On Monday the NBA did its best BET Awards impersonation and hosted the first-ever NBA Awards to honor its top players. And while this first shot was an air ball, I have to admit that I like the idea of the show—but there are several areas that are in desperate need of some extra time in the gym.
Drake hosting the first-ever awards show seemed like a slam dunk. The fair-skinned rapper from Canada is funny and was hilarious as the host of the 2014 ESPYs with skits like this:
But last night, Drake’s opening monologue wasn’t great. It wasn’t that he was bad, but he isn’t a comedian. Some of his jokes landed, and a bunch of others missed. I also don’t think it’s a good sign when “Black Excellence” and Ernie Johnson of TNT take shots at you.
Also, the skit that’s a take on Get Out, in which Ayesha Curry doesn’t want her husband, Stephen Curry, to go out and celebrate his NBA championship, felt too long and way too insider. Maybe Drake, who’s friends with the Currys, knows something we don’t, but I totally didn’t get it.
Drake’s handshake skit with Will Ferrell had the potential to be hot, but in the end it just simmered.
During a brief feature with James Harden, who lost the MVP Award to the triple-double machine Russell Westbrook, Drake somehow stumped Harden with a simple question: Who is your favorite NBA MVP of all time? When in doubt, just go with Michael Jordan. Watch the awkwardness below:
If it’s an NBA affair, you know that means silly outfits; and All-Star power forward Draymond Green didn’t disappoint, stepping out in what can only be considered a mullet suit. From the top up, Green is all business; from the waist down, he’s all party.
In the end, the show was really about all those being honored, and 83-year-old Bill Russell telling an All-Star lineup of Hall of Fame centers—including Shaquille O’Neal and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar—that he would kick their asses was priceless.
Westbrook’s MVP acceptance speech stole the show. Westbrook brought all his teammates onstage and thanked them for their sacrifice and handwork this year. And then, while thanking his parents, the normally stoic Westbrook broke down. Watch the emotional moment below:
This was a good rookie start for the NBA Awards, but next year it’s going to have to step up its game.