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Latest News, NBA / May 9, 2013 / 11:45 am

The LeBron James Trophy Takeover: Why the NBA Needs to Fix Its Awards

LeBron James

LeBron James (photo. Nike Basketball)

When it was announced that LeBron James would collect his fourth Most Valuable Player award. No one, except the Boston Globe‘s Gary Washburn (and he’s entitled to his views), wanted to be caught with a stain on their ballot … and rightly so. However, does that mean Kevin Durant‘s work (50/40/90 shooting averages and the West’s top record) should go without a well-earned receipt?

For the uninitiated, pro baseball hands out trophies for their top rookie, best pitcher, leading manager and most trustworthy fielder. MLB’s major awards are akin to the four biggest accolades handed out in the NBA – Most Valuable Player, Rookie of the Year, Coach of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year – except that they’re given out in both the American and National League’s, respectively.

Given the NBA’s visible conference divide, isn’t it time that both the elite from the East and the best playing out West serve as different streams of power for their own lighthouses? If baseball, with clear distinctions between its two leagues, awards its players accordingly, shouldn’t the NBA look to do the same?

If the NBA wants to persist with pointless banners (like the ones given out systematically to their divisional record leaders), surely it’s worthwhile presenting more individual accolades (whenever a deserving recipient surfaces). Their Rookie and Player of the Month trackers run side by side, divided by conference, why not carry that over to all the major awards?

Surf the web and you’ll easily find any End of Season Awards discussion inclusive of debate about regrettable exclusion. It would appear, after the 2012-13 season at least, that giving out more individual awards wouldn’t dilute trophy value. Rather, it would attempt to address the need to identify the best in the business on a broader scope, and more often than not, ‘best’ isn’t limited to one talent, or position, or conference.

[One important footnote: Awards don’t have to be mandatory, not when you’re giving out more of them. If the East doesn’t have a standout rookie, don’t assign the Conference one. This’ll increase the importance of award winners over time because stand-alone recipients will appear even more amazing (or lucky, or timely, etc.).]

Would anyone really have a problem with K.D. being awarded a trophy that says “West MVP”? Durant, a lock for First Team All-NBA recognition, falls short of his true title because the NBA believes glass cabinet tokens (for elite play) are a league-wide matter but that’s only because it suits, or, once upon a time, served a more obvious purpose. Durant’s otherworldly season deserves a trophy, not an honorable mention or “second place vote” tally. It’s time the NBA steps up and starts following at least one of Major League Baseball’s best attributes, even if it’s weighed down by its own history.

On the next page, the solution to the MVP dilemma…

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  • http://twitter.com/itsRawanE Rawan

    I feel like giving out more then one MVP is an excuse to not have the same person winning every year. Sure, we’re going to get tired of Lebron winning MVP year after year, but if he deserves it over KD than Lebron SHOULD be getting it year after year. KD is otherworldly, but he isn’t on Lebron’s level, at least not yet.

  • http://www.facebook.com/andrew.dclue Andrew D’Clue

    MVP is for the best player in the entire league. You don’t split that in half, because then you’ll just have guys trying to outplay those that are in their conference and being the best wouldn’t mean as much. This idea is ridiculous

  • north

    Perhaps the issue isn’t who should get the award but what the criteria is. Or should we add an award for best player on the best team and give the MVP to the actual MVP? LeBron is clearly the best player but what about stuff like no one expecting the Rockets to do anything before Harden showed up? Or Paul George filling in for what Danny Granger could have added as well as making up for a bad season by Hibbert to get Indiana into 3rd. They were very valuable to their team. Most? Who knows. Rose wasn’t as valuable the year he won it as Dwight was to his team (clearly shown this year), but he was the best player on the best team. Dividing MVP into East/West isn’t the answer perhaps this is.

  • north

    Obviously LeBron and KD is valuable but they both also had other All-Stars on their team. Those two are the best two players on the planet right now so don’t think I don’t know that.

  • http://www.facebook.com/vlad.lupu6 Vlad Lupu

    So , considering your logic, what if LeBron was in the same conference as Durant ? Durant would not even get that “West MVP” , while the East MVP would be , let`s say, Melo. This whole article leaves the impression that people are annoyed by the same player winning over and over again. He is at another level , higher than anyone else. So he SHOULD be the MVP every year in which he deserves it, Plus, dividing the award would be a terrible legacy-ender for this great award.

  • JAY

    I disagree, MVP is for the most valuable player. Isn’t that what it’s called? Last I checked “MVP” wasn’t an acronym for “most outstanding player”. As much as I agree Lebron tore up the league this year, there’s actually a legit argument whether or not he was the most valuable to his team. The only thing the league should do is award an MVP and MOP for the most valuable to his team, and the best individual player.

  • disqus_zVcwTIQWv6

    awful idea. Why don’t we have division MVPs while we’re at it, just in case Kevin wants another relatively worthless award

  • Rayan Heravi

    i think they should have best in east west and league for all awards so a great body of work doesnt go unknown