LeBron James says he was ‘heated’ not to get unanimous MVP vote in 2013

Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Stephen Curry became the first unanimous MVP in NBA history, but LeBron James came only one vote shy in 2013.

At the time, LeBron publicly brushed off missing the distinction.

LeBron, via Michael Wallace of ESPN:

“It’s probably a writer out of New York that didn’t give me the vote,” James said during Sunday’s award ceremony at AmericanAirlines Arena. “I know the history between the Heat and the Knicks. So I get it.”

“I tried harder to win Defensive Player of the Year than I did MVP,” James said. “That’s my goal. Coach (Erik Spoelstra) had me guarding every position. We’ll try again next year.”

The reality?

The vote came from Boston Globe writer Gary Washburn, who voted for Carmelo Anthony.

And LeBron cared more than he let on.

LeBron, via Chris Haynes of Cleveland.com:

“I was heated,” James said when I asked him. “But I knew all along [I wasn’t getting a unanimous vote]. I just knew it.”

“It just pushed me harder,” James said. “That’s all. It motivated me further.”

LeBron – who said Curry deserved his honor this year – cares about his legacy, and that includes MVP voting.

If the Cavaliers and Warriors meet in the Finals, don’t be surprised if LeBron tries to “prove” he should have been the first unanimous MVP. 2013 LeBron vs. 2016 Curry was never a choice for voters, and 2016 LeBron – the one who’d be playing in the Finals – isn’t even in the competition. But it doesn’t have to make sense. It just has to motivate LeBron, who, like most players, is looking for any source of inspiration he can find.