I'm addicted to basketball. That's no secret. Trying to keep me away from watching games is like trying to keep Gucci Mane away from crazy. (Seriously, you have a Baskin-Robbins cone on your face!)
Usually after getting home from work, before I even get my shirt and tie off, I've got some kind of game on the TV. It's a disease, I am aware.
However, if there is one area that can distract me from my sports obsession, it's my love of pop-culture.
I know what you're probably thinking, you're a 26-year-old man who is just really starting your career, there must be more productive ways to spend your time than reading TMZ and watching E! That's probably true, but here is my defense.
I live a pretty laid back life. I am usually too exhausted from work to do much else after and really only go out when I am back home with my friends in Michigan. Therefore, I live vicariously through the exciting, chaotic, more-or-less disturbing lives of Hollywood's elite. To be honest, it doesn't embarrass me one bit.
|Hi Halle : )|
When I was growing up, my mom decided against getting cable. She wanted me to read and go out and play sports. Pretty good parenting if you ask me. But one of the few nights we'd sit in front of the TV was for the Oscars. She'd pop popcorn, get me in my dinosaur pajamas, let me stay up late and we'd both guess who we thought would win. It was one of those mother-son moments that are pretty special to me. (Insert your, aww, single tear of joy, here) So I've always had a special place in my heart for the Oscars.
In honor of one of my now not so secret favorite nights of the year, I'm giving out my own awards for the best in the NBA.
Before I start passing out the honors, let me explain what the award looks like.
I think the actual Oscar is a bit boring. Iconic, yes, but boring. He is just standing there doing nothing. I'd change it to the 'Dude' sitting in his robe or Emilio Estevez on the 'Mighty Ducks' poster. Those are stances that portray winners. The current one seems more fitting for the winner of a staring contest than best actor.
My trophy will have some character, some pizzaz.
If you have read this blog in the past (all six of you), then you know my sports hero is Earl Boykins. To recognize the 5'5 guard from Eastern Michigan and now the Milwaukee Bucks, I will name my trophies Earls. They will be life sized. Who wants a trophy that you can just pick up? I think it would be very hard for me to be a loser at the Oscars (or fellow nominees as they are always called) and not try to snag someone else's award. I can't have that kind of controversy at the Earls. It would be a classy event, the anti-Source Awards.
Each winner will receive a 5'5, 138 pound gold statue of Earl Boykins in this pose. That way, when you tell people you've won an Earl, you know you've won something big. So big, that a forklift will be needed to take it from the stage and it could serve a dual purpose as a small pillar in a home or playhouse.
Now that our winners know what to expect for their achievements, let's get on to passing out the hardware.
The Earl for Best Performance by a Leading Player goes to....
Ahh Damn It! This award show is already off to a bad start. I despise LeBron and his South Beach talents, but I also can't deny that he is the best player in the NBA. His triple-double in the All-Star game is a pretty outstanding accomplishment and it was a grown mans triple-double with 29-points, 12-rebounds, 10-assists. DANNNNNG! He is only the second player to hit double-digits in three categories during an All-Star game, joining the game's greatest Michael Jordan.
Bron also is the two-time reigning MVP and is well on his way to a third. This season he is averaging 26-7-7 and his team is battling for the top spot in the East. As much I struggle to admit it, LeBron is the best player in the game, hands down. There is no GM in the league who wouldn't pick him first to start a franchise.
I've bagged on Bron Bron all season, but so far, he has responded with another outstanding regular season.
He is like the ex-girlfriend you can't stand and wish would just get fat and ugly but every time you see her she looks even finer than before. It sucks, but you have to give credit where credit is due.
Even with my biases, I can't deny LeBron an Earl...congrats.
P.S. Don't blow it in the playoffs, Earls can be revoked.
The Earl for Best Performance in a Supporting Role goes to...
Leading up the the 2008 NBA Draft, the knock on Westbrook was that he was a solid athlete but no one knew if he was a point guard who can't really handle the ball or a shooting guard who can't really shoot. So when the then Seattle Supersonics took him with the fourth pick, there was a a whole lot of "wait, huh, why?" reactions.
His UCLA teammate Kevin Love was still on the board, so too were Eric Gordon and DJ Augustine who were both studs in college and played similar positions.
To their credit, the now Oklahoma City Thunder saw something in Westbrook the majority of the rest of us didn't.
He is now an All-Star and playing a great second fiddle alongside Kevin Durant. There is no doubt Durant is face of the franchise, but the Thunder aren't the team no one wants to face in the playoffs without Russell.
He is averaging 23-points (one less than Durant), eight-dimes, and five-rebounds. Scary numbers for a guy who is still "learning" the position.
Westbrook is as athletic of a point guard as there is in the league. He plays defense, has a mid-range jumper, and is unfairly explosive around the rim. His development has forced teams to throw added defenders his way and when that happens that means less attention on Durant. When Durant is open, it's bad news for opposing defenses.
Westbrook was seen as a gamble at first, but now seems like a sure bet to take Oklahoma City to the championship level.
And because of that, he earns an Earl.
The Earl for Best Director goes to....
Chicago Bulls Head Coach Tom Thibodeau
He's no Phil Jackson, but the first year head coach in the Windy City is doing an incredible job. On paper, the Bulls are OK. Derrick Rose is on the shortlist of MVP candidates and they have two outstanding big men in their primes in Joakim Noah and Carlos Boozer. But, Noah and Boozer have both missed significant time with injuries and haven't really been on the floor together.
Besides those three, Chicago's roster is not overwhelmingly impressive. Taj Gibson and Ronnie Brewer are nice pieces, but aren't anything special. Nonetheless, Thibodeau has figured out a way to keep his team motivated and winning.
The Bulls are atop the Central Division and sit third in the East. They also now appear to be healthy and if they gel in time for the postseason, Chicago may end up knocking off Boston or Miami.
For a guy coaching in the shadows of the league's most decorated head coach, in his first year, and still getting the job done, Tom Thibodeau wins himself an Earl.
The Earl for Best Producer goes to...
Knicks President Donnie Walsh.
It almost has to doesn't it? I know Pat Riley hit the free agency jackpot this season, but the assembly of Miami's Big Three seemed more coordinated by the players than Big Daddy Pat. Walsh has resurrected the basketball Mecca, New York City. He got the 2010 Free Agent Class' boobie prize in Amar'e Stoudemire who has exceeded expectations, drafted Landry Fields who has been arguably the best Eastern Conference rookie, and then made his big splash trading for Carmelo Anthony and Chauncey Billups.
The Knicks are now a team to watch. As much as people hate New York teams, it's still more fun when they are competitive. Donnie Walsh made that happen. He gets an Earl.
The Earl for Best Ensemble Cast goes to...
A tie between the San Antonio Spurs and the Boston Celtics
These teams are both old. They are both sometimes incredibly boring to watch. They both win.
The Spurs and Celtics are built with winners. Their coaches are winners, their franchises are winners, their players are proven winners.
In an era where teams are wheeling and dealing to try to win immediately with no regards for the future, the Spurs and Celtics are the exception.
Sure, they've both had luck on their side with San Antonio getting Tim Duncan courtesy of a fortunate bounce of the draft lottery balls and the Celtics striking it rich acquiring KG and Ray Allen for a bag of non-magic beans, but the two teams have also added players around their stars that will help the franchises win in the future.
The respective front offices have done amazing jobs drafting, whether it was Boston grabbing an overlooked point guard from Kentucky or San Antonio going international for guys like Parker and Ginobli. The two teams have put together an ideal formula for success in the NBA.
They are the perfect examples of team play and, for that, take home Earls.
Those are the main categories, the awards that are actually given out on TV, but here is a list of Earl winners in the other categories, and a brief synopsis of why they won.
Best Animated Feature
Chris "Birdman" Andersen
Look at the hair and tattoos on this guy! There hasn't been a better cartoon since Darkwing Duck. He doesn't even have to get in the game to be entertaining. He wins an Earl.
Best Performance by a Foreign Player
Canada, as far as I know, is still not considered the 51st state. The Canadian point guard for the Suns is still having a solid year (23-points and 11-assists per game!) on a team that threw away all of its other good players. Plus, he is actually a very good actor. Win.
I am aware that Best Score is a category for music, but I'm going to modify it for best individual baskets. Griffin's dunks against the Knicks earlier this season were two of the best I've ever since in a game. If they were music, they would convey the sweet sha-la-la's of angels playing the harp. Heavenly jams. Earl Winner.
Lifetime Achievement Award
Obviously I am not going to snub the man who the award was named after. That's like the NBA not putting Jerry West in the Hall-of-Fame, or not giving Ron Jeremy his own wing at the Bunny Ranch. It's just expected.
At 34, Earl is still averaging eight-points a game and busted out for 26 against Dallas and 23 against Memphis in December. He's still got it.
No, he might not be a George Clooney A-lister anymore, but Earl isn't exactly celebrity rehab low, either. He is like Al Pacino. He might not be putting out classics like Scarface anymore, but he's still got a few 'Scent of a Woman' 's left.
Earl, no doubt, deserves an Earl.