For those of you that follow NBA basketball, it was absolutely no surprise that LeBron James of the Miami Heat won the prestigious MVP award.
In doing so, he joins elite company. He becomes just the fifth player to win a fourth MVP award, joining Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (six MVPs), Michael Jordan (five), Bill Russell (five) and Wilt Chamberlain (four). Those, of course, are some of the greatest names in basketball history and James’s achievements put him in their company. What’s more, as James is just in his 10th year in the league at just 28 years old, James could even pass these all-time greats.
Winning back-to-back MVPs is not easy. Many people don’t think the same player should earn it in consecutive years regardless of whether or not that player was the best that year, but there was no taking that award away from James this year. He was dominant, and as a result, earned 120 of the 121 first-place votes.
This might sound nitpicky, but James was robbed of a unanimous MVP vote. It should have been unanimous. He deserved for it to be unanimous.
It would have been the first ever unanimous MVP vote. There have certainly been some unbelievable players in this league, but of course, there is always competition. This year though, James was simply that much better than anyone else.
The MVP voting panel is made up of 120 sports journalists and broadcasters, with one vote also being an online fan vote. Obviously, there was one journalist who wasn’t so objective and failed in doing his/her job correctly.
In my lifetime of basketball, I have never watched a player that I felt was head and shoulders above the rest enough to deserve the honor of an undisputed vote, but this year, it should’ve happened.
Part of this is due to injuries. Many candidates throughout the season fell out of the race due to injury, such as Chris Paul or Tony Parker. Then take out Kobe Bryant having a chance to win simply because his team barely made the playoffs.
That left James mainly in a one-man race with Kevin Durant. However, I am certainly not implying that James was simply handed the award; he completely earned it. Even halfway through the season, it seemed he was going to be the dead-obvious winner.
This year, James became the first ever NBA player to go six straight games scoring at least 30 points while shooting at least 60 percent from the field. If that wasn’t enough, he became the youngest player in NBA history to reach the 20,000 point plateau for his career. Then, he took five of the six Eastern Conference Player of the Month awards.
Also, James is now the second player in league history to post at least 2,000 points, 600 rebounds, 500 assists and 100 steals in a season twice, with Larry Bird doing it three times. The only other player to ever accomplish such a feat once was Michael Jordan.
James wasn’t just taking easy shots either. He’s become a smart player offensively with time, becoming the second player in NBA history to shoot 55 percent from the field and 40 percent from behind the arc, joining Chris Mullin.
With such a spectacular season, who could have possibly earned that other first-place vote? It would be natural to think it was Kevin Durant, since he did come in second in MVP voting and had a great year.
But no. It went to Carmelo Anthony from the New York Knicks, who finished third in the voting. This is where nothing makes sense, except for the fact that perhaps there is a New York reporter who has some beef with James. After all, there is an intense rivalry between those two teams.
Yes, Anthony did win the scoring title this season, narrowly defeating Durant by scoring 28.7 points per game. But James averaged 26.8 points per game while tallying 8.0 rebounds and 7.3 assists per night. He shot a career-high 56.5 percent from the field, 11.6 percent higher than Anthony.
James is also known for his defense, while Anthony is not. James earned the second-most votes on this year’s NBA All-Defensive team. He averaged 1.7 steals per game and, of course, is known for his monster blocks tracking down players in transition. He’s not a center, but he makes his opponents think twice.
And yes, New York did go on a 13-game win streak at the end of the season to secure the second spot in the Eastern Conference, but James led Miami to the second-longest winning streak in NBA history at 27 games to secure the best record in the NBA, tallying 15 double-doubles and two triple-doubles in those 27 games. Plus, during New York’s win streak, they played Miami and did win, but the Heat had benched both Wade and James in order to save them for the postseason.
Anthony is hands down a great player — there’s no denying that — but the MVP is supposed to go to the player that had the best year and Anthony should not have been in the running. James simply outdid everybody else.
So to that one voter who voted for Anthony, you took away a great moment from one of the greatest players in the game and voided him of an NBA record he undeniably deserved. Shame on you.
This article is an online exclusive and did not appear in the print edition of The Daily Nexus.