The Thunder is Out in Full Force, Representing OKC at NBA Awards

By Nick Gallo | Thunder Basketball Writer | mailbag@okcthunder.com

NEW YORK -- The first-ever NBA Awards hadn’t even started yet. Somehow, Russell Westbrook already won an award.

Westbrook’s Thunder teammates Victor Oladipo, Nick Collison, Andre Roberson and Enes Kanter joined NBA legends, players, coaches and staff by waltzing down the red carpet outside of Basketball City at Pier 36 in lower Manhattan on Monday night. At the very last minute, Westbrook himself snuck down the side, then swooped into the fray.

Teammates hit the red carpet together! #0urMVP

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With a sharp and simple look that contrasted some of his more adventurous outfits of the past, Westbrook accepted the Style Award, the first award to be announced on the night.

Wearing a white button down shirt under a slim blue suit with a navy blue tie to complement, wire-framed glasses and black loafers, Westbrook looked straight out of the pages of GQ. He wasn’t on the red carpet for long, but the entire crowd stopped and looked on with rapt attention as he paused long enough to accept the league’s Style Award, acknowledging his fashion-forward efforts throughout the 2016-17.

Ready for the night? #0urMVP #NBAAwards

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From there he dashed inside, ready to see if he wins the award for Best Performance, Best Game-Winner and ultimately, Most Valuable Player.

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At 8:40pm CT, the NBA on TNT’s panel of Charles Barkley, Kenny Smith, Shaquille O’Neal and Ernie Johnson announced the winners of a variety of in-game awards, including the Best Dunk of the year. Victor Oladipo won the award with a double-clutch baseline jam over Dwight Howard in the Thunder’s 102-99 win at Atlanta against the Hawks.

After catching the ball in the corner, Oladipo saw an opening then rose up to the rim from outside the lane. As Howard leapt to meet him at the rim, Oladipo adjusted, maneuvering the ball with both hands around the Hawks center before slamming the ball down with authority.

The Thunder guard beat out Larry Nance and Zach LaVine for the hardware, then stood up from his seat just feet away from the stage to acknowledge the cheers from the crowd.

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An hour later, it was Russell Westbrook’s turn to be honored by the NBA on TNT panel, who read off the fan vote for Best Game-Winner of the Year. Beating out Kyrie Irving and Tyler Ulis, Westbrook was honored for the 36-foot three-pointer he hit as time expired to defeat the Denver Nuggets 106-105 on April 9th.

The heave against the final buzzer ended up knocking the Nuggets out of playoff contention, yet the Denver crowd erupted with applause and chanted “MVP” as Westbrook and the Thunder celebrated on the floor.

During the game, Westbrook led the Thunder as they came back from a 14-point deficit while he notched a 50-point, 16-rebound, 10-assist triple-double, his 42nd of the season, setting the NBA record for most triple-doubles all-time this season.

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Be sure to stay here at okcthunder.com for more coverage of the Thunder throughout the night!