Exclusive NBA Awards Show Recap and Highlights
The first inaugural NBA Awards Show was everything it was billed to be and much more!
The NBA took the concept and ran with it as the first show of its kind was a huge success. From the opening monologue up until the Most Valuable Player speech, the entire night was a tribute to the NBA, the sport of basketball, and how far the league has come.
The night’s festivities kicked off with a monologue from the host, Canadian rapper and Toronto Raptors’ Global Ambassador Drake.
More often than not, the humour that you would hear from Drake is corny, but on Monday night, Drizzy brought out his heavy artillery, taking aim at many NBA players in his opening statements and his slew of punch lines the rest of the night.
As the show began picking up steam early, various presenters began announcing winners of the NBA awards, starting with Malcolm Brogdon taking home the NBA Rookie of the Year award, beating out a duo of Philadelphia Sixers.
The night was only getting start and the awards kept piling up. The winners were as follows:
- Sixth Man of the Year: Eric Gordon (HOU)
- Most Improve Player of the Year: Giannis Antetokounmpo (MIL)
- Coach of the Year: Mike D’Antoni (HOU)
- Executive of the Year: Bob Myers (GSW)
- Defensive Player of the Year: Draymond Green (GSW)
- Most Valuable Player of the Year: Russell Westbrook (OKC)
All deserving winners, Draymond Green’s victory was one of the more notable ones. The Warriors guard who came inches away from claiming his first Defensive Player of the Year award a year ago, was finally able to capture the prize that has alluded his career to this point.
The final award of the night was the moment NBA fans were all waiting for. The regular season Most Valuable Player trophy was awarded to none other than ‘Mr. Triple-Double’ Russell Westbrook. An emotional Westbrook took his time thanking everyone who helped him reach this moment. From his teammates some of whom he invited to the stage with him, to his parents and brother, to his wife.
Someone was most definitely chopping onions in the room. Brodie’s emotional speech was one of the many highlights of what was an incredible night.
Apart from the main awards of the evening, there were also the fan’s choice awards, a combination of fun awards whose winner was voted on by the NBA fanbase. The victors, highlighted by Dunk of the Year winner Victor Oladipo were as follows:
- Teammate of the Year: Dirk Nowitzki (DAL)
- Block of the Year: Kawhi Leonard (SAS)
- Assist of the Year: Draymond Green/Steph Curry (GSW)
- Dunk of the Year: Victor Oladipo (OKC)
- Hustle Award: Patrick Beverley (HOU)
- Community Assist Award: Isaiah Thomas (BOS)
- Sportsmanship Award: Kemba Walker (CHA)
- Lifetime Achievement Award: Bill Russell
- Game-winner of the Year Award: Russell Westbrook (OKC)
- Performance of the Year Award: Klay Thompson (GSW)
- Sager Strong Award: Monty Williams
- Playoff Moment of the Year Award: Kevin Durant (GSW)
One of the most notable moments on the night occurred when the legendary Bill Russell received his Lifetime Achievement Award from a group of big men, all Hall of Famers in their own right, all centres who owe their careers to the pioneer that is Russell, an 11-time NBA champion with the Boston Celtics.
But, there may have not been a more emotional and special moment than when Monty Williams received the first ever Sager Strong Award, an award that honoured the strength and perseverance of the great Craig Sager. Currently the vice president of basketball operations for the San Antonio Spurs, Williams lost his wife in a car crash, but the strength that he has continued to exude has been nothing short of remarkable.
It was a special night in the NBA, one that celebrated what the league has become and more importantly celebrated the game of basketball. The night had it all – from big winners, to hilarious sound bites and moments, to emotional, heart-felt speeches – the first inaugural NBA Awards Show was a success and will never be forgotten.
As Drake stated in his closing remarks, next year, let’s make it even better!