Every year we have the same argument in the NBA over who should be the leagues MVP. It is very simple and shouldnt even come under so much scrutiny. As long as Lebron james is on a basketball court, he is the MVP. But let me digress for a moment and make this proclomation first and foremost, Kobe Bryant hands down is the best basketball player playing the game today. He is not my favorite that would be Blake Griffin. He is not the toughest, that would be his teammate Dwayne Wade. He isn’t the most marketable that distinction goes to Dwight Howard. “Have you seen his smile? It’s like the first time I heard the Beatles” to paraphrase Super Bad. He doesn’t have the most potential, that would be OKC’s Kevin Durant. Or the most explosive and agile, that would be Derrick Rose of the Chicago Bulls. He isn’t the best floor leader, that distinction belongs to the Clipers point gaurd Chris paul. And if the game were on the line, there is only one man I want handling the rock, and that is the Black Mamba, number 8 himself, Mr. Kobe Bryant. That being said, Lebron James is King. If there were one player that encapulates all of those distinction I talked about, if you were to take all the talents of the players I just named and put their best qualities into one super natural magnicient vessel, you would have Lebron James. Even though we are little more than half way through this truncated 2011-12 NBA season and I think enough time has passed that I can say beyond a shadow of a doubt that Lebron James is the Most Valuable Player in the league. He was the most valuable last year, he is the most valuable this year, and I think for the next 10 years, they should just engrave his name on the trophy, because he is THE most valuable player.
There are some really talented players in the league this year, Derrick Rose, Deron Williams, Kevin Durant, Dwight Howard, Kevin Love, Dwayne, Wade, Chris Paul, even Andrew Bynum. But there are really only two names that need come up when having the MVP conversation, and those two are Kobe’s and Lebron’s. Those other guys all get honorable mention. As I have said before, Kobe is the best. But, let’s us look at Lebron’s game. He might not have the range like Kobe has, the daggers in his eyes when he shoots the ball, or the ability to hit every clutch shot down the stretch, yet. yet being the operative word. But he is still young and has time to develop those skills. But what he does have is a body chiseled from granite, forged from the heavens like a Greek god, unnaturally agile for his size, rugged and durable, and he can not be stopped once he’s in the paint. He is built like a linebacker, moves like a gazelle, jumps through the roof, and goes through people like a Mack truck. And that is just his physical prowess. He is a team leader, too. He makes everyone on the floor better. Whether it is dishing out assists like Magic Johnson used to do, rebounding the ball like Barkley, or blocking shots like the Admiral, David Robinson. He does everything on the floor you would want a player to do, and he incorporates his team. A lesson Kobe had not yet learned at Lebron’s current age. He fills up the stat sheet and still produces W’s.
But let us forget about their individual talents, we know those two guys are both physically and mentally gifted. All the players at this level are gifted. The question is do they make their team better? When they are on the court do they perform a function that without them, their team would not win? The Lakers are an amazing team. Without Kobe Bryant, they do not win either of their last two championships. That being said, they are still a playoff team in the West without him. They have a talented team, a decent crop of young talent, and some really good skilled positions. Not to mention arguably one the best passing PF playing today in Pao Gasol and a blossoming young center in Andrew Bynum who’s numbers are astronomical this season. The Lakers, although not a championship caliber team, are still a good team without Kobe. Miami came two games from winning the whole thing last year if they hadn’t run into the hottest I’ve ever seen the Dallas Mavericks shoot, play, and produce. And the year before that, when he was with the Clevland Cavaliers, his team was doing aawesome. They can tell you exactly how valuable Lebron was to them. His team had the best record in all of basketball that year with a record of 61-21. Last year, they were the 2nd worst team in the league with a record of 19 and 63. They hadn’t even won double-digit games by this time last season and are the first team in history to have the best record one season and then have the lowest winning percentage the following year. They were the laughing stock of the league, and only one thing really changed, and that was the departure of Lebron James. No wonder they started a smear campaign since he left them. They were worthless without him.
Look at his new team Miami. Sure he has Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh, but since he has been there he has taken them to within 2 games of wining a title last year, and to the 2nd best record in basketball this year. They might even finish with the best record in the Eastern Conference, maybe even the league depending on how Oklahoma finishes the season. Something Miami hasn’t done since, well, ever. Their best season was 1996-97 when the entire Eastern Conference was still in the shadow of Michael Jordan and the Bulls. That shows his value to me. Kobe Bryant has Pao Gasol at PF, the veteran leadership of Derek Fisher, and Andrew Bynum who as I said earlier is coming into his own as a dominate big man. And let’s face it, there are only a handful of true centers in the league anymore. Everyone is a tall power forward playing the 5-position. So that is another advantage for Kobe. So it can be argued that the team around Kobe is actually better than the team around Lebron.
Not to mention the Boston Celtics Three years ago bought a championship by bringing in Kevin Garnett who used to be the perennial favorite power forward of the league, and pure shooter Ray Allen, Jesus himself (He Got Game), and a very talented and underrated small forward Paul Pierce. But because management orchestrated the deal, no one complained about it being unfair or unjust. Pao Gasol was picked up by the Lakers in a trade that was at the time looked like an assist from former Lakers player and GM Jerry West. A very shady deal that still has whispers of collusion hanging in the air. But because this was all done by management, people choose to look the other way and give them a pass. The truth still remains, that just because a talented group of guys play together, his team by his choosing, doesn’t make him less talented himself.
My argument is still leaving some of you shaking your heads. Why, I already said Kobe is the best? Is it because of the smear campaign by Dan Gilbert of “How Lebron left?” Because if that is the case, stop it. Every jilted lover has issues with the person who left them. Every single one of those teams (and city of fans) would be saying something different if Lebron had picked their city/team to play for last year. But he didn’t and so the hate began. He was the hot girl at the club everyone was trying to hook up with. Everybody was buying him drinks, telling him how hot he was, and trying to take him home. Was he really supposed to walk into the room and pick the first team he saw? No, he weighed his options, saw what offers were on the table, and in the end picked the deal that was most aligned with his goals. He didn’t pick the most attractive offer, he didn’t pick the “biggest” offer, and unfortunately for those Disney-movie loving, after school special watching, happy ending fans, he didn’t choose to “save the city of Cleveland” either. He chose what was best for him, as he should have. And now everyone he didn’t pick is feeling hurt, betrayed, and used. Get over it, you lost, move on, let him play ball and enjoy the show that is the Lebron James Experience. Sometimes you pull the hottest girl at the club, sometimes you end up at Jack in the Box at 3 am by yourself. It’s the circle of life. Be glad the hottest girl even talked to you.
I didn’t want to have to do this, but I will invoke the name of the best of all time. The ultimate snub job in basketball MVP balloting goes to Michael Jordan. If you are old enough to remember watching Jordan play, then you know that he should have received the MVP trophy every year. But that would be boring for the fans of the game. As my friend keeps on reminding me, this is a billion dollar business, not a game. It is not that Malone, Duncan, and Barkley didn’t have amazing years the years they won the MYP trophy. But that was the leagues way of saying “since you aren’t going to win a championship as long as ‘He’ is on the court, you can at least ‘win’ this trophy.” Jordan was the MVP every year. Without Jordan his team was nothing, with Jordan, the team won championships. Six to be exact. He was the best, he is the best, he will always be the best. He deserved to be the Most Valuable Player, because every time he stepped out on the court he was the most valuable player out there. He transcended every one of the elite players he played with. Physically, mentally, he was basketball. If Jordan is basketball God, then Kobe is basketball Jesus. And now, Lebron is the Holy Spirit. Can I get an AMEN!