LeBron James isn’t ready to give up the title of the game’s best player, and few if any careful observers would be willing to take it from him just yet.
But the MVP award is different, in that it’s based solely on a single season’s body of work, and it’s largely subjective.
It would be easy (though perhaps lazy) to cast a first place vote for LeBron once again, considering he’s won the award in four out of the last five seasons. But even James himself seems to be at peace with the fact that Kevin Durant may have had a season more worthy of that historic level of recognition.
LeBron James has won two-straight MVP Awards and four in the last five years, so he knows a thing or two about the type of basketball it takes to earn the NBA’s most coveted individual prize. According to James, Kevin Durant of the Oklahoma City Thunder has done the most to deserve the award.
All but conceding the race to Durant, James said on Wednesday in Memphis that “it would be great” if Durant won the award.
“I think K.D. has had one heck of a season, and if he was rewarded with the MVP, it would be great,” James said. “It would be awesome for him, for his family. It would be a great thing for him. He has played MVP-type basketball.”
James went on to say that Durant has been “the most consistent basketball player as far as MVP this year. He has put up some great numbers.”
This is LeBron simply coming to terms publicly with what most have assumed for the past couple of months.
Durant’s value to the Thunder’s place in the standings, and the ridiculous scoring displays he’s put on to help his team get there are simply more worthy of the award this season that what James has done for the Heat.
It’s by no means a definitive decision as to who is the better player, because most would still side with LeBron if given that choice. But the MVP has a lot that goes into it; the fact that Durant has done enough this season to give voters a legitimate opportunity to erase their penciled-in votes for James is definitely worth celebrating.
And even LeBron himself realizes it.