Atlanta Hawks shooting guard Kyle Korver won the 2014-15 NBA Sportsmanship Award on April 29.

The Hawks made the announcement via a press release on their official website on Wednesday.

For all his three-point sniping, Korver’s on-court ethics have gone largely unnoticed. With him winning the league’s official sportsmanship award this week, they won’t be anymore. Simply put, we need more players like him.

But first, let’s state the obvious: Korver is one of the best shooters in the league.

Check that.
 
Grantland.com’s Kirk Goldsberry made a case for Korver as the NBA’s best shooter in his April 22 article:

If an ‘average’ NBA player had attempted the exact same collection of shots as Korver this season, he would have scored 1.04 points per shot. That’s not bad, but guess what? Korver accumulated a dizzying 1.34 points per shot.

During the regular season, the (Los Angeles) Clippers led the NBA by scoring 109.8 points per 100 possessions. The Hawks averaged 134 points per 100 possessions any time Korver took a shot.

In other words, whenever the Hawks just manage to get a decent look, they immediately transform into an offensive juggernaut.

The Hawks remain a legitimate threat to win the Eastern Conference because of Korver, but also because they have the coach of the year in Mike Buldenhozer and a band of other great players working together to find the best shot on the floor.

However, with all due respect to All-Stars like Paul Millsap, Al Horford and Jeff Teague, Korver is the team’s scariest weapon.

Goldsberry is spot on in his assessment. Whenever Korver takes the court, the Hawks are awfully tough to beat.
 

 
On a different note, whenever Korver takes the court, he shows NBA fans what true sportsmanship is all about.

 

Kyle Korver Wins The 2014-15 NBA Sportsmanship of the Year Award

The Atlanta Hawks announced shooting guard Kyle Korver won the 2014-15 NBA Sportsmanship of the Year Award on their official website on April 29:

Kyle Korver of the Atlanta Hawks is the recipient of the Joe Dumars Trophy presented to the 2014-15 NBA Sportsmanship Award winner, the NBA announced today. Korver becomes the first Hawks player to receive the honor.

Korver (Southeast) was one of six divisional winners, joining the Toronto Raptors’ Amir Johnson (Atlantic), the Chicago Bulls’ Pau Gasol (Central), the Oklahoma City Thunder’s Nick Collison (Northwest), the Los Angeles Lakers’ Jeremy Lin (Pacific) and the New Orleans Pelicans’ Anthony Davis (Southwest).

The NBA will make a $10,000 donation on behalf of Korver to his charity of choice, Helping Hand Rescue Mission.

Korver received 87 of 317 first-place votes and 2,351 total points from NBA players, who voted on the award for the 11th consecutive year. The six finalists were awarded 11 points each for each first-place vote, nine points for each second-place vote, seven points for each third-place vote, five points for each fourth-place vote, three points for each fifth-place vote and one point for each sixth-place vote.

The press release adds “the annual award reflects the ideals of sportsmanship—ethical behavior, fair play and integrity—in amateur and professional basketball, a key focus of the league’s NBA Cares program.”
 
Korver expressed his gratitude for winning the award, but made it clear there are other important things he’s more concerned about, per ESPN:

Anytime you’re selected by your peers   I’m not trying to make light of it, it’s a great honor. You just keep on trying to do the right things, be present in relationships. Life is bigger than basketball.

The Hawks keep getting all these awards. We’d trade awards for wins right now, you know? Get us to the Finals and we’d trade them all in.

 

The Parting Shot

Kyle Korver’s 2014-15 NBA Sportsmanship of the Year Award is a well-deserved one.

A look at the list of the award’s past winners include the likes of Joe Dumars, Avery Johnson, Grant Hill, David Robinson, Ray Allen, Luol Deng, Chauncey Billups and Stephen Curry.
 
The one thing in common they have is their positive on-court image (with the exception of Jason Kidd, who most likely blew his reputation with the spilled soda incident almost two years ago when he coached the Brooklyn Nets).

If only we had more of them in the league today. If only we had more Kyle Korvers, the NBA would be a much better league.
 
We know that’s wishful thinking with the number of players the league has, with each baller having his own background and on-court reputation. What we want is for Kyle Korver’s example in terms of ethical behavior, fair play and integrity to rub off on everyone.

“Everyone” here not just means NBA players. This includes officials, administrators and fans—sports in general. You get the point.
 
Is there any reason for Korver to not deserve the award? We can’t think of any.

Last time we checked, he always plays hard, never whines and continues to make the Atlanta Hawks a legitimate title contender.
 
If the Hawks do win the NBA championship this year, they would have risen from the ashes (they were a 38-win club last year) with the help of that certain Ashton Kutcher deadringer who is the epitome of true sportsmanship.

 
[Photo: ESPN]
 

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