THE OPTIMIST’S SEASON ENDING AWARDS BANQUET

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The Optimist
Guten tag, Cavaliers fans. Welcome the final installment of the Optimist's Year-in-Review five-part mini-series. The reviews are in and it's been a smashing success.

TV Guide critic Tom Shales exclaimed, "The Optimist's Year-in-Review was a tour de force; a once-in-a-generation experience that made me laugh, made me cry and then made me hungry." My agent also informs me that the "Year-in-Review" logo will appear on bases in Major League Baseball games during interleague play next month.

This week, we have wrapped up the Wine and Gold's see-saw season that saw our beloved Cavaliers start out slowly in Part I, pick the pieces in Part II, make a their playoff push in Part III and wrap up the crazy campaign in Part IV.

Today, it's the Optimist's Award Banquet where we pass out the season-ending accolades to those who made the Cavaliers season one to remember. Of course, the perfect starting point is to name my 2003-04 All-Optimist First and Second Teams.


2003-04 All-Optimist First Team

This year's All-Optimist First Team is loaded with an inordinate amount of Cavaliers, but when you put together a season like the Wine and Gold just did, it's not unusual to pile up the postseason awards.

Guard
Guard
Center
Forward
Forward
Head Coach
Jeff McInnis
Brought the nasty attitude the Cavaliers have needed for years.
LeBron James
Is really, really good at basketball.
Zydrunas Ilgauskas
Who knows how Z's season would have gone if Ostertag wasn't a jerk.
Carlos Boozer
Some guys are meant to be Cavaliers. Booz is one of them.
Ira Newble
If there's a better starting small forward in the East, I haven't seen him.
Paul Silas
The Father Figure takes no quarter. The Father Figure gives no quarter.


2003-04 All-Optimist Second Team

The All-Optimist Second Team had an array of some of this year's most prolific players from around the league. Some notable omissions who barely missed the cut were the AK-47, Joe Johnson, Stanislav Medvedenko, Zaza Pachulia, Zeljko Rebraca, Nene, and of course, Ansu Sesay.

Guard
Guard
Center
Forward
Forward
Head Coach
The Earl of Boykins
Miniature local product is the classic overachiever.
Manu Ginobili
Deadly shooter and defender; also blew the game in Cavaliers' Feb. 20 win over S.A.
Jahidi White
Six feet, nine inches and 540 pounds of pure low-post power.
Ron Artest
The nastiest defender in the league plays angry just like the Optimist likes it.
Desmond Mason
Accomplished artist; Slam Dunk champ; good guy. What's not to like?
Hubie Brown
People said a 97-year-old man couldn't relate to today's players, but they were wrong.


The Edgar Jones 7th Man Award

The inagural Edgar Jones 7th Man Award goes to the player who isn't the first player off the bench but still contributes mightily both on the floor and in the hearts of the Gund Arena faithful.

Kedrick Brown
Kedrick Brown brings the whole package: toughness, outside shooting, toughness.
Jason Kapono
The fan favorite from SoCal fired everyone up with his electric performance against New Orleans.
DeSagana Diop
The Shot Swatter from Senegal always gets the crowd up and is the funniest Cavalier.
The Nominees

The Winner
DESAGANA DIOP


The Butterball Turkey Award

The first annual Butterball Turkey Award goes to the performer who laid the biggest egg on the floor of the Gund Arena. The three worthy candidates below barely nudged out Ricky Davis (who called us names) and Phoenix Suns rookie, the Magic Lamp, who netted 0 points and five fouls in nine minutes of play on March 23.

Paul Pierce
Pierce tried unsuccessfully to outdo the Moondog at his own game and barely drew iron.
The King
This buttocks came to the Gund from Sacramento just to taunt the Cleveland faithful.
Ton Loc
Gund Arena fans were still cheering for Carlos Boozer when the rapper took the floor at halftime.
The Nominees

The Winner
THE KING


The Gundy

The Gundy goes to the player who turned in the best performance in a game at the corner of Huron and Ontario in 2003-04. Notable omissions are Jeff McInnis' masterful performance against the Indiana Pacers on March 14 and Dajuan Wagner's breakout performance in a January 28 win over the Miami Heat.

LeBron James
His 41-point, 13-assist performance in a win over New Jersey kept Cleveland in the playoff race.
Zydrunas Ilgauskas
The Big Lithuanian went 14-for-16 from the floor for 30 points in a win over Miami.
Carlos Boozer
C-Booz followed a 32-point, 18-board game in Utah with a 32, 20 game in victory over Seattle.
The Nominees

The Winner
LEBRON JAMES