NBA Awards Puts a Bow on Yet Another Remarkable NBA Season
The NBA Awards is the perfect way to end what was yet another incredible season of NBA basketball.
One of the marquee events on the sporting calendar, the NBA Awards not only honours current stars and award finalists, but also commemorates the game’s legends of the past, while celebrates the diversity of the game of basketball. Look no further than the big winners of the night – a kid from Cameroon who was discovered at the NBA’s Basketball Without Borders program, a frenchman, a Greek Freak born to Nigerian parents, a couple of Americans, and a Slovenian budding star.
The game of basketball has truly reached new heights and has become a true international game.
Monday night was a time to celebrate what the NBA game has been able to accomplish. On June 24th in Santa Monica, California, all the stars were under one roof, be it A-list Hollywood celebrities, NBA greats, and the stars of today. The Red Carpet went as predicted, filled with exciting fashion choices, ice and swagger was on point, and the energy was nothing short of electric. As the big annual event was about to commence, everyone in attendance was ready for a big night of festivities.
Los Angeles Lakers legend and current member of Inside the NBA on TNT, Shaquille O’Neal was granted the honours of hosting the event. Pulling out all the stops and the comedic relief, Shaq did an incredible job at emceeing the nearly three-hour spectacle, even providing the crowd with his vintage dance moves and raps.
As the awards part of the evening kicked off, the NBA saw a batch of both young and veteran stars securing the hardware. Through everything, the brotherhood of the league persisted as each winner accepted each award with class, while thanking their respective families and teammates.
The winners of the hardware on the night were as follows: Toronto Raptors budding star Pascal Siakam took home the Most Improved Player of the Year award, Luka Doncic won Rookie of the Year honours, Mike Budenholzer was named Coach of the Year for the second time in his coaching career, while his boss, John Horst was named Executive of the Year. Derrick Rose won the Fan Choice Moment of the Year, while Lou Williams secured his third Sixth Man of the Year Award. Rudy Gobert took home his second consecutive Defensive Player of the Year trophy and lastly, Giannis Antetokounmpo, at 24-years of age, hoisted the Most Valuable Player award.
“I want to thank my dad. Obviously, you know, he’s not here with me,” said a teary-eyed Antetokounmpo as he accepted his award. “Two years ago, I had the goal in my head that I’m going to be the best player in the league and I’m going to do whatever it takes to help my team win and I’m going to win the MVP.
Everyday that I step on the floor, I always think about my dad and that motivates me, that pushes me to play harder and move forward.”
Leading a two-way juggernaut in the Milwaukee Bucks, Antetokounmpo was truly the best player on the best regular season team, averaging 27.7 points, 12.5 rebounds, and 5.9 assists per game while shooting 57.8-percent from the field. Antetokounmpo also led the entire league in PER (30.9), Win Share per 48 Minutes (.292) and finished second in VORP (7.6) and Win Shares (14.4).
“MVP is not about stats and numbers, and obviously James Harden had unbelievable numbers and Paul George also, but obviously it’s about winning,” Antetokounmpo said backstage. “We created great habits throughout the season and were able to stick by them, and that’s why we were able to have a chance in every single game we played and were able to win 60 games.”
Outside from the main awards, the NBA also had a special moment honouring two of the game’s great ambassadors and legends.
Magic Johnson and Larry Bird, two men who entered the league at the same point, revitalized the game, taking it to heights and cementing the NBA as an international spectacle. Adding yet another layer to the age-old Los Angeles Lakers-Boston Celtics rivalry, the duo received Lifetime Achievement Awards.
“Johnson and Bird helped define the modern NBA and elevate the league in the 1980s,” the NBA announced in a release, highlighting the importance of the two superstars in allowing the league to reach the point it is at presently.
And of course, the night cannot end without presenting the Sager Strong Award.
This is Robin Roberts was honoured with the award. A broadcasting legend and trailblazer, Roberts was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2007 and MDS five years later. She was able to persevere through strength and determination and continues to show how powerful of a female figure she really is to this day.
“We are stronger than we think we are” was a powerful message the the compassionate and courageous Roberts provided to the world on Monday night.