If you’re not already glued to the NBA Finals, here’s one potential reason to tune in: Bicycling among NBA athletes — like almost everywhere else — is become an active trend.
Last year, the cycling Twitterati went nuts over rumored pictures of Lebron James joining Miami’s Critical Mass Ride. Could it be true? Could the #1 player in the NBA also be one of us? The few, the proud, the bicyclists? Answer: Yep!
Not only is the MVP Miami Heat player an avid cyclist, commuting to and from home games, but the Cleveland native also hosts the King for Kids Bike-a-thon in his hometown. You might even call James an amateur advocate: Teammates Dwayne Wade and Mario Chalmers seem to have also caught the cycling bug, joining him on his cameo appearances at Miami Critical Mass Rides. Rumor has it that James is also a part owner in Cannondale with his custom 29er made by the company.
Its easy to understand why this biking trend might be catching on in the NBA. James is a scary player to have to defend against in general, but come 3rd and 4th quarter he’s downright terrifying! And guess what? James credits his late game resilience to the stamina he’s gained from cycling.
Of course, James isn’t the first NBA athlete to make cycling an awesome training and transportation alternative. Here are some other NBA greats past and present who’ve spent some time on a saddle…
Former Portland Trailblazer and NBA champ Bill Walton is probably one of the first NBA players to ride as a part of their training regimen. With stories that Walton rode to Blazer practices during their championship ‘77 season, it’s no wonder that Walton continues to make cycling a part of his post-NBA lifestyle. Checkout this piece on the Bike Portland blog about Walton’s Oregonian adventures.
Another NBA superstar and avid cyclist, Kevin Durant takes to cycling not only to stay in NBA shape in the off-season but also to take in the sites in his D.C. hometown. I wonder who’d come out on top in a James vs Durant match sprint.
Caron Butler — the former Wizard, Maverick and current Clipper — has dipped into the bicycling advocacy waters, promoting alternative transportation on a ride with Denmark’s Crown Prince and some fine folks at some unheard of organization called the League of American Bicyclists. (I heard they have a nice blog.) The ride was also to promote Butler’s Bike Brigade to encourage more children using biking to stay healthy and out of trouble. His work has even gotten a nod from the Presidential Active Lifestyle Award. Who doesn’t love anyone with their own Bike Brigade.
How many players can say they’ve had a bike valet service named after them? The Lou Amundson Bike Valet service ran by the Phoenix Suns was one of the first Bike Valets in the NBA. The current New Orleans player earned that Bike Valet service though, his former Suns teammates and prankster Shaq would often hide his pedal powered mode of transportation to and from the arena during practice. If only the NBA would have bike valet for all their teams. We see you Brooklyn Nets!
One of the most controversial NBA players of his time and also one of the most Twitter savvy, JR Smith also happens to like getting around by bike. The New York Knicks star once organized an impromptu late night/ early morning bike ride thru the Big Apple via a simple social media post: “How many people want to ride bikes with me at 2am instagraming pix?” We like the creativity and love that he gets around New York on an ultra convenient folding bike.
Now that you know some of the awesome players biking the NBA go forth and spread the bike and b-ball love. Who knows? Maybe some NBA players might want to join us for the Bike Summit or Bike Month next year, it might just get them a little further into the playoffs (or in the playoffs in the first place). I’m looking at you Wizards!
Any other local fan favorites you know biking in the NBA?
Equity and Outreach Fellow
Hamzat joined the League in September 2012 after working with the Atlanta Bicycle Coalition. Before working in biking, Hamzat worked with Martin Luther King Jr.’s son as a Program Associate at The King Center in Atlanta. A founder of the Red, Bike and Green chapter in Atlanta, Hamzat sees biking as a hub for change on the communal level.
via Bikeleague.org Blog http://blog.bikeleague.org/blog/2013/06/king-james-leads-the-way-bikes-in-the-nba/