Friday, April 27, 2012

Tyreke Evans might be on the trading block this offseason

He hasn't quite sunk to the depths of his injury-addled second year with the Sacramento Kings, but former Rookie of the Year Tyreke Evans hasn't been making much noise in Sacto of late. Once lauded for his all-around offensive play, the guard's decision-making and seemingly stagnant growth rate have frustrated Kings fans to no end; even if they don't (and should not) blame the guard for the team's struggles. And though she doesn't quote an anonymous source in her report, Sacramento Bee columnist Ailene Voisin confirmed on Sunday that the Kings "will entertain trade offers" for the guard this summer, as he enters the final guaranteed year of his rookie contract in 2012-13.

That's a sad, almost unprecedented scene. Rare is the player on a relatively cheap-o (Evans is set to make $5.25 million next year, nearly the league's average salary) rookie deal that is tossed around on the trading block.

And yet, though Evans is clearly to blame for not diversifying his game and building on an impressive rookie year that saw him rank among Oscar Robertson, Michael Jordan and LeBron James as the only rookies to average over 20 points, five rebounds and five assists, you can blame environment as much as you can blame the individual. Evans, whose iffy on-court habits were condoned in a major way by former coach Paul Westphal, wasn't exactly brought up the right way.

It's Tyreke's fault as well, you know. Chicago Bulls guard and fellow "one and done"/John Calipari-product Derrick Rose was also handed the keys to his team's offense and however many possessions he wanted to dominate upon entering the NBA a year before Evans hit in 2009-10, and he's proven perfectly adept at working off the ball and mixing up scoring and passing instincts. Evans, though much more inclined to act as a wing scorer than Rose is (for good reason, considering his size), hasn't built on that rookie year in the same way that Rose did.

And though we can blame a series of ankle woes for his below-average sophomore campaign, the fact that Evans is currently coming through with a 16.3 Player Efficiency Rating (just a tick above the average mark) as the Kings enter their final game of the season on Thursday night is frustrating for the average fan, and it has to be disappointing for the typical Kings fan. The ones who have had to deal with endless turnover and no real Rose-type hope (in spite of DeMarcus Cousins' significant turnaround in his second season) since Chris Webber's career-altering injury in the early summer of 2003.

Voisin, as well she should, doesn't hesitate to point the finger at both Evans and Westphal for this stasis:

Excluding the fact that Evans was miscast as the Kings' primary ballhandler during his first two seasons — and that's on former coach Paul Westphal — almost everything about him has yet to be determined. His confidence wavers worse than his jumper. He is uncomfortable in the halfcourt offense and confused about when to cut and when to move. Too often, he admits, he just stands around.

Mind you, it's not as if Derrick Rose is bounding around the court without the ball, acting as some modern day John Havlicek. Chris Paul isn't acting like much of a decoy without the rock, and Deron Williams hasn't let go of an actual basketball since sometime in 2009.

Kobe Bryant, LeBron James and Dwyane Wade have, though. And while we rip on Kobe and LeBron for dominating the dribble too much when they could make a difference on the weak side, those players do move, cut, screen and freak out defenders even when the ball isn't in their hands. Though Evans was passed off as a proto point/shooting guard in his rookie year, he's essentially an off guard who knows how to make the extra pass when things get hairy. Most shooting guards are, these days, because they often grew up in the AAU or high school circuit with the ball in their hands. Good for Tyreke, with those instincts, but these instincts never made him a point guard.

And this is where the frustration — as his per-minute free-throw attempts dip and usage rate (read: ability to do the damn thing) decline in his third season — sets in. Yes, the ankles were clearly in the way last year, and the lockout season has stunk for us all, but this is a 22-year-old talent that hasn't seemed to move an inch since LeBron James 45th-to-last game as a Cleveland Cavalier.

This is why, according to Voisin, a team currently eight figures below the salary cap level and a potential $20 million under the cap this summer will be listening to trade offers for a player with 20-5-5 potential that will make less than the mid-level exception next season.

Paul Westphal, fired early in the season, obviously saw Evans as his hook. A way to sustain a job through a rebuilding process, working for a Kings front office that has no qualms going cheap even while dismissing coach after coach after coach. With his franchise friend in place, he gave Evans the ball in a rebuilding year, and let him do what he wanted to do with it. It wasn't a ridiculous move, aligning yourself with a player that counts MJ, The Big O, and LeBron amongst his first-year company.

Even Westphal, though, could see that Evans' statistical marvels were a function of his role. He had the ball, in that rookie year, and got to do whatever he wanted with it for however long he wanted to on a 25-win team. Evans wasn't selfish in his approach, he just didn't know any better. And an extended standing ovation from the hometown fans, once you meet the raw number requirements for that 20-5-5 year, have a way of messing with your head. Sometimes you can be spoiled even when your parents don't have much in the bank account.

Kings fans shouldn't welcome or even anticipate an Evans trade. His potential, for that price, is too much to give away. But his two-year malaise should serve as a warning to any team ready to give the ball up. You don't rebuild through awards and statistical triumphs. No matter how impressive. via Ball Don't Lie

Picture Of The Day: 04.27.12

June 2nd

NFL x Nike Dunk High & Low – AFC SOUTH

The first pick in the NFL Draft has been somewhat anticlimactic for the past several years since rules changed to allow the number one pick exclusive pre-draft signing rights.  The days of an Eli-fueled free-for-all are all but gone, and instead we know already that Andrew Luck is set to replace Peyton Manning as the Indianapolis Colts’ quarterback.  Luck enters the league the same year Nike gets exclusive licensing rights to NFL products, and along with the new jerseys everyone’s buzzing about, we’ve seen a ton of Nike x NFL sneakers today, arranged into packs by division.  For the Colts and the rest of the AFC South, it’s the Nike Dunk in both High (Indianapolis and Houston Texans) and Low (Jacksonville Jaguars and Tennessee Titans), a split unique to the entire eight-division collection. via Sneaker News

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol now own a horse together

Teammates show their bonds in many ways, whether by picking each other up after falls on the court or going out to dinner together on road trips. They're coworkers, but also often friends, and that means they sometimes get together outside of the team context, too. Some even go into business together.

Most, however, do not co-own horses. So it's something of a surprise to learn that Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol of the Los Angeles Lakers now own a horse together. The Associated Press has the details:

Bryant and Gasol bid against each other for an ownership stake in a 4-year-old gelding named Siempre Mio as part of a Lakers Foundation fundraiser at Riviera Country Club on Tuesday night.

Santa Anita Park chief executive officer Mark Verge donated a 25 percent stake in the gelding along with a day at the races as part of a live auction. 

''Pao Gasol [sic] bid first, but then he and Kobe got into a little bit of a bidding war. Kobe won the bidding at $8,000,'' Doug O'Neill, who trains the gelding, said Wednesday.
Verge then offered Gasol a chance to buy a 25 percent interest in the horse in exchange for a donation to the Lakers Foundation. Part of the deal was that the new owners pay no expenses in the horse's care and training.
Bryant is as competitive as athletes come, so it's easy to imagine him winning the auction just because he wanted to beat out one of his teammates.

Nevertheless, it's a real partnership, although who knows how much each will care about Siempre Mio if he doesn't win any races. Not having to pay any bills can make owners lose interest fast. via Ball Don't Lie

UNDFTD x Converse Star Player Hi

What happens when one of the truly iconic US streetwear brands teams up with arguably the most classic footwear brand for distribution at one of the world’s leading sneaker retailers?  We’re witnessing the answer unfold as the Undefeated x Converse for Foot Locker collaboration spreads, and the Five Strikes brand will also maintain its own exclusive drops like this UNDFTD x Converse Star Player Hi.  Coming up for release this Friday, April 27th at UNDFTD chapter locations and their e-store, this olive canvas design adds a medial zipper in the style we’ve seen on many of this silo’s classic b-ball peers. via Sneaker News

Air Jordan 1 Hi Strap Premier Pack

Coming in the form of the Air Jordan 1 Hi Strap, the “Premier Pack” has the perfect look for this Summer and the upcoming 2012 Summer Olympic Games with canvas and leather versions of the kicks, each decked out in a red, white and blue colorway. via Sneakerfiles

Friday, April 20, 2012

Air Jordan 9 “Johnny Kilory” – October 2012

Are you ready for Jordan Brand‘s Holiday 2012 releases? The more appropriate question is: Are your pockets ready for Holiday 2012? Jordan Brand will bring back the Air Jordan 9 Retro later this year. Original colorways as well as new colors of the Air Jordan 9 will launch Holiday 2012, including the Johnny Kilroy Air Jordan 9. A preview photo leaked of four holiday Jordan 9 releases earlier this month.

Today we give you a preview of just the Air Jordan 9 “Johnny Kilroy”, with a cameo from the Charcoal Air Jordan 7. Bad lighting as you see, but a closer look nonetheless. Look for this Air Jordan 9 that’s covered in Black/Gym Red-Metallic Platinum to hit stores in October for $160 in men’s and $110 for GS. via The Shoe Game

Ewing 33 Hi Set to Return in 2012

With Ewing Athletics set to resurrect the Patrick Ewing signature line for 2012, the brand confirmed at least one of the upcoming retro drops.

Sending out a picture of the OG Ewing 33 Hi, Ewing Athletics confirmed that the high-top kicks will see a 2012 retro release. via Sneakerfiles

Air Jordan 4 “Cavs” Quickstrike Next Month

Jordan Brand is preparing for another Air Jordan 4 Retro launch. The next colorway to hit select retailers is the Air Jordan 4 “Cavs” and its set to release as a quickstrike next month. The release date is Saturday, May 12. Check with your local Jordan accounts to see if they will be releasing the Cavs Jordan 4 next month. via The Shoe Game

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Nike LeBron 9 P.S. Elite ‘Away’

The 2012 NBA Playoffs begin on April 28th, and that’s the day you’ll be able to stand alongside Nike Basketball’s superstars when the new ultra-premium Elite Series hits select retailers. Key among these is the Nike LeBron 9 P.S. Elite ‘Away’ in black with Metallic Gold accents, a design that represents the pinnacle of technology as well as a new high water mark on the MSRP scale. The Zoom Kobe VII Elite and Hyperdunk 2011 Elite are both scheduled to drop in both ‘Home’ and ‘Away’ colorways along with the ‘Home’ LeBron 9 PS Elites next Saturday. via Sneaker News

Jordan Spiz’ike NikeiD Teaser

Earlier today NikeiD dropped a teaser image of the upcoming Jordan Spiz’ike iD, set to hit the site for customization on April 24.

With the image showing the kicks in a simple black, red and grey colorway, it appears that users will have their choice of materials that include tumbled leather, elephant print and patent leather, among others.

Additional customization options should be revealed leading up to next week’s release so, in the meantime, checkout the teaser image and stay tuned for additional details. via Sneakerfiles

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Photo Of The Day: 04.18.12

May 2012

2Pac’s Mom Calls Coachella Hologram ‘Amazing’

2Pac’s mother is pleased with the latest honor paid to her deceased son.

A rep for Afeni Shakur told TMZ she was absolutely thrilled when a lifelike hologram of her son appeared alongside Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg during the headlining performance at the Coachella Festival in Indio, California, on Sunday (April 15).

Afenie wasn’t in attendance, but she watched it live on the Internet, said the source, and although amazed by it was also saddened by the reality of it. The rep told TMZ that before moving forward with the idea, Dr. Dre asked Afeni for her approval to incorporate ‘Pac into the performance, to which she agreed. As a thank you, Dre made a donation to 2Pac’s charity, The Tupac Amaru Shakur Foundation.

Apparently, Nate Dogg was also suppose to appear as a hologram, rapper Daz Dillinger told the entertainment site, but the decision was changed last minute, and instead Nate received a video tribute.

In related news, Nick Smith, president of AV Concepts, the San Diego company that created the hologram, told MTV News “it was Dre’s vision to bring this back to life. It was his idea from the very beginning and we worked with him and his camp to utilize the technology to make it come to life.”

“You can take their likenesses and voice and … take people that haven’t done concerts before or perform music they haven’t sung and digitally recreate it,” he added.—Gina Montana for XXL

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Photo Of The Day: 04.17.12

RIP Dwayne Schintzius

Nike Air Max Express – Speed Yellow – Black

Almost two weeks ago, Sneaker News gave you a first look at the upcoming Speed Yellow colorway of the Nike Air Max Express, brought to the world out of Gentry Humphrey’s personal vault of select sneakers. We must point out yet another interesting discrepancy; this sample you see here features a solid black outsole, while Gentry’s pair uses a contrasting White outsole. So which is the GR version? The initial catalog images that Sneaker News gave you back in December says that these samples are the earliest renditions of the Air Max Express in the Speed Yellow/Black colorway, but we’ll have to wait until we see the final product in its complete form. Expect the Air Max Express make a bee-line for store shelves this Fall season. via Sneaker News

Air Jordan 1 Phat ‘Cool Grey’

The latest pair of kicks from Jordan Brand to receive the “Cool Grey” treatment is the Air Jordan 1 Phat.

The familiar silhouette sees the popular colorway applied to a texturized leather and perforated nubuck upper while contrasting white accents appear on the laces, tongue tab branding and midsole. via Sneakerfiles

Monday, April 16, 2012

Celebrity Feet: Wale – Nike LeBron 9 Elite ‘Varsity Maize’

Wale continues to show off his latest advance-notice sneaker pick-ups with the upcoming Nike LeBron 9 P.S. Elite in the ‘Varsity Maize’ colorway. This sighting comes not much after last week’s Nike Air Penny V occasion, when he took the stage for a home-town live showing wearing the spicy ‘Miami’ edition that is scheduled for a December release. The ‘Bumblebee’/'Bruce Lee’ LeBron Elites are likely to drop much sooner – likely in May or June – so we’ll keep you updated on that important tidbit of info soon. via Sneaker News

Nike Air Force 1 Low Max Air VT QS ‘Camouflage’

This Friday marks the release of one of the best Air Force 1s in recent memory.

Celebrating the 30th anniversary of the Air Force 1 and also capitalizing on one of this Spring’s trendiest looks, the kicks sport a Vac-Tech canvas upper covered in camo. Premium black leather also appears on the kicks alongside a waxed black cotton laces, a XXX lace jewel, visible full length Max Air with a hit of Total Orange and smoky semi-translucent outsole.

Dropping on Friday, April 21, for $200, look for these to hit select Nike Sportswear retailers, complete with 30th anniversary packaging and insoles. via Sneakerfiles

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Picture Of The Day: 04.10.12

Antoine Walker gives up comeback

BOISE, Idaho -- Former NBA All-Star Antoine Walker is calling it quits after spending two seasons trying to rejuvenate his career with the Idaho Stampede.

The 35-year-old Walker announced his retirement last weekend to teammates, and The Idaho Statesman reports Walker intends to make a formal announcement this week.

Walker is a 12-year NBA veteran and was a member of the Kentucky team that won the NCAA championship in 1995-96. He also won an NBA title in 2006 with the Miami Heat and averaged 17.5 points and 7.7 rebounds per game as a pro.

This season in the D-League, Walker averaged 9.5 points and 4.9 rebounds. In December, Walker was sentenced to probation and told to pay $770,000 in restitution to Las Vegas casinos after pleading guilty to failing to repay gambling debts. via ESPN

Jordan Son Of Mars ‘Bordeaux’

The Jordan Spiz’ike that was previously dubbed ‘Bordeaux’ caused a bit of controversy, as the true colorway had no clear similarities with the original Air Jordan VII that made ‘Bordeaux’ a household Air Jordan name. A similar colorway of the Jordan Son Of Mars followed not long after, but that was officially dubbed the ‘Pop Art’ by Jordan Brand, easing any sort of debate regarding an Olympic/Bordeaux nickname. Perhaps Jordan Brand went the extra mile to create a nick-name in house, because a true Bordeaux colorway of the Jordan Son Of Mars was in store, spotted here in DJ Khaled’s video of a behind-the-scenes look at his music video shoot. One quick glance and you’ll see that the Bordeaux connection is rather clear. via Sneaker News

Monday, April 9, 2012

Picture Of The Day: 04.09.12

What Foul?

Lamar Odom, Mavs sever ties

DALLAS -- Lamar Odom's brief and bumpy ride with the Dallas Mavericks has come to an abrupt end.

The Mavericks and Odom spent Easter Sunday working out a parting, according to sources close to the situation, that frees the struggling Odom to leave the team immediately without actually being released.

"The Mavericks and I have mutually agreed that it's in the best interest of both parties for me to step away from the team," Odom said in a statement to

"I'm sorry that things didn't work out better for both of us, but I wish the Mavs' organization, my teammates and Dallas fans nothing but continued success in the defense of their championship."

Sources said Monday that Odom's departure will be immediate and that the Mavericks intend to simply list him as inactive for the rest of the season instead of outright releasing him, leaving open the possibility that they could still trade him after the season in conjunction with the draft. Any team that has Odom on its roster as of June 29 must buy him out by that date for $2.4 million or otherwise accept responsibility for the full $8.2 million that Odom is scheduled to earn in 2012-13. via ESPN

Theraflu Company Releases Statement About Kanye West’s “TheraFlu” Song

Fans might be amped about Kanye West’s latest song, Theraflu,” which hit the net yesterday (April 5), but the cold medicine company the song is named after isn’t too happy.

Theraflu released a statement to TMZ about ‘Ye’s title choice, expressing their displeasure with it.

“We in no way endorse or approve of the references or use of the image and likeness of Theraflu in this manner,” a company rep told the entertainment site.

Although Yeezy named the song after Theraflu, which helps fight colds, he uses the title to reference how “cold” he is towards his enemies.

As previously reported, Kanye revealed his love for reality star Kim Kardashian on the track, rapping, “I admit I fell in love with Kim, ‘Round the same time she fell in love with him / Well that’s cool baby girl, do your thing, lucky I ain’t have Jay drop him from the team.” (Jay-Z is a part-owner of the New Jersey Nets, the team Kim Kardashian’s ex-husband Kris Humphries plays for.)

Kim appeared on NBC’s Today Show today and said she liked Kanye’s song, adding that the two have been friends for a long time and that she’s excited about what the future might hold for them. And while she didnt flat out say they were dating, People Magazine reports they indeed are in the early stages of a relationship as the two were recently seen leaving a movie theater in New York City and then on a lunch date on Thursday (April 5).

There is no word yet on whether Theraflu is planning on suing Kanye West. —Gina Montana for XXL

Air Jordan IV (4) ‘Laser’

Now that Gentry Humphrey has joined twitter, the man has dropped a few images of some upcoming kicks from Nike and Jordan Brand.

One of those kicks is this “Laser” Air Jordan IV. Very similar to the “History of Flight” IV, the kicks pair a white lasered leather upper with red accents throughout.

No word on whether this is just a one-off sample or if it is actually set for a future release... via Sneakerfiles

Air Jordan VI (6) ‘Marty McFly’ Customs by Proof Culture

Inspired by the Air Mag, Proof Culture has dropped their latest pair of custom kicks.

Utilizing the Air Jordan VI as a base, this “Marty McFly” Jordan comes decked out in grey while turquoise hits the midsole and white accents appear on the heel tab, laces and near the collar.

If you’re interested in picking a pair of these up or commissioning your own customs, hit up Proof Culture now. via Sneakerfiles

Four More Air Foamposite Releases Confirmed For 2012

Last year’s Foamposite catalog was impressive to say the least, but 2012′s got an outstanding schedule of releases that should make it the greatest Foamposite year ever. We’ve already seen three Foamposite One colorways drop (Metallic Red, Electrolime, and the infamous Galaxy), but it’s been confirmed by Nike Sportswear head Gentry Humphrey that 2012′s releases will have 2011 beat in terms of quantity, as four more Foamposites have been confirmed for the remainder of the year. Rumors of an all-white Foamposite One have been floating around, so what could round out the remaining three? An all-black Foamposite One? The Black/Gem Green that was rumored for July? via Sneaker News

Thursday, April 5, 2012

David Banner Aims to Change Hip-Hop’s Business Model

David Banner thinks that he’s come up with a formula that’s going to revolutionize hip-hop and the music business, overall.

“I’m about to change the business model,” the Mississippi MC recently told “Watch.”

For his upcoming free album, Sex, Drugs & Video Games, Banner plans on releasing 16 songs and 16 videos to go with them, all pro bono. What he’s asking for in return is for two million fans to donate at least $1 each.

Banner’s objective is to empower and teach rappers that they don’t need the backing of a record label to be successful.

“When I get these two million people that I’m talking about, we won’t need to market, we won’t need to beg,” Banner said. “We’re trying to raise the stakes. I had an LA Clipper give $1,000. I’ve had several people give $100, I’ve had several people give $50. I have this one girl, in particular, who gives $5 every week and I thought it was cute because she says, ‘I don’t have much money, David Banner, but I definitely want to contribute to the movement.’”

The free album strategy has been used before in other music genres. English rock band Radiohead implemented the strategy with their 2007 album, In Rainbows, but Banner believes says he’s the first in hip-hop to do it.

While Banner understands the speed of the music culture these days because of the accessibility of the web, he believes flooding the net with content is cheapening the music. That’s why he’s asking for donations to his otherwise free album. The passionate rapper/producer says that he’ll dedicate a certain percentage of the donated money to his staff and another portion toward charity with the remainder being reinvested back into the music.

“You have no idea what I spent on this album,” Banner said of Sex, Drugs & Video Games, which features the likes of Lil Wayne, A$AP Rocky, Chris Brown, Snoop Dogg, Game, Nipsey Hussle, 2 Chainz, Bun B, Maino, Don Trip, Kardinal Offishall and Ras Kass.

Banner already began releasing records off the free album on the net, launching the movement with “Believe,” featuring fellow Mississippi MC Big K.R.I.T., on March 14.

The following Wednesday, Banner dropped the video for “Believe.” Concurrently, Banner will alternate drop a new song and video to go with it every Wednesday leading up to the May 22 release date of Sex, Drugs & Video Games. Last Wednesday (March 28), Banner released the audio for “Let Me In,” featuring Tank. Today (April 4), the video for the record will hit the net. Next Wednesday (April 11), the audio for Banner’s big record, “Californication,” featuring generations of West Coast MCs in Snoop Dogg, Ras Kass, Game and Nipsey Hussle, will impact the net.

Fans can donate to Banner’s movement via his website.—Mark Lelinwalla

Air Jordan II – Ray Allen Autographed Celtics PE

Ray Allen’s got a penchant for ’3s’, but he wouldn’t be averse to rocking the IIs here and there. Here’s a look at an ‘Away’ Player Exclusive of the Air Jordan II made for the three-point king; it features a full black nubuck upper with a glossy mudguard panel on the upper, pre-dating the similar Black/White QF release of October 2010. These arrived on Ray’s doorsteps roughly one year after the magnificent trade that brought the Big Three (and an NBA ‘chip) to Boston, but as we know, Ray graduated to the popular XIII PE later on. While these don’t own the distinction of being game-worn, these are, however, autographed by Ray on both toe-boxes! Peep the gallery below, because they’re available now from the.warehouse on eBay. via Sneaker News

Nike Dunk High ‘Wolf Grey/White-Cool Grey’

Hitting overseas spots now is the latest colorway of the Dunk High from Nike Sportswear.

With tumbled grey leather hitting the eyestay, mudguard and toe box, a lighter grey canvas appears on the quarter panel and heel alongside a white leather Swoosh, white sole and hits of green on the tongue tab and laces.

Available now from Titolo, look for these soon at your local NSW retailer. via Sneakerfiles

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

E-40 Hits Billboard 200 Four Times With Block Brochure Trilogy

With no major label hip-hop projects hitting shelves this week, Drake and Tyga reclaimed their positions as the No. 1 and 2 selling hip-hop albums of the Billboard 200.

Falling from No. 18 to No. 24, however, next week will almost certainly mark the end of Take Care’s reign as the number one hip hop album, with Drake’s labelmate Nicki Minaj preparing to debut on the charts next week with her own sophomore LP Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded. Tyga moved another 12,500 units of Careless World, landing at No. 33 overall.

After debuting at No. 5 last week, Odd Future’s The Odd Future Tape Vol. 2, fell drastically to No. 36. Diggy Simmons’ Unexpected Arrival also slowed down, landing right behind Odd Future.

But the most impressive chart action this week came from E-40, who dropped three albums last week, all of which made the Top 200. His Block Brochure: Welcome To The Soil trifecta made the top 50, selling 9,500 units, and landing at No. 44 as a package deal. Between this and the sales of Vol. 1, 2, and 3 individually, 40 Water sold over 32,000 albums in The Block Brochure’s first week.

Next week’s Billboard 200 looks to be an exciting one with the arrival of Nicki’s highly anticipated Roman Reloaded. The XXL staff gave predictions here. How many copies do you think Roman Reloaded will sell? —Neil Martinez-Belkin for XXL

Nike Air Foamposite One ‘Lakers’ Customs By Jason Negron

If the opportunity for a custom presents itself, you’d better believe that Foamposite wizard Jason Negron won’t hesitate to work his magic. Looking back at one of his earliest Foamposite One customs, the sole-swapping of the Eggplants and Cactus, it’s clear that Jason’s skills go beyond the simple sole-swapping (we say simple, but it’s a lot easier said than done) into that of battery-powered light-up infusion and dyed outsoles to create brand new concepts, so when the Electrolimes hit stores, a ‘Lakers’ colorway to oppose his ‘Knicks’ customs seemed like the perfect idea. Here’s a detailed look at Jason Negron’s Nike Air Foamposite One ‘Lakers’ Customs; it features a the Electrolime upper matched with a perfect purple outsole with matching accents on the upper (the Swoosh and 1-cent logo, for example), creating the perfect Laker colorway that hip-hop star Joe Budden couldn’t resist. We’ve got an exclusive detailed look for you below and follow Jason on Twitter (@SoleSwap) to get your own custom Foams done! via Sneaker News

Supreme x Nike SB Dunk Low 2012 – Releasing in April

When the first shots of the 2012 Supreme x Nike SB Dunk Low hit the internet last week the speculation began almost immediately. How limited will they be? Can they help bring the spotlight back on Nike SB? When will they drop? While the first two remain a question mark we can help you with the third, as the pair will apparently be hitting sooner than anticipated, with an April release date planned. Stay with us after the jump for a better look at this reprisal of the classic Supreme x Nike SB Dunk Low series and stick with Sneaker News for more precise info on this April release. via N-SB & Sneaker News

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Drake Alludes to Aaliyah Collaboration

Could a Drake-Aaliyah collaboration be in the works?

Drizzy seemed to hint about possibly planning some kind of posthumous Aaliyah collabo during a recent interview with the United Kingdom’s Tim Westwood.

“I have some great Aaliyah news coming soon,” Drizzy shared with the UK’s Tim Westwood. “Some special things. Great things man. Great things for music, period.”

Saying Drake is an Aaliyah fan is an understatement; the Young Money superstar has a tattoo of the late crooner on his back.

“You know it’s hard for me to ride around to a female singer because at the end of the day, you’re a man, but she always kept it so G with the writing and the melodies,” Drizzy told Westwood. “It was something to ride to, especially when it was chopped and crewed. That’s when I used to love.”

There have been talks about a posthumous Aaliyah album for quite some time now. Early last month, producer Jeffrey ‘J. Dub’ Walker even tweeted about such project, saying, “Just got great news today; the smash unreleased song called “Steady Ground” I produced on #Aaliyah is gonna be on her upcoming album.”

Aaliyah was tragically killed at the age of only 22 back on August 25, 2001, when the small passenger plane she was traveling in from The Bahamas to Florida crashed shortly after take off.

After her death, two posthumous albums dropped in her honor: 2002’s I Care 4 U and 2005’s Ultimate Aaliyah. —Jakinder Singh for XXL

Reggie Miller has made the Hall of Fame. Someday, the Hall of Fame will, too

The Basketball Hall of Fame is an absolute joke. The Baseball Hall of Fame could elect a series of Jack Morris-types in, twice a year, and the Football Hall of Fame could enshrine Tim Tebow before he even suits up for the New York Jets later this year; and those two collectives would still appear as mindful, knowledgeable organizations in comparison to this NBA-addled, logo-shilling front. Call into question whatever practices the Baseball and Football-wings toss out every voting season, and it wouldn't hold a candle to the transparently corporate practices that the shoe company-driven and David Stern-obsessed Hall of Fame routinely churn out. No amount of Dennis Rodman inductions will change that.

This was the case last year, when Indiana Pacers legend Reggie Miller was left off the ballot. This is the case this year, when it comes time for Miller's induction.

We'll fawn over Miller in late summer, when he takes to the stage for his induction speech. For now, the story is that Reggie Miller was voted into the Basketball Hall of Fame, a weird catch-all collective that is also bringing former coach and player Don Nelson into its mix, as well as former Virginia and Houston Rockets center Ralph Sampson. Does Miller belong? Does it matter?

At this point, no. A decade ago, Stern heard the criticism surrounding the Hall of Fame's seeming love of long time college coaches and international players over his league's B+-level non-champions, and he drew his scythe. Cleared the mess, and burned a logo into the crops. No more would types like Dominque Wilkins be ignored in favor of some coach who made the Final Four in 1982 and 1993. Stern and Jerry Colangelo, with help from ESPN's "labor negotiation advisor" Russ Granik, took over that building, planting a swoosh anywhere it could.

Reggie Miller, flush with shoe ads and Madison Avenue cred during his mid-1990s heyday, didn't need the help. His stats, even taking into considering the fact that his later seasons tempered his percentages, won't blow you away. His career 21.4 Player Efficiency Rating is outpaced this year by both Marcin Gortat and Kyrie Irving, mainly because Miller didn't do much more besides curl off of screens (up until the 2000-01 season, mostly, which we'll get to in August) and not turn the ball over. He was never an all-around guard in the mold of a Michael Jordan or even a Clyde Drexler.

He was, and is, famous. And to borrow a hack-y baseball sportswriter phrase, it's the Hall of Fame, man, not the Hall of Pretty Good.

Reggie Miller was pretty, pretty damn good at what he did. He was the go-to offensive force for a deep Pacer team that never quite got over that hump. A pretty-good team that nobody would ever confuse with, say, the Suns or SuperSonics or Jazz or even Knicks teams that lost out on rings during Michael Jordan and Hakeem Olajuwon's championship runs. Miller was no martyr, because he was afforded all the benefits of a superstar, even if his teams weren't good enough. Even when he came close to acting the heel, Knick superfan Spike Lee still somehow came off worse.

All that, plus working knees, cushy TV gigs that nobody can justify, and a Hall of Fame induction. Not a bad haul, considering.

This is why, in the time between now and Miller's induction, we have to take a step back while considering his Hall of Fame credentials. Because we should be beyond that, by now. It's like arguing over the Grammys. The organization really is that insipid.

Congratulations, Reggie Miller. Come late summer, we'll be ready to fawn over your time as a player in the wake of your induction. In the meantime, as was the case last year when the Hall of Fame didn't even deign to put you on the ballot, we're just going to remind ourselves of what a joke the Basketball Hall of Fame is and will continue to be. via Ball Don't Lie

Nike Air Force 1 – Tiger Woods Augusta Masters 2012 PE

We’re not quite back to the days of ‘Tiger or the field?’, but with a win last week at Bay Hill, one Eldrick Woods is looking stronger heading into The Masters than he has in years. Tiger joins the field of those gifted Nike Air Force 1 Low PEs as we approach this year’s tournament, a matching Storm Fit jacket reminding us that it’s been seven years since Woods won in Augusta. His four Green Jackets are commemorated on the chest where the top ‘club’ replaces its driver head with flowers like those that appear on the AF1′s underlay and laser etching. via Sneaker News

Michael Jordan x Converse Charity Commemorative Pack

First seen late last week, the special Michael Jordan x Converse Charity Commemorative Packs have now hit eBay.

Celebrating the 30th anniversary of Jordan’s iconic game-winning jumper against Georgetown to claim the National Championship for UNC, the pack includes replicas of Jordan’s size 40 UNC jersey and size 13 Converse shoes worn in the game, both of which are autographed by MJ himself. Additionally, the kicks feature special graphics on insoles and are individually numbered. Limited to 30 packs total, 7 were given away to those involved in the game while the remaining 23 are being auctioned off with proceeds going to the James R. Jordan Foundation, established by Jordans mother Deloris Jordan in honor of her late husband.

Each pack is now available, with bidding set to end on April 6. via Sneakerfiles

Monday, April 2, 2012

Picture Of The Day: 04.02.12

Freddie Gibbs on Upcoming DJ Drama Mixtape: “Best Gangsta Grillz since Trap or Die.”

Freddie Gibbs stays on his grind, and though he just dropped his mixtape Cold Day In Hell near the end of 2011, he’s already prepping his next release.

“It’s gonna be [my] first Gangsta Grillz,” Gibbs recently told Bootleg Kev about the release, which will be called Baby Face Killa and hosted by DJ Drama. “It’s gonna be the best Gangsta Grillz since [Young Jeezy's] Trap or Die.”

With the release date tentatively scheduled for Memorial Day weekend, Gangsta Gibbs confirmed that he has finished roughly 75% of the songs for the tape. He confirmed that his Young Jeezy collaboration, “Mobbin,” will be on there, and that the two just shot a video for the record. “Ride Part 1,” produced by Cardo, will also be included, while “Ride Part 2,” produced by T-Minus, may end up on this mixtape or a separate future project.

“Me and Jeezy really went in on this one,” the former XXL Freshman continued, adding that they recorded “three or four” songs for Baby Face Killa. “We was around each other a lot during the time I was making the mixtape. We still gonna do a project together. I got him on some stuff on this Gangsta Grillz that people have never heard him on.”

The Gary, Indiana native also revealed a few other collaborations that he has in the stash, though it was unclear whether or not they’d end up on the Drama-hosted offering: he teamed with DJ Quik, Warren G, and Young Jeezy for “Stay Strapped Part 2,” and had Warren G produce “Do It,” a collaboration between Gibbs, Jeezy and YG.

“There’s been a lot of fakery going on as of late, and a lot of people have been buying into it, but we just want to let the world know that we keeping it one thousand and we still going,” Gibbs concluded, before saying that he may be signing a deal before long. “I’m probably gonna make a decision soon. You gonna know when I drop the mixtape. This is gonna be like the album before the album. Gangsta Grillz ain’t really a regular mixtape.” —Adam Fleischer for XXL

The Knicks might have held Jeremy Lin’s injury news to sell playoff tickets

The buzz around Jeremy Lin has diminished considerably over the past month, but he's still a fan favorite with a personal story that brings in lots of interest. While Lin will likely miss the rest of the season with a knee injury, his presence has brought the New York Knicks a lot of money this season. With his season over, and free agency looming this summer, it's possible that the Knicks will part ways with their cash cow.

Perhaps sensing the end, the Knicks might have held back the news of Lin's injury in order to make money from playoff ticket sales. According to Frank Isola of the New York Daily News, the timing of the announcement came after an important deadline for buying playoff tickets (via PBT):

The Knicks were eventually going to get around to revealing the troubling results of Jeremy Lin's MRI but certainly not before last Wednesday.

That was a crucial day inside the club's executive offices at Two Penn Plaza because March 28 represented the deadline for season- ticket holders to purchase all four rounds of the playoffs.

In fact, in the email sent to subscribers, there is a picture of Lin leaping in celebration. Yet, it was two days before the deadline when Lin and the Knicks' medical staff learned that the second-year point guard/cash cow was suffering from a torn meniscus in his left knee and that he wouldn't be jumping for joy anytime soon.

Although Lin waited until Saturday before formally making the decision to have surgery, it certainly made business sense for the organization to withhold medical information about its marquee attraction. But that doesn't explain why the Knicks, who are 2½ games ahead of Milwaukee for the eighth and final playoff spot with 13 games left, weren't forthcoming about Lin's condition after Wednesday's postseason ticket deadline passed.

Fans are refunded playoff ticket costs in the event that teams don't make the playoffs, but the Knicks would still stand to earn considerable interest before having to give back the money. While that might seem like a dastardly way to make a few extra bucks off fans, it's also well within standard operating procedure for NBA teams.

Isola has more, including that the Knicks contradicted a statement from interim coach Mike Woodson regarding Lin's availability. There have also been reports that the delay had been caused by Lin seeking a second opinion, which would be a less conspiratorial explanation for the issues.

However, this behavior would be fairly bizarre on the part of the Knicks, because it presumes that their fans — a tough group, but certainly one that buys tickets regardless of record — would only buy playoff tickets if Lin was playing. Prices don't change depending on which players are active for particular games, and the excitement of playoff basketball isn't tied to the spectacle as much as the fact that those games are really, really important. Fans might hold back from buying tickets if they thought the Knicks didn't have a chance of making the postseason, and Lin's absence will hurt those odds. Then again, fans are rarely governed by reason, and bank accounts are yielding much interest these days anyway. If the playoffs are a possibility, and the money gets refunded, why wouldn't fans reserve their seats regardless of who's hurt?

That's not to say that Isola's report is wrong — the Knicks front office has certainly done crazier stuff. All it means is that this whole minor scandal never had to exist in the first place. Lin drives a lot of interest, but Knicks fans were around long before February. If anyone has reason to care about this elaborate plan, it's the scalpers and re-sellers who stood to make lots more money off Lin's first playoff appearance. Pity them, if you must. via Ball Don't Lie

Nike Air Force 1 iD – Safari Options Available

Each month in 2012 has served as a podium for the Nike Air Force 1 iD, during which an all-new customizable option gets introduced to the AF1 iD ever thirty days or so. Thus far, we’ve seen boot leather, elephant print, and tennis ball, so for April, Nike is bringing one of Tinker Hatfield’s other primal-based design prints – safari. While the name emanates a level of ferocity in the wilderness, Tinker admitted that the design inspiration for safari came from a couch, of all things (though the couch was upholstered with ostrich skin leather). Hit up Nike iD to make your own Forces ready for the Safari, and we’ll keep you updated with what else might be in store for the AF1 iD! via Sneaker News

Air Jordan IX (9) ‘Johnny Kilroy’ and ‘Olive’ 2012 Retro

Rounding out the looks at the upcoming Air Jordan IX retro releases for Holiday 2012 is the first look at the “Johnny Kilroy” and “Olive” colorways.

While the “Olive” retains the look of the OG, the “Johnny Kilroy” kicks are a brand new colorway for the silhouette and sport a black/silver-red colorway with a #4 on the heel in place of the #23.

Like the “Cool Grey” and “Black/Photo Blue” (and possibly the “French Blue” colorway), look for these to drop as a part of Jordan Brand’s Holiday 2012 releases. via Sneakerfiles