Did anybody catch that NBA awards show last night? I skipped that joint. Quite frankly, I’m still working through the stages of grief after the Golden State Warriors ran out of bodies and jumpshots against a worthy Toronto Raptors squad.
That’s the weird thing for me about cheering for a former bottom feeder-recently-turned-juggernaut: the excitement over individual awards falls flat compared to the taste of championship champagne.
After 73 wins and plenty of individual awards, we’re five years deep into the “Strength in Numbers” dynasty. Personal regular season glory has taken a backseat to the hunt for titles. Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant knew they effectively wrote themselves out of the “MVP” narrative once they joined forces to torture the NBA, despite the fact they won a combined three MVP’s beforehand.
Klay Thompson hoped to take an All-NBA team selection to help in contract negotiations. When he fell short this season, he had no problems shrugging it off in the name of the three-peat.
Alas, the grind of five straight Finals trips damaged the Golden Empire enough to make them fall short on this campaign. In my surly resignation, I activated social media to see how the rest of the NBA was doing.
Giannis gives his MVP speech— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) June 25, 2019
Take a moment to forget about how abruptly the Bucks' playoff run ended, and appreciate an overwhelmingly fun season...— Tim Wray (@TimRWray) June 25, 2019
ECF & 60 Ws on +8.9
Giannis: MVP, 1st All-NBA/Def & ASG Cap
Budenholzer: COY & ASG Coach
Middleton: 1st ASG
Bledsoe: 1st All-Def
Horst: EOY pic.twitter.com/vsJB9MSMC8
Giannis’ speech and the overwhelming elation from Bucks fans melted this old gold-blooded heart of mine. It took me back to the days of the joy Dub Nation felt when Steph took his first MVP. It was the moment that established Steph as a big-time player and the Warriors as a force to be respected. I remember gleefuly waiting for NBA 2K to update Steph’s rating from an 86 to “angel of death”.
Basketball can bring a spotlight to a city, or in the Raptors’ case, a whole country. I’ll never forget watching Steph give his MVP speech in a rocking Oracle Arena, bringing the spotlight back to Oakland. What a time it was to be alive!
Then, snapping me out of my fawning revelry, was the crying from the Houston Rockets about why James Harden wasn’t getting enough love.
Congrats to the new MVP, but we respectfully disagree.— Houston Rockets (@HoustonRockets) June 25, 2019
✔️ Finished Top 2 in MVP voting 4 out of the last 5 seasons
✔ 1st player in NBA history to avg at least 35.0ppg & 7.0apg in a single season
✔ Scored 40+ pts 28 times this season, 50+ 9 times & 60+ twice pic.twitter.com/UMmHARlNxg
The thirst! Are you kidding me? The Warriors are obsessed with gobbling as many titles as possible before the sun sets on their opportunity: they literally don’t have time to beg for MVP votes. Meanwhile, the Rockets are out here shucking and jiving for a man that cannot get them over the hump in the postseason, SMH.
It’s a trip realizing how the dynasty has changed my feelings on these awards. With Klay’s knee rehab and KD’s free agency/Achilles rehab, there’s a growing possibility we see an evolved Steph terrorize the NBA next season and take his third MVP trophy.
But if he doesn’t? It’s all good: we know he’d rather have the title.