LeBron James, reigning Miami Heat and NBA star, accepted his third NBA MVP award Saturday, making him only the eighth player in league history to reach that milestone. The others sharing the glory— Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Michael Jordan, Bill Russell, Wilt Chamberlain, Larry Bird, Magic Johnson and Moses Malone — all have won NBA titles.
“He will get his championship,” Heat President Pat Riley said, according to the Associated Press. “And there might be a lot more there, too.”
James’ numbers this season were 27.1 points, 7.9 rebounds, 6.2 assists, and 1.9 steals per game with 53 percent shooting. Though the stellar numbers were extremely comparable to last season, James fizzled out at a distant third in the MVP race behind Derrick Rose and Dwight Howard.
Why is obvious.
A year ago, following the seemingly relentless blacklash that exploded like shrapnel around his decision to leave Cleveland to sign with Miami, LeBron realized there was no way in NBA heaven (or Cleveland hell) voters would back him for a third straight season. With nearly every body faking wounded—and bleeding or spewing fluorescent Hatorade, he knew the 2011 MVP crown would not be his.
James received 85 of a possible 121 first-place votes from a distinguished panel of sports writers and broadcasters who cover the league, with adoring fans on NBA.com combining for one vote.
Taking a king’s ransom, he earned an impressive 1,074 points, topping Oklahoma City’s Kevin Durant (889 points, 24 first-place votes), the Los Angeles Clippers’ Chris Paul (385, six first-place votes), the Los Angeles Lakers’ Kobe Bryant (352, two first-place votes), and San Antonio’s Tony Parker (331, four first-place votes).
With the whole NBA world—and now the fans—bowing humbly once again before The King’s feat, if The Most High remains focused, aggressive, and healthy, from here on out LeBron James’ road ahead to an NBA Championship should be paved in gold.