The NBA crowned a champion on Sunday night, and the NHL will do the same on Wednesday (or possibly Thursday, if it goes to OT(s)). With the championships happening roughly at the same time every year, it got us to wondering – which sport does the championship ceremony better. The crew weighs in after the jump.
I cherry-picked this subject a bit, because for me it’s no contest, but I wanted to write it out anyway. There’s no better celebration in sports than when Lord Stanley’s Cup hits the ice. As soon as the game ends, the winning team floods the ice in celebration. Then after a bit, both teams line up and shake hands, which is probably the best tradition in sports. After that, the commissioner presents the Conn Smythe for the MVP of the Playoffs. (Side note: if my hunch is correct, we’ll see how gracious the Canucks fans are in victory when the award goes to the goalie from the losing team, Tim Thomas.) (Side note #2: The Conn Smythe has gone to a member of the losing team 4 times in history – 3 of those were goalies.) Then, finally, the commissioner presents the Stanley Cup to the Captain of the winning team, at which point it gets passed around to each teammate in turn, usually, of age, or experience, or how long they’ve played without winning a championship. It’s an iconic moment. Mark Messier, who’d already won FOUR times, laughing hysterically when presented with the cup in 1994… Joe Sakic, holding the cup for all of two seconds before immediately giving it to Ray Borque (who’d played 1600+ games in his career without winning) in 2001. It’s an unbeatable moment. I look forward to watching it tomorrow night.
Contrast this with Sunday’s NBA Final. The clock hit zero, and Dirk (who was incredible in the series) ran
off to the locker room to cry alone. Some of the players stood around and congratulated each other, but it was hard to tell much of anything else because the floor was rushed with hundreds of people so that they could set up a freaking stage for the champions. I’m not sure why they need a stage, but whatever, I guess. Then the commissioner presented the finals trophy to the owner of the winning team (which was actually a nice moment on Sunday, with Cuban having it presented to the founder of the Mavs, but still). Finally, the award for Finals MVP gets handed out, which seemed anti-climactic at that point. Ho-freakin-hum.
I am not sure I can actually answer this question since the last time I bothered to watch the NBA finals through the end, including the ceremony, has to be the mid-90s. So I went out to ESPN to watch some of the clips. Outside of the Stanley Cup being the best trophy in sports the actual ceremonies are all the same. Someone from the network comes out and talks, turns it over to the commissioner, who then hands the trophy over to someone (either the MVP, Captain, Owner, Coach, etc.). I give hockey the edge here only because of the rituals involved with the trophy during the ceremony: captain getting the trophy first, each player skating around with the cup, drinking champagne from the cup. Basketball is probably the most boring, with football being next, then baseball, then hockey.