Culture of Hoops

1st Annual Baller Mind Frame NBA Academy Awards

Image courtesy of ericneitzel/Flickr.

Image courtesy of ericneitzel/Flickr.

Hollywood’s 86th annual celebration of itself is just a couple days away. There will be plenty of cameras, bad jokes and generic quotes—not too different from an NBA game. Also similar to basketball, there will be winners and losers, but the league’s official awards season is still a month and a half or so away. No need for Tinsel Town to have all of the fun, though. Baller Mind Frame has opted to host the first annual NBA Academy Awards.

I’d like to remind you that these are solely a reflection of my the Academy’s opinions so if you disagree be sure to direct your ire toward me the Academy.

Without further ado:

Best Cinematography –  Sacramento Kings (Ben McLemore, Ray McCallum)

Utilizing Google Glass, this film by the two rookies gives viewers a glimpse into the game of basketball as seen through the eyes of NBA players. Audiences everywhere now have first-hand knowledge of what it’s like to catch an alley-oop for a dunk or pass the ball to Travis Outlaw and watch helplessly as he shoots an ill-advised turnaround jumper. A groundbreaking work that is at the cutting edge of the industry.

Best Documentary Short – Denver Nuggets (JaVale McGee)

In about 10 seconds director JaVale McGee manages to capture both the joy and pain of a professional basketball player’s career. Just a few quick motions, which McGee slows down for the average viewer to keep up with, show the subject’s (Nate Robinson’s) hubris in attempting an off-the-heezy move and the ensuing despair of the ball clanking off the rim. The documentary serves as a metaphor for the rise and fall of an NBA player and pushes the medium forward with technological innovation, as McGee chose to distribute his film via Instagram. It was also a brave, and ultimately gratifying decision to score the short with music by Earl  “E-40” Stevens.

Best Visual Effects – Indiana Pacers (Paul George)

The special effects used here were so incredible that they made me question reality. Paul George is both a Renaissance man and ahead of his time.

Best Original Screenplay – Miami Heat (LeBron James)

LeBron James found himself in an unfamiliar place recently: runner-up. Kevin Durant was red hot, carrying the Oklahoma City Thunder to the top of the Western Conference with a streak of incredible performances. Still with months to go, it seemed many prognosticators had decided on an ending for the 2013-14 season’s script, handing Durant the league’s Most Valuable Player award ahead of time. On February 12, though, James, reigning MVP and on the hunt for a third consecutive championship, made his presence known, re-writing the narrative with a single shot.

The spectacular ending capped off a long sequence of exciting back-and-forth basketball on a national stage and proved that James has plenty left to say.

Best Costume Design – Miami Heat (Ray Allen)

Jesus Shuttlesworth From Coney Island Da Republic Of Brooklyn,New York

A post shared by Spike Lee (@officialspikelee) on

There were plenty of candidates for best costume this season, including at least one of the controversial sleeved jerseys, but one stood above the rest. Ray Allen, a rare star who has crossed over from the hardwood to the silver screen, brought a film to life when he donned an actual Jesus Shuttlesworth uniform in a January NBA game. It was a bold stylistic move by the league, but Allen, reprising his role from Spike Lee’s “He Got Game,” made the decision pay off, indulging connoisseurs of film and basketball alike.

Image courtesy of  Spike Lee’s Instagram

In Memoriam – Pierre the Pelican (2013-2014)

Image courtesy of @ConrSmith/Twitter.

Image courtesy of @ConrSmith/Twitter.

Best Directing – Oklahoma City Thunder (Scott Brooks)

In November, early in the award cycle, Scott Brooks made a strong case for this category, showing masterfully deft craftsmanship. How many other coaches in the NBA would have been able to manage an ensemble cast in such an intricate way as he did in the game against the Golden State Warriors? The game’s final play was impossibly complex, moving the ball through the hands of each of his stars and tugging on the heartstrings of viewers everywhere by designing it to end with Russell Westbrook’s dramatic game-winning corner three. Drawn up and executed to perfection, just as Brooks planned it, surely.

Best Actor –  Corey Brewer (Minnesota Timberwolves)

I’m not sure if the NBA’s recent anti-flopping stance, which includes a system that makes flopping a fine-able offense, has discouraged the league’s dramatics or put the spotlight upon them. I tend to lean toward the latter, because now more than ever there are talented basketball players that double as thespians, and would put “Kazaam” to shame. (Side note: I admittedly haven’t seen it for 15 years or so, but I don’t remember hating “Kazaam.” … No, I will not watch it again.)

This year’s winner, Corey Brewer, beat out some stiff competition, including a number of players who have literally paid the price for pursuing their acting aspirations. Brewer first drew the Academy’s attention when he received a warning for this off-Broadway performance. It was this second one, however, that really thrust him to the forefront of the competition for Best Actor. Brewer’s decision to violently throw himself into the air without any contact whatsoever showed a serious commitment to the craft.

Best Actress –  Anonymous Female Fan (Charlotte Bobcats)

While Brewer’s approach is commendable, this fan’s style of acting was inspirational. In the same vein as Daniel Day-Lewis, this anonymous Charlotte fan—brave enough to show her face at a Bobcats game—put on a truly courageous display of method acting, allowing Gerald Henderson to actually hurl a ball at her head for the entertainment of thousands across the internet. Sacrificing one’s body for the sake of the work is one of the hallmarks of a great performance.

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