Look, I love pop culture. I think it’s a cornerstone of society and brings people of all kind together. That being said, sometimes the line between passion and promotion gets blurred and the reasoning for why it’s being produced seems more for financial gain. While I don’t have a real problem with the NBA Award Show and am intrigued to see the format and style, it’s target audience is teenage boys who care more about players shoes and Twitter than their stats. As I said before, I don’t feel that these award shows are a bad idea as much as I feel that they take away from the awards themselves.
Before I get into why it demeans the awards. Let’s look into the history of them. The classics such as ROY and MVP date back to the early 50s. The point of them were to single out and recognize the best players in the league annually as motivation for improvement and achievement. As time went on and market integration merged its way into sports, they took these standout players each year and signed them on as sponsors.
Moving into today’s NBA, the top players make more than half their yearly salary through sponsorships and apparel. The evolution of the meaning of the awards has made it so the concept of an award show fits in seamlessly with what the awards represent. I know some may disagree, but I don’t believe you would get the kind of emotion and realness of Kevin Durant’s classic 2014, “You’re the real MVP” speech if he’s standing under heating lights and has music rushing him off the stage. The reasoning for these awards are so as many brands as possible can stuff in commercials filled with the athletes attending the show to promote their latest product. Again, not saying it’s bad. I just believe that the awards aren’t meant to recognize the incredible work of the players and coaches the NBA has to offer the way it did before.
I believe Russell Westbrook is the clear MVP. That means if it is him accepting the speech on the big stage, he will need to make it somewhat quick and too the point. While many already feel that sums up Westbrook’s answers towards media anyway, I have a feeling he may have a few things to say once they hand him that trophy (looking at you KD). Also, my pick for Coach of the Year, Brad Stevens is more of a straight laced guy and probably won’t make much of the big crowd and bright lights. At the end of the day, Drake’s gonna make like it’s the ESPY’s and do some big sport themed music number, Shaq will diss some fools, and the ratings for TNT will be through the roof. While I may not think it’s for the best reasons, it’s the way the game has evolved and will continue to in this stylized league.