By: Tommy Billiteri
This was the first year the NBA decided to announce all of their major award winners on the same night as a part of the 2017 award show on TNT.
Monday’s show was hosted by hip-hop icon, Drake, and had most of the NBA stars present. Among these players was the metaphorical pot-stirring Draymond Green, who brought home the Defensive Player of the Year honors over Rudy Gobert and Kawhi Leonard.
Malcolm Brogdon of the Milwaukee Bucks was awarded Rookie of the Year, which was surprising to say the least because Brogdon was actually a 2nd round pick. At the start of the season, most would have thought the award would go to someone like the Lakers’ 2nd overall pick Brandon Ingram.
In addition to the traditional awards, there was also some “ESPY-like” awards given out such as Dunk of the Year, Assist of the Year and Buzzer-Beater of the Year. These distinctions were awarded to Victor Oladipo, Draymond Green and Russell Westbrook respectively.
Monty Williams received the 1st annual Sager Strong award for his everlasting courage during a horrific tragedy. Williams, an assistant coach for the Oklahoma City Thunder, lost his wife in a car crash which occurred on February 9, 2016. Williams’ acceptance speech was a tear-jerker to say the least.
The whole night was capped off with the much anticipated announcement of the 2017 NBA MVP. Most assumed the winner would either be OKC’s Russell Westbrook, who averaged a triple-double for the entire season or Houston’s James Harden, who led the league in assists.
Commissioner Adam Silver approached the stage to make the announcement and the whole room came to a hush. Then, the commissioner opened the envelope and read Russell Westbrook’s name as the MVP and he instantly stood and embraced his parents.
Then, Westbrook shared a very emotional thank you speech on stage with teammates Oladipo, Andre Roberson, Enes Kanter, Taj Gibson and Nick Collison behind him. With the MVP trophy in hand, Westbrook’s 2017 revenge tour is at least a little sweeter. But don’t misunderstand, winning the NBA Finals still is and always was Westbrook’s main goal.