by Joe Gabriele Managing Editor
The Optimist

First Annual | Second Annual | Third Annual | Fourth Annual Awards Banquet

Hello? Is this thing on?

Hi, everyone. My name is The Optimist – the MC of today’s Awards Banquet. I hope you all helped yourself to some of the rigatoni and fried chicken. There’s a cash bar, over in the corner where John “The Nuse” Manuszak is standing.

I didn’t do any foreign greeting today because, quite frankly, I’m “off the clock.” You people don’t need that kind of foolishness today. You don’t want me up here giving schmaltzy feel-good speeches or telling dirty Irish limericks.

What happened to the Cavaliers in Game 7 up in Beantown two Sundays ago hurt. It hurt bad.

But it’s over and something says big changes are afoot in Cavalier Land. I just hope GM Dan Ferry trades for first-time All-Nemesis guard, Mo Williams, so he’ll stop kicking the crap out of Cleveland four times a year. But I don’t chime in on trades (yet) and that’s not what we’re here for, anyway.

Please help yourself to the refreshments and – as always – please, NO gang colors.

But, hey, enough of me yakking. Let’s hand out some hardware!

2007-08 All-Optimist First Team

We can go over the voting again and again, but – yes – for an unprecedented fifth straight season, the entire All-Optimist First Team is stacked with Cleveland Cavaliers. Uncle Dave and his minions at NBA Headquarters in New York will be crowing about it when the Banquet wraps up, but that's Hard Cheese, y'all.

Head Coach

Delonte West
Fearless point man popularized the inspirational mantra: “Hands down, man’s down.”

Wally Szczerbiak
Women love Wally and men want to be him. Led the squad in high-fives.

Zydrunas Ilgauskas
Came to Camp shorn and turned in one of the best years of his career.

It is right to give him thanks and praise.

Ben Wallace
Legendary defender could easily crush my little head like a walnut.

Mike Brown
Winningest coach in Cavs history despite self-professed head made of wood.

2007-08 All-Optimist Second Team

Notable omissions from this year’s squad include Von Wafer, Awvee Story, Chris Mihms, Thaddeus Young, Sasha Pavlovic, Sasha Vujacic, Andre Miller, Josh Howard, Zaza Pachulia, Zarko Cabarkapa, Kyrylo Fesenko, Yakhouba Diawara, the AK-47, Lamar Odom, Quincy Douby, Luther Head, Bostjan Nachbizzy, J-Smoove, and, of course, Joel Przybilla, the Vanilla Gorilla.

Head Coach

The Earl of Boykins
Look at how great that little dude is!

Jameer Nelson
Is really good at basketball but bad at guaranteeing things.

Al Jefferson
Despite his team's sorry record, Big Al plays the game like a MAN.

Antawn Jamison
The Wizards' captain wants no part of his teammates' nincompoopery.

David Lee
Almost made All-Nemesis team for consistently brutalizing the Cavaliers.

Doc Rivers
Love Doc despite his being the Celtics coach. The conflict keeps me up nights.

2007-08 Optimist All-Nemesis Team

The 2007-08 All-Nemesis Team once again features some familiar foes, including the irrepressible Paul Pierce – who once spit on the Cavaliers, then dropped 41 on them in Game 7 – and former winner of the prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award, Carlos Boozer. As I’ve said before, these men have done me no personal harm. They just make life unpleasant for the Cavaliers, which hurts my feelings. Notable omissions from this year’s squad include Tyronn Lue, Jamaal Crawford, Kobe Bryant, Dikembe Mutombo, and, of course, Rick Davis.

Head Coach

Mo Williams
Just hates the Cavaliers' guts.

Paul Pierce
Where should I start?

Joakim Noah
I'm beginning to think this cat has something against Ohioans.


To quote the late-great Apollo Creed: "Some folks got to learn THE HARD WAY.

Carlos Boozer
Still mad.

Red Auerbach
Posthumous. Perennial.

The 2007-08 Edgar Jones Seventh Man Award

Once again, the illustrious Edgar Jones Seventh Man Award was the most difficult decision for our staff. This award – named after the legendary toothless forward – goes to the player who simultaneously stimulates the Quicken Loans Arena crowd and concurrently contributes to the Cavaliers’ cause. All nominees were deserving, but Devin Brown did it all year long – through thick and thin. The DJ and Joe Smith were fantastic, and Anderson Varejao, as pictured, spent much of 2007-08 with an opponent's fist against his throat.

Notable omissions include "Professor" Lance Allred, Dwayne “Hacksaw” Jones, Billy “The Senator” Thomas, and Kaniel “All You Can Eat” Dickens. "Boobie" Gibson is, of course, ineligible on accounta he’s a Sixth Man.

Anderson Varejao
Devin Brown
Joe Smith
Sir Damon Jones

The Nominees

The Winner
Devin Brown

Professor Chewy's 2007-08 All-Bald Team

Professionally and editorially speaking, Professor Chewy is the only man I answer to. He was formerly Quality Control here at – and is, himself, a self-professed Bald. He wears this sign of virility proudly. He has been compiling the list for several years, and always selects a deserving Cavalier.

The rules are simple: No Rugs, No Plugs and No Drugs. (Chewy finds self-hating Balds like Jeremy Piven reprehensible.) This year's notable omissions include Ed Harris, John Amos, Len Komoroski, Lou Gossett, Jr., Kimbo Slice, Jeff Phelps, James Taylor, Fred Biletnikoff, Stanley Tucci, Mr. Clean, Ghandi, and the American Bald Eagle.

James Gandolfini
"Hey Now" Hank Kingsley

Sir Ben Kingsley
(no relation)
The Large Lithuanian
Larry David

2007-08 Updated List of
Akron's Greatest Contributions to Mankind

As we’ve come to know, it’s hard to believe such a bounty of goodness could exist just 40-some miles south of Cleveland. But the proof is in Akron’s pudding. This year’s voting was exspecially tight, but we saw some seismic shifts in the standings – with Chrissy Hynde being ousted by Coondog O’Karma – the legendary competitive eater who consumed 13 sweet potato pies in one minute at the age of 15 – and the foxy Angie Everhart being ousted by an even foxier Heather Kozar – who was a "Barker’s Beauty," among other things. Jim Jarmusch, Chris Wells and Zippy the Akron U. mascot find themselves still on the outside looking in.

The biggest move saw uber-scribe, Brian Windhorst, move above the iconic Blimp into the No. 2 spot. Could the mighty Windhorst one day surpass the future Hall of Famer whose career he has chronicled? Not bloody likely.

Brian Windhorst
Coondog O'Karma
Heather Kozar

This Year's Ranking: (1)
Last Year: (1)

This Year's Ranking: (2)
Last Year: (3)

This Year's
Last Year: (2)

This Year's Ranking: (4)
Last Year: (n/a)

This Year's Ranking: (5)
Last Year: (5)

This Year's Ranking: (6)
Last Year: (n/a)