Pau Gasol of the Chicago Bulls has won the 2014-15 Magic Johnson Award, which annually recognizes the player who best combines excellence on the basketball court with cooperation and dignity in dealing with the media and the public, the Professional Basketball Writers Association announced today.
Gasol helped the Bulls finish the regular season with a 50-32 record and earn the No. 3 seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs.
He averaged 18.5 points, 11.8 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 1.9 blocks per game, and he also was named a starter for the 2015 NBA All-Star Game.
Meanwhile, the 34-year-old Spaniard consistently fostered an atmosphere of mutual respect with the media.
“I just try to be helpful,” Gasol told reporters in Chicago this afternoon, after the news of his selection was revealed.
“I try to help other people do their jobs well. I understand my position, and this is a part of our jobs. So, to me, I always try to be kind and polite, even when I’m not feeling great or I might be upset because of a loss. But I understand that it’s still part of my job to try to be one of the team’s leaders and role models to kind of stand up and share my thoughts when I need to.”
Four additional players were Magic Johnson Award finalists this season: Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors, Manu Ginobili of the San Antonio Spurs, LeBron James of the Cleveland Cavaliers and Damian Lillard of the Portland Trail Blazers.
The winner was selected through a vote of Professional Basketball Writers Association members.
The PBWA created the Magic Johnson Award in 2001. The association’s members continue to regard Earvin “Magic” Johnson of the Los Angeles Lakers as the ideal model for the award.
The PBWA is composed of approximately 175 writers and editors who cover the NBA on a regular basis for newspapers, online outlets and magazines.
Magic Johnson Award winners
2000-01 Ray Allen, Milwaukee Bucks
2001-02 Elton Brand, L.A. Clippers
2002-03 Jalen Rose, Chicago Bulls
2003-04 Jermaine O’Neal, Indiana Pacers
2004-05 Antawn Jamison, Washington Wizards
2005-06 Grant Hill, Orlando Magic
2006-07 Shane Battier, Houston Rockets
2007-08 Derek Fisher, Los Angeles Lakers
2008-09 Brandon Roy, Portland Trail Blazers
2009-10 Chris Bosh, Toronto Raptors
2010-11 Kevin Durant, Oklahoma City Thunder
2011-12 Steve Nash, Phoenix Suns
2012-13 Shane Battier, Miami Heat
2013-14 Dirk Nowitzki, Dallas Mavericks
2014-15 Pau Gasol, Chicago Bulls