The NBA has made an event out of its yearly awards that lead fans to argue over the true definition of a rookie and who has played better than LeBron James throughout the given season. Spliced in are players who have become bigger than the league and are instead improving their community for generations to come.
Check out the biggest (and maybe the most controversial) moments out the 2018 NBA Awards:
Rookie Of the Year, Ben Simmons
One of the hardest and most head-scratching awards of the night was Rookie Of the Year. Jayson Tatum had a formidable chance because his Celtics got to the Eastern Conference Final. Donovan Mitchell stepped up in an opening round against LeBron, but Ben Simmons put up the numbers and showed why he deserved to be the first pick back in 2016… despite not playing his entire first season.
Coach Of The Year, Dwane Casey
Boston’s Brad Stevens has been touted as the best coach around, and has even been called a genius by his own players and led his team to a Game 7 faceoff with LeBron James. But, in the end, it was Dwane Casey who led the Toronto Raptors to a franchise record of 59 wins to win the award. He’d get fired soon after getting eliminated at the hands of James (again) but has since landed in Detroit to make magic again. Awkward? Just a little bit.
Most Improved Player, Victor Oladipo
Victor Oladipo deserved it. After playing for the Orlando Magic and Oklahoma City Thunder for four years, he made his transition to the Indiana Pacers where he was suddenly the man after being in the shadow of others. He played alongside the experienced Ricky Rubio, but after an injury that left him sidelined during the playoffs, Oladipo showed out.”Shoutout to the Pacers organization for believing in me, all the Indiana Pacers. It’s only the beginning for us, we’re just getting started,” Oladipo, who averaged 23 points this season, said on stage while receiving the award.
Lifetime Achievement Award, Oscar Robertson
Oscar Robertson, one of the NBA’s underrated but most pivotal players, was finally honored with the Lifetime achievement award. The triple-double genius dominated the game and was a huge force in blossoming free agency and helping players getting paid much more within the league.
“It means that throughout the years what I’ve done in basketball is recognized and that basketball is still a popular sport throughout the world and I’m very happy to be a part of it,” Robertson said during a phone interview with USA Today.
Most Valuable Player, James Harden
There is LeBron James, then there’s everyone else. James winning another MVP at this point in his career isn’t too feasible as his greatness has never subsided. Harden, on the other hand, put the Rockets on front street and could have beat the Golden State Warriors if Chris Paul wasn’t injured in Game 7 of the Western Conference Finals. He’s come a long way from just being a guy off the bench for the Oklahoma City Thunder. “From Sixth Man of the Year to MVP. Go chase that dream,” he said while accepting the award.
Bill Russell Flipping Off Sir Charles
Oh, and how could we forget Bill Russell flipping off Charles Barkley? Before presenting an award to Robertson, Barkley took some time to congratulate some of the greats in the building, and when he got to the 11-time champion, Russell proceeded to flip him off with a smile on his face. Last year, Russell was actually on stage to present an award with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Shaquille O’Neal, Dikembe Mutombo, Alonzo Mourning and David Robinson and joked that he could. So the trash talk from the legend is nothing new.