The first annual National Basketball League Players’ Awards aired on BET on Tuesday, July 21. The awards show allowed active NBA players to vote on other players, according to the National Basketball Players Association.
Categories for the ceremony included Man of the Year, Best Home Court Advantage, and Clutch Performer, according to BET. The idea for categories came from input from the players, according to Roger Mason Jr., Deputy Executive Director of the National Basketball Players Association (NBPA).
“We asked players what they wanted to see in the award show, what types of categories do they think mattered,” said Mason. “I think their creativity, the player’s creativity with this awards is just excellent and it’s given players a voice and a chance to see what the NBA players think of their peers.”
The host was Saturday Night Live actor Jay Pharoah; Black-ish star Miles Brown, R&B singer Monica and The Game Star Jay Ellis attended, according to BET.
Reigning league MVP Stephen Curry and Houston Rockets standout James Harden had several nominations, according to NBC sports. The NBA Player’s Awards idea received a large amount of interest, according to Mason.
“We thought BET was aligned with a lot of the fans of our players,” Mason said. “It was a very natural partnership that I was able to bring to the table for the Union.”
Mason said that 98 percent of the 437 players had voted as of last Saturday. Rapper Lil Wayne, artist Jason DeRulo, and rapper 2 Chainz among other artists performed during the event, according to BET.
NBPA executive director Michele Roberts distributed a memo that announced the awards earlier this year, according to USA Today.
“I knew that our players had been talking about doing their own thing for a number of years,” said Mason. “It’s me mentioning it to Michele [Roberts] and that’s through listening to our players and understanding what it is that they wanted from their union.”
Mason received help from NBPA Chief Marketing Officer Jordan Schlachter in creating the show. In conjunction with BET. They found the venue, the talent and the presenters, according to Mason.
“The two of us have gotten executive producer credits for the show, so we’ve been the lead as well as taking direction from the president of the union, our boss, Chris Paul who is also an executive producer for the show,” said Mason. “That’s been something that we had to roll up our sleeves and put together in a short amount of time.”