Don’t you just love the Oscars? And wouldn’t you be livid if they cancelled them? Well, we answered with an emphatic “YES!” to both of those questions! The NBA season is half over and there have been some amazing storylines up to this point. As the All-Star break approaches, we will all have time to reflect on the first half and start handing out those mid-season awards. Rather than doing another snooze-able “mid-season review” post, we decided to spice it up a little bit with a tribute to awards season and to the 80th Annual Academy Awards!
And the NBA Oscar goes to…
And the NBA Oscar goes to…
Best Picture: New Orleans Hornets
The New Orleans Hornets led by Best Actor nominee Chris Paul and Best Directing nominee Byron Scott have had a remarkable season to this point. They may not be the best team in the NBA, but once playoff time rolls around expect to find them as a fixture in our Western Conference top 3. Chris Paul has emerged from “really good” point guard to “almost great” and has possibly bridged the gap with Steve Nash as the best in the game. Coach Byron Scott has proven to be the great motivator we all thought he could be by driving this young team to perform at a level we imagined possible, just not for another 3-4 years.
We’ve seen other great stories with the return to greatness by the Boston Celtics who racked up 5 NBA Oscar nominations, the return of the Portland Trail Blazers who pulled in 2 NBA Oscar nods, and the quick maturation of a youthful Los Angeles Lakers team who pulled in 4 nominations of their own. We expected Boston to come back with their dramatic off season moves and we figured the Lakers would move past the Kobe trade talk to have a successful Phil Jackson led season. However, we did not predict the Trail Blazers or Hornets to do the things they have done through 46 games.
The Hornets receive Best Picture simply by taking it to that next level that the young Blazers have yet to do. The Blazers have slowed down after a 7 game road trip and now find themselves sitting in 3rd place in the Northwest Division while the Hornets have maintained their early success to remain atop the Southwest. When you have such a strong NBA Oscar-worthy player in Chris Paul and phenomenal directing by Coach Byron Scott, we could see many more Oscars in the near future from these New Orleans Hornets.
Other Nominees: Portland Trail Blazers, L.A. Lakers, Boston Celtics
Best Actor in a Leading Role: LeBron James of the Cleveland Cavaliers
He performs at a level that I’m not sure we have ever seen before. The sheer brute force, strength and un-teachable basketball skills of LeBron James have taken him into un-guardable territory. Few players ever reach this plateau and I’m not so sure that he won’t take us onto another plateau before he’s all done that he will define as his own. We saw the beginning of greatness during last year’s NBA Playoffs when he single handedly drove the Cleveland Cavaliers figuratively and literally into the NBA Finals. We saw the rest of his already remarkable game develop during the summer while playing with other greats of world during the FIBA Championships. And this season we are witnessing the turn to basketball godliness.
Kobe Bryant may be considered the best basketball player on the planet but LeBron has been able to do the one thing Kobe could never do, and that is put his team on his back and ultimately win games. The other stars of the basketball world all had help: Kobe had Shaq, Jordan had Pippen, and Tim Duncan had Tony Parker and David Robinson. LeBron has himself and the gifts he was given.
Kevin Garnett has turned around the famed Celtics while Chris Paul has surprised all by leading the Hornets. Each of the other 3 nominees has either received extra talent from the off-season or seen the emergence of role players while LeBron’s team sat on its hands during the break leaving everything to its young star. LeBron James is our Best Actor winner.
Other Nominees: Kevin Garnett, Chris Paul, Kobe Bryant
Best Actor in a Supporting Role: Paul Pierce of the Boston Celtics
When a player has been a leading actor their entire career and decides that if they want to win an NBA Oscar or Championship that they may need to step back and let someone else lead for a while, you can’t help but applaud them. Paul Pierce of the Boston Celtics has been a leading actor candidate before and has continued to be the fixture on this franchise for his incredible ten year career until now. The Boston Celtics acquired Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen in the off season to help Paul and the Celts’ take this picture to the next level. You can compare these moves to The Departed enlisting Nicholson, DiCaprio, and Damon in order to create a sure fire blockbuster!
Paul Pierce sacrificed numbers and ego to finally play for a national championship. He has accepted his supporting role and will get that chance this year. Our Best Actor in a Supporting Role goes to Paul Pierce of the Boston Celtics.
Other Nominees: Andrew Bynum, Allen Iverson, David West
Best Actor in a Once-Supporting Role: Shaquille O’Neal of the Miami Heat
There comes a time in almost everyone’s career when they need to realize that someone else can do their job better. Shaquille O’Neal will be a first ballot hall of famer and will go down as possibly the most dominant force to ever play the game. O’Neal has 4 championship rings with 2 different teams, has given us some of the funniest sound bites in NBA history, and has also reminded us that professional athletes in general should never entertain rap careers. The moment has come for Shaquille to accept his fate and cut ties with the Miami Heat and the National Basketball Association.
O’Neal has battled significant injuries over the past couple of seasons which he will most likely never completely heal from. His 7 foot, 300+ pound body is aging and breaking down and he cannot provide the same presence he once did to so many teams. We’ve come to pity Shaq a little and a monster like Shaq should never be pitied. He had great competition this year from our other nominees, but with his previous greatness and our utmost respect for his game, we award Shaquille O’Neal with the Best Actor in a Once Supporting Role.
Other Nominees: Vince Carter, Zach Randolph, Larry Hughes
Best Costume Design: Detroit Pistons
The theme for the 2007-08 NBA season leaned towards throwbacks and boy did they get it right! We have seen some amazing uniform changes from many teams but the Detroit Pistons take the NBA Oscar. Boston went with the look from 1956-57 but XL sized it, the Lakers pulled out the 1987-88 look and skimpy’d it, the Warriors managed the 1974-75 scheme which no one saw. The Pistons however, have been rocking the 1957-58 uniforms which have to go down as one of the
best throwbacks ever. Something about both the city and team name on the front of the jersey just works! We present the NBA Oscar for Best Costume Design to the Detroit Pistons.
Other Nominees: Boston Celtics, Golden State Warriors, L.A. Lakers
Best Directing: Nate McMillan of the Portland Trail Blazers
The Portland Trail Blazers have been the feel good story of the season with their young team and rising superstar in Brandon Roy, but the one thing that has taken this team to new levels is its coach. Nate McMillan has been preaching ‘teamwork’ since day one and this team actually bought into it. In an era when professional athletes are pampered and told time and time again how special they are, it can seem almost impossible to break through. Only special people can get into the heads of these athletes, challenging them to become better and play unselfish team basketball; Nate McMillan has been able to do this.
Coming from the depths of the ‘Jail Blazer’ period and growing to what is now the youngest and closest team in the league, these Blazers have come a long way. You Portland fans can thank your coach now as we award Nate McMillan of the Portland Trail Blazers with the NBA Oscar for Best Directing.
Other Nominees: Phil Jackson, Byron Scott, Doc Rivers
Best Foreign Language: Yao Ming of the Houston Rockets
The NBA has taken tremendous strides in growing its product globally and the benefits are finally paying off. The league is filled with talent from all over the world that can hold its own with the American players and seems to have brought the level of play in the league up a notch. On the international stage, teams can finally beat the United States and have left us without an Olympic Gold medal for quite some time now. With recent movement into China, India and Russia the product will only grow larger and increase the strength and stability of the game.
Yao Ming of the Houston Rockets is probably the largest part of why this is all happening. Not only has Yao bettered his game in recent years to prove to foreign players that they can excel, he has also brought in millions of Chinese fans to follow his every footstep. To become the NBA Oscar winner for Best Foreign Language you have to have intangibles and a ton of game, and Yao definitely has both. We present Yao Ming of the Houston Rockets with the Best Foreign Language NBA Oscar.
Other Nominees: Manu Ginobili, Linas Kleiza, Jose Calderon
That wraps up our show! Have a great night and do not go on strike!