This past Sunday, the NBA Players Association held their first ever awards show in Las Vegas that was voted on by the players themselves. Featuring some of the game’s biggest names (well, the ones that could be bothered to be there – more on that later), the Players’ Awards was a chance for the ones who actually play the game to recognize the accomplishments of their peers. And for us, it’s a chance to do an annotated version of the show with jokes just as bad as the ones that BET edited out (and you can tell, they cut out some stinkers by host Jay Pharoah and the presenters).
Prior to the show, there was a lot of talk about how the show was going to work and what kind of awards were going to be given out and what controversies might arise if the media and the players voted for different winners. Well, all of that and more was answered with what could be described as a decent first effort by the Players Association, which is code for “not a total trainwreck”. Although, if you ask me, the fact that Dahntay Jones (aka professional Kobe wrecker) was one of the most featured guys in the crowd shots should tell you something about the quality of the guest list. So sit back, fire up your DVR and watch the show again this time with our thoughts in semi-real time.
0:00 – DVR caught the last 45 seconds of Life starring Eddie Murphy and Martin Lawrence. That movie could have been so much better now that I think about it…
0:47 – Crap, Lil’ Wayne. I’d rather watch Life. Prepping myself for indecipherable lyrics and record label drama that I couldn’t care less about.
1:24 – Ray Allen is not impressed, looking at Tunechi like he’s Jake Shuttlesworth.
1:44 – Paul Pierce bobbing along, sitting next to Monica and Shannon Brown, which makes me wonder how hard the seating planner had to work to make sure people who supposedly don’t get along like Allen and Pierce weren’t next to each other. Like, did the Clippers and Warriors have to be across the room from each other or did Kobe Bryant have his own roped off section?
3:29 – I guess “s**t” isn’t censored.
4:07 – Half the people they’ve shown in the crowd so far aren’t NBA guys. Either BET has no idea who the players are or nobody showed up.
6:40 – I’m just thankful “The Players’ Awards” wasn’t spelled “The Player’s Awards”.
7:03 – Wait, Al Harrington and Dahntay Jones got invites? I’m ok with Al, but only way Dahntay got in was if Kobe didn’t make it or Chris Paul gave him a sympathy ticket.
8:21 – Alan Anderson and Willie Green in attendance. Only reason I recognize them is because I’ve been doing NBA Kicks for so long I can tell you about 90% of the league just by simply seeing their feet. Yes, that’s actually a job, people…
9:45 – Oh come on, an Anthony Davis eyebrow joke and you don’t pan to Anthony Davis even though Jay Pharoah appears to be looking at Anthony Davis (or somebody that looks like Anthony Davis) throughout the joke? Something tells me Anthony Davis didn’t come.
11:07 – Odds Jay won’t be allowed at a Spurs game anytime soon just shot up. Tim Duncan’s stoic face was not amused.
12:30 – The kid from Blackish Miles Brown just ran ad-lib circles around Gary Payton, a retired NBA legend that’s been a broadcaster for several years now. Too bad nobody notices since GP is at Fox Sports.
14:30 – First award is Defensive Player of the Year and Kawhi Leonard – the media pick -wasn’t even nominated. Looks like the theme of the night is “f**k who the media voted for”.
15:13 – Paul Pierce keeping it 100 with the shades indoors, giving zero cares as he chills with CP3 and keeps getting them checks.
15:40 – Speaking of getting them checks, Jalen Rose just got smacked by Kaileigh Brandt for his defense back in the days. Real talk, she ain’t wrong; only time people talked about Jalen’s defense was when he was getting beat by MJ and when he stuck his under a jumping Kobe during her 2000 Finals.
26:10 – Kent Bazemore sighting! Hard to tell it’s him though when he’s not doing his signature taunt.
27:15 – Anybody notice that people kept cheering when Hannibal Burress said that teachers should make NBA money and players should make teacher money?
28:48 – No Eastern Conference city could crack the homecourt category. Good, no East Coast bias for once.
34:44 – Jessie Williams rocking Yeezys, adidas with the brilliant product placement.
35:18 – This “Hey, Chris Paul, you’re awesome, how awesome are you?” is brought to you by the Players Association, whose President is Chris Paul. Cliff Paul should have been there to accept it on Chris’ behalf like all of the other awards where the winners no-showed.
38:26 – Kyle Korver should just walk out after that bit.
39:53 – Please let Russell Westbrook be there so we can see what he’s wearing, please…
40:51 – Steph collecting awards just ain’t the same without Riley.
48:34 – Uh, LeBron’s in Cleveland now, two-fifths of Fifth Harmony.
51:27 – Wait, that’s not Tyga?
57:48 – Wow, Anthony Tolliver is a presente… wait, is that Bobby Simmons sitting next to Rashard Lewis? Did he get a HBO deal too like his long-lost cousin Bill?
1:01:32 – Of course, President Obama manages to mention his Chicago Bulls. Is anybody from the Bulls even in the attendance?
1:03:06 – Disappointed they didn’t mention Ray’s charitable efforts in giving kicks back to the community by hiding them in obscure places for people to find.
1:04:50 – Leave it to Ray Allen to make sense of what MJ meant to him and it has nothing to do with being a shameless fanboy that camps out at a store for retros.
1:10:49 – Sneakerheads be like “wait, there were songs in ‘Space Jam’? I thought it was a commercial for the Jordan 11s?”
1:15:00 – Can we stop with exploitation of Mo’ne Davis? Seriously, they opened a new Quiznos around here and she might have been there to cut the ribbon.
1:15:22 – “Player You Secretly Wish Was On Your Team”
1:15:23 – That’s an actual award. Did Chris Paul approve of this award? I want to know the committee who had to figure out the categories. Did James Harden get shot down for creating “Best City To Get A Beard Trim” or was J.R. Smith’s “Best Arena To Ride A Phunkee Duck” too much?
1:16:28 – Hey John Wall in attendance. Love the J Wall 2 so far. Also, never ever listen to Colin Cowherd…
1:23:27 – How awkward would this show be if Steph wasn’t in attendance?
1:24:46 – And that rant by Jalen was paid for by Chris Paul and Michelle Roberts.
1:30:48 – Nope, Jay, can’t do it. That Ty Lawson line was great though…
1:35:58 – Are those black Air Force 1s Allen Iverson is wearing? Ah whatever, we should just all hope he and his family are in a good place because he’s AI, dammit…
1:45:40 – 2 Chainz with the Yeezys, adidas knows people are watching. Granted, most people are watching ironically like I am, but still…
1:50:21 – Again, if you didn’t think this award show was a giant middle finger to the media, James Harden getting the MVP is your proof. Harden deserved to win the media vote, but it was hard not to give it to Steph.
Assuming we get more of this in the future, this first edition of the Players’ Awards will be a fun footnote in history for its no-shows, mildly controversial winners and bad jokes. It’s a fun summertime diversion for those who can’t wait for next season to kick off again. But next time, they need more star power besides CP3, Steph and a weirdly limping James Harden. The Players Association could fill a whole stadium with superstars and still get the NBA geeks like me tripping out over seeing somebody random like Bobby Simmons in the back row if they got more people to go. You know it could use some work when even Drake didn’t bother to show up.