Renowned linebacker from the 1998-2001 University of Colorado Boulder football team Jashon Sykes has a new way to inspire crowds. This time, his work focuses on the youth through his latest children’s book, Multitask with Jarvis & Dad. His book was published in February 2019 and has since taken him touring all over the nation.
Jashon Sykes was a starting player on the CU Buffs football team four years straight. Eventually, his talent led him to earn a spot on the Denver Broncos. After playing with the Broncos for two years, he returned to the Buffs team as a member of the football staff and got promoted to the Director of Football Operations. Since then, he has held the position of Director of Football Operations and Assistant Athletic Director of Football Operations for the San Diego Aztecs. Now he has added author and publisher to that list. He wanted to become a children’s author because he wasn’t content with what was offered to kids today in the genre.
“When my daughter was three, I would be reading to her at night and find that there weren’t a lot of educational messages worth retaining in her books. Over time, I found I had their undivided attention when I read to them, but there was nothing educational being taken from that attention and quality time.” Sykes said.
Sykes worked for years, at all hours of the day, balancing his dream with his profession to plan out and publish his book through his own publishing company, Colossal Integrations. Some of the big lessons in the book focus on multitasking, parental figures, and learning by listening. He hopes his book will emphasize the morals and values that were instilled in him, not only through his sports guidance, but also through his family and friends. One of those lessons is to teach kids to use their “twos more than ones.”
“I remember that was something that one of my coaches emphasized, twos more than ones. You can learn when you see and hear and you don’t learn when you’re talking. People to this day say I’m a quiet and observant person, which I see stems from that and I wanted to share how valuable that was for me.” Sykes said.
Sykes considers this newest title to be one of the more significant challenges he has gone after. When he was about 13 years old, he was sure his path would lead him to college to play football. He surpassed that goal, after playing with the CU Buffs, by moving on to play the NFL. Being a children’s author, however, is a different game entirely.
“You need to have this idea and then transform it to grasp, obtain, and hold the attention of children. It’s challenging, because at the same time you’re getting feedback from kids, parents and teachers altogether. You think it’s a good idea, but you don’t know until it gets to the kids.” Sykes said.
This challenge is how Sykes hopes to leave his legacy. Not just as a professional football player and college legend, but as a man who found a passion and separate life after his journey in sports. The notion of finding another purpose after sports is one Sykes holds dear to him and his family. Since he graduated, he has returned with his family to the CU Boulder campus and Denver area in support of the Buffs for Life organization. The mission of this group is to support current and previously playing CU Boulder Student-Athletes with financial and mental health services through the Buff network and fundraising.
Sykes believes that many athletes can struggle with maintaining a healthy life after a sports career, but he advocates that there are equally important options for those afflicted to consider. He encourages people first to turn to friends and family for help during this transition.
Currently, Sykes is working on the second book in his Learning with Jarvis series, as well as a potential children’s TV show. He hopes that everyone in the family, whether it be kids, parents, or teachers, can take lessons away from the book.
You can order a copy of Multitask with Jarvis & Dad or reach out to Jashon Sykes and his team by visiting https://www.jashonsykes.com. Jashon Sykes can also be reached for book readings and signing events for your community through the website.
It’s 6 a.m., and slivers of sunlight peep through the large, elongated windows of Brett Mehlman’s Denver-based studio apartment, greeting him as he begins his morning. A fresh glass of water is the first thing on his mind, followed by a guided meditation. As a busy yoga instructor, an established morning ritual is key for Brett. Preparing for his first client of the day, he concocts a blend of ginger, turmeric, black pepper, and skullcap for tea.
“The trick here, is to add coconut milk,” he says with a grin, walking across the plant-lined floor to the kitchen cupboard. “Coconut milk makes all the difference.”
Tea is only just part of the equation.
Ideally, his ultimate routine includes exercise, a bit of reading, maybe some journaling; topped off with a light, healthy breakfast.
He might alter it here and there. On some days, he’ll incorporate daily gratitude and affirmation practices. On others, a quick Spanish lesson.
One thing, however, is certainly clear: starting the day off right is what sets Brett up for success in the long run.
Standing at 5’8’’ with dark hair and an engaging smile, Brett began his personal yoga journey back in his early twenties while pursuing a business degree at the University of Colorado in Boulder.
“I was already a certified personal trainer at the time, with a strong interest in exercise and movement. In college, my curiosity was successfully piqued when I discovered that the rec center held relatively inexpensive eight-week yoga classes. I went in with the intention of learning more about ‘stretching.’”
But the realm of yoga had greater, unexpected plans for this determined young trainer.
Following a near-death experience at age twenty-two that required major abdominal surgery from navel to sternum, Brett was left with a destroyed core and chronic musculoskeletal pain. When multiple physical therapy visits failed to provide any substantial relief, he turned to both yoga and massage for healing.
From that point onward, his approach to health was forever changed. No longer a mere physical pursuit, Brett’s interest in yoga evolved to include the more subtle aspects of the practice—particularly meditation and breathwork.
Now, as a fulltime yoga instructor, licensed massage therapist, life coach, and personal trainer, Brett has accumulated nearly a decade’s-worth of teaching experience and certifications in multiple holistic areas of health and wellness. Successfully integrating both Eastern and Western traditions to his overall practice, those that know him well—especially his clients and students—would describe his guidance as strict, yet approachable…and not without a dash of good humor.
With an established personal brand and developing business concept in mind, Brett’s mission is straightforward: to make the world a better place by helping people achieve overall health and personal happiness in their lives. The following is a conversation I had with Brett.
WHAT MESSAGE DO YOU HOPE YOUR STUDENTS WILL CULTIVATE IN PRACTICING WITH YOU? WHAT DO YOU WANT THEM TO TAKE HOME?
Anyone can transform for the better. All change starts in the mind; visualize the life you wish to cultivate, then bring it into reality with small actions. Consistency over time will reap positive results. I remind my students on a daily basis to be at peace with where they’re at in the given moment, while also having the drive to push towards where they’d like to be.
Don’t take life too seriously. We are all tiny specks of dust in the grand scheme of the universe, so don’t waste your precious time constantly worrying. It’s okay to be a work in progress, just remember to always be in progress!
AS BOTH A YOGA TEACHER AND MASSAGE THERAPIST, DESCRIBE YOUR PERSONAL PHILOSOPHY ON ACHIEVING OVERALL HEALTH AND WELLNESS.
Get the foundations down, and the body will harmonize in return.
It begins with sleep. This is, without a doubt, one of the master keys of health. It’s during deep sleep when the body rests, repairs, and restores itself. Not only does sleep affect your mood, it also enhances your energy levels. Get enough of it, and you’ll for sure be in tune with your circadian rhythm, and wake up feeling more energized.
But sleep is just one piece to the puzzle. From there, several other factors must also be considered:
Breath is a crucial foundation for achieving overall wellness. We breathe about 23,000 breaths per day. If you’re breathing improperly, it can create tension and lead to higher stress levels. On the other hand, if you’re breathing correctly, you’ll notice a more even pattern of airflow. It will help calm the body, and give a subtle massage to the organs—great for digestive purposes! Breathwork truly is a small hinge that swings large doors.
When your body is in line with gravity, everything else become easier. If you make the conscious effort to sit upright, you’ll definitely have more energy throughout the day.
It’s all about balance. Everyone’s body is different, therefore it’s important to eat right for your type. Fast food can be an occasional treat. The bulk of what we eat should consist of fresh produce, which means an adequate amount of fruits and vegetables. My rule of thumb is that the closer something is to being alive when you eat it, the better it is for you. In addition, be sure to get plenty of healthy fats and good cholesterol in your system–this is absolutely essential for your body’s health.
One final note, pay attention to how you feel after eating. This is critical. You want to feel mentally and physically energized by the food you eat. Think of food as both fuel and medicine. If what you eat makes you feel sluggish, it might be due to eating too much or consuming ingredients that you possibly have a mild intolerance to. Listen to your body.
This is where meditation saves the day. Your thoughts affect your worldview and personal perspective. If you can practice overall awareness, and mindfully see the good out of a difficult situation, your entire outlook on life changes.
HOW DO YOU UTILIZE YOUR YOGA PRACTICE OFF THE MAT?
During my yoga practice, I strive to be fully aware of my body, its alignment, and its sensations. I incorporate this into my life by being present in the given moment, and out of my head as much I can throughout the day.
This cultivated presence is also directed towards my breathing.
Breath is an incredible tool for regulating our moods and any stress that may pop up. Utilizing slower, complete diaphragmatic inhales helps me keep calm and relaxed. In addition, mindfulness prevents that all-too-common inner critic from being overactive. I try to let go of negative thought patterns, and instead think of things that will inspire and motivate me to be my best self, as I go about all necessary tasks.
So, in a nutshell: presence, breathing, and awareness.
NAME THREE PEOPLE WHO HAVE DEEPLY IMPACTED YOUR LIFE.
First and foremost, my older sister, Kimberly. She’s absolutely incredible. Not only has she successfully gone on to raise a child after getting pregnant at a young age, she simultaneously pursued college—all the way up to receiving her Ph.D. Now married with three more children, she works a fulltime job for the government, runs her own nonprofit to help fight human trafficking, and is the author of two published books. It’s simply inspiring to witness, and for me as a single guy, it lights a fire under me to be all that I can in reaching my highest potential.
Next would be one of my personal mentors, Paul Chek. Oh, where to even start with this guy…he’s an absolute genius! I’ve learned so much from him through his videos and blogs over the years. And as of recent, I’ve been lucky enough to study with him in person through his holistic lifestyle coaching program. He brings a plethora of holistic knowledge to the table, and does an incredible job at harmonizing different modalities; successfully mixing them into one big teaching. A true role model to the core, he practices what he preaches; I emulate this as much as I can in my own life.
And, of course, Ryan Holiday, who instilled in me a curiosity for learning and reading at a young age.
HOPES FOR THE FUTURE: WHAT ARE YOUR NEXT STEPS IN DEVELOPING YOUR BRAND AND BUSINESS?
My long-term goal is to run holistic wellness retreats with an established center to organize them. But in the meantime, I plan on putting out more digital content in order to make what is commonly viewed as high-end holistic coaching services available to populations that don’t necessarily have the resources to pay for private sessions.
In regards to massage therapy and yoga, I’ll be developing educational classes in those particular realms, as well as continue to connect and collaborate with practitioners in a variety of other holistic fields. My hopes are that my own personal learning and growth will directly translate into what my company, Tuneus LLC, offers in the future.
And, of course, I always do what I can to help make the world a healthier and happier place. One step at a time.
We live in a misogynistic culture; no big surprise there. But where is toxic masculinity birthed from? Along with antiquated customs and some creepy religious dogma, media can be a big driver in how us guys view ourselves and conduct ourselves. Men are supposed to be assertive—just look at Harrison Ford! Men don’t cry, just look at Clint Eastwood!*
That’s the bad news, but the good news is that we also seem to be in a period of flux. Among other concepts, long-held assumptions about gender identity are changing. How do we know that? One way is by looking at how movies portray masculinity and men these days. Avengers: Endgame portrayed men crying and openly showing emotion while also whipping large amounts of ass. It wasn’t always like that, though.
One of the most misunderstood movies in history is Fight Club. After its 1999 release, it was foolishly embraced by many as a celebration of the male ideal. Legions of knuckleheads formed their very own fight clubs and tried to adopt a more aggressive and “manly” approach to life.** Despite accidentally breeding an often repugnant fanbase, Fight Club had a great deal to say about the destruction that gullible men can cause. By comparison, the new indie comedy The Art of Self-Defense will never be mistaken as anything but vicious and bone-dry satire.
Casey (Jesse Eisenberg) is afraid. He’s afraid of the dark. He’s afraid of other men, such as the bros hanging out in his office break room. His fear is all-encompassing, and by dressing in mostly brown, living in an apartment decorated in earth tones, and even owning a sweet Dachshund, it’s almost as if he’s trying to camouflage himself as the same color of the Earth to hide from conflict.
It doesn’t work, as he’s viciously mugged one night by a motorcycle gang. During his recuperation, Casey decides something has to change. His change starts with a gun. He skitters into a gun shop but is prevented from an immediate purchase by the federally mandated waiting period. So, he’s forced to wait, and we can see the thoughts and anxieties of what if? slipping across his face as he leaves.
There’s possible satisfaction to be had though, as he peers into a downscale karate dojo. The people inside—almost all men—are fit and confident. Their sensei, a man known only as Sensei (Alessandro Nivola), sizes up Casey quickly. It’s not hard, considering that Casey tells him, “I want to be what intimidates me.”
From there, Casey quickly comes to understand that Sensei’s methodology is…well, unorthodox. Along with learning kicks and armlocks, Sensei is determined to help Casey become a man. That means encouraging him to get rid of his beloved Dachshund and get a “more masculine” breed of dog like a German Shepherd. It means belittling Anna (Imogen Poots), the only female student in the dojo, with comments like, “I realized she’d never be a man because she’s a woman.” It means Casey’s introduction to Night Class and reckoning with how Sensei’s teachings are transforming his life.
Directed by Riley Stearns, the film has a tone of deadpan absurdity that I absolutely adored. A men’s magazine shown is little more than pictures of boobs and guns. Casey’s answering message always sounds vaguely annoyed at him. As the film progresses, things gradually become more sinister. Instead of fights, characters give and receive beatings. Stearns does a masterful job establishing a particular tone, then having it devolve to a more vicious place, mirroring Casey’s emotional state.
Stearns also wrote the screenplay, and he’s packed it full of offbeat humor. The jokes aren’t the kind of thing that’s going to blow up a packed theater on a Friday night. Instead, the humor is understated and delivered with a straight face, such as Casey soulfully telling his dog he’s going to stop petting him to ensure he’s not coddled. Better yet is the laser precision Stearns has of either mocking man culture or portraying it as a stupid and destructive force. His screenplay isn’t anti-male, it’s anti-a-certain-kind-of-boorish-and-entitled-male.
I haven’t seen a film in a long time that’s known precisely the right way to use Jesse Eisenberg. He’s often cast as a jittery fast-talker. Eisenberg leans in hard portraying Casey’s fear and desperation to belong. It’s a gutsy and hilarious performance. As Sensei, Alessandro Nivola exudes equal parts charisma and stupidity. Like certain public figures I could name, Sensei has a low cunning for quickly identifying the weakest aspects of people and exploiting them. Imogene Poots is essentially the lone woman in the cast. Her Anna is far more accomplished than anyone else in the dojo, and it’s an alarming and understandable moment when her frustration boils over, and she delivers a brutal beating to one of her rivals. The entire cast understands the specific nuance needed to make the film work, and they commit completely.
I loved The Art of Self-Defense, but there’s a good chance you might not. Going in, you need to know that it gets weird as hell, and the film has exactly zero interest in delivering a feel-good experience to audiences. That’s okay. The Art of Self-Defense understands that one of the best ways to take down a bully is by making fun of him. With precision-engineering, it delivers a hilarious ass-kicking to toxic masculinity.
*Only Clint Eastwood did cry in the very good In the Line of Fire.
**Never mind the fact that the main message in Fight Club is that people in general, and men in particular, will latch onto the most loathsome and destructive ideologies if they feel desperate enough.
Following the success of his drunk cat matchbox collaboration with Arna Miller, Ravi Zupa has released a new set of matchboxes, this time featuring canines.
The 10 designs depict various dog breeds paired with subtly humorous text that celebrates the complex personalities of our closest friends and family.
“These are the people in our lives with complicated dispositions and attitudes who never fail to bring us joy, even when they’re jerks,” Zupa explains. “This new set of matchboxes is an effort to give the overly expressive, stubborn, supportive, unpredictable, confused and self important beings in our lives the recognition they deserve.”
Printed by hand using a woodblock printing process, the three-color matchbox prints are made with oil-based intaglio ink and come with tiny certificates of authenticity resting in the matchbox tray.
Learn more about the printing process in this video.
The new open edition designs (as well as the drunk cat matchboxes and posters) are all available for sale in Zupa’s online store. Screen printed posters (11” x 17”) are also available for pre-order. Join Zupa’s email list to be notified of future releases & receive special discount codes.
Kaitlin Ziesmer is a visual artist from Denver. Since 2009, she’s been delighting audiences with playful juxtapositions of people, animals, and iconic characters from her childhood. She’s been featured in dozens of solo and group shows nationwide and abroad. You can see Ziesmer’s latest solo series at Ironton Gallery and Distillery through the end of the month.
“How do you add cannabis to your training routine?” is a common question I get as a sponsored cannabis endurance athlete and NASM Certified Personal Trainer. I’ve been asked it to the point where I started taking notes about what I said in response. In doing so, I noticed a few similarities and patterns I tend to repeat, so I’ve created a standard routine for anyone looking to add cannabis to their everyday personal wellness routine.
The first rule of adding cannabis to your workout or activity is to know your tolerance and start where you feel comfortable. If you’re new to cannabis in general, always start slow until you can find the sweet spot for your ECS (endocannabinoid system). I’m currently training for my first half and full trail marathons and I like to consume cannabis flower before I train. Some people prefer to vape, while others like to take an edible an hour or so before they start so it has time to take effect. I also like to apply THC and CBD topicals to any sore areas like my knees and ankles before I go out on a run. The immediate effects from the flower get me motivated to train and help keep me focused during the training session. The topicals help to reduce pain, inflammation, and loosen my muscles up before getting active, which reduces risk of injury.
After the training session, I like to cool down by consuming more flower, sometimes an edible, and I will apply topicals after I’ve showered and cleaned up in order to target any isolated areas of pain. It’s really like any other supplement you’d take before and after training. Cannabis replaces my need for any pre-workout supplements because it gives me that extra boost by charging my ECS, and I smoke a bowl right along with drinking a hemp protein shake after my workouts as a way to encourage the body’s natural recovery process.
To sum up the process, start slow and where you feel comfortable. Consume before training as a pre-workout supplement, and then again after just like your other standard recovery routine. The other major part to adding cannabis to your workout is to track how you feel, just like your training progress. Pay close attention to how your mind and body feel after you consume so you can find the right methods of consumption and the correct amounts that will optimize your experience when getting active.
Next weekend is going to be huge for the Denver music scene in general. UMS is going to be insane, but that’s not all that’s going down. Maybe huge festivals aren’t really your jam. Maybe winding your way through ten thousand other concertgoers cramps your style. Totally understandable. If you’re looking to see some live music but avoid the South Broadway mayhem next weekend, Globe Hall has you covered.
On Saturday, July 26th, Channel 93.3 presents The Mowgli’s, Petal, and Arms Akimbo on their Summer Vacation Tour. The Mowgli’s began in 2010 in L.A. They hit the road and built an energetic fan base, playing more than 400 shows between 2012 and 2015. Now an independent band, they’ve released back to back EPs in the last year. Their feel-good music ranges from pop rock to folk/country and makes them friends wherever they go.
Petal broke into the Scranton rock scene in 2013 with the self-released EP, Scout. The only permanent member is guitarist and vocalist Kiley Lotz. She’s supported by a rotating group of musicians, and they’ve released two full length albums and two EPs to date. Their latest album, Magic Gone, dropped last year. It’s very introspective, with lyrics that address issues like mental health, sexuality, and accountability. It’s a two-part album, with Side A revolving around Lotz’s experiences before entering treatment and Side B focused on her recovery.
Arms Akimbo is a four-piece rock outfit from L.A. They’ve been rapidly gaining recognition and popularity playing shows and festivals across the country. So far, they’ve released three albums and three EPs. Their latest EP, Seven Dollar Paycheck, just dropped in April. It’s been called vulnerable, passionate, and restless. The title track, “Paycheck,” centers around the somewhat outcast feeling of pursuing music professionally while watching friends take more traditional career paths. It comes off a little angsty, but also defiant and determined.
On Sunday the 27th, Globe Hall welcomes Red Wanting Blue and Matt Rouch and the Noise Upstairs. Red Wanting Blue formed more than 20 years ago in Columbus, Ohio. The self-described Heartland rock and roll band has found a home on the road. Their nearly non-stop tours have landed them appearances on Letterman, NPR, and countless stages across the country. Red Wanting Blue has put out an incredible amount of music, including ten studio albums. Their latest, The Wanting, dropped in April of last year. The album is a triumphant look back at how the band has progressed over the last twenty years, and reconfirms that after all this time, the passion is still there.
Matt Rouch and The Noise Upstairs is an up-and-coming Americana band based in Denver. Drawing influence from bands like The Avett Brothers, Elephant Revival, and The Decemberists, they’re bringing the mile high city a little bit of Virginia country feel, with a little less twang. Their music ranges from upbeat to teary-eyed, with extra emphasis placed on Rouch’s songwriting. Among their many accomplishments, they were named the best country band in Denver last year by 303 Magazine.
Globe Hall is an awesome venue that books a mix of local and touring acts. They also have the advantage of having a real kitchen with more than just bar food—always a plus. Don’t miss out on the Summer Vacation Tour, or your chance to see Denver’s best country band. You can find tickets and any other info on their website, globehall.com.
I recently developed a love for music festivals! I share a deep love for the experience of a music festival, as it’s like nothing else I’ve seen. It feels like an EXPERIENCE over just another concert, hangout, etc. I love them for the way they bond us with others and create a sense of belonging. Here are some of the reasons I love them and why you should try going to one someday!
1.The Good Energy
Every time I’ve been to a festival, the energy has been off the wall amazing. I am a big believer in vibes, and I’ve always felt nothing but good vibes radiating from people at the festival. Everyone wants to be there, and everyone is happy, saying hi, giving high fives to strangers all with a smile—and it all feels very genuine. It’s lovely to be surrounded by so much positive energy that it makes for a very fun, chill environment.
2. The Camping
I love the camping aspect because 1. it’s cheaper than a hotel, and 2. I love the experience and the feeling it provokes. I love the camping aspect because it feels very minimalist and very down to earth. It reminds me that we just need a roof over our heads to live and have a good time, not all the materialistic possessions we are used to always having. It brings me back down to earth and reminds me of everything we don’t need.
3. The People You Meet
This is an experience that I absolutely love and makes me feel so much better about human nature. You meet so many nice, fun, great people at music festivals. In real life, I find it’s harder to talk to a stranger or to become friends with them or have real conversations with someone you just met. However, I feel like it’s very easy to do that at a music festival. Everyone is very open, very kind and very down to talk. The best part is you are meeting a bunch of people and usually hanging out with your friends as well! I met a lot of people at a community charging station and each was incredible and friendly. Conversations and bonds with others flow so well at these festivals, and I love the way it helps us all connect with one another.
4. The Music
Obviously, the music is one of the main draws of any music festival! I love hearing my favorite bands perform a killer show, all surrounded by the good vibe of the people and the atmosphere of the festival; it is like nothing else. That being said, it’s not just the music, it’s the people and environment that make it that much better. The way that everything works at a music festival in collaboration with one another makes for the most, thrilling connected experience.
5. The Forever Memories
I love making memories with friends, and having experiences with friends creates just that. As we age, the memories are what stays with us. The connectedness I felt with strangers, along with my close friends, and the idea of music bringing thousands of different people together are what keep me going and hold us together. It’s that feeling of belonging, of being included and together, all appreciating one thing—the music—that keeps me going to music festivals.
For some reason, my editor frowned upon my original idea entitled, “Who Doesn’t Want a Threesome?” so, I dropped it to a duo. With Paul George teaming up with Kawhi Leonard and the Clippers, and Lebron having tacos with Anthony Davis and the Lakers, the question begs the answer: where does the duo of Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray rank among the NBA elite?
The rules are simple. Some guys are old, some guys are injured, but if you were starting a team tomorrow and had the choice of the following dynamic duos, how would they rank? Here’s how I see it.
Lebron James and Anthony Davis—Los Angeles Lakers In case I need to remind you, Lebron is a 15-time All-NBA, 6-time All-Defensive Team, 4-time MVP, and 3-time NBA Champion. At 34 years-of-age his game may be slipping a bit. James only averaged 27 points, 8 rebounds, and 8 assists last year, shooting 51%. Anthony Davis is a 6’10 PF who played point guard in high school, averaged 26 points, 12 rebounds, and 4 assists last season. Pick and Roll, transition game, post, three, whatever—this duo will dominate assuming Lebron stays healthy. This duo gets the nod over Kawhi and George for one reason. Lebron is still the best player in the NBA, assuming he is transitioning to life in LA, not retiring there.
Kawhi Leonard and Paul George—Los Angeles Clippers Technically, I call this 1B. Kawhi is the defending NBA MVP, a two-time Defensive Player of the Year, 5-time All-Defensive Team, and—oh yeah, he averaged 27 points, 7 rebounds, and 3 assists last year at the age of 27. Paul George is pretty much a lesser version of Kawhi with handles. 5-time All-NBA, 4-time All-Defense, the 29-year-old averaged 29 points, 8 rebounds, 4 assists last year. Kawhi Leonard is as proven as it gets, minus a year off boycotting the San Antonio Spurs. But George has yet to prove himself as a lost star in Indiana, and as a Robin to Batman with Russell Westbrook in OKC.
Klay and Steph—Golden State Warriors Like Dan and Shay, these two don’t need last names to represent on this list. A combined six rings and 4,281 three-pointers made, Thompson and Curry look to come back healthy, with a wink towards KD, and prove they belong even higher.
Russell Westbrook and James Harden—Houston Rockets Together, these two individuals are going to be the most unstoppable offensive force the NBA has ever seen. Defensively, the duo will be the worst defensive backcourt the NBA has never seen. Generally, a terrific duo implies two people that work as a cohesive unit, complement each other, gel as one. With Westbrook and Harden, one ball isn’t going to be enough.
Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving—Brooklyn Nets These guys fall to five with KD’s injury, but KD is arguably the best player in the game, and Kyrie is Kyrie. If KD wouldn’t have hurt himself in the finals, this list could look dramatically different.
Damion Lillard and CJ McCollum—Portland Trailblazers These two spent six years in the backcourt together, averaged 20 points plus last year, and advanced to the NBA Conference finals. The product of big-time programs, Weber State and Lehigh? Looking at the list above, CJ may not be a superstar, but after Lillard’s playoff buzzer-beater over OKC and Paul George, Damon sure is.
Joel Embid and Ben Simmons—Philadelphia 76ers Apologies to Nikola Jokic, Embid is arguably the top center in the league. And little PG Ben Simmons….is 6’10 and can pass like Magic Johnson. If Embid can stay healthy and Simmons develop a jump shot? Seven is way too low.
Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray—Denver Nuggets Jokic was first-team All-NBA. That implies that he’s the best center in the NBA. Jokic provides spacing with his mid-range game and finds targets with his pinpoint passing, while Murray has increased his scoring average every year, including almost 19 PPG in 2019.
Luka Doncic and Kristop Porzingas—Dallas Mavericks A little European flavor as the Rookie of the Year and the Unicorn team up in Dallas. Would have loved to add some Greek flavoring to this list, but Khris Middleton wasn’t quite enough to compliment Giannis Antetokounmpo.
Ja Morant and Jaren Jackson—Memphis Grizzlies Jaren Jackson Jr. is a 19-year-old that you’ve never heard of. Ja Morant is a 19-year-old you’ve maybe heard of. Believe me, they are really good, and they will be heard of.
Images via forbes.com, heatnation.com, clutchpoints.com, nbc.sports.com, yahoo!sports.com, nbc.boston.com