Kevin Durant appeared to have congratulated Russell Westbrook in the comment section of a YouTube video.
The first annual NBA Awards kicked off in Basketball City at Pier 36 in New York with a hosting assist from Drake and a seriously good style show from some of the best players in sports.
It’s true that the biggest NBA stars were not there — no LeBron James, no Stephen Curry or Kevin Durant, for example — but that will likely change next year. This awards show has plenty of room to grow into the “NBA Prom.” Besides, everyone knows how obsessed with fashion NBA players have become. Work that red carpet, boy! You know you want to. The fans want you to. And we will all watch anything — anything — that’s NBA-related in the postseason.
The top-of-the-line fashion appraisal of the night: A-plus for effort. Everyone pretty much brought their A game and were, as Dennis Green once said, exactly who we thought they would be (Draymond Green and John Wall). Actually, a few players did better than expected (we see you, JaVale McGee!), and the rest left the ridiculous style stuff to the Hollywood types (Nick Cannon and his ratty turban). Can’t wait for next year.
Oklahoma City Thunder’s Russell Westbrook won a few awards Monday night, including the NBA MVP and Game Winner of the Year. He also (rightly) won the best style award. Westbrook carried his suit jacket and let us luxuriate in his perfectly cut trousers, white shirt, tie and muscles.
Golden State Warriors’ Draymond Green
Green won the Defensive Player of the Year award Monday night, and your boy came to the show wearing a seafoam tuxedo jacket, formal Bermuda shorts and velvet slippers. Jesus, be a fence!
— Marc J. Spears (@MarcJSpearsESPN) June 27, 2017
James Harden lost the MVP award to Westbrook, his former Thunder teammate, but the Houston Rockets point guard was in fine style form after his recent jaunt to men’s fashion week in Paris. A muted green/blue suit and patterned shirt with brown suede boots? Very fall 2017. The Beard never disappoints.
The Atlanta hip-hop star is a huge NBA fan and was a constant courtside presence throughout the playoffs and Finals. He performed “Realize” with Nicki Minaj during the show. His pre-show outfit of capri pants and gold jewelry was a combo order of “dinner date at Cheesecake Factory” and “Saturday soccer dad.”
Washington Wizards player John Wall was best dressed of the entire night in his custom three-piece suit by Jhoanna Alba and Christian Louboutin sneakers.
Ros Gold-Onwude and Drake
Ros Gold-Onwude, the Stanford-educated sideline reporter for the Golden State Warriors, walked the red carpet with Drake and legit sent Twitter into “Who’s that girl?” meltdown. The color of her red Jessica Rabbit dress (and figure) popped against Drake’s classic white dinner jacket and black tux pants.
Kevin Durant’s mother, Wanda “the Real MVP” Pratt, wore a bright yellow Carolina Herrera gown, Christian Louboutin heels and loads of stylist-assisted jewels.
Jada Pinkett Smith
Actress Jada Pinkett Smith was a presenter (with Grant Hill) at the awards in a sheer black-and-gold lace gown from Sophie Theallet’s spring/summer 2017 collection. Stunning.
Ivanka Trump, who is the daughter of President Donald Trump and has presumably known him for 35 years, said that “there’s a level of viciousness that I was not expecting” in response to her father’s presidency. Former potential NBC buyer Bill Cosby declined to testify in his sexual assault trial, and his defense team rested after only three minutes and without calling an original witness. Hip-hop entrepreneur Sean “Diddy” Combs topped Forbes magazine’s list of highest-paid entertainers, notably beating out last year’s top earner, Taylor Swift, by nearly $100 million. McDonald’s announced it will use social media app Snapchat to hire future employees this summer; the app, known for its animated filters and porn, is expected to “lure in younger applicants” for the fast-food giant. Meanwhile, a close friend of the president told PBS that Trump was considering firing special counsel Robert Mueller, who is in charge of the ongoing Russia investigation. Professional wrestler Congressman-elect Greg Gianforte was sentenced to community service and a $385 fine for his assault of a Guardian reporter during last month’s special election in Montana; Gianforte said it was not his “intention to hurt” the reporter whom he punched and slammed to the ground. During a meandering rant about abortion on his official Facebook page, Missouri state Rep. Mike Moon beheaded a live chicken, cut its feet off, and removed its heart. Twitter argued over the effectiveness of Crock-Pots; in the words of one straightforward dissenter, “why on earth u wanna cook slow.” Seattle Seahawks running back Eddie Lacy received another $55,000 for not being fat. Former NBA referee Tim Donaghy, who spent more than a year in prison for illegally gambling on games, claimed the league will try to force a Game 6 in the NBA Finals. The Golden State Warriors ended the Finals against the Cleveland Cavaliers in Game 5.
After the Warriors’ victory, Denver Broncos cornerback Aqib Talib took a shot at Golden State forward Kevin Durant, calling the Finals MVP a “suburban kid” who had to “Link up with the best” to win a championship, and that the Hall of Fame is “laughing at you right now”; Talib, who shot himself in the leg last year, joined the Broncos in 2014, a season after Denver eliminated his former team, the New England Patriots, from the playoffs. A Canadian man who is blind in one eye installed a video camera over his eyeball; faced with privacy concerns, the man posited, “Am I not allowed to put an eye camera in my own body?” Hours after NBA Hall of Famer Dennis Rodman arrived in North Korea, an American college student who had been detained in the country since 2016 for allegedly attempting to steal a political banner was released to U.S. authorities; Rodman, who is in North Korea for a reported fifth time, had his trip sponsored by a company specializing in weed-industry cryptocurrency. Deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein said there was no evidence to fire Robert Mueller, the special counsel. Hours later, it was reported that the president is being talked down by his staff from firing Mueller. R&B singer Tinashe, who is mixed-race, acknowledged the presence of colorism in the black community but explained that she is usually the victim of it, telling a reporter that “sometimes I feel like I don’t fully fit into the black community; they don’t fully accept me.” Uber CEO Travis Kalanick, who has been rocked by the recent death of his mother and his own workplace behavior, including meditating in the company lactation room and instructing his employees to “not have sex with another employee” at a company party, has taken a leave of absence from the ride-sharing company. During a companywide meeting to discuss Uber’s alleged “bro culture,” a 74-year-old board member interrupted a female board member by making a sexist joke; the board member stepped down shortly afterward. President Trump reportedly told Republican senators that the House-adopted health care bill, which the president in May called a “great plan,” is too “mean” and called it a “son of a b—-.”
A gunman shot three people, including Rep. Steve Scalise, at a congressional baseball team practice in Alexandria, Virginia. Rep. Barry Loudermilk, who was at the practice field, proposed that lawmakers should be able to carry weapons, including, presumably, while playing baseball. In response to the shooting, Vox editor-in-chief and U.S. history buff Ezra Klein tweeted: “It’s easy to forget what a blessing it is to live in a country where politics rarely leads to violence.” Hours later, three UPS employees were killed by a gunman at a sorting facility in San Francisco. Former NBA commissioner David Stern, who was called a “modern plantation overseer” by journalist Bryant Gumbel in 2011, called Gumbel “an idiot” and said he, the implementer of the league’s controversial dress code, has “done more for people of color” than Gumbel, a black man. Days after reports came out that UNLV basketball players Dakota and Dylan Gonzalez were quitting the team to pursue music and Central Florida football player Donald De La Haye may have to give up his YouTube channel in the face of NCAA violations, University of Michigan athletic director Warde Manuel said the football team’s recent $800,000 trip to Rome was paid for by an undisclosed school donor. A fire at a London apartment complex left at least 12 people dead. Five Michigan officials were charged with involuntary manslaughter for their roles in the ongoing contaminated-water crisis in Flint, Michigan. Right-leaning cable network Fox News has plans to drop its “Fair & Balanced” slogan, not because the tagline wasn’t true but to further distance the company from Roger Ailes, the late former network president. The Houston Astros, who called up outfield prospect Derek Fisher from Class AAA Fresno, will face the Boston Red Sox this weekend, with right-handed closer Matt Barnes expected to play. For the sequel to 1996’s Great White Hype, retired undefeated boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr. and UFC fighter Conor McGregor agreed to a boxing match on Aug. 26. A Texas couple was arrested and charged after authorities found 600 pounds of meth-laced candy, some of which were shaped like Star Wars characters R2-D2 and Yoda, in the couple’s home. A 21-year-old Maine woman, who is a vegetarian, drowned a rabies-infected raccoon in a puddle of mud on a walking trail she had been jogging along.
How now, brown cow: 7 percent of American adults believe chocolate milk comes from brown cows. A day after saying that “everyone who serves in our nation’s capital is here because, above all, they love our country,” President Trump tweeted that “some very bad and conflicted people,” presumably members of the FBI, were carrying out “the single greatest WITCH HUNT in American political history.” The Uber driver who shuttled Buffalo Bills cornerback Shareece Wright 540 miles from Chicago to Buffalo, New York, last week is an Iranian refugee who was tortured by Iranian intelligence agents on multiple occasions and hopes to one day become an astronaut; Wright, who was rushing to get to voluntary team workouts, injured his calf during minicamp. In more disturbing Uber news, the company is being sued by a woman who was sexually assaulted by one of the company’s drivers. Dennis Rodman, while still in North Korea, gave two books to country leader Kim Jong Un: Where’s Waldo? and President Trump’s The Art of the Deal. Louisville basketball coach Rick Pitino was issued a five-game suspension by the NCAA for his role in the hiring of exotic dancers for players and recruits; the panel that issued the punishment said in its findings that “NCAA rules do not allow institutional staff members to arrange for stripteases and sex acts.” During the Warriors’ championship parade in Oakland, California, forward Draymond Green wore a shirt with “Quickie” written on the front, with the “Q” in the same font as the Quicken Loans logo; the Cleveland Cavaliers play in Quicken Loans Arena. Cleveland forward LeBron James responded to the T-shirt on Instagram with a caption reading “That’s what she said, HUH?!?!?”; fellow NBA superstars Russell Westbrook and James Harden “liked” the photo. Hours later, Green responded with a photo of James with the caption “Them dubs finally made him go bald!!! Congrats bro @kingjames.” A 71-year-old Kansas City man who robbed a bank because he’d “rather be in jail than be at home” with his wife was sentenced to six months of home confinement.
E-commerce juggernaut Amazon, like most of America, spent a lot of money at Whole Foods, purchasing the supermarket chain for $13.7 billion. President Trump admitted that he is “being investigated for firing the FBI Director by the man who told me to fire the FBI Director! Witch Hunt.” Rod Rosenstein, the purported “man” who told Trump to fire FBI director James Comey, has, like his boss, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, reportedly considered recusing himself from the Russia investigation. To add to the president’s exceptional week, his approval rating dropped to 35 percent in a new poll. Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps, apparently bored with life and ready to die at the age of 31, will race a great white shark. After his bodyguards savagely beat protesters last month at the Turkish Embassy, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan criticized American authorities’ response, asking, “What kind of law is this? If my bodyguards cannot protect me, then why am I bringing them to America with me?” NBA Hall of Famer Shaquille O’Neal, who is black, said he is the “black Steph Curry,” who is also black. The Boston Police Department’s Twitter account sent out a photo of an officer with three black girls along with the caption: “The #BPD Ice Cream Truck gives kids a reason to run towards our officers and not away from them”; the tweet was later deleted. President Trump’s lawyer hired his own lawyer. LeBron James, ironically nicknamed “King James,” said the only two people who can score on him in the post are “Shaquille O’Neal in his prime … and Jesus Christ.” Minnesota Vikings receiver Michael Floyd violated the terms of his house arrest by drinking alcohol; Floyd blamed the failed tests on Kombucha tea.
Who should replace Jerry West on a new NBA logo? The choice is yours By Aaron Dodson
For nearly 50 years, Jerry West has been immortalized. That’s because his likeness is the basis for the silhouette on the NBA logo, which longtime brand identity consultant Alan Siegel designed in 1969. Since then, Siegel has confirmed that the silhouette is West, although the NBA has denied it. Over the years, many people, including West, have pleaded for an update to the logo. The question is — who should replace West? The Undefeated selected 11 candidates and designed a new logo for each. Can you guess who we picked? Once you select correctly, we’ll make the case for why each of these players is worthy.
Hint 1: This player once asked Kanye West, “Are you a different animal and the same beast?” To which Yeezy responded by saying, “WTF does that mean?”
The greatest shooting guard in the history of the NBA not named Michael Jordan is Kobe Bean Bryant. He has an NBA championship ring for every finger on one hand. He’s top three on the NBA’s all-time scoring list, behind only Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Karl Malone (though Bryant missed more shots than anyone in history). And, above all, he had that signature Mamba Mentality — an absolute killer on any given night, from his 81-point game to a 60-piece in his swan song. In these big moments, you could count on his go-to Mamba stare and fist pump — second to only Tiger Woods’ in fist pump power rankings.
Hint 2: This player averaged 38 points, 16.7 rebounds and 2.7 blocks in the NBA Finals at age 27.
The slam dunk is the most essential aspect of the game of basketball — and no one in NBA history threw the ball down with as much unadulterated force as Shaquille O’Neal. The 7-foot-1 Hall of Fame center destroyed rims, glass backboards and entire baskets on multiple occasions throughout his career. He put grown men on posters after dunking on them (sorry, Chris Dudley). But O’Neal was more than just a dunker. He is the most dominant player the league has ever seen. Even Kobe Bryant and LeBron James have cosigned this notion.
Hint 3: While filming a movie in the mid-1990s, this player built a state-of-the-art facility on set featuring a weight room, locker rooms, showers, living room, and basketball court.
Michael Jordan is already eternalized in silhouette. Since 1985, the “Jumpman” logo, depicting Jordan soaring through the air, has been one of the most distinguishable symbols on the planet — the mark of his billion-dollar brand. So why should he get another logo? For one, in 2015, Jerry West himself nominated Jordan as his replacement. But foremost, Jordan is the greatest of all time. In 15 NBA seasons, he was the ultimate winner — his six rings in six Finals appearances with six Finals MVPs is still unfathomable. So let’s celebrate how Jordan changed the game with a new silhouette — of how he celebrated his 1989 game-winner over Craig Ehlo.
Hint 4: The last five NBA Finals MVPs have either been this player, or the player who guarded him in the Finals. He’s the only active player worthy of logo consideration.
When it’s all said and done, LeBron James will take Jordan’s throne as the greatest of all time. It was destined to be that way ever since James was crowned “The Chosen One” in high school, and his hometown Cleveland Cavaliers drafted him No. 1 overall in 2003. James made “The Decision” in 2010 to take his talents to South Beach, where he won two titles with the Miami Heat before coming home to the Cavs and bringing Cleveland its first sports title in 52 years. His epic story began in his first NBA game on Oct. 29, 2003, with that memorable first career dunk.
Hint 5: “As far as playing, I didn’t care who guarded me — red, yellow, black. I just didn’t want a white guy guarding me. Because it’s disrespect to my game,” this player said.
Two of the most exciting elements of the NBA, sharpshooting and trash-talking, are the undeniable trademarks of Larry Bird. Back-to-back-to-back 3-point shootout titles from 1986-88 tell Bird’s story as a world-class marksman. Aside from being the only NBA player to win MVP, Coach of the Year and Executive of the Year, Bird was also a Hall of Fame trash-talker. His cutthroat on-court mentality transcended his appearance and “hick from French Lick” Indiana roots. (Bird and Magic Johnson went at it for years in the best rivalry in league history.) Oh, and hands down, he’s the greatest white player of all time. Even he knew that.
Hint 6: In 1989, the Red Hot Chili Peppers paid homage to this player in a song the band named after him.
No player has ever been built quite like Earvin “Magic” Johnson. At 6-foot-9, 215 pounds, Magic was listed at point guard but had the silky-smooth game to play, and to guard, all five positions on the floor. He was certainly built to last — then, on Nov. 7, 1991, his life changed forever. In an unforgettable news conference, Johnson announced he had contracted HIV, his retirement effective immediately. He returned to play in the ’92 All-Star Game, with the ’92 Olympic “Dream Team” and for a brief stint in ’96, but Johnson’s career ended too soon. He had much more to give.
Hint 7: This Hall of Fame player’s birth name is Ferdinand.
The NCAA didn’t allow players to dunk when Lew Alcindor played for UCLA in the 1960s, so he adapted with the most feared shot the game has ever seen. If the NBA had one signature shot, it’d be the 7-foot-2 center’s “skyhook.” Given the supreme height and skill of Alcindor (who converted to Islam in 1968, later changing his name to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar), the shot was virtually impossible to defend. It propelled him to the top spot on the NBA’s all-time scoring list and also to the most wins of any player in history. The shot was so iconic that when Siegel designed the original logo, he considered using Abdul-Jabbar as the silhouette.
Hint 8: During this multi-time NBA champion’s playing days, he became the first African-American to coach in the NBA.
Bill Russell has a heck of a trophy case: two NCAA titles, 11 NBA championship rings as a player (and two as a coach), 12 All-Star Game appearances, five NBA MVP Awards, and much more. But that only tells part of his story. In 1966 he became the first African-American to coach in the league, while he was still an active player. Muhammad Ali, Jim Brown, Abdul-Jabbar and Colin Kaepernick are the only athletes in history who hold a candle to Russell’s commitment to social justice throughout his career. On the court, his legacy lives on in the NBA Finals MVP trophy, which is named in his honor.
Hint 9: This superstar supported Richard Nixon during his 1968 presidential campaign.
Wilt Chamberlain kept it 100 — literally. On March 2, 1962, while facing the New York Knicks as a member of the Philadelphia Warriors, he scored an unbelievable 100 points, the single-game record for most points in a game. Some argue the 7-foot-2, 275-pound center is the greatest player of all time. That season, the most dominant of his career, during which he averaged 50 points and 26 rebounds — there were only nine teams in the league, and no one close to matching his dominance. He’s one of the greatest, but maybe not the greatest. Hands down, though, he’s the most prolific rebounder in history.
Hint 10: This player broke the NBA’s African-American color barrier in 1950, days before his black counterparts joined him in the league.
On Oct. 31, 1950, Earl Lloyd made history as the first black player to appear in the NBA, taking the floor for the Washington Capitals. A day later, Chuck Cooper debuted for the Boston Celtics, followed by Nathaniel “Sweetwater” Clifton as a member of the New York Knicks three days after that. These three men were pioneers in a league that is now majority black. Lloyd was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2003 for his overall contribution to the game. Lloyd represents progress and, for that reason, will forever be remembered.
Bonus: Before a game during the 2016-17 season, cameras caught this player sitting on the bench and jamming out to Future’s “Mask Off.”
Russell Westbrook is the undisputed leader of the new school that is currently flourishing in the NBA. The culture of the league is shaped in his image, as Westbrook represents a generation of ballers who hoop and operate on their own terms. These players have dope pregame handshakes. They’re fun to watch on the court. And off of it, they aren’t afraid to throw shade at opponents or pop off at reporters. This fun and free essence of the league deserves to be reflected in the logo — why not through a silhouette of Westbrook hittin’ dem folks?
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It has been years. Years of fighting through the curse. Years of enduring the pain of agonizing defeat. Years of playoff embarrassment for Houston Rockets star James Harden.
James harden congrats on fighting through the curse, you are strong….. maby not wise but strong… stay tuned – Lil B
— Lil B THE BASEDGOD (@LILBTHEBASEDGOD) April 26, 2017
But then came the day when everything changed: June 4.
“No player has been blessed yet,” rapper Lil B said moments before the unexpected happened:
And just like that, ladies and gentlemen, it became official. The curse was over. It was decreed and declared on First Take by Lil B himself that the Harden curse had been lifted.
“He just needs to acknowledge where he got his sports celebration from. He calls it the James Harden stir, but what it really is, is the Lil B cooking dance celebration,” Lil B said.
However, after much consideration, The Based God decided to bless Harden, who is a 2017 NBA MVP candidate.
Despite the disrespect Lil B has felt, having to curse players is not something he hopes for.
“I don’t wish the curse on anybody, and I think it’s something that throughout time we see [player’s] actions. That’s how curses happen, [through] people’s actions … but I don’t wish a curse upon anyone.”
Harden joins Kevin Durant in being released from the curse. Durant was cursed in 2011 for disregarding Lil B and his artistry.
I tried to listen to Lil B and my mind wouldn't let me do it….can't believe this guy is relevant
— Kevin Durant (@KDTrey5) January 29, 2011
KEVIN DURANT WILL NEVER WIN THE TITLE AFTER HE SAID "LIL B" IS A WACK RAPPER,
"THE BASEDGODS CURSE"#THEBASEDGODSCURSE ON DURANT – Lil B
— Lil B THE BASEDGOD (@LILBTHEBASEDGOD) May 26, 2011
Since then, the Bay Area native has been pleased with Durant and his offseason move to Golden State, which led Lil B to break the curse on the Warriors star.
“Once he came to the Golden State Warriors, it was a wrap. It was done from there,” Lil B said with a smile on his face.
Now that Durant is no longer cursed, Lil B is confident the Warriors will take home the title. They lead the Cleveland Cavaliers, 2-0, in the NBA Finals.
“He is going to win. No question. … You know things will take time. And these [games] will not be easy, of course. But I think we’ll sweep.”
So far, so good for the Warriors. With Durant flourishing in the playoffs since the curse has been broken, what could this mean for Harden?
Here are a few possibilities:
Harden becomes a winner
Although some may not take the curse seriously, it is somewhat ironic that Harden’s seasons have resembled that of a Monstar from Space Jam since 2015.
During the regular season, he’s phenomenal. He nearly averaged a triple-double in 2016, with 29.1 points, 11.2 assists and 8.1 rebounds per game. In 2015, he averaged 29 points, 6.1 rebounds and 7.5 assists.
Once mid-April rolls around, though, it’s as if he’s allergic to the postseason. It’s as if we are witnessing his ball skills exit his body right before our eyes, one turnover at a time. It’s hard not to wonder whether Harden feels like Charles Barkley in the scene from Space Jam when he got clowned playing pickup.
“You’re not James Harden, you’re just a wannabe who looks like him.”
But now that the curse is lifted, this could be good news for the guard. Maybe, just maybe, Harden’s playoff performances from here on out will match his regular-season dominance.
Harden becomes MVP
There’s no question Harden has had MVP-caliber seasons the past few years. This 2016-17 season, he was a key component in one of the best offenses in NBA history, and now he is contending for the league’s MVP this season, along with Oklahoma City’s Russell Westbrook and San Antonio’s Kawhi Leonard.
With the curse lifted, he could finally snag the trophy and become the first MVP since 1997 who’s been on a team ranked lower than fourth in wins.
Harden gets cursed again
Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice and find yourself cursed for life. Lil B has lifted and put the curse back on Harden before, so don’t think it can’t happen again.
If the Rockets star continues to ignore the origin of the “cooking dance” and fails to pay homage, The Based God may decide it’s time to put a life sentence on Harden. And who knows if Harden will ever find success in the postseason.
Hypothetically speaking, Harden does everything right: respects Lil B and the “cooking dance” and makes permanent peace with The Based God. There is a possibility that he still plays like trash come clutch time. What we are seeing from postseason Harden may just be how his basketball skills are currently set up. And this whole time he wasn’t suffering through the curse, but trying to play through his shortcomings of becoming a clutch player.
Only time will tell. For now, we wait and see what comes next.