The NBA announced Sunday that Miami Heat star LeBron James has won the 2013 NBA MVP award, but he didn't win it unanimously. All but one voter gave their first-place vote for James. That person voted not for second-place finisher Kevin Durant but Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony.
The vote for Melo over James is going to cause a lot of dismay among the media and fans, especially given the fact that Durant did not receive a first-place vote. James was one vote shy of the unanimous MVP award and factoring pretty much anything (efficiency, team wins, overall impact) to find justification for Anthony over Durant or James is pretty difficult. But that's why the award is purposefully ambiguous.
From the NBA:
LeBron James of the Miami Heat is the winner of the Maurice Podoloff Trophy as the 2012-13 Kia NBA Most Valuable Player, the NBA announced today. James earns the honor for the second consecutive year and the fourth time in five seasons. The only other player to win the award in four of five seasons is Bill Russell (1961, 62, 63, 65), and the only other players to win at least four regular-season MVPs are Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (six), Michael Jordan (five), Russell (five) and Wilt Chamberlain (four).
James totaled 1,207 points, including 120 first-place votes, from a panel of 121 voters that consisted of sportswriters and broadcasters throughout the United States and Canada as well as an NBA.com MVP fan vote. For the fourth consecutive season, the NBA and Kia Motors America gave fans the opportunity to submit their votes by ranking their top five choices through a dedicated Web page on NBA.com. The fan vote counted as one vote and was compiled with the 120 media votes to determine the winner. Players were awarded 10 points for each first-place vote, seven points for each second-place vote, five for each third-place vote, three for each fourth-place vote and one for each fifth-place vote received.
Rounding out the top five in voting are Oklahoma City's Kevin Durant (765 points), the New York Knicks' Carmelo Anthony, (475 points, one first-place vote), the Los Angeles Clippers' Chris Paul (289 points), and the Los Angeles Lakers' Kobe Bryant (184 points).
James said he was humbled by the award:
James said he was humbled to keep such company.
"I'm a historian of the game," he said. "I know the game. I know these guys paved the way for myself and the rest of us."
James' other MVPs came in 2009, 2010 and 2012. He and Russell are the only players to win the award four times in five years, and he and Abdul-Jabbar are the only players to twice win the award in consecutive seasons.
At age 28, James isn't resting on his laurels. That's why he kept shooting with teammates Ray Allen and Mario Chalmers after practice Saturday, while the other Heat players had headed for the showers.
"I don't know my ceiling," James said. "I don't stop trying to improve my game -- just like today, being in here with Rio and Ray, the last guys to leave the court. I want to continue to maximize what I have."
I think that just about wraps it up. As I wrote in the Baseline Awards MVP column at season's end:
But forget the numbers, and you still have the strongest case for James. He does everything for the Heat. Brings the ball up, goes into the post, works the defense inside, scores inside. If they bring help, kicks to the perimeter shooter. Plays on the perimeter, drives past any and all defense, kicks out to shooters when help comes. Finishes the most devastating fast breaks in basketball. Defends the opponent's best player regardless of position.