November 13, 2016

Bobblehead Nation 2016

It's time for my third annual NBA bobblehead roundup which I'm starting to think might be better off called the Wizards Bobblehead Collector's Lament (but we can come back to that bitterness...). This project is a labor of love each year (and I DO love bobbleheads) involving a whole lot of searching on each team's home page to find the latest and greatest promotional or giveaway schedules. Over half of the teams in the NBA have now published their list of free loot available to fans at the door, so it's time to push this thing out there.

Yes, I get that it's the second week of November and at this point some of the bobbleheads listed in this post have already been handed out. Blame the teams who are slow to post their schedules, not me. There's always eBay after all. Hopefully this can serve as a resource to NBA bobblehead collectors nationwide (or worldwide for that matter). After all, there's nothing better than holding a brand new questionable quality bobblehead handed to you for free upon entrance to an NBA arena.

There's some awfully good stuff this year, especially if you live in or around Dallas or Indianapolis. Just like the last couple of years, I'm sure there are more out there which are not yet available for amateur internet searchers like me. If I missed anything let me know and I'll correct or add a second post. For those of you in Washington, you have to wait until March for our one bobblehead giveaway. In the meantime bobblehead collectors nation-wide, let's get to the 2016-2017 list.

4 Stephen Curry (Golden State Warriors)
6 San Jose Sharks Edition Klay Thompson (Golden State Warriors)
21 Draymond Green (Golden State Warriors)
As far as I am aware (and, look I'm not necessarily that aware here), the Golden State Warriors are the only NBA team recently to give away bobbleheads in the preseason. Two years ago, it was two; last year they upped it to three; and this year they match last year's output with their current big three of Steph Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green.

First let me say what an incredible idea this is to get folks in the door before the real NBA action starts. I attended two of the Wizards three preseason games (which should totally be free for season ticket holders by the way) and there was barely anyone there. Schedule a Tomas Satoransky or John Wall in a Capitals jersey bobblehead and people would be lining up at the door.

Steph Curry's preseason bobblehead comes with him holding two MVP trophies from the past two seasons. You can add Klay Thompson in a San Jose Sharks jersey to match the one of Steph handed out last year. Draymond Green's is flexing, not trying to kick LeBron James or sitting in civvies in a suite at the Oakland Alameda Coliseum during game five of the Finals (which his team lost without him).

26 Bobby "Slick" Leonard (Indiana Pacers)
The Indiana Pacers are celebrating their 50th season this year with seven (!!!!) bobbleheads which I think is absolutely fantastic. The franchise has existed for parts of six decades from the 1960s to the 2010s and they are devoting one night this season to each decade or partial decade that they have been playing basketball. But before they get to giving out player bobblehead for the 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s, aughts and 10s, they kicked things off opening night with a Bobby "Slick" Leonard bobblehead. Slick is the Pacers' most legendary coach, leading the team to three ABA titles in 1970, 1972 and 1973 before guiding the franchise into the NBA after the 1976 merger. I love that he comes with a red, white and blue ABA basketball. I still long for a Randy Wittman Wizards bobblehead. Just saying...I'll let it go eventually, I promise. 

2 Calavera (Phoenix Suns)
Never heard of this NBA player with a single name? Me either. That's because he's not an NBA player but a word for one of those cool Mexican skulls used in the Day of the Dead or Dia de Muertos celebration. The Suns got lucky with this game being scheduled on November 2 which is the actual Day of the Dead. This is the first of two team issued bobbleheads across the NBA that are not players, coaches or broadcasters affiliated with the teams that are handing them out. The other is on January 29 and I can't wait to see that one.

9 Jamal Crawford (Los Angeles Clippers)

Jamal Crawford's like the fine wine of the NBA. He was selected in the 2000 draft by the Cleveland Cavaliers who shipped him off to the Chicago Bulls before ever playing a minute. From there he bounced around a bit from New York to Golden State to Atlanta as a sometimes starter but mostly bench player with no All-Star appearances. Then in 2010 with the Hawks he won the NBA's Sixth Man award for the top bench player in the league. Since then, he's won it twice more in 2014 and 2016 both with the Los Angeles Clippers. The Sixers tried to steal Crawford away in the offseason. Clips fans will be glad on November 9 that they didn't.

12 Roger Brown (Indiana Pacers)

The Pacers' player bobblehead madness starts in earnest on November 12 with Roger Brown, who played with the team from 1967-1974, including all three ABA championship teams. Brown represents the 1960s for the Pacers during their anniversary season. I don't have a whole lot else to say about Brown other than he had his jersey retired by the Pacers and he's in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. Maybe I need another trip to Springfield.

28 Kevin Durant (Golden State Warriors)

Still shaking my head about this one. Kevin Durant was the Dubs marquee signing in the offseason and he gets the team's first regular season bobblehead, signifying either he's the Warriors' fourth banana or something else or nothing at all. You don't get Durant in the preseason but you can pick him up at Oracle Arena on the Monday after Thanksgiving.

5 Harrison Barnes (Dallas Mavericks) / Elvin Hayes (Houston Rockets)
Raise your hand if you think Mark Cuban is the best owner in the NBA. My hand is up. If your's isn't just wait a paragraph.

After missing out on a few top tier free agents this offseason, the Mavericks settled for offering the Warriors' Harrison Barnes a dumptruck full of cash. It worked and Barnes became a Maverick. About a month and a half later with his new team, he gets a bobblehead. And he's not the last one. Barnes is the first of 12 (not a typo - 12!!!!) bobbleheads to be handed out by the Mavs this year. That's like one every three and a half home games. Basically if you were in the NBA last year and are playing for Dallas this year, you get a bobblehead. The only three guys on the roster who don't are their three rookies. Hands up if you think Mark Cuban is the best owner in the NBA now. Just ignore their current record when you think about that.

Elsewhere in Texas, the Houston Rockets have four bobbleheads on their slate of giveaways this season and they are all retired players from the team's past. They start with Elvin Hayes who won an NBA Championship and had his number retired right here in Washington. So why is he getting a bobblehead in Houston? Well, Hayes was selected by the Rockets (albeit when they were in San Diego and played for the team for about four years before being traded to the Bullets. After Abe Pollin had the big E lead the team to a title in '78, he sent him back to the Rockets to close out his career. But as much as Elvin may have contributed to Houston's pro team, he was perhaps more important as a college ball legend at the University of Houston, averaging 31 points and more than 17 rebounds per game while also breaking the color barrier on that school's basketball team (along with Don Chaney). Important stuff there, folks.

7 Brook Lopez (Brooklyn Nets)

For the second straight year, the Nets are giving away a Brook Lopez Star Wars bobblehead. What's up with that? Is Lopez a big Star Wars fan or did not enough people show up to any Nets game last year so they can afford to give the extras away this year? I guess we'll find out December 7. The picture above is Lopez with last year's bobble.

10 Mel Daniels and George McGinnis (Indiana Pacers)
The best thing about the Pacers' seven bobblehead giveaways? One is a double, which I assume means there are actually eight bobbleheads to be handed out in Indy this season. Both players are Pacers legends. Daniels won three titles with the team and McGinnis was around for the last two. In a decade when the Pacers were dominant (the 1970s), I wondered how they would accommodate both Daniels and McGinnis. Now I know.

18 Devin Harris (Dallas Mavericks)

Mavericks bobblehead night number two. Harris has to be the only bench player to get two bobbleheads of himself handed out over a three year period right? If you miss this one, Mavs fans, don't worry. There's another one in a couple of weeks.

20 Nate Thurmond (Golden State Warriors)

The Warriors become the third team this NBA season to roll out a retired player bobblehead. Nate was drafted by the Warriors (then the San Francisco Warriors) in 1963 and played for the team until 1974, the year before the franchise's first title. Thurmond's number 42 is retired by both the Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers (who he played less than two seasons for) and he entered the Hall of Fame in 2006. This one should be a little poignant for Warriors fans. Nate passed away in July of this year at the age of 74.

21 Devin Booker (Phoenix Suns)

The Phoenix Suns are handing out three bobbleheads this year. Two are not players; this one is. After a promising rookie season, I've seen second year man Devin Booker's name on a lot of preseason Most Improved Player lists so it seems right that the Suns would hand out bobbleheads of Booker. 

2 DeAndre Jordan (Los Angeles Clippers)
DeAndre Jordan was one of 12 NBAers to head to Rio this past summer and grab himself an easy gold medal. The Clippers are celebrating that feat by making a bobblehead with Jordan presumably wearing his medal in his number 6 USA jersey.

5 Deron Wiliams (Dallas Mavericks)

Mavericks bobblehead night number three. After years of rumors and speculation, the Mavs finally got Deron Williams into a Dallas jersey in the 2015 offseason, a move that represented a homecoming of sorts for the three time NBA All-Star. The problem for the Mavs? Williams is not really that good anymore. Still, he's on the roster so this year he gets a bobblehead.

7 Jimmy Butler (Chicago Bulls) / Chuck Person (Indiana Pacers)

Did you miss out on Jimmy Butler bobblehead night last season in Chicago? If you did, don't worry because they are handing out a Butler bobble again this year. Butler's sort of the last man standing for the Bulls. Over the last two years, Chicago's handed out Derrick Rose, Pau Gasol and Joakim Noah (twice) bobbleheads. Those guys are all gone now and Jimmy's left in Chi-town. Don't worry, Bulls fans, there's a couple of other All-Stars that the team has added to the roster who are getting celebrated in bobblehead form.

The Pacers are celebrating the 1980s with a Chuck Person bobblehead and here I'm going to have to go both off script and into spoiler alert mode. I'm not sure I agree with this selection. When I look at the Pacers' all time leaders, I see Rik Smits second in games played, minutes and points and third in rebounds. Yet no Smits bobblehead. Smits played from 1988 to 2000 so the Pacers really had two credible options: make him the 1980s or 1990s bobblehead. The chose neither. I'm sure Chuck Person's a good guy and if I were a Pacers season ticket holder I'd take it. But I'd want Smits more.

9 Rajon Rondo (Chicago Bulls)

If you are a Bulls fan, I told you so. The Bulls made two marquee free agent signings this offseason: former Celtic / Maverick / King Rajon Rondo and Dwyane Wade, who after being shorted on salary so his friends could play with him for years finally got sick of that treatment in Miami and took his talents to the Windy City. They both get the bobblehead treatment this year in Chicago. If I were a Bulls fan, I'd be longing for a Taj Gibson bobble. No such luck this year. You are stuck with Butler (for the second year in a row), Rondo and Wade. At least you get three.

10 Andre Iguodala (Golden State Warriors) / Calvin Murphy (Houston Rockets)

Last year Warriors fans got an Iggy NBA Finals MVP bobblehead in the preseason. This year he's back in bobblehead form just after the new year in a virtual reality golf pose. Maybe I don't understand technology but I just don't get this one. However, there's a lot of things I don't get in this world, like how the Wizards ever made a Jarvis Hayes bobblehead. Sure enough, Jarvis is on my shelf at home. If I were a Dubs fan, I'd be at the game early on January 10 for a golfing Andre bobblehead.

In addition to Iggy in Oakland on January 10, Rockets fans in Houston get handed a Calvin Murphy bobblehead complete with San Diego Rockets apparel. Murphy spent his 13 year entire career with the Rockets, earning one All-Star appearance over that span of time and having his number retired after he hung up his sneakers. He still works for the Rockets organization today as a television broadcaster. At just 5'-9" tall, Murphy is the shortest player ever inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame.

13 Giannis Antetokounmpo (Milwaukee Bucks)

I'm not sure I'll ever get the spelling of Giannis' last name down. I have to look at the right way to spell it every time I write it. Fortunately, I don't have many occasions to write his name. For the second straight year, the Bucks hand out a Giannis bobblehead. Not arguing with the selection but can't teams dig a little deeper into their rosters more often? In Brooklyn, there's Brook Lopez two years in a row, in Chicago it's Jimmy Butler, now Giannis. I'm still showing up for this one if I'm a Bucks fan. After all, I have four different John Wall bobbleheads on my shelves at home here near DC.

15 Jeremy Lin (Brooklyn Nets)

The Nets tried and failed on a couple of restricted free agents this offseason after signing both Allen Crabbe and Tyler Johnson to offer sheets only to see the Trail Blazers and Heat respectively match their offers. As a result they ended up with Jeremy Lin as their top free agent signing, which I guess should probably clue you in on the Nets' prospects for success this year after finishing towards the bottom of the Eastern Conference last year. Nothing against Lin; I think he had a terrific year in Charlotte last year and wish the Wiz could have taken a look at him. But if you are a bad team and Lin's your best free agent signing, maybe your expectations are pretty low this year too. If I'm a Nets fan, I'm probably more excited about three bobblehead giveaways on the schedule more than I am about the team's hopes for the playoffs.

22 Salah Mejri (Dallas Mavericks)

Dallas Mavericks bobblehead night number four. I have to tell you, I couldn't pick Mejri out of a crowd 7'-1" Tunisian guys if you asked me to. However, he's in the right place at the right time for a bobblehead of himself. What the Mavs are doing this year is awesome. This would be like us Wizards fans getting handed a Jason Smith bobblehead. And yes, Wizards fans, I'd see that as a good thing.

25 J.J. Barea (Dallas Mavericks) / Matthew Dellavedova (Milwaukee Bucks)

Dallas Mavericks bobblehead night number five. Wait a second, didn't they just have one of these? Yep. Like three days ago. Two bobbles in four nights?!?!?! Are you kidding me? Barea is probably a more celebrated pickup for fans than Mejri because of his role in the team's 2011 championship.

The same night the Mavs hand out J.J., the Milwaukee Bucks hand out their big offseason acquisition Matthew Dellavedova in bobblehead form. Dellavedova definitely hit free agency at the right time. He's set for life with that Bucks contract. As scrappy as he is and as much as I hated Delly with the Cavs, I wish the Wiz had have picked him up this past offseason. I'd be out front early for this one in Milwaukee.

29 King Cake Baby (New Orleans Pelicans)

Of all the bobbleheads being handed out in the NBA this year, I have to say I'm looking forward to seeing this one more than any other (yes, even more than Kelly Oubre, Jr.). I can't imagine what this thing is going to look like. A King Cake is a part of New Orleans' Mardi Gras tradition and inside each cake is a little plastic baby which symbolizes Jesus. Whoever gets the baby in their slice is supposed to have good luck. I see this thing as a creepy pink naked baby with an oversized head (actually aren't all babies' heads oversized?) or a pink baby emerging Alien-like from a multicolored slice of cake. Can't wait for January 29.

1 Andrew Bogut (Dallas Mavericks)
Dallas Mavericks bobblehead night number six. Think January was a big month for Mavs fans on the bobblehead front with three? Think again because the Mavericks are handing out five in the shortest month of the year. They start with Andrew Bogut on the first of the month, whom they acquired in a salary dump from the Warriors in the offseason. If you are an Australia basketball bobblehead fan, you have to be thrilled at the possibility of Delly and Bogut in one season.

5 Rondae Hollis-Jefferson (Brooklyn Nets)

The Nets third new bobblehead this year (assuming the Brook Lopez Star Wars bobblehead isn't a liquidation of last year's leftover bobbleheads) gets handed out on February 5 and it's second year man Hollis-Jefferson after averaging 5.8 points per game as a rook.

9 Justin Anderson (Dallas Mavericks)

Dallas Mavericks bobblehead night number seven. At this point, I'm getting tired of writing about Mavericks bobbleheads. Anderson was  the Mavs' first round draft pick in 2015. He averaged 3.8 points per game in the regular season last year as a rookie. This year, he gets a bobblehead.

11 Quincy Acy (Dallas Mavericks) / Mario Elie (Houston Rockets) / Reggie Miller (Indiana Pacers)

Dallas Mavericks bobblehead night number eight. February 11 is one of two three bobblehead nights across the NBA and of course both those nights feature a Mavs bobble. The only thing I have to say about Acy is that he got ejected on Christmas Day 2014 for throwing a punch at John Wall. Acy's not a favorite of mine. Let's move on.

February 11 is Houston Rockets throwback bobblehead night number three, this one celebrating Mario Elie and his Kiss of Death shot against the Phoenix Suns en route to the Rockets' second NBA title in 1995. The shot came with 7.1 seconds remaining in the 1995 Western Conference Semifinals to put the Rockets up three. Right after the shot, Elie blew the Suns bench a kiss. Then he took the Rockets into the NBA Finals for a second straight title while Michael Jordan tried to play baseball down in Alabama.

The Pacers celebrate the 1990s with Reggie Miller. As a former Knicks fan, I am officially obliged to type I hate Reggie Miller. But there's no other choice here. Reggie's the greatest Pacer ever. I'm standing in line early for this one if I'm a Pacers fan.

13 Seth Curry (Dallas Mavericks)

Dallas Mavericks bobblehead night number nine. Two years ago, we saw two brothers in Markieff and Marcus Morris get bobbleheads in Phoenix. This year, the Curry brothers get one each in Golden State and Dallas. Congrats, Seth!

26 Miles Plumlee Bobblehead Toothbrush Holder (Milwaukee Bucks)

Every so often there's an NBA giveaway item that is so amazingly profound as an idea that it deserves some special attention. If there's one this year, it's the Miles Plumlee toothbrush holder which features Plumlee in bobblehead form standing next to your favorite toothbrush. And it's no surprise that it's a product of the awesome NBA marketing geniuses in Milwaukee. How could this not get you off to a good start every day to brush with a bobblehead? I'd consider flying to Milwaukee for game day just to get one of these things. Although if I wanted it that badly, I'm sure it's cheaper to find one on eBay. As for the meaning behind Plumlee being on this one? Well, who cares? It's a freaking bobblehead and toothbrush holder for crying out loud. I expect households all over Wisconsin will have these in place by the morning of February 27.

27 Wesley Matthews (Dallas Mavericks)

Dallas Mavericks bobblehead night number ten. Matthews and DeAndre Jordan were supposed to be the two players to take the Mavericks back into the NBA elite last year before Jordan reneged on his verbal commitment and bolted back to the Clippers. This year, Matthews joins Jordan on the bobblehead list for their respective teams.

3 Dwight Powell (Dallas Mavericks) / Al McCoy (Phoenix Suns) / Kelly Oubre, Jr. (Washington Wizards)
Dallas Mavericks bobblehead night number 11 (!!). Powell was filler in the Rajon Rondo to Dallas trade a couple of years ago. I honestly had to look up something to write about Powell and that's all I got. Just one more Mavs bobble to go and you might be able to guess who that is.

When the Suns first released their promo schedule this year, they had a WeArePHX Mystery Bobblehead on this date. I see now that they have changed this date to Al McCoy, who will be inducted into the Suns' Ring of Honor on March 3. Who's Al McCoy you ask (as did I)? Well, he's the radio broadcaster for the Suns and has been since 1972, having missed only a single game in the last 44 years. Well done and well deserved, I'm sure. That kind of dedication and loyalty is impressive.

Finally on March 3, Wizards fans get their annual lone bobblehead of the season when second year man Kelly Oubre, Jr. gets handed out in poorly painted resin form. This one should be cool: Kelly's hair is going to be more difficult to model and paint than the typical generic bobbleheads we sometimes see at the doors of Verizon Center and I'm dying to know if they are going to put him in short shorts. Guess we'll find out for sure on March 3.

8 Anthony Davis (New Orleans Pelicans)

While not so interesting as the King Cake Baby bobblehead the Pels are handing out January 29, I'd be stoked for an Anthony Davis bobblehead if I were a Pelicans fan especially if the team's 1-9 start is any indication of how the season is going to go down in the Big Easy. By the time we get to March 8, this 'Brow bobblehead may be the best reason to show up to the Smoothie King Center.

10 Dirk Nowitzki (Dallas Mavericks)
Dallas Mavericks bobblehead night number 12 (of 12!!). The Mavs saved the best for last. As a Mavs fan, I'd be ecstatic on this night as I added Dirk to the 11 other bobbles from the 2016-2017 season on my bobblehead shelf. This truly is an embarrassment of riches. I'm jealous.

11 Jabari Parker (Milwaukee Bucks)

The fourth and final bobblehead in Milwaukee this year is a letdown in terms of genius level because it's not also a toothbrush holder but an upgrade in terms of players because Parker's just better than Plumlee. And it's sort of been a long time coming for Parker even though it's only been three years. If Milwaukee's going to get good any time soon, Parker's likely a key piece of that puzzle. 

12 Danny Granger (Indiana Pacers)
I saw the Pacers going one of two ways on their aughts bobblehead: Jermaine O'Neal or Danny Granger. Ultimately the Malice at the Palace was probably too much for the Pacers to bear to roll out a Jermaine O'Neal bobblehead for their golden anniversary. If the Wizards ever celebrate their past in bobblehead form, I assume Gilbert Arenas will lose out to Antawn Jamison for similar reasons.

24 Dwyane Wade (Chicago Bulls)

Jimmy Butler and Rajon Rondo, the other two Bulls bobble handouts this year, get distributed in back to back games in January. Bulls fans have to wait until late March to get their hands on returning hometown guy (and Marquette product) Wade. There's a ton of enthusiasm for Wade returning to Chicago for these next two years. No doubt he's a first ballot Hall of Famer. As a Bulls fan, I'd wonder how much he has left in the tank over a full NBA season while happily getting my paws on this gem.

4 Channing Frye (Cleveland Cavaliers) / Paul George (Indiana Pacers)
Frye is one of those guys who was just in the right place at the right time. After nine and a half seasons with New York (zero playoff appearances); Portland (one playoff appearance); Phoenix (one playoff appearance); and Orlando (zero playoff appearances), Frye got traded to the Cavaliers for Jared Cunningham (who?) and a second round pick. Cunningham never suited up for the Magic and is now in China; Frye is an NBA champion and has a bobblehead of himself.

Paul George is the eighth and final Pacers bobblehead this season. What a rush. Wish I was a Pacers fan for this reason and this reason alone. Although honestly if we are talking bobbleheads, I'd rather just be a Mavericks fan this year. There was no other choice here for the Pacers to celebrate the current decade. 

5 Tracy McGrady (Houston Rockets)
The last currently announced bobblehead in the NBA this year is on April 4 with the fourth of four retired player bobbleheads in Houston. T-Mac spent five and a bit seasons in Houston before stints with the Knicks, Pistons and Hawks. It's amazing to me how I lose track of former All-Stars' teams after they fell from grace. I still struggle to remember Patrick Ewing played for the Seattle SuperSonics and that Gilbert Arenas and Allen Iverson played in Memphis. I couldn't have told you McGrady played in New York, Detroit or Atlanta. McGrady's best years were in Orlando, but he managed three All-Star appearances in Houston which ain't bad I guess. 

This wraps the list for this year. Or at least my initial crack at it. There are 48 bobbleheads out there this season (49 if you count Mel Daniels and George McGinnis as two) which ain't too bad at all. This list is based on 17 of the 30 NBA teams publishing promotional giveaway lists for this year. The 17 are the teams who have bobbleheads listed above plus the 76ers, Hornets, Grizzlies, Jazz, Trail Blazers and Lakers, all of whom have decided to forego bobblehead handouts this year. Although it should be noted that Utah has three TBD dates on their schedule and the Charlotte Hornets are giving away Starting Line Up figurines. Not bobbleheads so not on this list.

There are also other bobbleheads out there to be had. The Denver Nuggets (as shown at the top of this post) are making a Dikembe Mutombo bobblehead available to fans purchasing a certain ticket package and the Washington Wizards have a really strange Bradley Beal bobblehead as part of their Kids' Club package. More on that when I get my hands on one of those. In the meantime, have at it NBA bobblehead collectors. Happy collecting.

I'm missing lists from the Celtics, Knicks, Raptors, Pistons, Magic, Heat, Hawks, Spurs, Timberwolves, Nuggets, Thunder and Kings. If any of those teams make their lists available anytime soon, I'll add theirs to this list.

No comments:

Post a Comment