Kobe Bryant on why he has only one MVP: ‘Because the media votes on it’

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Kevin Durant wants players, not the media, to vote on NBA awards.

He might have an ally in Kobe Bryant.

Why has Kobe won only one MVP award?

Kobe on The Grantland Basketball Hour:

Because the media votes on it.

It was never a mission of mine to win a lot of MVPs. It was to win a lot of championships.

With that being said, does it bother me? Yeah, it bothers me. Of course it bothers me.

Here’s a history of Kobe’s ranking in MVP voting:

  • 2013: Fifth behind LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Carmelo Anthony and Chris Paul
  • 2012: Fourth behind LeBron James, Kevin Durant and Chris Paul
  • 2011: Fourth behind Derrick Rose, Dwight Howard and LeBron James
  • 2010: Third behind LeBron James and Kevin Durant
  • 2009: Second behind LeBron James
  • 2008: Won MVP
  • 2007: Third behind Dirk Nowitzki and Steve Nash
  • 2006: Fourth behind Steve Nash, LeBron James and Dirk Nowitzki
  • 2004: Fifth behind Kevin Garnett, Tim Duncan, Jermaine O’Neal and Peja Stojakovic
  • 2003: Third behind Tim Duncan and Kevin Garnett
  • 2002: Fifth behind Tim Duncan, Jason Kidd, Shaquille O’Neal and Tracy McGrady
  • 2001: Ninth behind Allen Iverson, Tim Duncan, Shaquille O’Neal, Chris Webber, Kevin Garnett, Tracy McGrady, Karl Malone and Jason Kidd
  • 2001: 12th behind Shaquille O’Neal, Kevin Garnett, Alonzo Mourning, Karl Malone, Tim Duncan, Gary Payton, Allen Iverson, Grant Hill, Chris Webber, Vince Carter and Jason Kidd

If there were any year Kobe could claim he was robbed, it’s 2006, when he averaged 35.4 points per game. That was a crowded and fairly even MVP race, and Kobe had as strong a case as several players.

But the biggest reason Kobe won only one MVP: That’s, give or take, how many he deserved. Really, he might not have deserved any.

Just because Kobe was never the clear-cut best player in the league in a single season – and voted the best only once – does not detract from his greatness. His greatness comes from being a top-five(ish) player for a very long time. That’s different than rising to higher peaks and falling to lower valleys, but it’s no less worthy of admiration.

The MVP – an award that covers only one regular season at a time – has limited value in measuring all-time greatness. It doesn’t cover the playoffs or multiple seasons, two factors that work in Kobe’s favor.

Maybe players voting rather than the media would have gotten Kobe another MVP. He’s well-respected among his peers, especially the younger generation.

But, if anything, I’d say the media has overrated Kobe in MVP voting, particularly in more-recent seasons. So, the media isn’t necessarily to blame for Kobe’s lack of multiple MVPs.

The No. 1 factor: Kobe’s lack of a regular season clearly better than everyone else in the league that year. That’s OK, though. One MVP is more than Kobe needs to warrant status as an all-time great.