On LeBron James’ MVP Award and thoughts from the press conference

May 5th, 2009 by John Krolik

 

Sorry, internet troubles or this would’ve been up sooner. Thoughts from today’s MVP announcement and corresponding press conference, in the bullet form that I tend to prefer when writing after midnight:

 

-I know it was a foregone conclusion for a couple of weeks, but it’s still a good feeling to see LeBron actually have the award in his hands-after the last few votes, you never know what could happen when those writers get behind closed voting booths.

-On that note, who’s the guy who put LeBron in third place? 

-On a macro level, it’s comforting to see him win an MVP award-as much as everyone more or less was sure LeBron would get one at some point, a lot of things have to go right at once to get an MVP award-the team has to be there, there can’t be a sympathy candidate, the numbers have to be there, a million things. There’s a reason Shaq and Kobe only have one MVP each, and Tim Duncan has a very controversial two.

-At the same time, the team success required of a MVP right now almost insures the award is an anticlimax; last year, LeBron winning the award (and there was an argument) would have been a kind of moral victory in and of itself; this year, LeBron’s season is almost certainly a total failure without a championship. If anything, this adds more pressure-Kobe losing one game to the Rockets today shifted the tides in the never-ending “who’s king of the hill” debate than the award did. 

-The real question is: now that LeBron’s won one, how do they not give him the award every year in the near future? LeBron’s 24, and only getting better, you’d imagine, and that pretty much means he’ll have the best individual numbers in the league, like he has three out of the last four years. And he’ll be giving defense. The Cavs could well have lightning in a bottle with 64 wins, but they’re probably not dipping under, conservatively, the 55-58 win range anytime soon. So you need someone putting up comprable production (Paul, Wade, Kobe maybe) on a team with no wins. But do you see Paul or Wade’s team overtaking the Cavs in wins anytime soon, or Kobe having 82 MVP-level games left in his knees at this point? The nearest scenario I can imagine is the Magic having a huge year, but Dwight gives quite a bit less production. 

Anyways, this is all barring injury, which you can never do, and a lot can happen in the NBA and you never know who’s going to make the next huge leap or which team is going to catch lightning in a bottle. But I feel like part of the reason LeBron hasn’t won before now is a fear of setting a precedent. 

-As for the press conference, here are the highlights:

-Everything involving Kia was hilarious. 

-You pretty much knew what LeBron was going to say before he say it, but going scriptless and delivering everything in a semi-improvised rambling monologue was actually a fantastic human touch to an athlete who just seems a little too manufactured in public sometimes. 

-If the utter sincerity of LeBron’s commitment to his team didn’t come through in his insistence in the requisite “I don’t care about awards” cliches, it certainly did when he called the team up to tell what must be the least funny Delonte West anecdote ever told and awkwardly give them flip cameras out of a plastic grocery bag with no context given whatsoever. This is a team that really doesn’t care about looking like a team, they just are one, if that makes sense. 

-Almost forgetting to thank Savannah was LeBron’s largest misstep of the year. 

-I could say more, but I’ll open it up from here. First and foremost, congratulations to Mr. James on being recognized for all the joy and excitement he’s brought to us over his first six years in the league.

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