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Year In Review

Presenting The 2023 Shams Charania Award For Excellence In Divulging Of Information Through Syntax Comprehended By Many

9:46 AM EST on December 28, 2023

It's time once again to bestow that prestigious honor, as seen in New York magazine: The 2023 Shams Charania Award For Excellence In Divulging Of Information Through Syntax Comprehended By Many. Veteran scoopsters, like last year's winner Adrian Wojnarowski, continued to transform language as only they can, but some bold new contenders have entered the fray.

Certain features are eternal: There were ramps, dominoes, and situations. Defector's panel discussed a whole field of submissions during a pair of mid-year and year-end nominee streams, narrowing it down to the finalists below. Sometimes the genius lay in a tweet, and sometimes it was buried in an article; in all instances, the relevant text is excerpted here.

CNN, with a confounding headline:

First a snake fell from the sky. Then a Texas grandma found herself inside the chaos of a hawk after its prey.

"Then, just when she thought the snake might bite her – injecting her with fatal venom and ushering in the end of her life – a brown and white hawk swooped down and tried to clench it."

Josina Anderson of CBS Sports, with a perplexing report on the Houston Texans:

Im told there's still uncertainty surrounding the current front office situation with the Houston #Texans, to put it respectfully, per league source.

While, the current structure assists ownership in navigating this offseason for the time being, it is tenuous at best. We'll see.

Josina Anderson of CBS Sports, with a non-update on the Minnesota Vikings:

Regarding #Vikings pass-rusher Danielle Hunter, I’m told the evaluation of Hunter’s situation is & has been ongoing. Nothing has changed as of late, nor is any potential deal to move him imminent, as of this tweet, per source.

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, with a beautiful travel itinerary:

With concern that the Pistons may not be able to fly out of Dallas until Thursday because of icing issues, there’s obvious uncertainty about the Pelicans’ ability to fly into Dallas today for Thursday's game vs. the Mavericks. Pelicans are in Denver now.

Zach Harper of The Athletic, getting real about the Rui Hachimura trade:

By giving up three assets of varying degrees of potential value, the Lakers are saying they're willing to give up some level of assets and future for Hachimura.

Chris Haynes of Bleacher Report, with a trio of romantically charged scoops:

The struggling Portland Trail Blazers are intensely engrossed in improving the roster with the trade deadline approaching, and they are said to be listening to all overtures, league sources tell Bleacher Report.

Damian Lillard and Giannis Antetokounmpo in recent years flirted with idea of playing with one another but the hold up was each star wanted the other to join their team. Milwaukee landed Antetokounmpo’s desired star mate.

B/R Sources: Bucks forward Bobby Portis passionately challenged head coach Adrian Griffin and teammates in locker room after being eliminated by Pacers in IST.

Pop Base, bringing the scoopese to new subject matter:

A conflict that led to the divorce of Joe Manganiello and Sofia Vergara was kids as he wanted to have them, and she did not, TMZ reports.

Marc J. Spears of ESPN, with a critical update on standing:

A source close to E-40 says a warning was never given by Golden 1 security for standing excessively.

This triple-bylined New York Times lede, on Tucker Carlson:

The former Fox News host Tucker Carlson, declaring, “We’re back,” said on Tuesday that he was starting a new show on Twitter, a sign that negotiations to reach an amicable separation with the network, where he is still under contract, had broken down.

Buster Olney of ESPN, musing on the World Series:

Game 4 of the World Series — always the Kitchen Sink Game. Managers trying to quilt their remaining pitching depth into a win at the crossroad.

Shams Charania of The Athletic, getting crystal-clear on the Damian Lillard trade request:

The thing is, this year, several significant situations and extreme opportunities remain unresolved. We are talking about the type of opportunities that could have enough of a domino effect to impact the entire league and all of its 30 teams

[...]

There still is no traction from the Portland Trail Blazers on a Lillard trade, and the All-NBA star’s mindset is steadfast toward desiring a trade only to the Miami Heat.

Dana O'Neil of The Athletic, rhapsodizing about the Purdue men's basketball coach:

Just now, though, as his Boilers started the actual business of prepping for Penn State, Painter has been fixated on the Phillies – the mid-to-late 1970s Phillies lineup to be exact. Which only makes sense if you understand how Matt Painter’s mind works. It is a cyclone, simultaneously spinning and hoovering everything in its orbit. He does not simply meander down rabbit holes; he burrows deep into them, creating off-shooting tunnels that zig and zag so far from the core it takes some unspooling to remember what it was he was intrigued about in the first place.

Marc J. Spears of ESPN, on the non-imminence of pacts:

While the Raptors have had recent conversations with the Blazers about Lillard, no pact was close to being imminent as of Monday morning, according to a source.

TMZ Sports, deciphering the signs:

Aaron Rodgers and Mallory Edens showed signs of being a couple when they attended the Bucks game last month.

Shams Charania of The Athletic, setting a scene for the Kyrie Irving trade:

When Kyrie Irving demanded a trade from the Brooklyn Nets on Friday, a league-altering domino fell and shook up the marketplace, causing a shockwave across the league and an arms race to get underway. It would pit several of the league’s teams looking for that one difference-making piece that could get them to the top of the list of title contenders against each other.

And the award goes to ...

Josina Anderson, for her Texans update. This was our trickiest decision to date, so challenging that the judges had to inflict these sentences upon our unsuspecting partners and monitor their physiological responses, but Anderson narrowly beat out the award's namesake. With respect to technical innovation, it doesn't get much more provocative than opening a sentence with the word "While" followed immediately by a comma. Andersonian conceptions of time—the "situation is & has been ongoing"—masterfully evoke the heptapod aliens in Ted Chiang's "Story of Your Life" who experience all events at once. Finally, if we're factoring in the full body of work, Anderson was composing koans back in 2020, before we'd established an award for such craftsmanship. And after the judges had already settled on this year's winner, she fired off two absolute heaters about the career prospects of Lions offensive coordinator Ben Johnson; they'll count towards next year's competition, putting her in early contention to repeat.

Defector is proud to grant this award to a perennial contender and first-time winner. Thank you all for reading, and apologies in advance for the brain fog you'll experience for the next 36-48 hours. Nominations for the 2024 Shamsy can be sent to tips@defector.com as they emerge.

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