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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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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NBA Fashion Icons 2017

NBA-Best-Dressed-HeaderThe NBA All-Star Weekend has been adopted as an annual midseason tradition consisting of a wide variety of basketball events, such as the 3-point shootout and slam-dunk contest. It’s a break from the everyday routine players follow and serves as a promising source of entertainment for die-hard fans.  

During this period, the basketball community is granted the chance to catch up on the personal lives of their favorite ballers, as well as evaluate the highlights that occurred during the first half of the season. The Big Easy – New Orleans – hosted this year’s All-Star Weekend and invited the league’s top talent to not only showcase their skills but also create some of the most unforgettable moments in NBA history.

Who are the best-dressed players in the NBA

The fashionistas at Fanatics decided to use this break as a time to praise the best-dressed ballers of the 2016-17 season. Continue reading to see which NBA stars have “too much sauce.”

Russell Westbrook

3. Shades of Pink #whynot #fashionking

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It’s no surprise that Russell Westbrook (@russwest44) was voted best dressed by his peers last season considering the self-proclaimed “frame fanatic” created his own eyewear label. The street-style star has also been dubbed the “Fashion King” as he appeared fashion-forward at multiple shows during the last New York Fashion Week.  

Stephen Curry

Dress to impress with this great fall style! Shout out to the @ExpressRunway fall collection #ExpressMen

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Stephen Curry (@stephencurry30), the Golden State’s MVP, is also known for being conscious about his swag. In a recent article from The New York Times, the Warriors hotshot admitted that he will “stress over outfits for days.” As one would expect following this statement, Stephen surely does come dressed to impress.

Kevin Love

Kevin Love (@kevinlove) is quite new to the fashion game but is sure making a slam dunk with his snazzy ’fits. This Cleveland Cavalier is having no trouble at all out-dressing his opponents but has had some help along the way. The four-time All-Star was tapped by Banana Republic to serve as their inaugural style ambassador in 2016.

LeBron James

#StriveForGreatness🚀 #TheKidFromAkron👑 #RWTW🏅

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LeBron James (@kingjames) is a man of many talents, and one of them is having a keen eye for fashion. While he’s known as a king on the court, James also brings his A-game to the fashion scene by alternating between a distinct street style (pictured above) and a more classic look. Not to mention, his Nike-sponsored shoe line has conquered the sneaker culture since launching in 2003.

Iman Shumpert

Complex.com 📸 by @destinyfulfild

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Iman Shumpert (@imanshumpert) takes a more experimental approach with his style. The Cleveland guard’s wardrobe can be described as provocative, unruly, and a bit outlandish. Nevertheless, Shumpert has successfully mastered the street style and often displays his bold looks alongside his wife, Teyana Taylor.

Dwyane Wade

Dwyane Wade (@dwyanewade), a modern gentleman, has a clear understanding that fashion comes and goes but style is forever. D-Wade wasn’t always a risk-taker, but upon kickstarting his career with the Miami Heat, the shooting guard quickly found the confidence to begin setting trends, rather than following them.

Fashion Free Throws

So, there you have it – the NBA’s best-dressed class of the 2016-17 season. With this year’s NBA All-Star Weekend in the books, it’s time to get back to business. Think you have what it takes to stand up tall next to these basketball fashion icons? Head over to Fanatics to shop for the hottest jerseys and NBA swag in the game!

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Living Legends: NBA

NBA-HeaderHundreds of players suit up in the NBA, but only a select few become legends. We don’t need a crystal ball to see which modern-day NBA stars are likely to wind up in the Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame – these living legends still roam the courts today, and are ready to take on the next NBA season and keep writing their own stories as they go down in history.

King James Rules the Court

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LeBron James was drafted as the No. 1 overall pick by the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2003 and has completely lived up to his pre-draft hype. The three-time NBA champ played for the Cavs over seven seasons before leaving for the Miami Heat in 2010. He battled there for four seasons and notched his first two NBA Finals wins before heading back to Cleveland for the start of the 2014 season. After two seasons back in a Cavaliers uniform, Ohio native “King James” brought a national title back to Believeland.

In addition to his three championship rings, James has been a 12-time NBA All-Star, a 12-time All-NBA Team honoree, four-time NBA MVP, and a 53-time Player of the Week. His career stats reflect a few other household names who have been selected to the Hall of Fame, such as Karl Malone, Julius Erving, and Charles Barkley. It’s hard to imagine a future without James playing in the NBA, but he’s a surefire selection for the Hall of Fame when the time comes.

Steph Curry Setting Records

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Stephen Curry, better known as Steph or the Baby-Faced Assassin, is another well-known player in the NBA right now – and most likely a HOF lock. After leading Davidson College on an amazing Cinderella-storied run in the 2008 NCAA tournament, he was drafted No. 7 overall by the Golden State Warriors in the 2009 NBA draft. Since then, he’s become an NBA champ, a three-time NBA All-Star, a three-time All-NBA Team honoree, and a two-time NBA MVP. He’s also the current active leader for 3-point and free throw shooting percentages and is known as one of the best shooters in the league today.

Curry led his team to the 2016 championship (losing to LeBron James and the Cavaliers) after grabbing a stunning 73-win total for the regular season, topping the long-held record dating back to the legendary Bulls team of the mid-1990s. He might remind you of past legendary players like David Thompson, Penny Hardaway, and Sidney Moncrief.

Catching the Durantula

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Kevin Durant is a living legend in his own right. He’s suiting up for the Golden State Warriors this season but spent the first nine seasons in the NBA playing for the Seattle SuperSonics and the Oklahoma City Thunder, which is where he made a name for himself. Durant has been an NBA All-Star seven times, selected to the All-NBA Team six times, was the 2013-14 NBA MVP, and was the Rookie of the Year for 2007-08. Oh, and he happens to be the current active leader for points per game.

Durant and the Thunder drew close to a championship title in 2012 but ultimately lost the series to the Miami Heat, one game to their four. His career looks pretty similar to other players of legend, including Connie Hawkins, Larry Bird, and Tracy McGrady.

Catch These Legends in the Flesh

If you have a chance to catch one of these living legends of the NBA in the flesh, don’t wait. While James and Durant probably have a few years left to play (and Curry even more), it’s always a good idea to make it a point to enjoy the heroics in person.

If you’re heading out to the arena (or just want to show your support for your favorite living legend), don’t worry – Fanatics.com carries jerseys, hoodies, and authentic collectibles to keep you looking fresh.

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WATCH: Cleveland Cavs Minute-by-Minute Sales Following Championship Win

They say that in sports, winning cures all. After 52 years without a championship, the city of Cleveland can attest to that. Their Cavaliers won the 2016 NBA title Sunday night, beating last year’s champion Golden State Warriors in seven games after being down 3-1 in the series.

It was a re-match of the 2015 Finals which Cleveland was ready for. Cleveland vs Golden State again. LeBron vs Steph again.

All of that was laid to rest when the Cavs won. LeBron was vindicated, redeemed. The city of Cleveland’s curse was lifted. And for Cleveland fans, the feeling they’ve waited for. And they responded.

It seems waiting 52 years means you savor the moment when it finally comes – in the first 24 hours following the end of Game 7, across all Fanatics platforms, NBA Store.com and the flagship NBA Store in NYC, Cavaliers championship merchandise purchases were up 100% over the Warriors’ merchandise sales in the same period in 2015, which was also a record at the time.

As of the time of this publishing, less than 48 hours after the clock hit zeroes, Cavs fans have already purchased more championship merchandise than Warriors fans did in the first full week following their 2015 victory.

During the same time period following the win, Cavs fans bought more championship merch just on their mobile phones than Warriors fans did across all platforms the year prior. In fact, mobile purchases set a new Fanatics championship record, surging past the College Football Playoff Championship game earlier this year.

Check out our heat map below to get a visual on the explosion of Cavs purchases as Game 7 finished. Cleveland fans can sum it up well: the curse is over, and right now that’s all matters.

No time is being wasted at Fanatics: Printing Cavs Shirts On Demand

No time is being wasted at Fanatics in the wake of the Cleveland Cavaliers winning their first-ever NBA Championship.

Cavaliers Championship T-Shirts are already being printed at Fanatics fulfillment centers following LeBron James, Kyrie Irving and company finishing off the Golden State Warriors to wrap up the greatest NBA Finals comeback in history. Take a look below, as we detail the printing process for the Cavs’ champs T-Shirts.

The Cavaliers brought the first major professional sports championship to Cleveland since 1964 with a 93-89 triumph in a road Game 7 against the Warriors. In doing so, the Cavs became the first team in NBA Finals history to battle back from a 3-1 series deficit to win the championship.

A championship that Cavs fans have been waiting decades for, and envisioned since James was drafted by his hometown team in 2003, is undeniably sweet for the loyal Cleveland sports faithful. How it came about, though – James reclaiming his throne averaging  36 points in three must-win games, Irving showing his clutch gene and the team redeeming last year’s Finals loss to Golden State – has to make the champagne taste even sweeter.

Top NBA Players on Instagram

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They’re tapping in layups on the court in front of thousands. But several NBA players are also causing you, and millions of others, to double-tap their Instagram activity multiple times a day. Whether they’re sharing their private lives or using their accounts for business or promoting brands or products, these athletes are leveraging their on-court celebrity for social media cred.

We know Steph Curry is the league’s MVP this season, but does he also dominate the photo-sharing game? Is King James Insta-royalty or is he a member of the social court when it comes to his activity? We looked to see which players were the most active on Instagram and who has the most likes per post (MLPP).

Drive to the Post

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When it comes to the player who’s spending more time posting on Instagram than posting up opposing players in-game, look no further than Anthony Morrow (@yungfresh). The Oklahoma City Thunder shooting guard posts several times a day with a variety of screenshots (snapshots of his tweets, what’s he’s listening to on iTunes), in addition to memes and his Snapchat videos. He’s the most prolific poster we found by a significant margin.

Almost a thousand, or more, posts behind Morrow are Lakers point guard Lou Williams (@louwillville), Detroit Pistons center Andre Drummond (@andredrummondd), Cleveland Cavaliers small forward  J.R. Smith (@teamswish), and Memphis Grizzlies small forward Lance Stephenson (@stephensonlance).

Williams posts some photos of friends and family, but you’ll find more brands and sponsored posts coming across your feed if you follow him. Drummond takes professional shots of his on-the-court performances and publishes them on Instagram. Smith gets personal, posting plenty of photos of his adorable bulldog, Dallas. And finally, Stephenson gives fans enough video to craft a personal highlight reel of his average day.

We Really Like These Ballers

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Just because you’ve posted the most, doesn’t mean you’re the most popular NBA player on Instagram. In fact, even as the most casual fan of basketball, you wouldn’t even need to be an Instagram user to guess who the two top players are on the photo-sharing platform.

Golden State Warriors point guard Steph Curry (@stephencurry30) and Cleveland Cavaliers power forward LeBron James (@kingjames) lead not just the league but Instagram – with MVP performances, nonetheless. But much like the game has evolved over the past two seasons to be about accuracy from distance instead of size and drives, the self-proclaimed “King” doesn’t reign supreme anymore.

Even though Curry is averaging about 39,000 more likes per post, there’s not much difference between what these two superstars post. Each uses the platform and their massive social reach to share photos of family and their shoe lines (Under Armour for Curry, Nike for James).

Beyond these two, the remainder of the top five are rather close to one another in likes, all craning their necks upward to LeBron and Curry. Oklahoma City’s Kevin Durant (@easymoneysniper), Miami Heat’s Dwyane Wade (@dwyanewade), and Los Angeles Clippers’ Blake Griffin (@blakegriffin32) all live between 56,000 to 66,000 likes per post.

Shot Clock Winding Down

If you’re looking to follow an NBA player on Instagram, odds are you’ll get a different look into celebrity depending on who you follow. Go for the most active posters, and you’ll get a more intimate view into their lives. But if you choose to follow the greats, you’ll see some more staged shots and advertisements. Make sure, whoever you follow and support, that you’re always heading to Fanatics.com first for the best official NBA apparel and merchandise.

How do these NBA superstars compare with other elite talents in other sports? Check out the Top Athletes on Instagram. Also, take a look at the Top MLB Players on Instagram.

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Cleveland Cavaliers on Twitter Live

Real-Time Tweets About the Cleveland Cavaliers

LeBron James went back to Cleveland as league MVP and an NBA Champion, and now he might finally bring the latter back to his home city. It’s the timeless story of a local boy who’s grown up into a successful man and eventually done right by his community. But this king knew he’d need a strong supporting cast to ensure he fulfilled his promise; enter Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love. They had come so close last season, ultimately losing in the NBA Finals to the Golden State Warriors, that fans could feel it at the beginning of the season. This was the Cavaliers’ year.

Check out below just how passionate and active the Cleveland Cavalier fans are on Twitter – and this is only the past 24 hours. They’ve been just as loud online as they’ve been in the Quicken Loans Arena.


Cleveland, the Sweep City

If the Golden State Warriors get to be “Splash City,” Cleveland’s performance in the first two rounds of the playoffs should earn them the honor of being called “Sweep City.” After losing to the Detroit Pistons in the final game of the regular season, LeBron’s team transformed into an unstoppable behemoth. It only took the minimum of four games against the Pistons in the playoffs to banish them to the postseason. Fans flocked to Twitter to share their enthusiasm, further emboldened by this sweep. (If you’re interested to see how active your team – or rivals – have been, take a look at all the engagement on our live-ranking NBA Playoffs on Twitter feature.)

The Atlanta Hawks had the next opportunity to try and make LeBron regret his decision to leave Miami. Despite the fan concern that Atlanta presented a better challenge, having beaten the Boston Celtics to advance to the second round, there was no stopping the Cavaliers. In another four-game series, LeBron, Kyrie, and Kevin managed even more impressive wins, piecing together double-digit wins in three of their four contests (11, 25, and 13 points).

Even though Cleveland fans had been watching their team manhandle the Atlanta Hawks, they had been looking ahead. Miami and an opportunity for LeBron to jettison his former team out of the playoffs, which loomed in the distance.

Raptors Ready to Rumble

While the Cavs enjoyed an extra few days of rest, they watched from their homes in Ohio to see who their next victim would be. When the Raptors roared back, on more than one occasion, extinguishing the Heat and advancing to the Eastern Conference Finals, few fans expected the series to be long.

After the first game, it seemed as if Cleveland’s place in the NBA Finals was written in the stars. When LeBron James and Kyrie Irving can combine for 51 points, a win is expected. Walking away from the first game with a 31-point victory over the Toronto Raptors, Cleveland fans tasted another sweep. They took to Twitter, sharing their excitement and cheering on their team.

A 19-point victory followed in Game 2, where the Cavaliers dispatched their opponents without prejudice. This wasn’t sport. It wasn’t even business. It was personal – LeBron wanted Cleveland to have their NBA title. James provided a triple-double and helped to keep their 10-game postseason winning streak alive and well. Fans had to start legitimately thinking about what excuse they’d use to get off work for the NBA Finals.

But then the Raptors clawed their way out of the hole. Stringing together back-to-back wins, 10-game win streak now erased, the Cavaliers were reduced to even footing for the first time in the 2015-16 NBA Playoffs. Their fans wondered where the dominant performances had gone. They were demanding that one of their big three – LeBron, Kevin, or Kyrie – step up. Kevin Love heard them loud and clear.

Playing just 24 minutes in Game 5, Kevin Love scored 25 points and helped the Cavaliers avoid losing three in a row to the Raptors. LeBron and Kyrie contributed in kind, each adding 23 points a piece. Followed up with an oppressive defensive performance, Cleveland defeated Toronto 116-78 to regain the series lead, 3-2. Faith restored, the fans once again believed that winning everything this year was a matter of destiny.

One more win and LeBron & Co. head back to the NBA Finals for the second time in two years. Be #ALLin216 and head to fanatics.com to stock up on the best Cleveland Cavalier gear.

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Giving Back: NBA

Analyzing charities associated with NBA players

In a way, NBA stars are very available to their fans. Only five positions, crowds so close they literally touch the playing surface, the visibility of NBA players is beyond comparison to other leagues.

With added recognition comes added attention. The more players bring that attention to charitable causes and give back, the more fans love them and want more. And the NBA sure loves to use their recognizable faces to give back – to the tune of 3.5 million hours of hands-on community service by players and coaches through NBA Cares, the league’s charitable arm.

Since 2005, NBA players have helped NBA Cares raise more than $270 million for charity and build more than 995 places where kids and families live, learn, and play around the world.

Amazingly, all of this charity just scratches the surface when you examine individual player foundations and efforts. According to data from LookToTheStars.org, NBA celebrities have recognized this charity slam dunk, turning attention away from themselves and toward fans in need.

Below is a rundown of the most charitable NBA athletes and the people they help prosper.

Most Supported Charities

NBA players associated with the Boys and Girls Club of America

According to LookToTheStars.org, the organization with the most support from current and former NBA players is the Boys & Girls Clubs of America. The organization annually serves about 4 million children in more than 4,100 facilities throughout the country.

Founded in 1860 on the belief that character development is essential to future success, the central tenants of the Boys & Girls Clubs are God, America, and the Constitution. In their gymnasiums, fair play, honesty, and sportsmanship are stressed.

Support of the clubs – which many players credit for developing their skills when other city courts were either too dangerous or nonexistent – is so widespread in the NBA that at least 40 players have been inducted into the organization’s Alumni Hall of Fame – about 20 percent of the total inductees. The list includes Shaquille O’Neal, Michael Jordan, Spud Webb, James Worthy, Bill Russell, and more.

The biggest benefactor and current “Champion of Youth” for the clubs is The King himself, LeBron James. His namesake foundation has, over the years, donated more than $3 million, outfitted 59 youth basketball teams, and renovated 23 gymnasiums and learning centers.

In addition to his nationwide support of the Boys & Girls Clubs, LeBron’s foundation has, for five years now, sponsored a program called Akron I Promise. Its goal is to help local youth in a variety of ways in return for fulfilling school attendance and grade requirements.

In 2015, Akron I Promise announced it will be sponsoring scholarships to the University of Akron – at about $40,000 per child – for every current elementary and middle school student in the Akron public school system that meets LeBron’s requirements. It is estimated that as many as 2,300 children will receive the scholarships.

NBA players associated with UNICEF

Second among favorite charities for NBA players, and especially a favorite of players with foreign backgrounds, is the United Nations Children’s Fund, otherwise known as UNICEF.

Dikembe Mutombo (Democratic Republic of Congo), Pau Gasol (Spain), Serge Ibaka (born in DRC, moved to Spain at age 17), Samuel Dalembert (born in Haiti, moved to Canada at age 14), and Kyrie Irving (Australia) all choose to make UNICEF their charity priority.

UNICEF is the outreach and support arm of the United Nations General Assembly, with a mission to advocate for the protection of children’s rights, to help meet their basic needs, and to expand their opportunities to reach full potential. Since its creation in 1946 post–World War II, UNICEF has aimed to provide food and shelter for the most disadvantaged children victims of war, disasters, extreme poverty while promoting equal rights for women and minority groups.

Perhaps the most unique collaboration between NBA Cares and UNICEF is “Nothing But Nets,” a program founded in 2006 to combat malaria worldwide. Since then, they’ve raised more than $56 million to help deliver more than 9 million bed nets. For a 2015 event, Stephen Curry made a trip to Tanzania to donate 38,000 bed-nets at a refugee camp.

In addition to Nothing But Nets, NBA Cares and UNICEF sponsor basketball and life-skills camps around the world through a program called Basketball Without Borders.

Athletes With a Diverse Charity Profile

Current and former NBA athletes associated with the most charities

A lot of athletes, with constant requests coming at them from all angles, choose to spread the love and give to more charities in a year than most do in a lifetime.

GOAT Michael Jordan, owner of the Charlotte Hornets, uses his legend (and his legendary wealth) to support 14 different charities, topping fellow retirees Steve Nash (12) and Magic Johnson (10) in the double-digit charity club.

Another retired legend, Dikembe Mutombo, has often been named the most generous athlete in the world. Mutombo has donated more than $30 million since becoming an NBA legend – he’s built an entire hospital in the DRC, paid for the flights of the DRC women’s basketball and track teams for the Atlanta Olympic Games, and initiated plans to build a school in the DRC. He also bought the track team’s uniforms.

Even the Round Mound of Rebound, Charles Barkley (supporting seven different charities), changed his tune on being a role model when his NBA career was all said and done.

In fact, there must be some extra empathy in the Hall of Famer retirement home water: Of the top 10 players associated with multiple charities, 8 have plaques in (or are likely locks to get in) Springfield, Massachusetts, and all 10 are retired.

NBA Cares Initiatives

On the league level, NBA Cares works with internationally recognized programs that support youth education, families, and health care, including Reading Is Fundamental, Habitat for Humanity, Charities Aid Foundation, Feed the Children, and many others.

In 2016, NBA Cares’ focus is on Flint, Michigan, water relief efforts, My Brother’s Keeper (President Obama’s 2014 program), and a successful NBA All-Star Day of Service.

Methodology

Using data from looktothestars.org, we analyzed which charities and athletes were associated with each other to see which causes athletes cared about the most.

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