The 2020 NBA season has been anything but average. Broken in half thanks to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the National Basketball Association has been at the forefront of sports media for the better part of the past month thanks to its Bubble Postseason. With players quarantining together in Floria, all eyes have been on the NBA and none more so than LeBron James. Widely considered one of the best players in league history, James has also found himself under the spotlight for his growing platform as an activist and political advocate. Politics took a backseat on Friday, however, as the League released its MVP Award honors, granting said trophy to Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo. When the news broke, James obviously had a few words to offer reporters.
In a traditional year, nothing would have been controversial about the selection of Giannis Antetokounmpo as league MVP. Unfortunately, his league-leading Milwaukee Bucks were bounced from the postseason by an underdog Miami Heat team, thus throwing the regular season accomplishments of the ‘Greek Freak’ into sharp relief against their present postseason failure. James, who has four MVP Trophies to his name, was more than slightly upset when he saw the vote tallies for the league’s most prestigious award. LeBron said of Giannis, “Not saying the winner wasn’t deserving of MVP, but that p****ed me off.”
LeBron James would accrue just 16 first-place votes during a season that saw the Los Angeles Lakers ride to the top of the tremendously stacked Western Conference. The Lakers fell behind Milwaukee in win totals, though many had the two teams destined to meet in the NBA Finals this season. Despite his apparent discontent with the league’s MVP Award vote totals, James will likely have the last laugh as the Los Angeles Lakers continue their push toward an NBA Title, the first to potentially come to the city since the late Kobe Bryant played for the team.
The NBA’s MVP Award is far and away the most prestigious honor that the league has to offer for individual accolades. MVP Awards are often used as measuring sticks to separate the greats from the ‘very goods’ in basketball history. LeBron tailed Giannis in averages by three points and six rebounds per game, though James played more minutes, had more assists, and also had a bigger impact on his team’s overall performance.
L.A. Laker head coach Frank Vogel was all support for LeBron James when the news broke. Vogel spoke extensively on the impact that LeBron has had in guiding the Lakers toward a potential championship by engineering a dominant regular season run. Laker co-star Anthony Davis would also speak out in support of LeBron James by saying, “They kind of choose the MVP before the season even starts.”
Despite all the valid arguments that James has for the MVP honor, he will now have to prove his worth in the most important arena of all, the NBA Playoffs. With all eyes on James, this season could go a long way toward defining his legacy.