The award is given annually by the PBWA to the player who “best combines excellence on the basketball court with cooperation and dignity in dealing with the media and the public.”
DeRozan is the second Raptor to win the award, following Chris Bosh in 2009-10.
It’s the latest in a string of accolades for DeRozan, who enjoyed one of his finest seasons as a professional, leading the Raptors in scoring, reaching his fourth All-Star game (and second consecutive start), earning a second-straight All-NBA nod, achieving career highs in assists and 3-pointers made and attempted, not to mention setting a Raptors single-game record with 52 points on January 1 against Milwaukee. He was also named to the USA 2018-20 national basketball team select pool in April.
Perhaps more notably, DeRozan admirably spoke up about his struggles with depression and helped bring the conversation about mental health to the forefront in NBA circles.
Finalists for the award this year included Golden State’s Kevin Durant; Boston’s Al Horford; Oklahoma City’s Paul George; and San Antonio’s Manu Ginobili. Past winners of the award include Durant, Stephen Curry, Steve Nash and Dirk Nowitzki, among others.
Composed of more than 200 writers and editors who cover the NBA regularly, the PBWA created the annual Magic Johnson award in 2001; it’s named for the former Laker Hall-of-Famer whose famous smile and congenial personality made him a favourite among players, fans and media.