Last night was the night that every sports fan has been waiting for. No, not the first game of the Stanley Cup. I’m talking about the NBA’s Social Media Awards. It’s the night the NBA responds to the incredible support the league has on Twitter and Facebook by giving its fans exactly what they want … an Awards Show! Am I right?! Anyone?
In case you missed it, and something tells me you did, fans (apparently) voted on NBA.com’s site on categories such as fashion, best Instagram, and Tweet of the Year and then the results are revealed in a gala event not unlike the Oscars… if you had a friend named Oscar who gave out trophies named after himself for stupid shit while no one watched.
In all seriousness, the NBA is the most Liked, Followed, and discussed major sports league on all the internets. According to NBA.com, the NBA has over 7 million Twitter followers and 17 million Facebook “Likes.” To put that in perspective, the NFL, MLB and NHL have 14.6 Facebook “Likes” combined. And those numbers don’t even include how many people follow the most recognizable athletes on the planet like Kobe Bryant and LeBron James. So it’s no wonder why the NBA would want to acknowledge the role social media plays in the league’s success and engage that part of their fanbase. But this?
“Kobe over JR” will go down as the league’s darkest moment since the Donaghy scandal
But back to the really important stuff – the awards themselves. As you might expect, the winner of the Trendsetter Award went to Russell Westbrook for looks such as this gem… and the Social Slam (aka Best Dunk) went to the Clippers’ DeAndre Jordan, making mincemeat out of Brandon Knight. You can see the rest of the winners here.
But for me, the biggest upset had to be Tweet of the Year or the 140 Award or whatever they’re calling it. The award went to Kobe Bryant for tweeting “Amnesty THAT!” after he destroyed the Dallas Mavericks a day after owner Mark Cuban suggested that the Lakers should amnesty Kobe in the off-season. It was a great FU to Cuban who should’ve known better than to make Kobe mad right before his team faced the Black Mamba.
But that tweet is nothing compared to the constant gold coming from the Twitter feed of JR Smith, who is to 140 characters as Picasso was to paint. Some may consider his feud with Rihanna his finest work, or maybe his expertise in giving out “the pipe”. Still others may prefer his reply to Kris Humphries, but for me it’s gotta be his Twitter feud with Joe Budden over a bartender turned model.
But does JR get the acknowledgement he so deserves? Of course not. He’s the Pulp Fiction of the NBA Social Media Awards, playing second fiddle while Kobe takes home the big prize just like Forrest Gump did. It’s a gross injustice and makes a mockery of these storied awards, which has been celebrating the writing achievements of professional basketball players since … well … looks like 2012.
Where’s the sense of history? The legacy-honoring of basketball social media greats like former “Snap Shot” award winner Landry Fields or the fearsome “Triple Threat” Shaq? “Kobe over JR” will go down as the NBA’s darkest moment since the Tim Donaghy scandal.
Maybe it’s true what they say on Twitter; maybe the game really is rigged.