There was a little bit of a dust up over the weekend when LeBron James won his fourth MVP award in the last five seasons. Not because he won the award, but because one writer in the field did not give James his first place vote, denying LeBron the first-ever unanimous MVP vote.
Twitter went berserker wanting to know who had the gall to deny the King. Dan LeBatard even launched a Twitter firestorm by (sort of) claiming that he was the guy by tweeting “Melo was robbed” shortly after the vote was announced. People went nuts. He re-tweeted all of them.
So who was the real guy? This morning we have the answer, and it’s a sportswriter from Boston.
The Boston Globe‘s Gary Washburn authored a feature entitled, “Why My MVP Vote Went to Carmelo Anthony.” From the feature:
When I placed my NBA MVP vote a few weeks ago, I knew I would be in the minority. I knew LeBron James was the prohibitive favorite to win his fourth award because he unquestionably is the best player in the game.
I voted for Carmelo Anthony based on his importance to the New York Knicks, who, if you haven’t been paying attention the past decade, have failed to be relevant.
When the voting was announced Sunday afternoon, I was flabbergasted to learn I was the lone voter among 121 to not give LeBron a first-place vote, truly believing Anthony, Kevin Durant, Chris Paul, and perhaps even Kobe Bryant would snag a first-place vote or two.
Firstly, when I submitted my vote in mid-April, I had no idea I would be the only voter to leave LeBron out of first. This isn’t Mrs. Wilson’s class, I don’t walk around asking fellow sportswriters their answers to the US History quiz. I had no idea whom the writers were voting for, so this was no LeBron conspiracy.
Secondly, this isn’t the Best Player in the Game award, it’s the Most Valuable Player award, and I think what Anthony accomplished this season was worthy of my vote. He led the Knicks to their first division title in 19 years.
That’s a long time ago.
The perception that I knew the other 120 voters cast their first-place votes for LeBron and that I went against the grain as some kind of statement is inaccurate. I have covered the league for years, watched Jordan lose the 1996-97 MVP to Karl Malone, and understand that for one season, certain players just elevate their games. I thought Anthony was the most valuable player to his team this season, not the best player in the league.
And the fact that Anthony is struggling in the playoffs, three weeks after I cast my vote, is a serious case of Wednesday morning quarterbacking. Anthony scored 50 points at Miami April 2 and averaged 36.9 points in April when the Knicks were trying to lock down the Atlantic Division and the No. 2 seed.
LeBron had a marvelous season and should be the first player to win seven MVP awards, but this season I felt Anthony meant more to his team. It obviously was not a popular vote but it was my right to vote that way.
I definitely understand those who believe LeBron should have won unanimously but it’s no easy task making the Knicks relevant again and I think Anthony deserved my kudos for this season.
You can read Gary’s full article HERE.
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