Presenting this season’s cool kids of the NBA

April 10, 2010

From the Gumby to the Mohawk, Brandon Jennings has taken his hair on a fashion rollercoaster. (Jennifer Pottheiser/NBAE via Getty Images)


Senior superlatives were a pretty big deal in high school. They were your chance to be immortalized in the yearbook forever. Or just a chance to gain cool point before prom. The NBA is like a mini high school filled with bullies, cool kids, jocks and weirdoes, so here is a slight twist on the NBA End of the Season awards, done yearbook style.


Best Dressed: ZaZa Pachulia

Don’t sleep on this GQ Georgian. I’ve spent lots of time around the Atlanta Hawks and I’ve seen Armani suits sit very nicely on his 6-foot-9 frame. You can also catch him in some Kanye West-ish glasses walking into the arena. His style is very versatile and suits his new home in the Hollywood of the South. The fact that most don’t expect this European to have style is exactly why I picked him.
Runner up: Dwyane Wade

Biggest Flirt: LeBron James

James is flirting with the entire city of New York and playing with their emotions. With every Yankee game he attends wearing a Yankee cap and every appearance he makes with Jay-Z, New Yorkers fall more in love with the idea that he could be a Knick in 2010. LeBron is a big ol’ tease just like the head cheerleader. Hit the showers, New York.
Runner Up: Chris Bosh

Teacher’s Pet: Stephen Curry

Coach Don Nelson is so anti-rookie that in 2008 he was quoted as saying the reason he was not playing his rookies was because the team was focused on the making the Playoffs. So to be a rookie who gets playing time under Nelson you have to be a major brown nose or extremely special. I know Curry is the latter. With his NBA breeding and sharpshooter mentality, how could a coach not love him? Since joining the pros, he has learned to put aside his shoot-first mentality and distribute the ball as an NBA guard should. Also with that baby face, how could you not love him? (Yeah I had a girl moment. Sue me.)

Most Athletic: Nate Robinson

This was a tough category. I didn’t know whether to go with the most athletic looking guy, the man with the most hops or the man who could kick anyone’s butt in a decathlon. Since is your house of hoops and hops, I went with two-time slam dunk champion Nate Robinson. At his height, a generous 5-foot-9, he shouldn’t be able to do the things he does on a nightly basis. Seeing his impish figure fly through the air is why we all love this game. It’s why we all thought we could still play in the league when we stopped growing. The little man has no fear going into middle up against the most imposing figures in the league and scoring. He’s also good for taking perimeter shots (sometimes not wise ones), but taking them anyway. His little engine that could mentality, jet packs in his shoes and providing hope for vertically challenged varsity guards everywhere is all you need in my book. Worddaapp (as Nate would say).
Runner up: Dwight Howard

Best Dancer: LeBron James

Who can forget LeBron’s sideline jig during the Bulls game that got Joakim Noah fired up.
Runner Up: Tony Allen

Most Team Spirit: Cavs Bench

“I heard you got to go to training camp three weeks early just to learn the handshakes.” That line from the Nike MVPuppets commercial sums it all up. There is no team that has bonded over pregame rituals more than the Cleveland Cavaliers. From saluting the general to the Shogun bows, the Cavs have brought the pregame handshake to a whole new level. Also the enthusiasm they show on the bench during the game is almost just as good as their play. Standing up, holding each other back and giving “The Stink Face” on a dunk, it’s perfect NBA theatre courtesy of the bench.

Worst Case of Senioritis: Boston Celtics

Put three aging veterans on your team and they grab a championship their first year. For the rest of their days they will be sitting on the porch, smelling of Ben Gay telling stories of the days they won it all. Then they will slowly go to the big hardwood court in the sky. The C’s record has been on a steady decline since the championship season. They have also dropped one spot in the East postseason standing since last season. They still have an occasional showing of old-man strength, like last week’s game where Ray Allen put away the Cavaliers with six 3-pointers. But on a whole, the Celtics are past their expiration date and may very well be spoiled after a first-round exit this postseason.
Runner up: San Antonio Spurs

Best Hair: Brandon Jennings

The rook brought back the Gumby and the Bobby Brown fade. Enough said. He is giving kids an education in music and styles that were cool before they were born. When your hair is capable of educating the youth, you earn a spot in the golden barbershop chair. Respectful bow to you Mr. Jennings. Respectful bow.
Runner up: Ron Artest

Class Clown: J.R. Smith’s driver

J.R. Smith’s driver, a former ball boy for the Denver Nuggets, thought it would be a great April Fool’s joke to fill Kenyon Martin’s Range Rover, which has white interior, with buttered popcorn. After discovering the kernel surprise, Martin went on a tirade throughout the locker room, and threatened not to play in the Playoffs. Great joke J.R. Smith’s driver, but that probably wasn’t the best person to play it on.
Runner up: Shaquille O’Neal

Most Likely to Succeed: Tyreke Evans

He may very well be your Rookie of the Year. His lack of national TV coverage and a sub-par team are the only things holding him back. This man-child, who is listed at guard but is built more like a power forward, is a franchise player and consistent scorer for the Kings. He is the leading scorer amongst rookies and 51 points from finishing the season with a 20-5-5 line. Michael Jordan, Oscar Robertson and LeBron James are the only other players to post 20-5-5 as rookies. This kid is in good company.
Runner up: Stephen Curry

Cutest Couple: Amar’e Stoudemire/ Steve Nash

So Nash and Stoudemire standing in prom photo fashion may not be cute but the duo is definitely one of the best point guard/ big man combos in the league. With Nash leading the league in assists, it’s pretty easy for Stoudimire to flourish in the middle. Amar’e owns the paint and is amongst the NBA’s top 10 in total points. He also embarrasses folks on a weekly basis with sick dunks like this one. A pass-first PG with an athletic high-flying center. It doesn’t get any better.
Runner Up: Jason Kidd/Dirk Nowitzki

From Zero to Hero: Oklahoma City Thunder

They moved 2,000 miles, had no real practice facility and scored a GM who knew little about managing a team in a town that knew even less about basketball. The Thunder also flirted with disaster by tying the franchise’s record 14-game losing streak. Just one season later they have clinched a playoff position in the tight Western Conference race and the OKC boys are schooling veteran teams around the league. Tiger Woods can take a key from the Thunder. This is how you make a comeback.
Runner Up: Aaron Brooks

Adena Andrews is an interactive producer for You can follow her here on Twitter.

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