Every awards show has its hits and misses. For every teleprompter miscue and corny — or questionable — joke, there are moments of greatness and even some inspiring acceptance speeches. It’s truly just part of the process. Add the National Basketball Player Union‘s first annual Players’ Choice Awards to the long list of ceremonies that made you smile, clap and raise your brow in a way that would make Anthony Davis jealous.
The show was important because NBA players have long desired their own voice in determining regular-season accolades.
President of the Players’ Association, Chris Paul, said to me on the red carpet, “Who knows us better than us? We play against each other every day. We practice against each other every day. Who better to decide the awards then your peers?”
That sentiment was the overwhelming theme from every player in attendance and was even echoed by those no longer effected by such decisions. Rashard Lewis, Keyon Dooling, Ray Allen and Allen Iverson all expressed the importance of the show’s origin either on the red carpet or during the show itself.
“I think these awards allow us to flex our muscles,” Dooling said. “We have some of the most recognizable faces on the planet right now. This is part of taking your space back and creating your own branding and controlling the messaging.”
The event had its share of NBA star power with Paul, Stephen Curry and James Harden representing the marquee MVP names in attendance. With BET’s help in producing the show, talent from outside the NBA was well represented. Various entertainers, actors and personalities including Lil Wayne, 2 Chainz, Jessie Williams, Mo’ne Davis, Kid Ink and the show’s host, Jay Pharoah, all made their presence felt for this inaugural event.