalry with the most regular season wins – posting 68 victories – and NBA titles. Cleveland trails behind their West Coast rivals with a modest 59 regular season wins and one NBA Championship title.

Cleveland’s storied franchise boasts the longest winning streak between the two squads. The Cav’s downed their coastal rivals during 10 contests over a four-season span from 1992 to 1996. Golden State trails Cleveland’s feat by posting a seven-game winning streak during the 2015 season – sparking a newfound disgust between the franchises.

Steady Scoring

One cursory glance at the Warriors and Cavs match history, and two dates explicitly stand out: March 8, 1990, and Jan. 23, 1989.

Golden State takes the cake regarding the most points scored throughout previous matchups. March 8, 1990, marks the game day in which #DubNation conquered Cleveland by a 40-point margin (145-105). The Warriors exerted dominance over their future rivals, and rallied behind Hall of Famer Mitch Richmond and forward Terry Teagle as the all-star shooters ran the scoreboard up – swooshing 25 and 22 points, respectively.

Conversely, the Cavs stood in the spotlight a year prior after crushing their NorCal contenders at home by a 33-point margin – posting a final score of 142-109 at the end of regulation. Cleveland benefited from the play of three-time All-Star Larry Nance (22 points scored) and the “Ohio Flyer” Ron Harper (netting 21 shots).

The Heat is On

Between winning their second title in three seasons and boasting a youthful yet experienced roster, the Warriors are positioned for long-term dominance. If the Cavs wish to retake the throne, they’ll need to elevate their gameplay and make pressing decisions during offseason to nurture a sustainable roster. One thing is for certain – the budding rivalry is in its prime and more epic showdowns between the legendary teams are still to come.

Whether you support #DubNation or look to #DefendTheLand, be sure to take part in the rivalry yourself. Update your wardrobe by heading over to Fanatics.com, where you can browse a wide selection of replica jerseys and ultimate fan gear!

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WATCH: Golden State Warriors Minute-by-Minute Sales Following NBA Finals Win

It’s been quite a ride for the Golden State Warriors. Two years ago they climbed to the pinnacle of the basketball world, bringing an NBA title to the Bay Area and Dub Nation. A year later, they made history, winning 73 regular season games and storming all the way to the NBA Finals once again.

And then, up 3-1, one win away from repeating, the champs slowly began to slip. Game by game, they watched their fortunes change. From the highest summit to the crushing low of watching a 3-1 NBA Finals lead evaporate, the Warriors and their fans had certainly felt a range of emotions.

And then just a few weeks after losing the Finals, the Warriors signed Kevin Durant. The rest, as they say, is history. And while the 2017 Golden State Warriors did not quite match their 73 win season the year before, they are now, once again, the champions of the NBA. And they have achieved some history of their own: a near-perfect postseason. 16-0 and their second title in three years is a pretty good way to exorcise the demons of last year.

And Dub Nation is celebrating. Below, check out a heat map video breakdown of how Warriors sales across Fanatics platforms after the historic win.

NBA Kicks – Battle of the Shoes

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An NBA player is known for his ball-handling skills on the court, defense, and how he contributes to the team, but what he wears on his feet can be just as significant and noteworthy. One brand of kicks dominates the feet of pro-ball players, but there are plenty of others that are represented in the NBA. Let’s dive in and take a look at the shoe brands basketball players wear, and how these brands break down by team and style.

It’s Gotta Be the Shoes

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Nike brand shoes steal the show across the NBA, accounting for nearly 60 percent of players’ shoes. This comes as no surprise, though, as Nike is one of the most successful sneaker brands in the business, generating over $32 billion in revenue worldwide in 2016. They’ve sponsored many NBA athletes, and it’s unlikely that will change in the future.

The next most popular shoes worn by NBA players come from Adidas (nearly 17 percent) and Jordan (almost 14 percent). Under Armour footwear rounds out the top four at 4 percent, while a flurry of other brands makes up the rest, including Li-Ning, And1, Anta, Reebok, BrandBlack, and K1X.

The golden standard. @StephenCurry30 breaks into the top 10 all-time 3PT list rockin' the LTD Gold #Curry3Zer0.

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Teams and Their Preferences

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Check out the breakdown above to see the most popular shoe brands on each team, as of early March. Boston, for example, favors Adidas more than the other brands, even Nike. The rest of the Atlantic Division looks to prefer Nike, with other brands making an appearance. The Nets, in particular, are pretty rounded out with different shoe brands, while the Raptors heavily favor Nike.

The Bulls in the Central Division are also pretty rounded out, favoring Nike above all, but three players wearing Jordan make their mark. Cleveland is 11 Nike to one Adidas wearer, and the Pistons also enjoy Nike, with four players wearing Jordan and one wearing Peak.

In the Northwest Division, while Nike yet again makes the biggest impact on the home courts, other brands, such as And1, Under Armour, and Li-Ning show up, and while the Adidas number isn’t as strong across the board, they do show up in every Northwest Division team.

There are a few different brands that show up in the Pacific Division, such as Anta for Golden State and BrandBlack for the Clippers. Adidas, Jordan, and Nike remain the most consistent in the division.

In the Southeast Division, there are a few brands aside from the most popular among the five teams, including Li-Ning, Peak, and Under Armour. The Magic, in particular, wear two brands of shoes – Nike (9) and Jordan (3). The Wizards follow suit, with eight players wearing Nike and one Jordan.

The Southwest Division is similar to the others, with Nike and Adidas leading the way, but there are a few outliers here and there, such as Under Armour for the Mavericks and Grizzlies.

These Brands Have it

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Some shoe models are more popular than others among NBA players. Sixteen players wear the Adidas Crazy Explosive. Although the Air Jordan XXXI is the most popular among Jordan wearers, the brand is really well-represented by many players who wear other models.

As for Nike, there are a few that stand out. The Nike Kobe A.D. grabs the top spot and is worn by 38 NBA players, while the Nike Hyperdunk 2016 follows closely with 33 players. The Nike Kyrie 3 and the Nike LeBron Soldier 10 are next with 19 wearers each.

The other brands are pretty widely distributed, with many models being worn by one or two NBA players each.

Shoes of the Stars

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While signature shoes are fairly common these days, they weren’t always. Walt Frazier was one of the first NBA players to be sponsored by a brand in the ’70s, but sponsorships and signature kicks are far more prevalent now. They really got a big push in the mid-1980s when Nike released their first Air Jordan shoe, and now there are more signature shoes out there for players and fans alike, which you can see evidence of here.

Today’s biggest NBA stars wear a variety of footgear. Isaiah Thomas, who plays for the Boston Celtics, rocks Nike Kobe A.D.s on his feet. As you may imagine, these are the signature shoes that were made for Kobe Bryant. Dwyane Wade, who now plays for the Chicago Bulls, rocks Li-Ning Wade All-City 5s.

The LeBron 14 'Out of Nowhere,' now available in SNKRS. #NikeBasketball #LeBron #LeBron14

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King James has his own long line of Nikes, including the LeBron 14s that he currently wears when he plays for Cleveland. Stephen Curry, of the Golden State Warriors, also has his own line of shoes and wears Under Armour Curry 3s. James Harden, of the Rockets, wears Adidas Harden Vol. 1s, and Giannis Antetokounmpo, of the Milwaukee Bucks, dons Nike Kobe X Elites.

While the Nike brand dominates in the NBA, players wear quite a few other brands, including Adidas, Jordan, and Under Armour.

If you’re an NBA fan, make sure you check out Fanatics to grab some awesome basketball fan gear – from tees and replica jerseys to hats and beach towels, no matter which team is your favorite.

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Best Places to Watch The NBA Finals

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Watching The Finals

Thinking about going to watch the third match-up between the Cleveland Cavaliers and Golden State Warriors? With ticket prices averaging around $2,000 to see an NBA Finals game in Oakland or near $1,250 in Cleveland, you may consider a different venue to watch these games in person.  

Fans in Cleveland and Oakland, fear not! Here are some researched recommendations of the best possible places to take in the games with fellow fans. Just remember to come wearing your team’s colors; you don’t want to be the odd one out!

Cleveland, Home of the Cleveland Cavaliers

Not just “Believeland” anymore, fans of the Cavaliers know their team is capable of winning it all. Here are just a few of the best locations in the Rock ‘N’ Roll Capital to watch the game, if you can’t score a ticket to see it live.

City Tap

You can #DefendTheLand at the City Tap, which is close to the Quicken Loans Arena, affectionately referred to as “The Q” by locals. They have an average rating of 4 out of 5 on TripAdvisor.

Winking Lizard

As one of the top restaurants in Cleveland, the Winking Lizard is a prime location to take in the game and enjoy some food with your friends! There are plenty of options to enjoy, especially if you go multiple times over a four-, five-, six-, or even seven-game series!

Butcher and the Brewer

Nearly 100 reviewers on TripAdvisor gave the Butcher and the Brewer 5 out of 5 stars and mentioned it was a “fantastic meal” before the game. With a ton of meat available, in addition to several different styles of brew, this could be the best choice for those who consider themselves carnivorous Cavs fans.

Oakland, Home of the Golden State Warriors

Mad Oak Bar

Here we go again… let's close this out Warriors!!

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If you’re looking for a place to enjoy the game with other Warriors fans, look no further than the Mad Oak. With over 320 reviews and an average of 4 out of 5 stars on Yelp, it’s a fine establishment to grab a drink with friends. They’re selling tickets to catch the game here – don’t get caught trying to get into the Mad Oak without one!

More meet ups here please. #flightdesignhappyhour #oakland #madoak #🍻

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Blind Tiger

Come join us tomorrow as we watch the Warriors go for 69 wins! #dubs #firstfridays #kono #asianfood #tgfi #happyhour

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For a different type of venue to enjoy seeing the Dubs play the Cavs, check out the Blind Tiger. They have over 400 reviews on Yelp with an average of 4 out of 5 stars, and as one reviewer mentioned, “three large projector screens which makes for … the ultimate location for checking out Warrior games.” Their Asian fusion menu also includes a healthy helping of oysters – not your typical sports bar menu!

Happiest hour. 🐷

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The Double Standard

#titletuesday at #THEDOUBLESTANDARD #OAKLAND #bayarea #soontobenbachampions

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This patio bar, equipped with picnic tables, is a perfect spot to watch the NBA Finals. They have a truly “backyard atmosphere,” which makes for a “grand old time watching the Warriors put the beat down on the Cavs,” according to one reviewer. If you’re looking for a casual, more laid-back location to take in the finals, this may be the spot for you.

The Venues of Champions

Whether you live near your favorite team and plan to watch the NBA Finals from these wonderful restaurants and bars or plan to support your team from a couch hundreds or thousands of miles away, don’t forget to look the part. Get the best officially licensed NBA merchandise and apparel from Fanatics.

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