Sloan, OKC's Durant, Pacers' media staff honored by PBWA

By Official Release
Posted Apr 20 2011 12:10PM

TORONTO -- Jerry Sloan, Kevin Durant and the Indiana Pacers media relations staff were honored today by the Professional Basketball Writers Association.

Sloan is the inaugural winner of the PBWA's Rudy Tomjanovich Award, which is to be given annually to the NBA coach who best combines excellence in coaching and co-operation with the needs of the media.

"In his 23-year career, Jerry was unfailingly good with the media and his coaching accomplishments speak for themselves. We're delighted to name him a unanimous winner of our first Rudy Tomjanovich Award," said Doug Smith of the Toronto Star, the president of the PBWA.

In naming the award after Tomjanovich, the PBWA also honors an icon of the coaching industry and someone who understood the needs of the media and went out of his way to be helpful, respectful and accessible.

Durant, of the Oklahoma City Thunder, is the winner of the PBWA's Magic Johnson Award, given annually to the player who combines on-court performance with steady co-operation with the media, in the same manner as Johnson did during his Hall of Fame career.

Durant was voted the winner over finalists Manu Ginobili of the San Antonio Spurs, Elton Brand of the Philadelphia 76ers and Derrick Rose of the Chicago Bulls.

"Kevin's a uniquely skilled individual on the court and his willingness to accept the media responsibilities that go with his place in the game are valued by writers who cover the league," said the PBWA's Smith.

The Indianapolis media relations staff -- Director David Benner, manager Krissy Myers and assistant Tim Edwards -- are winners of the PBWA's Brian McIntyre Award, named after the highly-respected former Senior Vice President of Basketball Communications for the NBA and currently the Senior Communications Advisor to NBA Commissioner David Stern.

Benner, Myers and Edwards were voted winners over the staffs of the Milwaukee Bucks, Oklahoma City Thunder and New Orleans Hornets.

"I think anyone who's ever covered a game or an event involving the Pacers would tell you David and his staff are always more than willing to help facilitate the media's needs. They are a gold standard among media relations staffs in the NBA," said Smith.

The Professional Basketball Writers Association is comprised of more than 150 representatives of newspapers, websites, radio and television stations. It acts as a liaison between the teams, the league and the media in the day-to-day interaction necessary for the media to serve its readers.

The PBWA also administers the J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award, given annually to the player who exhibits outstanding service and dedication to the community.

The winner will be announced as part of the NBA's post-season awards schedule.