In his ninth NBA season, “King James” has won his third MVP award in the last four years. Some would argue that this should have been his fourth MVP in a row. Just four players in the 66 years of NBA history have won more Maurice Podoloff (named after the NBA’s first commissioner) MVP trophies in their career than LeBron James……and these guys are unquestionably the true “KINGS” of NBA royalty………Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (6), Michael Jordan (5), Bill Russell (5), and Wilt Chamberlain (4). James joins only three others that have won three MVP awards (Larry Bird, Magic Johnson, and Moses Malone). Bird is the only NBA player to have won THREE MVPs in a row! (He has also won THREE Championships). But, as far as I’m concerned, James can win ten MVPs in his career, and it won’t really matter unless he can also be an NBA Champion! This year’s MVP voting revealed LeBron received 70% of the 1st place votes (1,074 total points), outdistancing 2nd place Kevin Durant’s 889 points. Sadly, LeBron James currently stands as the only player to win at least three MVPs and NOT have won an NBA Championship.
It’s all about the rings, right? Bill Russell won five MVPs, but more amazingly also had 11 NBA Championships in his 13-year career! I’m not saying MVPs are not important. What I am saying is why does this award only represent regular season play? A true League MVP, in my opinion, should lead also his team into the playoffs and bring home the championship….not just have great individual stats. I will point out that the 27-year old James did put up some incredible League stats this season. He was 3rd in points per game (27.1), 3rd in steals (1.9), 13th in assists (6.2), and even 25th in rebounds (7.9). He was also 6th in minutes per game (37.5), 12th in shooting (53%), and 16th in double-doubles (23). Only “His Airness” Michael Jordan exceeded these overall stats in his 1988-89 MVP season. Jordan also led his team to SIX championships! LeBron James’ regular-season stats won’t mean a thing until he can also take Miami to the Promised Land.
The Miami Heat finished the regular season with the League’s third best record (46-20), and is the #2 seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs. They put away the depleted New York Knicks 4-1 in the first round, and jumped out to a 1-0 lead against the Pacers in Round 2 yesterday, with a 95-86 win. The 6’-8”, 250 lb. James did lead in the team’s win pouring in 32 points, grabbing 15 rebounds, and handing out five assists. If LeBron James can keep up this kind of pace, I would certainly expect the Heat to easily get past Indiana and play the Celtics for the Eastern Conference crown. It’s the last hurrah for the Celtic’s aging “Big Three” of Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, and Ray Allen….and they won’t just roll over. The Heat will win the Eastern Conference only if they can maintain home court advantage.
To win the 2012 NBA Championship, I predict the Heat will eventually have to take it from Kobe Bryant and Lakers. Kobe, 33, with five titles (but only one MVP) in his pocket realizes this could be his last chance to get No. 6 and tie Jordan’s number of championships. Somehow, someway, Kobe Bryant’s will and determination will get the Lakers there. Eight-time All-Star LeBron James and the Heat will get a valuable lesson though, and observe first-hand what it takes to win a championship……against just about all odds. MVPs are nice, but LeBron says “I’d give all three of them back for an NBA Championship”. “I want that Championship. That’s all that matters to me”. Ditto for Kobe!!!
Filed under: Pro Basketball
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