Thursday, October 23, 2014

Top 10 NBA Preseason Plays: October 22nd, 2014

Count down the top ten plays from Wednesday night.
Tristan Thompson

Top 10 NBA Preseason Plays: October 21st, 2014

Check out the top 10 plays from Tuesday's night.
Dwight Howard a.k.a. D12

J.J. Watt — Greatest Defensive Player Of All-Time?

Only Greatness Will Do For J.J. Watt

Coaches, teammates agree: Dominance is main motivation for Texans All-Pro

HOUSTON -- He walks in, the best defensive football player on the planet, and takes a seat in a small media workroom inside NRG Stadium.

J.J. Watt is wearing Houston Texans gear and white sneakers with "Mega Watt" scribbled in red on the back. He puts his iPhone, sans a case, in his lap, clasps his massive hands together, looks at the floor and then raises his head, his icy blue eyes ablaze, his chiseled face expressionless.

"I owe you a huge apology," I say, taking a seat an arm's length away from him. "I'm very sorry."

Watt didn't ask for an explanation.

"That's all right," he says.

'No, it isn't.'

Watt and I had never sat down for a one-on-one interview before last week. We spoke once by phone midway through his second year in the NFL, in 2012. By that time, Watt had convinced his defensive coordinator, Wade Phillips, that he could take calculated risks on the football field because he had the talent, the work ethic and the drive to make them work. And Phillips had figured out that not only did Watt see the field better than any defender he had ever coached, but Watt played the defensive end position better than anyone, too.

The end of the 2011 regular season had been Watt's coming-out party, and the playoffs were his confirmation. His 2012 season ranks among the greatest ever by a defensive player: 20.5 sacks, 16 passes defensed, a team-high 107 tackles, 39 tackles for loss, 42 quarterback hits, 4 forced fumbles and 2 fumble recoveries.

"He had the best year anybody's ever had," said Phillips, who during 37 seasons in the NFL coached Reggie White, Bruce Smith and Demarcus Ware in their primes. "You put in tackles, assists, tackles for loss, hits on the quarterback, knockdowns and sacks, he had everything."

Only one of the 50 media members who voted for the Associated Press Defensive Player of the Year award didn't vote for Watt.

Two weeks later, Houston was trailing Buffalo 10-7 in the third quarter. The Bills were facing third-and-3 from the Texans' 12-yard line. Houston blitzed, and Watt jumped in front of an EJ Manuel pass, batted and intercepted the ball and ran 80 yards untouched into the end zone. Touchdown. The Texans won 23-17.

Then in Week 6, after spotting Indianapolis a 24-0 first-quarter lead, the Texans trailed 33-21 early in the fourth quarter. With the Colts facing third-and 12 from the Houston 45, Indianapolis quarterback Andrew Luck fumbled the snap. Watt tried to fall on the football, but it bounced off his leg. Then he rolled over, untouched, picked it up and ran 45 yards into the end zone. Touchdown. The score pulled the Texans within a touchdown, but they lost 33-28.

"People are always like, 'Does it amaze you what he does?'" wide receiver Andre Johnson said. "I always tell them, 'No,' because you see some of the stuff he does in practice."

Said offensive tackle Duane Brown, "He gets his hands up all the time in practice to bat balls down. But the interception against Buffalo, and then to have the speed; they have some fast players on their offense, and nobody was close to catching him."

Phillips had seen it before. It was Watt's rookie year. The Texans were playing host to Cincinnati in a wild-card game. Late in the first half with the score tied, Cincinnati was at its own 34-yard line.

Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton looked for A.J. Green but found Watt's hands instead. Interception. Touchdown. The Texans earned their first playoff victory in franchise history 31-10.

While watching the coaches' tape of the play on a computer screen, Phillips said: "See how close he is to the quarterback? That's the same thing he did against Buffalo. He jumps up and catches it. I mean receivers can't do that. The game was over after that."

"That was one of the best moments of my life," Watt said. "I think that's kind of when whatever I am now, whatever this crazy situation that I'm in now is, I think that's really the play that started it all."
This crazy situation is Watt's escalating fame. In the pantheon of Houston sports, his popularity is approaching that of Hakeem Olajuwon, Earl Campbell and Nolan Ryan.

Watt is in commercials. Fans knock on the door of his suburban Houston home. He can't go to the grocery store. He has to sneak in the back doors of restaurants to avoid being mobbed. Women routinely propose marriage.

"His popularity is soaring," longtime Houston Chronicle sportswriter John McClain said. "I'm one of the few who's been here for all of it, and his is getting close to theirs."

Before this season, Watt signed a six-year contract extension that included $51.8 million guaranteed, the most for a defensive player in NFL history.

People always ask, 'Man, why don't you come out and enjoy it? Why don't you celebrate?' ... Anybody can go to the club. You don't have to be good at going to the club to go to the club. You have to be good to be playing on Sundays.” — J.J. Watt

There is no hint of jealousy inside the Texans' locker room over Watt's salary, success or celebrity. Part of the reason is Watt's singular focus on football. He practically lives at the facility. He pores over film. He practices with the same intensity with which he plays.

Watt does not go out in Houston after wins. He doesn't party. Last year, Johnson coaxed him to a New Year's Eve bash he was throwing, and Watt was overrun by people wanting to take pictures with him.

"It got a little bit out of control," said Johnson, a star in his own right. "But it comes with the territory when you've done what he's done. You're watching football games on TV, and he's just about on every commercial. His face is out there. But that's a tribute to him and what he's done. He works his butt off, so he deserves everything."

There will be time for parties and bars, for dating and spending money and not monitoring every ounce of food and beverage he puts in his body -- later. Watt is about the now.
"You only get so many years to play this game, and success is so much fun, but it's so hard," Watt said. "It's so difficult to get that you have to devote every single thing that you have to it, and that means making tons and tons of sacrifices.

"Everybody talks about how badly they want to be great, but are you really willing at the end of the day to make all the sacrifices that you have to? I think so far I've been willing to make those, so that's why I've been successful, and I'm going to continue to because I love the feeling of success."
Watt paused.

"A sack is way better than any nightclub," he said. "A touchdown is way better than any bar experience I've ever had. I live for Sundays. I live for Mondays. I live for Thursdays.
"People always ask, 'Man, why don't you come out and enjoy it? Why don't you celebrate? Why don't you have any fun?' My fun is Sundays. Anybody can go to the club. You don't have to be good at going to the club to go to the club. You have to be good to be playing on Sundays, and to me, that's what's cool."

J.J Watt
Cary Edmondson/USA TODAY Sports
What can't Watt do? After making his first career TD catch against Oakland, the list is a short one.

Before fame and riches, Watt was a walk-on at Wisconsin who helped paint Camp Randall Stadium for spare change.

"One day I came in the office and he's painting doorways," said Badgers athletic director Barry Alvarez. "He might be scraping paint. Whatever they had him do, that was his summer job."
After his freshman year at Central Michigan, Watt, a native of Pewaukee, Wisconsin, decided he wanted to transfer to Wisconsin. Then-coach Bret Bielema, now at Arkansas, met Watt and his parents. Watt's father, John, told Bielema, "My son is very special."

"I get it," Bielema said.

"No, you don't," John replied. "He's going to be one of the best to ever play the game."

Bielema welcomed Watt as a walk-on, and before long, Watt asked what a player had to do to earn a scholarship. Bielema told him: Become a starter or play significant snaps as a backup.

"I'll have a scholarship by the end of the spring," Watt told Bielema.

"And he did," Bielema said.

Watt has four sacks, 20 QB hurries, an interception, six passes defensed
and two forced fumbles in 2014. For good measure, he also
blocked an extra point. Scott Halleran/Getty Images
Watt played so well in 26 games for the Badgers from 2009 to 2010 that he declared for the NFL draft after his junior season. Watt wasn't Houston's first choice. The Texans wanted Missouri's Aldon Smith, but San Francisco drafted Smith seventh overall. In the Texans' draft room, there was discussion over whom to pick. Phillips lobbied for Watt, and Houston selected him 11th overall.

"I think some people didn't give J.J. as much credit for the talent he has," Phillips said. "Have you ever seen the box jump that he does? Take a look at it on YouTube. You can't believe how high he can jump and how much explosion he has to do that. He can run fast. He was 290 pounds. He's a really great athlete for his size. I don't think people gave him enough credit there. I think they realize it now."

Watt's image is carefully manicured but genuine. He said he's still just Connie and John Watt's son, Derek and T.J. Watt's brother, and a small-town kid from Wisconsin who just happens to be a multimillionaire.

Watt said his largest extravagance was buying his mom a Range Rover last month.
The inconvenience of drawing a crowd wherever he goes, be it a high school football game, a smoothie shop or a restaurant, is one Watt happily will live with.

"It's what you dream about as a kid," Watt said. "You dream about being that player that everybody sees. You're on commercials. You're scoring touchdowns. You're making plays. You're going to the stadium and people scream for you. You try to go to dinner and you can't because people want your picture and autograph. It's unbelievable. It's crazy.

"So I just stay at my house, and I come to work and that's it. Some people are like, 'Man, don't you get upset? Isn't it kind of a hassle that everybody wants to take your picture?' I say, 'When they stop, that means I'm not playing well. As long as they want to, that means I'm playing well, so I'll take it.'"

Watt won't say it, but he'd undoubtedly also take winning the NFL's Most Valuable Player award. Only two defensive players have done so: Minnesota Vikings defensive tackle Alan Page in 1971 and New York Giants linebacker Lawrence Taylor in 1986. Both are in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

After what he's accomplished through six games, Watt is in the MVP discussion. "Wherever people want to put me in terms of voting for awards, at the end of the day that's their opinion," Watt said. "All I can do is go out there and put the best possible player on the football field, and then if they vote for me, they vote for me. If they don't, they don't. I can't control how they vote. You know that."
Yes, I do. All too well. — Ashley Fox | ESPN

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Top 10 NBA Preseason Plays: October 20th, 2014

Check out all the best highlights from the 7 games on Monday night. Which was #1 for you?
Quincy Acy | #4 | 6' 7" 233 lbs | F | New York Knicks

Top 10 NBA Preseason Plays of the Night: October 19th, 2014

See where Alec Burks' cross-over on Kobe Bryant ends up in Sunday's Top 10 plays.

♫ How my behind-the-back taste? ♫

Monday, October 20, 2014

Jahlil Beats Lists His Top 10 Produced Singles

The other week we got producer Jahlil Beats to do some of our work for us, and list his Top 10 producers of all time. It was an interesting glimpse into the mind and the influences of the young producer, as he cited plenty of seasoned producers and let us know his favorite to ever do it was Swizz Beatz. 

Now that we know where his inspiration for being a producer comes from, we're following it up with Jahlil's list of his Top 10 singles that he himself produced. Of course, given that Jahlil's career got a kick start when he began working with Meek Mill, a relationship which has continued to this day, the list is pretty Meek-heavy. Can you guess what Jahlil puts as his #1 record though? Watch him count them down above.

Jahlil Beats

Jahlil Beats breaks down the ten favorite singles he's produced.

As a producer, Jahlil Beats has had the pleasure of working with everyone from Jeezy to Meek Mill to, most recently, Bobby Shmurda, and has made beats for a number of singles along the way. While he was in our office recently, the Philly-based beatmaker broke down his personal favorites from his arsenal of singles. Watch him count down the top ten above.
Cluing us into which songs exceeded his expectations, put him on, and featured performances from rappers that wowed him, Jahlil gives a humble and eye-opening look into his stacked catalog as a producer. 

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Jason Williams a.k.a. White Chocolate — Retired NBA-Star Still Got It

Jason Williams showing out at the Orlando Pro Am.

38 Year Old Jason Williams Still Has It | White Chocolate Summer Mixtape

The video starts off with a 38 year old Jason “White Chocolate” Williams at the Orlando Pro-Am shouting “I ain’t travel since I was 6.”

Don’t you miss him?

When he was 18, he was named West Virginia Player of the Year by USA Today for leading his team to the state championship with teammate Randy Moss.

When he was 22, he set a Florida Gators record with 17 assists in a game.

When he was 23, he was selected 7th overall in the NBA draft to the Sacramento Kings and quickly became one of the most exciting players in the league. If it wasn’t for a shortened lockout season and this guy called Vinsanity, William’s rookie season would have been even more memorable.

When he was 31, he won a NBA championship as a member of the Miami Heat.

Jason Williams a.k.a. White Chocolate
When he was 33, he announced his retirement (although he came back and retired again 2 years later) but has been showing up in pro-ams and international tours all around the world for the past few years reminding basketball fans that he was the guy who could make elbow passes and leave Gary Payton stuck in cement.

So here we are watching him at 38 and acting like he’s still that exciting whiteboy we fell in love with 15 years ago. — 
David Astramskas | Ball Is Life

Spandau Ballet — Soul Boys Of The Western World

Soul Boys of the Western World is a journey through the 1980s and beyond; the story of a band, an era and how one small gathering of outsiders in London shaped the entire world's view of music and fashion.

At the heart of it all was Spandau Ballet, five friends who epitomised the early 80s London scene and became one of the decade's most iconic bands with the world at their feet. The film is not only a fascinating, often hard hitting social and cultural document of the time, but a brutally honest story of how friendships can be won, lost and ultimately regained.

Spandau Ballet in 1985

Soul Boys Of The Western World

After a couple of decades of royalty squabbles of epic proportions, the members of cult-classic 80s band — Spandau Ballet have come back again and hit the reunion circuit.

Spandau Ballet
Brothers in arms — Martin and Gary Kemp in Spandau Ballet’s heyday.

 Director George Hencken's documentary about the band,  follows them from New Romantic roots at the Blitz club to the present day reunion tours around the globe.

Spandau Ballet
Take a bow — Spandau Ballet lap up the applause following the premiere of Soul Boys of the Western World at the Royal Albert Hall in London. 

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Top 10 Best Dunks In NBA Slam Dunk Contest History via GIFs

NBA Slam Dunk Contest Legends
Top Ten Best Dunks from NBA's annual Slam Dunk Contest — compiled by USA Today:
10. Cedric Ceballos, 1992: "The Blindfold"
We don't know how thick that blindfold was. But the creativity wins Ceballos some points. This is the greatest moment in Ceballos' career, which is saying something because he was a pretty good NBA player for years.
9. Dwight Howard, 2008: "The Superman"
It may not be a dunk, technically speaking. But it also may be more impressive than a dunk, visually speaking. Howard gets up high enough for long enough that he can throw the ball through the hoop with the velocity of a decent fastball. The dunk contest, when push comes to shove, is all about the spectacle of the event. What better embodies that than a Superman cape?
8. Vince Carter, 2000: "The Elbow"
This dunk is so vicious, even if it unfairly gets forgotten because of the more memorable Carter dunk in his 2000 title. It seems insane Carter only participated in one dunk contest because he goes down as one of the greatest in the event's history.
7. Dominique Wilkins, 1988: "The Backboard"
On one hand, the off-the-backboard dunk isn't really anything special. It wasn't, even back then. Then you watch this dunk. Wilkins gets high enough that he could rest his chin on the rim, and he throws the ball down with such authority that it looked as though he might tear the rim down. Wilkins is the greatest dunker in NBA history, and this was his finest contest moment.
6. Jason Richardson, 2004: "The Up-and-Under"
The between-the-legs dunk is a staple these days, but two-time champion Richardson put unique spins on it. This one is particularly impressive, as he kissed the ball off the backboard, grabbed it and put it between his legs for the dunk. Richardson probably deserves to go down as the greatest dunk contest champion ever, and this won't be his last entry on this list.
5. Andre Iguodala, 2006: "The Answer"
Iguodala got robbed because Nate Robinson is short. Let's just get that out of the way now. Because this dunk is one of the best ever. Allen Iverson puts up a perfect pass off the back of the backboard, and Iguodala finishes with grace and authority. The combination of AI to AI was awesome, but the degree of difficulty really wins the points here. Just look how close he comes to hitting his head on the backboard.
4. Vince Carter, 2000: "The In-Betweener"
This was the dunk that made every kid dream of doing a between-the-legs dunk. Though Kobe Bryant and J.R. Rider executed the dunk in previous contests, Carter did it with an effortlessness that can't be topped. He soars and throws down. It's tragic that the 1998-99 lockout eliminated the All-Star Game in Carter's rookie year because it's easy to imagine him winning back-to-back contests.
3. Spud Webb, 1986: "The Bounce"
Even the beginning of this dunk brings a smile to any old-school NBA fan's face. The 5-7 guard entered the dunk contest against heavily favored Wilkins, his Atlanta Hawks teammate, and told Wilkins he hadn't even prepared. Lies. Webb threw down a series of impressive slams to make the final round against Wilkins, then finished him off with this fatality, slamming the ball against the ground with all his might, catching it mid-jump and spinning around for the reverse slam. We repeat: This guy is 5-7.
2. Michael Jordan, 1988: "The Free Throw"
Before Jordan was the game's greatest player, he won the game's greatest dunk contest. The 1988 event already features a Wilkins dunk on this list, but this was the one that sealed it for Jordan in the final round. He needed a 48 to tie. It suffices to say he received a 50 for one of the sport's most iconic moments, when he took off from the free throw line and buckled his knees just right and gave everyone who hadn't experienced his greatness an understanding of where things were headed.
1. Jason Richardson, 2003: "The Everything"
It'd be easy to say any of these dunks could be No. 1, but we aren't so sure. This dunk, after all, was every other dunk combined. Richardson does the lob off the court, grabs the ball midair, puts it between his legs then does a one-handed reverse dunk. It's perfect. It's absurdly perfect. It's the best dunk we've seen.
All GIFs by USA TODAY Sports' Tim McGarry, using YouTube videos.

Nate Robinson — theKONGBLOG™'s Certified Favorite

One of the most explosive players in the game, take a look back at Nate Robinson's amazing career as we count down the 10 best plays from it!

theKONGBLOG™'s Certified Favorite: Nate Robinson

"Nate Robinson is a NBA star originally from Seattle, WA, known for his explosive scoring and leaping ability. Nate has served as a successful combo guard for the New York Knicks, Boston Celtics, Oklahoma City Thunder, Golden State Warriors and Denver Nuggets. Nate is the NBA's first three-time slam dunk champion.

5' 9" Nate Robinson dunking over 5' 6" Spud Webb

NBA: Nate was chosen with the 21st pick in the 2005 NBA Draft by the Phoenix Suns and traded to the New York Knicks. The diminutive yet explosive scoring guard averaged 9.3 points, 2.0 assists, 2.3 rebounds and 22 minutes during his rookie campaign. He recorded a career-high 34 points vs. the Sixers on March 31, 2006, marking the highest-scoring game for a Knicks rookie in 20 years.

Nate is the first three-time Slam Dunk champion in the NBA. He electrified a worldwide audience by winning the 2006 Slam Dunk Contest. His signature dunk came in the second round, when he leapt over the 1986 Slam Dunk winner, Spud Webb for a one-handed slam off a Webb bounce pass. He went on to win his second Slam Dunk title after jumping over Superman Dwight Howard, as he donned his green jersey and green Nikes representing Kryptonite (KryptoNATE).

COLLEGE: Nate led the Washington Huskies to two straight NCAA basketball tournament appearances, including a trip to the sweet sixteen his junior year. Nate was named Third Team All-American by AP and NABC as a junior. He earned First Team All-Pac-10 honors his sophomore and junior seasons.

Nate originally signed with Washington to play football before deciding to concentrate on basketball prior to his sophomore year. His college football career is most remembered for his interception in the final minutes of regulation of the 2002 Apple Cup against Washington State Cougars.

PERSONAL: Nathaniel Cornelius Robinson was born on May 31, 1984, and is the oldest of seven siblings. Nate played all 13-football games of 2002 season and started the final six games as a cornerback on the Husky football squad, including the Sun Bowl. His father Jacque Robinson played running back at Washington and in the NFL.

Nate dunked for the first time (a volleyball) in the eighth grade. His vertical leap is 43.5 inches. Nate loves to play video games and enjoys communicating with his fans over Twitter."

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