Early Predictions for NBA's Social Media Awards
Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
Not everyone associated with the NBA is well-versed in the art of Twitter and Facebook, but several of those who are will be honored at the league's second annual Social Media Awards next month.
The show—which will be televised live on NBATV on Wednesday, June 12 at 8 p.m. ET—will honor a number of players and teams who had memorable moments this season.
With more than 400 million likes and followers on their various pages and team sites, the NBA has effectively used social media to extend its brand across the globe. The league does an exceptional job of highlighting its signature moments and stars, and with the Social Media Awards, they also take the time out to celebrate their accomplishments as well.
1) Snap Shot Award
Rumors of discord surrounded the Lakers for most of the season, and there was a report that the Bryant and Howard had a heated argument following L.A.'s 103-99 loss to the Philadelphia 76ers on New Year's Day. So, in an ingenious attempt to quell the speculation, the two Lakers' superstars staged a fight at the Lakers' practice facility, and even enlisted head coach Mike D'Antoni to serve as a "peacemaker."
Howard and Bryant may not have always seen eye-to-eye this year, but this photo is proof positive that they can work well together...in certain situations, at least.
2) The Epic Award
It would be hard to find a game that sparked more conversation on social media this season than the Golden State Warriors-New York Knicks matchup back on February 27.
Stephen Curry went 11-for-13 from beyond the arc that night and finished with 54 points in one of the more surreal performances in recent memory. Unfortunately for the Warriors, his high-powered scoring exhibition wasn't quite enough to take down the Knicks, who won the game 109-105.
Despite the victory, Carmelo Anthony's 35 points and eight assists are almost an afterthought in light of the show that Curry put on. Few realized it at the time, but Curry's outburst that evening would be a harbinger of things to come.
3) The LOL Award
Memphis Grizzlies' center Marc Gasol's "shoe defense" was a worthy contender for the NBA's "LOL Award", but when JaVale McGee is doing JaVale McGee things, he's hard to beat.
Although the Denver Nuggets' center has had more memorable incidents, McGee's full-court dribble/stumble/wild alley-oop/take-out of Ty Lawson clearly deserves a spot in his personal highlight reel. The sequence leaves Nuggets' head coach George Karl—and the rest of us—completely speechless.
4) Social Slam Award
DeAndre Jordan's slam over Brandon Knight wasn't just the best throwdown of the year: It was the dunk that launched a thousand Photoshop mock-ups and 100 times as many Twitter reactions.
DeAndre Jordan!!!! Dayyyuummmm!! Dunk of the year #littletikeshoop— LeBron James (@KingJames) March 11, 2013
It was really a case of being in the wrong place at the wrong time for Knight, who made the ill-fated decision of trying to defend a perfectly executed alley-oop. Regardless of what he does in his NBA career, the moment (and the social media aftermath) will follow Knight for the rest of his life.
5) FTW Award (For The Win)
A fall-away, one-legged three-pointer at the buzzer? All in a night's work for Milwaukee Bucks' guard Monta Ellis, who knocked down an incredible 28-footer to beat the Houston Rockets 110-107 on February 27.
Ellis had 27 points and 13 assists on the night, but none of his baskets were as impressive as the game-winner that he sank (thanks to a shooter's roll) with no time left on the clock.
"The buzzer went off when it was rolling around the rim," Ellis told USA Today after he started sprinting to the locker room before the ball fell through the net. "Wasn't any need for me to come back out."
6) The OMG Award
Thankfully, the "Harlem Shake" is no longer a "thing", but at the tail end of the craze, the Miami Heat may have made the best tribute video of them all.
It starts out with Chris "Birdman" Andersen making his way around a relaxed Heat locker room. And then suddenly, all hell breaks loose, and every member of the team is Harlem Shaking with the intensity of a playoff game.
The best part about the video is the fact that the team made an effort to wear a costume suited to their personality and/or nickname. For example, Mario Chalmers is dressed in "Super Mario Bros." garb; LeBron James is sporting a crown and robe befitting a king, and Dwyane Wade is wearing the Kanye West bear costume, a shout out to his hometown of Chicago.
7) #Trendsetter Award
According to the NBA's official press release, the #Trendsetter Award is "for the player that displayed the best sense of style via social media." And with that as the criteria, only one man is deserving of the award: Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade.
Between his slim-fitting Gucci suit (complete with capri pants) and floral Versace jacket, no one exudes the future of fashion like Wade. In fact, D-Wade is so ahead of his time stylistically, that we (read: the majority of NBA fans) are years away from realizing the full impact of his clothing game.
That's the only way to spin it: Otherwise, trying to argue that Wade's Ferragamo and Alexander McQueen outfits are in style as of today is a lost cause. So let's just operate under the premise that the two-time NBA champion is receiving style tips from someone in the year 2020, and leave him be.
8) The 140 Award
Mere hours after he was nearly obliterated by a DeAndre Jordan alley-oop, Detroit Pistons' guard Brandon Knight took to Twitter and diffused the situation in less than 140 characters:
It wasn't in the scouting reports that the clippers threw lobs lol— Brandon E Knight (@BrandonKnight07) March 11, 2013
With Knight making fun of himself on social media, not only did he cut down on some of the negative tweets that were headed his way, but he also gained quite a few fans/followers in the process. Knight will always be known as the player who was posterized by Jordan, but he'll also be remembered as the man who took it in stride as well.
9) The Social MVP
After years of shunning the social media site, Kobe Bryant officially joined Twitter in early January, and the Los Angeles Lakers' guard has many of the NBA world hanging on each of his 140-character missives.
After he was criticized for tweeting during the Los Angeles Lakers' Game 1 playoff loss to the San Antonio Spurs, Bryant toned down his act a bit. But the self-proclaimed Black Mamba instantly became one of the most popular athletes on Twitter, and Bryant has used the site to give fans a glimpse of his life away from the court.