Jay Asser explains the fundamental problem with how the NBA has chosen to present its individual awards.
There’s a lot that the NBA gets right, more so than almost every other sport. Their freshly minted awards show, however, is not one of them.
The league’s bloated, long-overdue night to announce the winners of its major individual honours wasn’t the tension-filled, entertainment spectacle it was billed as, but rather an inevitable snoozefest.
The issue with the show has less to do with its concept and more to do with its timing.
Interactions and style are strong suits of the NBA, so bringing together the league’s best and most recognisable players and allowing their personalities to shine should theoretically be a slam dunk.
It’s difficult to feign interest though when no one cares – from the fans to the players themselves.
While it was certainly cool to see Russell Westbrook give a teary and heartfelt thanks to his family, Bill Russell direct some friendly trash talk towards fellow legends and James Harden lustily gaze at Nicki Minaj during her performance, but the general vibe felt simultaneously try-hard and indifferent.
That’s going to happen when you announce regular season awards in late June, weeks after the Finals concluded and sandwiched between the draft and free agency. Everyone has moved on to the offseason, so it’s hard to get up for awards that we stopped debating nearly two months ago.
In the inaugural edition, the NBA also avoided what could end up being an awkward situation in future shows, particularly when it comes to the MVP: a player accepting an award either after being trading (unlikely) or days before sending shockwaves by switching teams in free agency (possible).
Who knows how long the NBA will keep the production going, but considering the reception to it and how woke the league is, it’ll eventually be axed. Not even Drake can give this show more life.