Report: LeBron will be getting NBA MVP award
LeBron James is getting his fourth Most Valuable Player award — and the only mystery left is whether the vote was unanimous.
The Miami Heat star will be introduced Sunday as the award winner, according to a person familiar with the results and who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the league has not publicly announced this year's recipient. James will become the fifth player with at least four MVP awards, joining Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Michael Jordan, Bill Russell and Wilt Chamberlain.
No one has ever swept the first-place vote in the NBA's MVP balloting. After the season he had, James could be the first.
“I don't know who else you'd vote for,” Heat forward Chris Bosh said. “No offense to everybody else, but that's just how good he has played this year.”
James averaged 26.8 points, 8.0 rebounds and 7.3 assists this season, shooting a career-best 56 percent. The Heat open Eastern Conference semifinal play Monday night against Brooklyn or Chicago.
If tradition holds, NBA commissioner David Stern will present James with the trophy Monday night in front of the Miami fans.
“I absolutely have not even thought about it,” James said earlier this week when asked about winning his fourth MVP in five years.
Only Russell had won four MVPs in five years, and only Abdul-Jabbar had gone back-to-back on the award twice. Abdul-Jabbar has six MVPs, Jordan and Russell have five apiece and Chamberlain won four.
James won the award in 2009 and 2010, only got four first-place votes in 2011 — his first season with the Heat — then reclaimed the award last season.
It's certain that stars like New York's Carmelo Anthony, Oklahoma City's Kevin Durant and the Los Angeles Lakers' Kobe Bryant will be listed on ballots — the league will unveil the full results Sunday — though the only drama left is seeing if any voter thought someone had a better season than James.
There have been instances of people coming close to sweeping the first-place votes. Shaquille O'Neal got 120 of the 121 top votes cast after the 1999-2000 season with Allen Iverson getting the lone other one that year. And after the 2003-04 season, Kevin Garnett — then with Minnesota — got 120 of 123 votes, with two going to Jermaine O'Neal and the other to Peja Stojakovic.
“Do the right thing,” Heat forward Shane Battier suggested to voters before the ballots were due.
Forget that it's rare in the NBA to win the MVP award four times. It's rare in major sports, period.
In baseball, Barry Bonds is the lone member of the four-or-more-MVP club, winning seven. In hockey, it's Wayne Gretzky with nine, Gordie Howe with six and Eddie Shore with four. In the NFL, only Peyton Manning has four MVPs.