The first annual NBA Awards, hosted by Drake, will be held on June 26 at 9 p.m. ET on TNT, when we will finally learn who won the hotly contested battle for the MVP award between the final three of Russell Westbrook, James Harden, and Kawhi Leonard. Along with the MVP trophy, the rest of the major NBA awards will be handed out that night, but there are also a number of new awards being introduced.
There are awards for things like Best Dunk and Best Pass that will be decided by fan vote, but there are also some new prestige awards being added to the awards lineup as well. The NBA announced recently that Monty Williams will be the first recipient of the Sager Strong Award, given to someone that has displayed “great courage, faith, compassion, and grace.”
On Thursday, the league announced another new award, the Lifetime Achievement Award, which will fittingly be given to Bill Russell, one of the NBA’s all-time greatest players. Russell was the first player to ever win a college championship, NBA championship, and an Olympic gold medal, and he was also the first African-American coach of a professional sports team when he became player-coach of the Celtics in 1966.
Russell was an 11-time NBA champion and 5-time NBA MVP, and the NBA Finals MVP trophy, recently handed out to Kevin Durant, is named in his honor. Now, Russell will be given the inaugural Lifetime Achievement Award to honor his long legacy in the game of basketball.