Miami Heat forward LeBron James won his second straight NBA Most Valuable Player award on Sunday.
This was James' fourth MVP award, the most among active players.
James received 120 of the 121 first-place votes.
Gary Washburn, writer for the Boston Globe, voted for Carmelo Anthony, forward for the New York Knicks.
The controversy isn’t only that Washburn didn’t vote for James, whom everyone else voted for, but also the fact that he passed on Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant in favor of Anthony. Durant finished second in the overall voting, with Anthony placing third.
It is an overwhelmingly popular- almost indisputable- opinion that James is the best basketball player in the world, but MVP honors aren’t necessarily supposed to go to the best player. They are supposed to go to the most valuable.
"Secondly, this isn't the Best Player in the Game award, it's the Most Valuable Player award, and I think what Anthony accomplished this season was worthy of my vote," said Washburn. "He led the Knicks to their first division title in 19 years."
Washburn seems to have a valid point.
Before even hearing Washburn's explanation, I agreed with him. If I had a vote, I would have casted it for Carmelo Anthony.
My being a Knicks fan doesn't come into play other than the fact that I watched Anthony play most of the 67 games in which he touched the floor.
Value should be measured by how one’s team would perform without that player.
With the roster Team President Pat Riley has assembled, the Heat finished the regular season wit h the NBA’s best record.
Without James, the Heat still have two arguable superstars in guard Dwyane Wade and forward Chris Bosh. I believe they are still a top- two or three team in the Eastern Conference.
The James-less Heat went 5-1 in the 2012-13 season, including a statement win in San Antonio over the Spurs, the top seed in the West at the time.
With star forward Amar’e Stoudemire sidelined for an extended period of time with a knee injury, as well as other injuries to key players Tyson Chandler, Raymond Felton and Iman Shumpert, Anthony has had to carry the Knicks all season. He has done so in incredible fashion- leading the league in points per game while giving the Knicks a second place finish in the Eastern Conference and an Atlantic Division title.
Without Anthony, the Knicks went a mere 7-8, including three losses to non-playoff teams (Sacramento, Portland and Charlotte) and two unconvincing, last-second wins over two more (Cleveland and Phoenix).
Anthony managed to turn the oldest team in the NBA into a championship contender. If that's not worthy of recognition as the most valuable player in the league, I'm not sure what is.
MVP considerations should be a combination of individual skill and importance to a team. Of course James was extremely important to the Heat, but Anthony played a larger role in his team's success. And Anthony is no scrub- like I said, he led the league in scoring. This season was arguably the best of his career, as well as one in which he showed the most aggressiveness, hustle and defensive effort.
If the voters want to give the trophy to LeBron James every year for simply being the best player in the world, then I move we change the name of the award. Make it the Most Outstanding Player, or MOP for short. Not as catchy, but that's essentially what is has become.
It wasn't always like this. I was too young to remember, but I would doubt Charles Barkley was ever better than Michael Jordan, yet Barkley won the award in 1992-93. Barkley added more to his team that year than Jordan did. After all, Jordan had Scottie Pippen, much like James has Wade. And Bosh. And Ray Allen, the all-time leader in three-point field goals made.
Kobe Bryant will go down as one of the all-time greats. He has only won the MVP once. He played with Shaquille O'Neal. If either were injured or having an off day, the other was there to pick up the slack.
That's what it's like in South Beach.
I'd like to see the voters take that into account.
Yes, LeBron James is the best basketball player in the NBA. That's not what the award is, though.
If the league wants to change it, then go right ahead.
But as it stands now, Carmelo Anthony deserved to win the 2013 NBA MVP award. I'm not being biased, I swear.