Who Would Be The NBA's 2015 MVP Based On YouTube?

As the NBA's regular season draws to a close, fans find themselves engaged in the usual, heated discussion over who should be the NBA's Most Valuable Player. The conversation about the league's MVP has coalesced around three players: Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors, James Harden of the Houston Warriors, and the OKC Thunder's Russell Westbrook whose play during the second half of the season forced his name into the discussion. Some are suggesting it's the most interesting MVP race in ages.

The MVP award is given to the best performing player of the NBA's regular season, and it’s voted on by sportswriters and broadcasters who watch these athletes perform night in and night out, as well as the NBA audience who also gets to share a vote. And with so much video on YouTube about these players, we thought your time spent on YouTube should count too. So here’s the NBA MVP as decided by your YouTube searches, uploads and watchtime for this regular season from October 28 to March 22.

Search winner: Stephen Curry is hands-down the winner here with three times the searches as James Harden, and more searches than Russell Westbrook and James Harden, combined.

Upload Winner: Stephen Curry still struts away with the victory with Russell Westbrook right on his tail.

Watchtime Winner: Stephen Curry dominated this category the way he dominated this year’s All Star 3-Point Contest.

Based on all of these factors, we have no choice but to declare Stephen Curry this year's NBA MVP according to your YouTube searches, uploads and watchtime. He leads in every category relegating Harden and Westbrook to a two-way race for second place. But wait a moment…we've left out someone whose name some feel also belongs in the MVP debate... Let's look at the numbers again with Lebron James added to the mix.

This changes things dramatically, Lebron James towering over his competition with about 4 times the search volume of James Harden. Advantage: Lebron.

More videos were uploaded featuring Lebron James than all other contenders, combined. Of course, there could be many reasons for this, including discussion of his team's rocky performance. Still, point to Lebron. Let's check the big indicator: Watchtime

No contest. Lebron’s bar looks like “King” James in high school - bigger than everyone else and looking down at everyone from the air.

Leaving Miami, returning to Cleveland, and making Cleveland one of the best teams in the NBA has translated into massive numbers for Lebron James. His numbers in most categories are almost as large as all other contenders, combined, but in watchtime, he eclipses his competitors. Despite great seasons from James Harden, Russell Westbrook, and Stephen Curry, it appears that the real MVP, based on your interest on YouTube, should be Lebron James.

As a bonus, we’ve looked at the most-search days for each of these superstars, the days the fans felt the greatest urge to seek out video of these players, and included representative videos. Consider these videos, each player’s argument to be the NBA’s 2015 MVP:

10/31/2014: Lebron James - Lebron’s first win with his new team, the Cleveland Cavaliers
NBA: Lebron James Leads Cavs with 36-Point Effort in Win
2/15/2015: Stephen Curry - 3 Point Contest virtuosity
NBA: Stephen Curry Wins the 2015 Foot Locker Three-Point Contest
3/2/2015: James Harden - Harden battles the league’s preeminent player, Lebron James
NBA: James Harden Duels to Overtime Finish with Lebron James
3/5/2015: Russell Westbrook - 4th consecutive triple double, the first since Michael Jordan
NBA: Russell Westbrook Nets 43 Points as Thunder Fall to Bulls

-- Earnest Pettie

Trending This Week: YTMAs, A Dog Named Fritz, and The Allure of the Beautiful Stenographer

The YouTube Music Awards 2015

This year's celebration of the best and brightest of music on YouTube was among the most viewed content this week, the show's 13 music videos seeing over 30m views since Monday - and the biggest hit, "Nicky Jam y Enrique Iglesias El Perdon," earning more than 7.5m. Four days since launch, the impact of the YTMAs continues to reverberate across the web'sphere, receiving an estimated 6b impressions on Twitter (!!) and top 10 spots for Max, Action Bronson, Charli XCX, Migos, and Lindsey Stirling on the Billboard Top Trending 140 chart.

Every Tom Hanks Movie in 7 Minutes (with Tom Hanks and James Corden) 
 His first week on the air as the new host of “The Late, Late Show,” James Corden is already making big waves (... as in 10 million views, big waves..!). For his first party trick, Corden followed the example of Carly Rae Jepsen and her single “I Really Like You,” and enlisted the help of Tom Hanks for the effort. Together, the pair recreated every movie in which Hanks has ever starred in one take and under seven minutes. Since its debut three days ago, the video has gained over 9m views and anchored itself as the number one most viewed video for an entire 72 hours. Another gem / fantasy come to life: karaoke with Mariah Carey (once a diva, always a diva!).

 Wisconsin Basketball Player Has Embarrassing Moment at Press Conference
So far, the most memorable moment of March Madness is arguably not a shot, game or locker room celebration, but rather the endearing mishap between Wisconsin forward Nigel Hayes and his microphone. During a recent press conference, Hayes didn’t realize how hot his mic was until after he whispered to his teammates about the beautiful stenographer sitting nearby. Video of the accidental confession of love has gained over 4.7 million views in 48 hours. Perhaps this video brought a bit of luck to the Wisconsin team, as they continue to compete in the elite eight for the NCAA title. (And to Nigel Hayes, although you might not have scored a date with that lovely stenographer, you did win the Internet’s heart, so at the very least you have that going for you.)

Fritz Learns to Catch Compilation #1
And last but certainly not least... Humor, suspense, pizza, EDM, a surprisingly uncoordinated dog - this one really has it all. Fritz the Dog is a happy, hapless golden retriever that just can't seem to catch anything in his mouth. (Watch the video and see for yourself.) Thanks in large part to mentions by the Today Show, Huffington Post, and a somewhat disturbing tribute from Buzzfeed, this compilation has become one of the top trending (and most "awwww"ed over) videos of the week, earning more than 3.6m views in five days. Keep on keepin' on, Fritz.

- Christine Huang & Carly Lanning

Trending This Week: Evil Pixels, The Art of IKE Andrews, Too Many Cooks - D.C. Edition

Pixels - Official Trailer (HD) - Summer 2015

On Tuesday, Sony released the much-anticipated first teaser for "Pixels," an action-comedy movie pitting an eclectic group of heroes (Adam Sandler, Peter Dinklage and Michelle Monaghan, to name a few) against classic arcade game characters programmed by aliens to destroy Planet Earth. The inspiration behind "Pixels" is the lesser known, eerier film of the same name by Patrick Jean released on YouTube in 2010. Jean's short film gained a cult following over the last 5 years and is experiencing a resurgence in interest since the release of the new "Pixels" trailer, seeing more views on March 18 (57k+) than any other day in its history.

Showing IKEA print to Art experts

LifeHunters, an Amsterdam-based digital production group specializing in "awesome viral video content," played a highbrow prank on the patrons of the Museum Arnhem, planting a mass-produced IKEA print alongside the museum's most famous modern artworks and asking for their reactions. Visitors to the museum expressed their appreciation for the provocative piece by "IKE Andrews," some estimating its worth at being in, at least, the hundreds of thousands. The video, LifeHunters' second most popular behind their "Serving McDonald's to food experts" prank from last year, has gained more than 1.1m views in 2 days, and was the 9th most popular video in the Netherlands this week.

Här gör teckentolken succé i Melodifestivalen 2015

A stunningly expressive sign language interpreter named Tommy Krångh won the internet this week, stealing the show at the Swedish singing competition Melodifestivalen with his impassioned interpretations of songs performed by various rising Swedish stars. Krångh first gained buzz after a video of him signing and dancing along to a Magnus Carlsson song on Swedish TV channel SVT started making the rounds. SVT quickly caught wind of the fervor and released a special tribute to Krångh and his emphatic signing skills (above). In response to this sudden fame, Krångh told Swedish media outlet The Local: "I am overwhelmed, happy, thrilled...  I have heard people have been discussing me on TV in Hong Kong, Australia, the United States, Belgium, Spain...I hope that this will help more people understand that sign language isn't just about two deaf people communicating. It is creative, it is an art."

Election 2016: Too Many Cooks

And finally... wha?? Following the breakout success of last year's "Too Many Cooks," Adult Swim's viral dark comedy short, CNN decided to get in on the joke by releasing its own election-inspired version, starring the many, many "cooks" of the U.S. political world. The parody of a parody was released yesterday, with an unknown goal and geared towards an unclear audience, but has already got the wide range of media outlets buzzing (and scratching their heads) -from CNET, to NY Mag, to Daily Dot, to the Hollywood Reporter.

--Christine Huang

Trending This Week: Real-Life Bionic Heroes; Blue Steel's Back!

For The Collective Project: Robert Downey Jr. Delivers a Real Bionic Arm

For 8 months, members of University of Central Florida's Limbitless team (a group of students focused on producing affordable, 3-D printed bionic limbs for children with amputations) had been working on a specially designed Iron Man-themed appendage for a young boy named Alex who was born with a partially developed right arm. Yesterday, we had the privilege of witnessing Alex's much-anticipated introduction to his new arm, delivered by the world's most powerful bionic hero himself - Iron Man. The video, filmed by Microsoft as part of their Collective Project initiative, has earned more than 3.7m views and ~2k comments in less than 24 hours.

 Zoolander 2 - Maison Valentino Runway
 This week, guests at Maison Valentino's runway show in Paris were treated to a very special guest appearance by two of fashion's most infamous rivals: Hansel and Zoolander. Owen Wilson and Ben Stiller, the two stars of 2001's comedy "Zoolander," took to the catwalk together for the first time in more than a decade, a reunion that confirmed the release of the movie's sequel next year and that sparked a flurry of excitement around the web (1.5m+ views on YouTube, plus hundreds of thousands of shares, comments and likes across Twitter and Instagram). The nearly unanimous positive feedback from the bold marketing stunt bodes well for the aging (but still so hot right now) duo, and suggests that maybe there isn't much more to life than being really, really ridiculously good-looking.

Mean Tweets - President Obama Edition

For his latest edition of celebrities reading mean tweets, late night host Jimmy Kimmel invited one of the biggest celebrities of them all - President Barack Obama - to meditate on some of the criticism he's received in the Twittersphere (@Campaignrpoz: "A 30 rack of coors light is $23 now at Sun Stop. Thanks Obama."). In total, Kimmel's Mean Tweets clips have amassed a stupendous 300m+ views, and continue to be among the most buzzed-about and consistently popular segments from his show.

 Funky Flight Attendant

Adding to the 70k+ "Uptown Funk" covers, parodies, and homages that have been keepin' YouTube funky, this short dance tribute performed by one particularly coordinated WestJet flight attendant tickled the fancy of millions of viewers this week, the video of her in-aisle performance earning 5.5m+ views in little more than 4 days. The clip - recorded (vertically, smh) by the attendant's brother - gained quick traction through social media and blogs, first starting on Reddit then quickly spreading to sites like Mashable and Buzzfeed, the sum of which made up 60% of the video's views.