LeBron James appears to be handling this well (Getty Images)
LeBron James seemed like the perfect candidate to not only win the NBA’s MVP award for 2012-13, but become the first unanimously-voted MVP winner in the award’s history. Not only would James had deserved the unanimous vote, based on his brilliant season, but the process would have served as a reification of sorts for the massive mistake former CNN anchor Fred Hickman made in 2000, when he cast a lone vote for Allen Iverson in the year that Shaquille O’Neal dominated the NBA.
The votes are in. LeBron has won the MVP, and he didn’t win in unanimous fashion. Because some voter, as yet unnamed, thought that Carmelo Anthony had a better year than LeBron James did this season.
Anthony received one second-place vote, out of the 121 possible votes cast. We’re not sure what sort of TV and/or radio personality NBA analyst cast the vote, but it seems a ridiculous notion in the face of a season that LeBron James proved superior to Carmelo Anthony in every aspect of professional basketball. James trumped the brilliant Kevin Durant in the same way; though Kevin produced an MVP-level season, he finished a rightful second in the voting. Anthony, most should deduce, had a fine but not MVP season.
Other goofball nods?
Five voters didn't have Kevin Durant in their top five, this season. That should pin your ears back.
Denver Nugget guard Ty Lawson received a fifth-place vote from someone who wasn’t taking his job as a voter seriously. Stephen Curry, who didn’t even make the All-Star team (in another blown vote) and can’t guard a bottle of seltzer water, received three fifth-place votes as well. David Lee – David Lee! – received a fifth-place vote. And Joakim Noah – my favorite player and the hero of Saturday night’s inspiring Chicago Bulls win over the Brooklyn Nets – took in a fifth-place vote despite playing just 50 total minutes over the course of the regular season’s last month.
Acting pedantic and churlish over award votes, instead of recognizing the award in full, is silly. Luckily, I don’t mind being silly.
The MVP award vote is not a place to make a statement, or to “recognize” a player you like just because you know that a certain favorite is going to run away with the award. The point, journalists, is to get it right, and not make a story out of your own personal vote. Even if it means you are following the herd.
Carmelo Anthony should be credited for a fantastic year, one that could give his team a chance to go at LeBron’s Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference finals two weeks from now. He’s in LeBron’s league, technically, but merely in the same way that Samuel Dalembert is in LeBron James’ league.
Carmelo Anthony is not in LeBron James’ league, though. And it’s unfortunate that one voter chose to make themselves the story, instead of correctly nailing what should have been obvious. The next obvious step is to await the “I did it”-statement from this particular voter, who is obviously in bad need of attention.
Beyond that? Congratulations, LeBron.
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