NBA Awards
(Tim Fuller- USA TODAY Sports)

The NBA Awards and How the Media Ruined It.

Most Valuable Player, Most Improved Player, Rookie of the Year, Sixth Man of the Year, Defensive Player of the Year, and Coach of the Year. These six awards are physical proof of the contributions of dsplayers and coaches to their teams. Earning any of these awards in a career is a great honor, and immediately places you among the greatest to play basketball. The voters for these awards were the team staff and the media. In recent years, all the votes have been cast by members of the media that aren’t associated with any teams. The NBA Awards needs a complete voting overhaul, and we’ll offer a simple solution for it.

They Rely on Stories for Awards

It’s no secret the media relies on stories to gather attention about the NBA. If there isn’t a story line, it’s harder to promote games. While this can help the NBA, as seen with the famous Lakers and Celtics rivalry that has persisted for decades. Recently, it has worked its way into the lives of players. Every year, there seems to be a story revolving around a player, whether it be an established veteran, or a young star filled with potential. This form of advertisement builds hype in the media for these players, which can lead to them receiving awards that they earned through media influence. An infamous case the 2010-2011 MVP race between Derrick Rose and LeBron James. Rose averaged about 25 points, 4 rebounds, and 8 assists; while James averaged about 26 points, 7 rebounds, and 8 assists.

If we were to look at the stats, one would assume James won that year; but a media related factor had a role to play in Rose winning: the hype around his age. Rose was 20 years old when he earned the MVP, the youngest in league history. While Rose did put up very impressive stats, the fact that he did it at a young age helped boost his popularity for the MVP vote.

Voter Fatigue

Voter fatigue is exactly what it sounds like. Fans and members of the media get bored of seeing the same players win the same awards, and want to see someone new take the crown. The media often tries to create a story for new players in hopes that it influences what people think. Once again, we can see this in the 2011 MVP race. LeBron James had won the MVP the previous two years, and had just made a huge off-season move to Miami. He would literally have been at the top of every basketball discussion for an entire year. This could’ve made it very hard for the media to create stories about other players and teams.

Voter fatigue has been around as long as the MVP award has, we can go back to the late 1980s to early 1990s. Michael Jordan won three out of the five MVPs between 1987 and 1992. This would have been fine, if Jordan had not been considered the best player in the world by a large margin. Snubbing star players of awards gave them the story of a star having to prove themselves in the playoffs, which would create more headlines.

NBA Awards
(JOHN SWART- Associated Press)

An Easy Solution

When the media votes for players and coaches, their main concern is a story. They couldn’t care less about rewarding the players’ hard work. The best way to vote would be to eliminate the media completely. While the media can create stories within the league, it should not be their job to decide who gets what award. That responsibility should fall on the players.

The 400 or so athletes would know better than any analyst how impressive their fellow players are. They’ve seen things on the court that a journalist wouldn’t be able to notice. Finally, it’s the ultimate sign of respect for the players to acknowledge their competitors. Imagine it, after a season full of competition and heartbreak, the players all pay respect to the one who impressed them more than any other. Respecting those off the court is exactly what the NBA Awards were made for.

NBA Awards
(Ezra Shaw- Getty Images)

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