The NBA Should Stop This Awards Show While It Still Can
Where is Mark Cuban with an ominous quote when you need him? It was Cuban who two years ago boldly proclaimed that “pigs get fat, hogs get slaughtered” in regards to the NFL, and it turns out Cuban might have been kind of right! Now, the NBA certainly isn’t turning into a hog, but the league is getting a little bit greedy with the new awards show it announced Tuesday.
The gist: TNT will air an an awards show in late June, during which the NBA will announce awards like MVP, Sixth Man of the Year and Rookie of the Year all on the same night. The NBA is promising a “star-studded affair,” and I’m willing to bet my life savings this thing will end up being hosted by Kevin Hart and presented by an insurance company.
Look, the NBA doesn‘t need an awards show. The NFL does something similar with the NFL Honors, something that I’ve literally never watched, not for one second. The NBPA kind of tried something similar two years ago—remember when James Harden was voted MVP over Stephen Curry?—and within one year the Players' Awards went from being broadcast on BET to merely announced on Twitter.
I mean, first of all, (slides up glasses and presents calculations) announcing the MVP after the playoffs ruins the fabric of NBA narratives. Remember when Dirk had to accept his trophy while the Mavs were in the midst of their upset against the Warriors? Remember when LeBron was definitely annoyed Steph won the first unanimous MVP so he then ruthlessly swatted his shot in Game 5?
We would be robbed of so many jokes if the MVP wasn’t announced until after the playoffs. And you know players aren’t going to want to show up for this. You think J.R. Smith wanted to be at an awards show a few days after the Finals? That man doesn’t have time for dress codes. In late June, the Rookie of the Year should be on an island somewhere trying to parlay his basketball success into, uh, off-the-court success, not stuck in a ballroom with thirsty media types.
Also, nothing against Kevin Hart—I shamelessly enjoyed Ride Along—but not only will he definitely host, we already know what jokes he’s going to tell. He’ll clown on players for their fashion choices, play up the fact that he’s friends with the Banana Boat Crew, and make be at least one awkward skit highlighting the height difference between himself and Shaquille O’Neal—all while Adam Silver laughs from his front-row seat because he’s the HIP commissioner.
The only way you could get me to watch this awards show is if it were solely dedicated to Shaqtin A Fool. Seriously. I love Shaqtin. How did Shaq manage to corner the market on bloopers? The man is a genius. TNT could simply run bloopers at the end of Inside the NBA and we’d love them just the same. Instead Shaq stamped his name on something we’ve seen on DVD box sets for years, and Shaqtin is now the ubiquitous term for any time an NBA player does something egregious, like that Joakim Noah airball.
The NBA off-season is kind of perfect as it is. We go straight from the Finals to the draft, and then the sweet, sweet high of free agency gets us through July. The last trophy raised after the NBA season should be the Larry O’Brien trophy (and the Finals MVP trophy); instead this awards show will force one NBA player to awkwardly drive off in a Kia for our final memory of the season.
Stop this while there is still time, NBA. You really don’t need a lowly rated awards show to cap your season. Why fix something that isn’t broke? I’m more than happy to watch Bones and The Italian Job on TNT all summer. Everything is actually going pretty well for the NBA these days, now’s not the time to start packing on the pounds.