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by Joe Gabriele Beat Writer
The Optimist

First Annual | Second Annual | Third Annual Awards Banquet

Good afternoon, Cavalier fans. And welcome to the 4th Annual Optimist Awards Banquet. I’ll be your host – The Optimist.

Please excuse the construction and remodeling. We’re building a new website here, but it shouldn’t affect the proceedings.’s Website Manager and former dental student, Jeff Lillibridge, hired mostly Teamsters to put it up, so they’ll be napping during this afternoon’s festivities.

The Cavaliers just completed their second-straight 50-win season and smote their last four opponents in convincing fashion to lock up the No. 2 seed. In a rematch of last year’s six-game thriller, Cleveland will face the Washington Wizards for Game 1 of the four-game sweep beginning on Sunday afternoon at The Q.

While the Wine and Gold gird up for battle, we like to hold our annual luncheon – a low-key, though star-studded, affair to say Mazel Tov! to the many players that make the NBA fannntastic. I don’t feel that I need to remind you folks, but as always, please no gang colors.

Now let’s hand out some hardware …

2006-07 All-Optimist First Team

For an unprecedented fourth straight season, the All-Optimist First Team is stacked with Cleveland Cavaliers. League personnel have cried “Foul!” and claim the results are as rigged as the fabled “frozen envelope” in the Patrick Ewing Lottery. But the fact is that I’ve done the Math and I’ve seen the Science, and it always comes up Wine and Gold.

Head Coach

Larry Huge
Stepped in at point guard and changed the season. Looks really cool in his uni.

Splasha Pavlovic
His emergence was like making a mid-season trade without making a trade.

Zydrunas Ilgauskas
Had another solid season. Went strong, wire-to-wire.

Is really, really good at basketball.

Drew Gooden
Had the chutzpah to stick with that crazy Gucci tail all season.

Mike Brown
Is 100-64 in his first two seasons at the helm. Always a great quote.

2006-07 All-Optimist Second Team

Notable omissions from this year’s squad include Desmond Mason, Jermaine O’Neal, Didier Illunga-Mbenga, Yakhouba Diawara, Pops Mensah-Bonsu, Ron Artest, Zarko Cabarkaba, Zaza Pachulia, Slava Medvedenko, Elton Brand, Boniface Ndong, Bostjan Nachbizzy, the AK-47, Andre Miller, Ansu Sesay and Jorge Garbajosa – who smokes at least a pack of cigarettes before every game. That alone should tell you how tight the balloting is.

Head Coach

The Earl of Boykins
The pride of Central Catholic is simply my favorite all-time non-Cavalier.

Manu Ginobili
Tough, skilled and fun to watch. Hated by Kobe.

DeSagana Diop
Former Cavalier is like a lion on the court and a pussycat off it.

Clifford Robinson
A walking guarantee: he has played 17 seasons and missed the Playoffs once.

Adam Morrison
Like Gooden, had the grapes to stick with that mustache for an entire rookie season.

Doc Rivers
Love Doc despite him being a Celtic. That’s why I’m so complex.

2006-07 Optimist All-Nemesis Team

The 2006-07 All-Nemesis Team features some familiar faces, including Paul Pierce and former winner of the prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award – Carlos Boozer. As, I’ve said before, I have nothing personal against these players; they just make life miserable for the Wine and Gold. Notable omissions from this year’s squad include Mateen Cleaves, Jamaal Crawford, Kobe Bryant, Dikembe Mutombo and, of course, Rick Davis – who I have since made peace with in my heart.

Head Coach

Tyronn Lue
Just hates our guts.

Paul Pierce
Spit in the Cavaliers' general direction.

Alonzo Mourning
If this meanie is on your team you love him. He‘s not.

Rasheed Wallace
Where should I start?

Carlos Boozer
Finally came back and faced the music. What does he want, a medal?

Red Auerbach
Posthumous Lifetime Achievement Award Winner.

The 2006-07 Edgar Jones 7th Man Award

For the fourth straight year, the Edgar Jones 7th Man Award was easily the most difficult decision. This award – named after the legendary toothless forward – goes to the player who fires up the Quicken Loans crowd and simultaneously contributes to the Cavaliers’ cause. Notable omissions include Daniel Gibson, Ira Newble, Shannon Brown, David Wesley and, of course, little Scot Pollard -- simply because of minutes-played.

Anderson Varejao
Damon Jones
The Canton
The X-Factor
Donyell Marshall

The Nominees

The Winner
Anderson Varejao

The 2006-07 Quickie Award

Notable omissions include Ted Ginn, Jr., Jay-Z, Charlie Frye, Grady Sizemore, Troy Smith, Kid Rock, Jimmy Kimmel, Braylon Edwards, Victor Martinez and Oscar Robertson. But it boils down to one question: Five or ten years from now, who will you remember seeing in person at Quicken Loans Arena?

Rutgers Women
Little Baby Bron
Eva Longoria
Warren Buffett

The Nominees

The Winner
Little Baby Bron

Professor Chewy's 2006-07 All-Bald Team

Professionally speaking, Professor Chewy is the only man I answer to, editorially. He is Quality Control here at – and he is a self-confessed Bald. But to paraphrase the great James Brown: “Say it loud – he’s bald and he’s proud.” He has been compiling the list for years and only in 2006-07 did a Cavalier – Drew Gooden – make the list. The rules are No Rugs, No Plugs and No Drugs. Notable omissions include Ed Harris, Hector Elizondo, Len Komoroski, Lou Gossett, Jr., Jeff Phelphs, Fred Biletnikoff, Stanley Tucci and Ghandi.

Sean Connery
Andre Agassi
Pablo Picasso
Drew Gooden
Robert Duvall
Dwight D.

2006-07 Updated List of
Akron's Greatest Contributions to Mankind

It’s hard to believe that such a bounty could flow from just 40 miles away from Cleveland, but Akron is truly the cradle of greatness. This season, Akron Beacon-Journal beat reporter, Brian Windhorst – a guy who beats Joe Gabriele’s brains in – shot to No. 3 with a bullet. Notable omissions include Antonio Pittman, Jim Jarmusch, Hugh Downs, Zippy the mascot, the Quaker Oats guy and rubber.

Brian Windhorst
Chrissy Hynde
Angie Everhart

This Year's Ranking: (1)
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