Although it hasn’t been officially announced, sources say that Miami Heat superstar LeBron James has won the 2011-12 Kia MVP Award. It’s the third time in his career, which places him alongside some of the game’s all-time greats.
A person familiar with the decision told the Associated Press that James will be announced the winner of the league’s top individual honor on Saturday (May 12); and will be formally presented with the trophy by Commissioner David Stern on Sunday afternoon (May 13) before the Heat hosts Indiana in Game 1 of an Eastern Conference semifinal series.
The source remained anonymous because the official results had not been announced.
James nabs the away for the third time in in four seasons. Just seven other players — Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (6), Michael Jordan (5), Bill Russell (5), Wilt Chamberlain (4), Larry Bird (3), Magic Johnson (3) and Moses Malone (3) — have at least three MVP trophies.
While King James said last week that winning another MVP award “would be amazing”, he’s driven by something else — an NBA title. It’s the superstar’s ninth season in the league, and despite leading the Cavs, and Heat last season, to great regular season records, he hasn’t been able to win an NBA championship.
His yearning for the title is what drives his play, year end and year out.
“What I’m all about is team and ever since I was a kid, I was always taught it’s team first,” James told the AP on Friday (May 11). “My first time playing basketball, we went undefeated and won a championship and Frank Walker Sr. gave everyone on the team a MVP trophy. Right then and there, I knew that this is what I wanted to do. I wanted to see my teammates reap the benefits as well.”
This season, James averaged 27.1 points, 7.9 rebounds and 6.2 assists per game — making him only the fourth player with those totals in at least two different seasons, joining Oscar Robertson (five times), John Havlicek (twice) and Bird (twice).
You can also add 53% shooting and 1.9 steals per game. Only Michael Jordan had a season with numbers exceeding what James did this season in those categories … in 1988-89, when he averaged 32.5 points, eight rebounds, eight assists and 2.9 steals on 54 percent shooting. Jordan wasn’t even the MVP that year, the trophy going to Johnson instead.
Others up for the award this season were OKC’s Kevin Durant, Clippers’ Chris Paul, the Lakers’ Kobe Bryant, and San Antonio’s Tony Parker.