Basketball & the NBA was one of my first passions growing up. Now a days I don’t play as much ball and tend to play Nerf more. But I follow the NBA more than ever. As someone who enjoys Nerf and plays/hosts games a decent amount, I often look to other sports to see how they relate to Nerf. After thinking to myself, what Nerf Fan Sites are like NBA players, I came up with this list of 10 popular Nerf sites and how they relate to NBA Players, Teams, or duos.
This list is based on my NBA & Nerf knowledge, each site’s accomplishments & what they do, and my own personal experiences with each person or site. I’ll be drawing parallels and similarities between these things and the basketball.
First in this alphabetical list is the Adult Fans of Nerf. I first met them in person at the Nerf 2013 Summer Launch Party in New York. While most famous duos in and out of sports have an “alpha” or leader, Mr. K and Mr. S are nearly on the same level. Yet they complement each other so well. I had a hard time putting an NBA duo on them, but after some extra thinking I came up with the Memphis Grizzles’ Marc Gasol & Zach Randolph. Gasol and Randolph won’t wow you most of the time, and their not an NBA Superstar name. But they have effective play, and complement each other well.
AFON is the same way, their videos and site work won’t wow you. There’s no special effects, color correction, or dubstep music used. But their videos are high quality and their site is clean. In person, Mr. K seems to be Zach Randolph in this duo, the one with a little bit more “alpha”, while Mr. S is Gasol. However just like in the Memphis duo, AFON is easily able to switch roles with one another and do what the other requests.
Need some proof on how good the Memphis Grizzles duo is? Here’s a video of them combining for 54 points against the Oklahoma City Thunder in the 2011 playoffs.
2. Click Click Bamf are – Shaquille O’Neal & Penny Hardaway
Photo Credit: Sports Fan Journal
Shaq and Penny played with each other on the Orlando Magic from 1993 to 1996, a total of only 4 seasons. During their time together, Shaq was the most dominant big man in the sport, while Penny was a great guard that multi-dimension. They made the finals in the 1994-1995 season, but lost to the Houston Rockets 0 games to 4. Shaq then left the team, due his contract expiring, and joined the Los Angeles Lakers. The rest is basketball history. The duo were unable to put aside their egos & differences, but what if they had stayed together? The explosive duo would be sure to win at least one championship together if they stayed healthy, the sky would be the limit for them. Shaq went on to win 5 championship rings, while Penny won zero and faced constant big injuries which reduced his effectiveness.
Click Click Bamf is a Nerf fan site based out of Colorado, originally founded by Coop & CJ. Most of their content is found on their Youtube channel videos,in which they review Nerf blasters in their stock forms quite well. They cover a blasters ranges, accuracy tests, reload time, rate of fire, aesthetics, and function. They did a great job while they were together, but Coop has moved to Los Angeles, California to focus more and acquire opportunities on for dream job, acting. Coop is now under their West Coast Division, while CJ has picked up Larry James and Nate Letteer to help make up for the loss of Coop. We can sit and wonder how much better they would be if they managed to stay together, but their adjusting to each other’s absence and moving on just fine.
I’ve met both Coop and CJ separately. With Coop in Southern California like me, we’ve taken the opportunity to meet up a few times. He’s lent me a shield for a Camarillo HvZ game I was head organizer of (Winter 2011) and even gave me three blasters to give out as prizes. I’ve also Nerfed with him a few times. He’s a busy man though, always working on things, but he keeps me updated with his plans, ideas, and aspirations when we manage to meet. CJ seems to be the funnier out of the two, but it also equally busy. I met him at the Nerf Summer 2013 Party, where he even payed for my milkshake without me asking in our dinner together afterwards. He’s a married man, and taken a big part of Click Click Bamf with Coop doing other things outside of Nerf. They’re both kind, knowledgeable, and are fun people to be around.
With parallels of both of these duos, Shaq and Penny come to mind when I think Click Click Bamf.
When I first met Vas of Foam From Above in person, it was at the 2013 Summer Launch Party. What stood out to me the most was how experienced, and knowledgeable he was not just about Nerf, but also the whole New York Summer Nerf Party experience, talking to the PR and Nerf Designers on both old and new topics, and being comfortable talking to pretty much any of the Nerf Fan sites there about whatever topic amongst other things. He can go from talking about blogging with people like the Adult Fans of Nerf, and then hop into the topic of modding Angel Breaches with Badger (Nerf HQ) & Langley (Nerf Haven). His knowledge, and experience with Nerf as a hobby/business, and the relationships he’s formed in his 5 years or so blogging amaze me, since they seem a little bit more developed beyond his years of experience actually doing that. Vas is a kind, experienced, and smart blogger.
And this is why he reminds me of Tim Duncan. When I speak of experience, Duncan will have gone through his 17th Season as a pro after this current one ends. When I mention smarts and knowledge Duncan’s comes from his long playing time & smart head coach Greg Popovich. Duncan was also a bit criticized the past couple of years due to his stats and production dropping. However any smart NBA fan will tell you that he was, and is still, a very important part of the Spurs.
In a similar sense, I feel that Vas and his site Foam From Above are also underrated. He visits the New York Toy Fair at the start of almost every year, which allows us to get a better look at or see new Nerf items. And while his site doesn’t get as many hits at others, (just like how Duncan’s stats aren’t as high as others), Vas’ relationships with the Nerf Designers and PR teams have surely helped give them good voice and understanding of the Nerf Internet.
The two thoughts I first think of with Johnson Arms is, “Wow this guy is creative”, and “Holy cow does he put out a lot of stuff.” Because he does a lot of work and shows off a lot of stuff, he’s a team rather then just one player. The Early 2000s Sacramento Kings come to mind when I think of creative and team. The main players were Point Guard Jason Williams, Power Forward Chris Webber, Center Vlade Divac, and Small Forward Peja Stojaković. Check out a video of some of their highlights below for an idea of the kind of fun, exciting basketball they played.
While playing that kind of basketball is fun, it also takes a lot of creativity to think of moves like that during a game. You can also tell that they enjoy playing. These two things are what made me think of the Kings when thinking of Johnson Arms. If you have him as a friend of Facebook, or even just visit his Facebook page, he’s got A LOT of works that he shares with us fairly often. I could never imagine myself doing that much decorating/modding if I were one person, he’s doing a team’s amount of work.
5. MyLastDart is – Derrick Rose
Screenshot from the Adidas Derrick Rose 2013 Commercial, “Basketball is Everything”
Derrick Rose entered the NBA 2008-2009 season, and two seasons after that, he became the youngest player in NBA to win the MVP award at 22 years of age. He helped lead the Chicago Bulls to the NBA Conferences finals during the 2010-2011 season, where they lost to the Miami Heat. MLD, in about 2 and a half years of Nerf blogging & at the time of this post, has accumulated 1,114,629 blog views, 373 blog posts, 3,258 Facebook Page likes, and 2,493 followers on Twitter. Like D-Rose, that’s quite a lot of accomplishments in such a sort amount of time. Some Nerfers could even argue that MLD has been the MVP during his time blogging. The amount of Nerf posts, stories that he broke, research that he did, and locations you saw him mentioned at online were border line insane. If we were to make a “Nerf Version” of the commercial I mentioned above, the tag line would now be “Nerf is Everything”.
The parallels don’t stop there. Rose has been notorious for injury and knee issues, missing all of the 2012-2013 NBA season. He then came back in the next one, played ten games, and suffered a torn meniscus which again has forced him to miss the rest of this current season. MLD also has been dealing with back issues, and stopped posting for about 3 months towards the end of 2013 as he rehabbed from back surgery. It’s a combination of this, and other circumstances, that force MLD to not play Nerf very often, or not play at all. While the sports world is waiting to see how Rose comes back from this big injury, MLD has steadily been post once again. Although it’s not as high of a rate as before, I hope for him to continue to post for the long run.
Both Rose and MLD have had their bits on controversy. Derrick Rose has been shadowed by rumors of his grades getting changed to higher ones in high school, and his stats from his one year in Memphis college are unofficial due to him being liable for investigation under SAT cheating. On the MyLastDart end, he doesn’t appear to get along quite well with certain other Nerf fan sites, mainly as Foam From Above, and has gone as far as to call him a “cunt” in this post for an apparent misunderstanding or for reasons unknown. He’s since removed that mention, but the comments left on the post indicate that it did indeed happen. But just like the majority of basketball fans, I’m sure most Nerfers won’t care too much about this as long as MLD keeps up his quality posts.
The “Bad Boy” Detroit Pistons, in this example, were the Detroit Piston’s teams from 1986 to 1991. Chuck Daly was their head coach from 1983 to 1992. He coached them to the NBA Championship in 1989 and 1990.Key players during this time period included Isiah Thomas, Dennis Rodman, Joe Dumars, Adrian Dantley, Bill Laimbeer, Rick Mahorn, Mark Aguirre, and James Edwards. During this time period, they were known for a rough, physical, and sometimes dirty style of play. Seeing the Pistons get into fights and scuffles on the court was not uncommon during this time period, see for yourself some of the fights they got into below.
Their defense was great, and they could score the basketball as well. But they were were also innovators of sorts, inventing what the basketball world has called the “Jordan Rules”. They were a set of rules that the Piston players employed when they faced Michael Jordan. They wanted to play him physical, vary his looks at the basketball, throw him off balance, double team him, and foul him rather then give up any easy points. It was an effective defense, and it worked, helping them defeat Michael Jordan and his Chicago Bulls in three straight playoff series’ in 1988, 1989, and 1990. You can get a glance at what Jordan and the Bulls faced in the video below.
Nerf Haven has been the Nerf Forum source for many revolutionary and new Nerf modifications, ideas, and homemade blasters. It is THE number one source for these these things. And even if the ideas weren’t born there, the people making them have connections to or have accounts on Nerf Haven. The ideas of Stefans (home made darts) and it’s variation of Slugs came from there. Brass Breaches, Angel Breach, and homemades such as the PlusBow (+Bow) , SnapBow, Rainbow Pistols, Hopper Clips, and more.
However, it’s not the most “noob friendly” place to be at. New accounts must go through an approval process. It’s gradually improved through the years, but before that threads & topics that broke rules were locked with sometimes slightly vague answers. Now a days you’ll get more precise answers, but the mods won’t hesitate to lock threads that break the rules. Members are also kinder then what they were three to five years ago.
Due to the innovation, creation, and less then friendly (although friendlier now) attitude from members, I would have to think of the Bad Boy Detroit Pistons if I had to connect Nerf Haven to a basketball team.
Nerf Mods & Reviews was run by jerm 781 from January 19, 2009 to March 13th, 2012, and then it was run by other established authors from across the Nerf community. During his time posting, he posted mod guides, internals of blasters, Nerf News, and even Nerf sales that he found in stores. His constantly uploaded his site with many quality posts regarding these things. When he handed over his site to the other authors, reasons for him leaving were not clear or mentioned.
Tracy McGrady played 16 seasons in the NBA (17 if you include his playoff run with the Spurs during the 2012-2013 season). But injuries forced “T-Mac” skills and abilities to deteriorate and diminish much quicker. McGrady has career averages per game of 19.6 points, 5.6 rebounds, and 4.4 assists. Many considered T-Mac to be the second or third best shooting guard during the early to mid 2000s.
With the turnover and quitting of jerm781 in 2012, it felt like the soul of the site was gone. NM&R, to me, had a hard to establishing its new identity for itself as the months passed without jerm781 at its helm. In a similar vein, Mcgrady is his later years felt like a shell of himself due to his abilities diminished by injuries. Finally, on January 10, 2014, NM&Rcontributors past and present for the site (listed below) decided that they would stop posting.
With both of these people, I feel that they had had more blogging and basketball in them. If McGrady hadn’t had injuries hit him as hard, I could easily see a hall of fame career for him. If jerm781 hadn’t left (for whatever reasons), it’s very plausible that we could still see plenty of good work from him.
8. SG Nerf is – Yao Ming
Photo Credit: Hku.hk Yao Ming is holding the microphone.
Yao Ming was not the first Chinese player to play in the NBA, but he certainly made the biggest impact as a Chinese player. Over his 8 year NBA career, on a per game average, he has of 19 points, 9.2 rebounds, 1.6 assists, 1.9 blocks, as well as achieving a free throw percentage of 83.3 percent. A difficult and rare feat for many big men in the sport. Big injuries made him cut his career short, and although he is now retired from playing professionally, he was a good player during his playing time. His also played for his home country of China and represented them in the 2000, 2004, and 2008 Olympics. He also played and led his China National Team to the FIBA Asian Championships in 2001, 2003, and 2005.
His off court accomplishments and charity work can be argued for having a bigger impact. He’s done A LOT of Charity work, but some of his highlights include participating in the NBA’s basketball with borders program, raising $300,000 USD to to stop the spread of SARS, helping raise 7 Million Yuan to help underprivileged Children in China, and donating 2 Million dollars to the relief work following the 2008 Sichuan earthquake. Yao Ming is an icon, a charity worker, and a basketball player.
SG Nerf is a Nerf blogger out of the small country of Singapore. In addition to posting many news updates, as well as giving reviews on recently released blasters (which includes high quality photos and range tests) on his site SG Nerf. He also runs a modding site for Nerf blasters, Mod Works, which features high quality photos of internals of blasters and how to modify the blasters. He runs sites called “SG Toyz” and “SG Super Soaker”, featuring updates on blasters and Super Soakers in Singapore. He hosts and manages a Singapore Nerf Forum called “Nerf SG” which allows and helps users to get together for Nerf Wars, trading, news, and discussions amongst other things. His sites and quality work have non-Singapore Nerfers across the world to get a better look into the Nerf world of Singapore, and he’s help spread Nerf from Singapore to as well.
Now a days, SG Nerf doesn’t post as much as he used to do in 2008-2012. My email attempt to contact him and ask him about his recent lack of activity wasn’t answered, but I’ve heard on Facebook from other Singapore Nerfers that he’s more focused on hosting, organizing, and promoting events in Singapore. I’m sure the Singapore Nerfers are very thankful for him and others helping organizer Nerf events there.
Both Yao and SG Nerf have contributed greatly to their respective passions. They’ve spread the game of basketball and the hobby of Nerf outside of their countries, as well as promote those things in their countries and worldwide. While it would be great to see both Yao and SG Nerf continue to play basketball and blog, they’ve contributed quite a lot in their active time doing these things, and continue to contribute behind the scenes.
Gordon Hayward, starting Small Forward /Shooting Guard for the Utah Jazz, is not just a professional basketball player. He’s also a professional Starcraft player! On the basketball side, on a per game average for his team this season, he leads them in points, steals, and field goals attempted. He’s second in assists, tied for fourth in blacks, and is third in rebounds & free throw percentage. Mike at Tactical Tag may not be the best in a certain Nerf area, but he’s good and consistent at what he does. And just as the amount of Hayward’s stats I mentioned, he also has a variety of content. From Nerf News, Reviews on blasters and accessories, Articles on the Nerf News and future blasters & ideas, giveaways, Mod Guides and even Laser Tag in relation to those things.
Just like Hayward and his two professional sports, Mike is also active in the Laser Tag community. He seems to be just as passionate & knowledgeable, if not more, with Laser Tag as he is with Nerf.
Allen Iverson is probably the best six foot and under guard to ever play professional basketball. Listed at just 175 lb (or about 75 kg) he has 14 year career averages of 26.7 points per game, 6.2 assists per game, and 2.2 steals per game. His small size and weight made it harder to play most of the NBA, where players of his position usually averaged 3-4 inches and 20-30 lbs more then him. He often played through injuries often (one example is shown below), and went to the basketball often un-scared of the contact he would often receive. He played bigger than he was, and although he never won a championship, his tough status & accomplishments are legendary amongst NBA fans.
A list of injuries Iverson played through in the NBA 2001 Finals. Photo thanks to PennyCCW & Crabdribbles.com
Pocket (as he’s known online) ran his Nerf blog out of Australia. The land notorious for banning Airsoft, having strong safety toy laws (which feature reduced Nerf ranges in comparison to other countries), and getting Nerf & other toy releases late. With all these things against him, Pocket was still able to break stories and acquire working copies of blasters much earlier than their scheduled release dates. The amount of of blasters that he showed us through his 3 years of blogging was simply amazing. All this was done because he enjoyed Nerf and sharing the details of the blasters with us.
Both Pocket and Iverson, depending on who you ask, were also giving a bit of a bad or mis-interpreted image to their respective topics. The Pocket/Urban Taggers Lawsuit will almost certainly be remembered in the Nerf hobby. It also got coverage from non Nerf sites. While Pocket made plenty of people excited for the upcoming Nerf blasters & items, it wasn’t the way Hasbro/Nerf wanted to show them off. In a similar light, the NBA probably thought that Allen Iverson wasn’t representing their sport the best, even though he was a very popular player when he played. As you can see in the photo used for this section, as well as the header image I used, Iverson’s signature look often featured tattoos from his neck & arms down, cornrows, and a headband. Some people could perhaps see him as a “gangster” or “thug”. The NBA issues a dress code in 2005, and it disallowed many of the Hip-Hop culture associated items that Iverson and other NBA players wore. Perhaps an attempt to help clean up the league and its image.
And last buy not least, it seemed that both of these people could have blogged or played longer then they actually did. Pocket stopped posting in July of 2013, not citing a specific reason. Iverson also citied personal reasons for him leaving the Memphis Grizzles in 2009 after only playing in 3 games, before joining the 76ers later in the season. He struggled to make a pro team in the NBA the following seasons, never returning and later retiring in 2013.
But just like Pocket and the Nerf world, Iverson has been remembered by many NBA fans still for his accomplishments and contributions to the game of basketball.
Do basketball and Nerf as a sport have connections? Do strategies intertwine or cross over Undoubtedly I would say, but that’s another story for another time.
What do you think of the article? If your an NBA/Nerf fan, do you think there are better fitting players for these popular sites? Feel free to let me know.