On Sunday, LeBron James was crowned with his fourth MVP (Most Valuable Player) award in a near unanimous decision. He earned 120 of the 121 first-place votes, leaving the lone vote to Carmelo Anthony of the New York Knicks. Behind James, Kevin Durant of the Oklahoma City Thunder finished second for the second consecutive year; followed by Anthony, Chris Paul and Kobe Bryant.
It was no surprise that the Miami Heat’s star would add another Maurice Podoloff trophy to his collection. What was a surprise were the record setting statistics James consistently put up throughout the regular-season.
When it came to efficiency, the NBA (National Basketball Association) really hasn’t seen anything like what James did this season. He had a career high 56.5 shooting percentage in addition to a 40.6 percent behind the arc, also a career high. Again, without surprise, LeBron set a career high 26.8 point per game to go along with 8.0 rebounds and 7.3 assists.
Some statistics that don’t catch the headline are that James only averaged 1.4 fouls per game allowing him to constantly play aggressively for the nearly 38 minutes he played per game. The majority of the time he spent on the bench was due to an excessively comfortable lead or injuries near the end of the season.
Although I could continue with his remarkable three turnovers a game and nearly two steals, the most important number for LeBron was the record setting 27-game win streak the Heat put together. It was the second longest streak in NBA history only behind the 33-game streak by the Los Angeles Lakers in 1971-1972.
By winning the award, James, 28, became the youngest player in NBA history to win four MVP awards and has now won four of the last five. In addition, LeBron has joined the great ranks of Michael Jordan, Bill Russell, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
and Wilt Chamberlain to have won at least four awards.
However, James notes that his efforts were more focused on Defensive Player of the Year rather
than Most Valuable Player. He finished second in voting for the second time in his career, losing to center Marc Gasol of the Memphis Grizzlies.
During the ceremony, LeBron got all kinds of praise including one from his team’s general manager, Pat Riley. Riley, who was a player on that 1971-1972 Lakers team and has competed against the greats of basketball, knows what he’s talking about when ESPN quoted him saying “I believe the man right here is the best of them all.”
Although there is no clear way to prove it, there is certainly a convincing case being made for LeBron James being the best basketball player to ever live.
Individually, he is ripping through the accolades and has become a truly all-around player, contributing in just about every way. Already a championship under his belt and on his way to a second. At age 28, LeBron James is clearly the best basketball player in the game today, and very possibly, the greatest the game has ever seen.