LeBron James Wins 3rd MVP Award
Posted by: Brian Sinkoff
Published on: May 12th, 2012 at 8:11 AM
Heat forward LeBron James is the NBA’s MVP for a third time, putting him alongside some of the game’s all-time greats.
He’ll be formally presented with the trophy by Commissioner David Stern on Sunday afternoon before Miami hosts Indiana in Game 1 of an Eastern Conference semifinal series.
James is winning the award for the third time in four seasons. Only seven other players — Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Michael Jordan, Bill Russell, Wilt Chamberlain, Larry Bird, Magic Johnson and Moses Malone — have at least three MVP trophies.
Abdul-Jabbar won the MVP six times, Jordan and Russell five times each, Chamberlain four times. After this weekend, they’ll be the only players with more than James.
In his ninth season, James still has not won an NBA title and it’s clear that, although he wanted to reclaim the MVP trophy, winning a championship is far and away his top basketball priority.
James averaged 27.1 points, 7.9 rebounds and 6.2 assists — making him only the fourth player with those totals in at least two different seasons - joining Oscar Robertson (five times), John Havlicek (twice) and Bird (twice).
Add James’ 53 percent shooting and 1.9 steals per game into the mix, and the club gets even more exclusive. Only Jordan had a season with numbers exceeding what James did this season in those categories — 1988-89, when he averaged 32.5 points, eight rebounds, eight assists and 2.9 steals on 54 percent shooting.
Oklahoma City’s Kevin Durant was thought to be James’ top competition for the MVP, after winning the NBA scoring title for a third straight season. Chris Paul of the Los Angeles Clippers, Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers and Tony Parker of the San Antonio Spurs also had seasons that generated some MVP buzz.
Last season’s MVP, Derrick Rose of the Chicago Bulls, appeared in only 39 of 66 regular-season games this season because of a variety of injuries. His season ended in Game 1 of the Bulls’ first-round playoff series against Philadelphia, when he tore a knee ligament.
I think LeBron will go down as one of the ten greatest players to ever play in the NBA. Even if he doesn’t win an NBA title. But I sincerely think he’s going to – perhaps as soon as this year. With the Bulls out of the way, Miami pretty much has smooth sailing to the NBA Finals at this point.
I know there are still a lot of fans angry at James for the way he handled “The Decision” a couple of years ago. You know what I say to that? Get over it. The guy just wanted to better his work environment. You would have done the same thing too. Of course, he made it a production in announcing his move to the Heat – but so what! He’s an NBA superstar. His life is televised. People wanted to know where he was going to play and he knew that.
In fact, I would argue that since “The Decision”, the NBA is as popular as ever. Ask yourself this question about LeBron before you start to hate him because he wasn’t won a title yet: Would you want him on your team? Would he make everyone around him better? Would your team automatically win 10-15 more games because he was on the court? I think the answer to all of those questions is yes.
And that’s the reason for his 3rd MVP Award in the last 4 seasons.
Brian Sinkoff is a licensed Real Estate agent with Coldwell Banker Prime Properties. He’s been in media for nearly 20 years – most recently as host of “Sound-off with Sinkoff” which was on the ESPN Radio affiliate in Albany, NY. Sinkoff is also a frequent contributor for Time Warner Cable Sports television.