The coronation of a king: James is the league MVP

Max Petrunya

As the NBA season draws to a close, the league is buzzing with talk of the post-season and who will be crowned this year’s MVP. When Steve Nash was presented with the award last season, the decision was met with more criticism than the movie “Teen Wolf Two.” That is something that I will never understand. Going from Michael J. Fox to Jason Bateman is one thing, but from Garnett to Nash is totally different. Nash is a player who not only makes himself look good, but also makes everyone he’s playing with look like they are playing for the Harlem Globetrotters. He deserved the title last year, and he certainly is making a strong case for it this year given the success of the Phoenix Suns, locking up the No. 2 seed in the West despite playing nearly the entire season without Amare Stoudmire.

My MVP nod this season however goes to Lebron James. First and foremost, King James is playing crazier than Darren Daulton. Prior to the snap of the Cavaliers’ eight-game winning streak, Lebron put up 35 points or more in all eight games, going off for a triple-double in two of them. He has become one of only four players in NBA history to average 30 points, seven assists and six rebounds per game. The other three: Oscar Robertson, Jerry West and Michael Jordan. That list of who’s who in professional basketball history is as exclusive as the VIP Room at Studio 54. At the age of 21, the fact that Lebron’s name is being mentioned in the same sentence as those legends of the game warrants some award, even if it is merely a Grammy (if Homer Simpson can write off the award and toss it off a balcony, Lebron can definitely win at least one). Certainly I could espouse many historic names from the National Basketball Association that we can and will compare Lebron to, but that is a piece that will have to wait 10 plus years when King James is ready to step down from his throne.

Right now, Lebron is king in Cleveland. Typically, when a player is putting up numbers like Lebron has been, he tends to overshadow his teammates and become “bigger than the team” (cough, Kobe Bryant). The fact is that Lebron is putting up mind-boggling numbers and earning the moniker king, while also making his teammates look like princes, not court jesters. Mike Davis has finally harnessed the talent of King James, while getting him to share some of his power with other gentry, Zydrunas Ilgauskas, Drew Gooden and Eric Snow in particular. Teamwork and defense, along with the leadership and unselfish play of Lebron James, have propelled the Cavs into the playoffs for the first time since 1998.

The mere fact that Lebron is the primary factor for Cleveland returning to the playoffs isn’t enough ammunition to argue that he should win the MVP. By that logic, Dwyane, Melo and the entire Detroit Pistons team could also win the award. The reason why James sticks out is because the Cavs have a shot of going deep into the playoffs this year. The only real challenge Cleveland faces are the aforementioned Pistons, which, as seen last year, are a team that is capable of being beaten, especially in the new seven-game all-the-way playoff series the NBA recently instituted. All bias aside, I have a good feeling for the Cavs in this year’s playoffs.

There isn’t much more to say. The proof is there. Just like all kings, Lebron needs his crown. Critics were hesitant to give it to him in the past because he “couldn’t come through in the clutch” or “he was too selfish and never passed.” That has all changed now, and James has worked hard to prove all the naysayers wrong. It was easy to write Lebron off before because the Cavs were still considered the NBA’s personal punching bag. Now, however, the new Cleveland Cavaliers, led by the new Lebron James, have started to punch back. If Lebron should happen to win the MVP title he so rightly deserves, the new jab that the Cavs have developed may very well turn into a knock-out blow.