The National Hockey League launched the NHL Awards in 2009, the National Football League started the NFL Honors in 2012, and Major League Baseball began the Esurance MLB Awards in 2015. Wait no more, hoop fans, because the National Basketball Association just launched the NBA Awards Show.
For the first time, the NBA will unveil the winners of its annual awards live on television from New York City on June 26, 2017. Naturally, the league’s broadcast partner, TNT, will host the inaugural show.
In previous years, the Defensive Player of the Year, Sixth Man, Most Improved Player, Coach of the Year, MVP and Rookie of the Year awards have been announced on successive weekdays via press releases during the postseason. Now, all six winners will be revealed on the show. “Additional awards will be announced at a later date,” the league’s announcement said on Tuesday. It is unclear whether the All-Rookie, All-Defensive and All-NBA team announcements will also be part of the broadcast.
From a coverage standpoint, the league is foregoing a fortnight worth of attention — which the awards have received in print, online and television media for years — in favor of a one-night-only approach. Maybe it’s all just a ploy by NBA commissioner Adam Silver to avoid this awkwardness in the future:
A video posted by Bleacher Report (@bleacherreport) on May 11, 2016 at 8:04pm PDT
Whether the show adds interest remains to be seen. In 2015, Major League Baseball and the NHL struggled to drum up much intrigue on the MLB Network and NBC Sports, respectively drawing just 33,000 and 116,000 viewers. However, the NFL attracted 4.7 million viewers in 2015 and another 4.4 million this past February, rotating its awards ceremony among broadcast partners Fox, NBC and CBS.
If the National Basketball Players Association’s first annual Players’ Awards were any indication, viewership for the NBA’s new show should fall somewhere between the NHL and NFL versions. The NBPA awards drew 722,000 viewers on BET in their inaugural year. However, the union instead released its second annual winners in a series of tweets, which may be a troublesome sign of things to come.
Still, the first annual NBA Awards Show should have enough intrigue. The biggest question, though, is who will serve as host. Comedians Will Arnett and Conan O’Brien have respectively served as the host of the NHL and NFL shows in recent years, so let’s just hope the NBA isn’t naming Drake the host.
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