So I got my MVP ballot from the NBA today.
Back in February when I was at the All-Star Game in Houston, I worked up this story about how LeBron James wasn't really a competitor for the Most Valuable Player Award this season. I backed it with plenty of commentary from voters and my own individual research. I fully believed it then and stand behind that story.
After watching LeBron's performance in March, when he averaged 32.9 points, 8.4 rebounds and 6.6 assists in 14 games, my mind is being swayed. In February I was sold on voting for Steve Nash again for the MVP because the Suns were just as good as last season without Amare Stoudemire and a bunch of different players. I also liked the idea of voting for Nash because it affirmed my decision to cast my vote him last season when myself and 126 other voters picked him over Shaq in a very tight race. For this, I might add, the Miami Herald's Dan LeBatard inferred that I was a racist and, I suppose, anti-American. If I remember correctly, I had LeBron fifth on my ballot (you list five names) and he finished sixth.
While I'd probably still cast my vote for Nash, I am getting closer and closer to seriously considering giving James my vote. Of course I could be called biased because I see him every day. But when you think of where the Cavs would be without him, it gives so much weight to the argument. Yes, Nash did it without Stoudemire but James carried his team without Larry Hughes. Not that it is equal, then again the Suns are just simply better than the Cavs. As I pointed out in the story, the last time a player from a team that didn't win 50 games won the MVP was in 1982. The Cavs probably aren't going to get to 50 and James isn't going to win. But knowing my fellow voters, watching what he's done down the stretch is going to pave the way for him to win it in the future.
Some other things:
--I get the Cavs point in not celebrating making the playoffs, but this would've been an appropriate moment to pound their chests. I mean, they shoot off fireworks before every game and have confetti rain down when they win games, so it isn't like they lead the league in being stoic.
--The other night LeBron said he was a football player first and didn't mind taking hits. Well, not that I'm willing to get clubbed in the head by DJ Mbenga nor have I ever played wide receiver, but I did watch LBJ play football in high school. I know the highlights you've seen and all, but not he almost never went across the middle, he was also rather infamous for alligator-arming when defenders were around on the sideline (that photo aside). Not that I blame him with that million-dollar body, but I think the truth should be told.
--The NBA breaks up the votes for awards, not every traveling beat writer gets a vote for everything. I will make my own decision on the MVP, but I'm more than willing to listen to blog loyalists input on my vote for the All-NBA team, All-Defensive team, Most Improved Player and Rookie of the Year.
--Might want to check out these Cavs sites I've been to recently: Cavsworld and the LeBron Meter.
--I see my appearance on Cold Pizza was picked on by some blog readers. I must say it was traumatic, they made me wear makeup (I can't imagine how this leaves the door open for Tucker) and then I had to go cover practice. Lucky, no one noticed, even on my ears (alas, yes, they did!)