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Lebron James & Carmelo AnthonyDavid Richard/USA TODAY Sports

Carmelo Anthony started to get a little wistful Wednesday morning while talking about ex-teammates Iman Shumpert and J.R. Smith.

"It seems like LeBron [James] took all my family from me," he said hours before the Knicks-Cavs game.

It was a funny line in a light-hearted moment from Anthony.

But he has a genuine bond with Shumpert and Smith, who were traded to James' Cavaliers last January.

Anthony watched both players -- and his buddy LeBron -- with the pride of an older brother during the NBA Finals last season.

"It was more kind of [like] seeing your family out there than anything," he said. "I didn't watch it kind of from a competitive standpoint. I watched two guys -- J.R., I've known him, I've been with him for almost 10 years; Shump is a guy who came in and was kind of a little brother to me; and of course LeBron, who I've been with, kind of connected to since high school. So to see all three of those guys competing at that level, it was more watching my family out there."

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Rejoice, the return of the NBA is upon us! It seems like only yesterday the Golden State Warriors captured their first NBA title in 40 years.

Scenes of Stephen Curry jubilantly hoisting the Larry O'Brien Trophy after a dejected LeBron James left the court are still ingrained in the minds of hoops fans everywhere.

While that might have been the end of the on-court action, it was just the beginning of a long summer of off-the-court entertainment courtesy of our favorite NBA stars.

These antics are worth revisiting:

1. Emoji Wars

The battle to keep/acquire DeAndre Jordan escalated quickly. In one of the stranger stories of the offseason, the involved parties turned to emojis to convey their opposing messages. But the real kicker was when Paul Pierce chimed in ... by tweeting a picture of a rocket emoji, because The Truth does what he wants -- or still has a flip-phone.

2. LeBron, Melo, DWade and CP3's bromantic vacation

The banana boat picture seen 'round the world. While no picture can quite compare to the one snapped of some of The Association's biggest names aboard a banana boat while on vacation, this one of them sipping some vino shouldn't be overlooked:


A photo posted by dwyanewade (@dwyanewade) on

3. The Currys

Steph who? Yeah, this family gets its own section. The MVP was outshined by his daughter at every turn. Which says a lot considering Steph hit the golf course with President Obama. From gracing us with her rendition of the "Whip/Nae Nae" on her third birthday, to teaching Jeremy Lin how to break it down, Riley Curry's offseason was as strong as her postgame news conferences.

4. James Harden celebrates his birthday with the Kardashians

The Beard, rumored to be dating Khloe Kardashian at the time, spent his 26th birthday aboard a yacht flanked by members of the Kardashian clan, complete with fireworks. Why does this matter? Because of this picture of the Houston Rockets star photobombing Kanye West, who doesn't exactly appear to be bringing the energy:

5. Taylor Swiftmania

Oh, she's not an NBA player? Irrelevant. Tay Tay got support from some of the biggest names in the game this summer, showing that tough and "Swiftie" aren't mutually exclusive. Not only did Kobe Bryant present her with her own banner at the Staples Center ...

What an amazing night. Can't wait for the next 4 shows! #1989TourLA

A photo posted by STAPLES Center (@staplescenterla) on

But Russell Westbrook posted videos of himself vibing to two of her hit songs:

T SWIFT ...WAS ROCKINNNN LAST NIGHT!! .... @taylorswift

A video posted by Russell Westbrook (@russwest44) on

BAD BLOOD!!!! @taylorswift .. Banger!!!!!

A video posted by Russell Westbrook (@russwest44) on

6. Shaquille O'Neal and Scottie Pippen Instagram feud

What happens when NBA greats start dabbling in hypotheticals on Instagram? A full-fledged social media beef, that's what. Scottie Pippen and Shaq didn't hold back in their attack on one another. Complete with Photoshop edits like this one:


A photo posted by DR. SHAQUILLE O'NEAL Ed.D. (@shaq) on

7. The player formerly known as Swaggy P

We don't know what to make of it. Is Nick Young abandoning the rules of "swagdom" for good? First, he caught our attention by getting Tupac Shakur's face tattooed on his arm that he had previously proclaimed was "strictly for buckets" ... and then this happened:

8. Michael Jordan gets trolled by camper with "What are those?!" Internet meme

If you are going to step to the GOAT -- why would one ever venture to do such a foolish thing? -- prepare to get served. That's exactly what happened when a young, exuberant camper decided to come at Jordan by inquiring: "What are thossssseeee?" The question, meant to humiliate someone for their ugly footwear, left MJ confused at first. Hey, he's 52 years old and probably doesn't spend a lot of time with childish Internet memes. But then he responded with a cool and collected rebuttal: "These are Jordan XX9 lows." Next ...

9. New York Knicks rookie Kristaps Porzingis sings some Chamillionaire

Oh Kristaps, what a guy. We don't care that Porzingis hasn't played a minute in the NBA yet, we are inclined to say he is clearly the answer to all the New York Knicks' problems.

Vlreiz saku LIELU paldies @baltielv par Audi! =% #Ridin

A video posted by Kristaps Porzingis (@kporzee) on

10. @BDotAdot5 does spot-on NBA star impersonations

With the offseason came former Reno Bighorns (NBA D-League) player Brandon Armstrong's impersonations. Even players he mocked couldn't deny how accurate they were.

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While they were both with the Miami Heat, Dwyane Wade and LeBron James -- like many teammates throughout the league do -- created their share of elaborate handshakes.

Even though LeBron is gone, Wade hasn't stopped with these creative displays of dap. He doesn't restrict them to the basketball court, either.

As revealed by actress Gabrielle Union on a recent "Conan" appearance (and briefly seen in their full wedding video released in September) she and her husband punctuated their nuptials with a handshake of their own:

As a bonus, Union revealed to Conan O'Brien that Chris Bosh is basically Kramer to Wade and Union's Jerry Seinfeld, all because the couple have a "Ms. Pac-Man" game in their house.

"He's addicted," Union said. "He lives a few doors down, and like 2 a.m. [the doorbell will ring and I'll say], 'Is it Chris? ... Is it Chris Bosh?' ... He'll be at the front door, wanting in, to get on the game."

No word on if Bosh punctuates his visits with this handshake.

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LeBron James' associate Randy Mims -- who LeBron has nicknamed "Ernie Ramos" -- turned 40, so the King's crew went all out for the occasion.

The theme of the party was apparently 1920's Prohibition gangster, which led to James sporting a ridiculous wig and giving out mob nicknames to his pals.

"JP" with his understudy B "The Sneaky Threat" Weems @brandonweems10. #FamilyTies #Happy40thRamos

A photo posted by LeBron James (@kingjames) on

That's all; just LeBron wearing a really goofy wig, calling himself James "Plaid" Jackson.

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LeBron James and Stephen CurryAP Photo/Ben Margot

Recently we brought you the top 10 players, as rated by the latest "NBA 2K" game.

The ratings for "NBA Live 16" also are here -- and they're quite a bit different.

Here's the top 10 (and ties):

1. LeBron James (97)

2. Kevin Durant (96)

T-3. Anthony Davis (95)

T-3. Marc Gasol (95)

T-3. Blake Griffin (95)

T-3. James Harden (95)

T-3. Chris Paul (95)

T-8. LaMarcus Aldridge (94)

T-8. DeMarcus Cousins (94)

T-8. Stephen Curry (94)

T-8. Russell Westbrook (94)

That's right: LeBron James (no surprise) is No. 1, 2014 NBA MVP Kevin Durant is No. 2, and a handful of talented stars across positions come in tied for third.

Meanwhile, the reigning NBA MVP is tied for eighth -- definitely an eye-opening number for a player many consider the best in the league. Then again, perhaps "NBA Live" is drawing upon more than just last season for its ratings; few before 2014-15 had Curry in that top-player-overall conversation.

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