SI.com attended the taping of the Players’ Awards, seated at a floor table with two other media members, union staffers and BET public relations executives. For a launch event conceived by a union that hasn’t exactly been known for its competency over the years, The Players’ Awards did surpass expectations on a number of levels.
NBA commissioner Adam Silver might be hip enough to recite his favorite Jay-Z lyric, as he did in a recent interview, but the taping of this show would surely have made him blush on multiple occasions. For example, Pharoah joked that Spurs legend Tim Duncan was “so old that he picked the cotton that made his uniform,” a line that somehow made the cut for the broadcast.
James Harden finally defeated Stephen Curry. Following a season in which Curry won nearly everything there was to win, Harden was the choice of league players as the winner of the first NBA Players Choice Award for MVP, announced Tuesday. He edged Curry, LeBron James and Russell Westbrook.
The only other performance award went to DeAndre Jordan as the “Best Defender,” with Jordan chosen over Tony Allen, Davis and Jimmy Butler. (Kawhi Leonard and Draymond Green, who finished first and second in the NBA balloting, were not finalists.)