From re-watching big moments to interacting with athletes on Twitter, social media has become a huge part of the NBA experience. For this reason, the league hosted its second annual Social Media Awards on Wednesday night.
The show gave out awards for the players who made an impact beyond the court, bringing a new generation of fans to the action. The plays, games, tweets and everything else nominated were notable because they got people talking for a long time.
While the players and personnel involved might not have been looking to earn one of these awards, these competitors love winning anything. That being said, here are the happiest people on the night as the winners of each category.
Epic Award: Heat vs. Celtics, March 18
This category went out to the best game of the regular season. There were a number of solid contenders for this spot that included great individual and team performances, but the battle between the Miami Heat and Boston Celtics was certainly the best of the bunch.
The game truly had everything. It started with a great storyline with two teams that really dislike each other. The Heat were also going for their 23rd straight win, and the Celtics wanted to end the streak.
The game also featured a great individual battle between Jeff Green (43 points) and LeBron James (37 points). Finally, the MVP had one of the best dunks of the year over Jason Terry.
Miami barely pulled out the win, 105-103, and the game lives on as the most memorable one of the year.
FTW Award: Monta Ellis
For those unaware of Internet slang, FTW stands for "for the win." This award is for the best game-winning shot of the season.
While there were plenty of solid shots from around the league, no buzzer-beater had a higher degree of difficulty than Monta Ellis' make against the Houston Rockets.
With the game tied at 107 and time running out, the Milwaukee Bucks wanted Brandon Jennings to take the shot. Unfortunately he was well-defended, forcing the point guard to pass with time ticking down.
Amazingly, Ellis was able to catch and shoot quickly from deep to give his team the win in this February 27 game.
There was no more memorable picture this season than the one Kobe Bryant posted on his Twitter account.
All year long, Bryant and Dwight Howard were considered to be "feuding," which had to be the reason that the Los Angeles Lakers were struggling. However, the veteran posted this picture of coach Mike D'Antoni pretending to separate the two stars from fighting in the locker room.
This snapshot summed up the Lakers' season of real and imagined drama, which was clearly the biggest storyline of the NBA season.
140 Award: Kobe Bryant
On Twitter, you only get 140 characters to say what you want to say. However, the best tweet of the year only needed 12 characters to make a huge impact.
After Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban suggested that the Lakers could consider using the amnesty clause on Bryant at the end of the season, the five-time NBA champion let his game do the talking.
Bryant scored 38 points with 12 rebounds and seven assists in an important road win over the Mavericks. Then, he let Twitter do the talking with this statement:
The message was clear after this performance.
Trendsetter Award: Russell Westbrook
This award does not necessarily seem like a positive one. It was given to the player with the best fashion that is displayed off the court before and after games.
In reality, it simply seems like the one that is given to the player who wears the most ridiculous outfits.
Either way, Russell Westbrook was the run-away winner as he continues to stand out with his clothing more than anyone else in the league.
OMG Award: Miami Heat Harlem Shake
As the best team video of the year, the Miami Heat earned a lot of fans with their version of the Harlem Shake.
On one hand, it was nice to see the team come together to shoot this video. Everyone from the bench players to the superstars got involved and appeared to have fun. On the other hand, by the time this came out, America had seen plenty of similar things online, and it was getting tiresome.
It is a shame that the Minnesota Timberwolves' version was not nominated.
Still, the complete ridiculousness of the Heat video allowed them to win this category.
LOL Award: JaVale McGee
Even if you did not see a single moment of the NBA season, you would probably have a good chance guessing who was going to win something called LOL (laugh out loud) award.
The former Washington Wizards has produced a number of entertaining moments on the court over the years, and he is continuing this tradition with the Denver Nuggets.
On this play, McGee gets the rebound, goes behind his back and looks like he is going to run a fast break. Instead, he trips over himself and throws the ball well over the backboard.
Even though he scored 20 points on 9-of-9 shooting in this Dec. 7 game against the Indiana Pacers, it is hard to overlook this play.
Social MVP Award: Kobe Bryant
Considering that Kobe Bryant won the best tweet of the year and was a part of the best picture of the year, it is not surprising that he is the Social MVP.
This star-studded category featured LeBron James, Chris Paul, Blake Griffin and Stephen Curry. However, Bryant topped them all this year in his first season using Twitter.
He added a realness to Twitter, as it was clear he was speaking his mind at all times. Unsurprisingly, everything he said was discussed heavily by the media, as noted by this tweet:
While the action on the court is still more important, Bryant's contributions off it made this season even more memorable.
Social Slam Award: DeAndre Jordan
There were a number of outstanding dunks this season. However, only one of them truly took over the social media world.
DeAndre Jordan had the biggest slam of the entire year on this alley-oop from Chris Paul. He took the lob almost near the foul line and destroyed Brandon Knight on the way to the rim.
It was so bad that Knight was nominated for one of the tweets of the year with his response:
Additionally, even fellow nominee for this category, LeBron James, was impressed with the throwdown.
Considering how many people James has dunked over in his career, this is high praise. Jordan's play was clearly the most memorable of the year and was well-deserving of the Social Slam Award.
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