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LeBron says it “would mean a lot” to win third MVP

Apr 18, 2012, 5:26 PM EDT

Miami Heat v New York Knicks Getty Images

With games like his 17-point run at the end of the fourth quarter against the Nets Monday, and the fact he outplayed Kevin Durant last time they went head-to-head, LeBron James again appears to be one of the front runners for the MVP. It’s going to be Durant or LeBron (Tony Parker, Kobe Bryant and everyone else is trailing).

A win would mean a third MVP for LeBron. Only eight players have ever won three MVPs and as you would imagine the list is impressive — it includes Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, Wilt Chamberlain and Larry Bird among others.

LeBron has a sense of history about the game and told Brian Windhorst of ESPN that to join that group would be a great honor.

“It would mean a lot, honestly, it would mean a lot,” James said. “If I’m able to win it this year it would be very humbling knowing the caliber of guys who have won it three times.”

“I remember me being a little, scrawny guy from Akron, Ohio, and watching so many greats either watching live or watching games, knowing and loving the history of the game and seeing the guys who have paved the way for myself. I’ve always respected that. I’ve always respected the talent that came before me.”

LeBron is having a magnificent statistical season — 26.9 points per game on 52.8 percent shooting, with 8 rebounds and 6.3 assists per game. He has a league best PER of 30.5. Durant’s numbers are impressive as well — 27.8 points per game on 50.3 percent shooting with 7.9 rebounds and 3.5 assists per game and a PER of 26.7 — but James also contributes more on defense than Durant. It will be close, a group of former MVPs leaned toward Durant. (You can tell us who you would vote for here at NBCSports.com.)

In the larger public perception of LeBron James, winning a third MVP by 27 — only Kareem Abdul-Jabbar had three at a younger age — would change little. Until he gets a championship or championships to go with the MVPs, his achievements will ring hollow with fans who turned on him after he left Cleveland. Winning rings will not bring all of them back, but it could sway the consensus (remember how Kobe Bryant was never going to be as popular again, then he won a few rings and…).

For LeBron, basketball has been fun again this season. That is what he wants the most. The accolades (and maybe rings) will follow that spirit.

“I’m just back to playing the way I play the game, with a lot of fun and a lot of joy and just not proving anything to anyone. Last year I felt I had to prove something to people. I have no idea why. But I got to that point and it took me away from why I love the game so much and I why I love the NBA. I got away from that.

“This year I got back to my seven years in Cleveland, my four years in high school and when I first picked up a basketball at age 9. That’s why I’m more excited about where I’m at today.”

  1. telergy - Apr 18, 2012 at 5:45 PM

    The fact that a 3rd would put him in that company and he hasn’t won jack….he wont be MVP.

  2. ceschatz - Apr 18, 2012 at 6:24 PM

    Figures the first person to post on this would be a hater. Jealousy makes you say stupid things. Keep on hating

    • telergy - Apr 19, 2012 at 2:22 AM

      nothing to hate on when you have 0 rings

      • dartz709 - Apr 19, 2012 at 2:47 AM

        Of course you would bring the negatives out over the positives. Let’s go back to see what positives LeBron has: 1) he has 2 MVP’s and about to have a 3rd one this year.
        2) He puts up numbers like Oscar Robinson and is the only player to put up over 25ppg 7reb and 6ast for
        over the last few years.
        3) He brought a team that was horrible to greatness for 7 years (hint: Cleveland Cavaliers) and made the
        cavs go to their first NBA finals.
        Now let’s see his negatives:
        1) he does not have a NBA championship
        It’s funny how people criticize LeBron even though he is the best player in the NBA right now. He has this much talent and positives but yet people always bring out that one negative that he doesn’t have a ring.

    • chitownmatt - Apr 19, 2012 at 10:39 AM

      “Jealousy” SERIOUSLY???
      Come’on, every person posting here is a little jealous of even the WORST player in the NBA.

      That being said, we (as jealous fans) still have every right to hate on and criticize the most psychically gifted person to every play the game for not having the competitive mental edge that it takes to be a champion.

      Not to mention moving to a team stacked with “superstar” talent just to take the easiest possible path toward winning a ring.

      LBJ doesn’t want to FIGHT FOR IT; he wants it to come easy and be… FUN. Just like everything else he has gotten up to now.

      Jealous??? Damn right I am.

    • silencegooddoer - Apr 19, 2012 at 12:03 PM

      I am not posting this out of hate. But do you think that when he joined a team with 2 other super star former team captains, that he should still be in the running for MVP? Is he realy a MVP with Wade and Bosh, and some decent supporting teammates like Chalmers? Durrant certainly does not have the same level of talent around him.

      And if he realy does deserve the MVP; should Wade and Bosh be critisized for performing less than LeBron’s previous talentless teams we won the MVP on? Should Pat Riley be critisized for contracting the most expensive team experiment that has not produced anything more than Dan Gilbert’s talentless Cavs?

      I think LeBron winning an MVP completely makes the “Big 3″ philosophy as a complete failure. Why did he leave a team that he had to be an MVP on? I thought he went to Miami to be with other high talent so he did not have to be a MVP in order to win? Doesn’t seem like it was worth the fall-out for LeBron. He still has to do it all.

  3. poochiesyaya - Apr 18, 2012 at 6:40 PM

    Good Luck!

  4. mikeewright7 - Apr 18, 2012 at 6:46 PM

    well rather he wins another one or not doesnt matter to me, Im a Celtics fan but even i would like Lebron to win a ring before he retires, i see him winning atleast 2-3 but no more

  5. sikeologist - Apr 18, 2012 at 7:25 PM

    I think he should focus on winning a ring first.

  6. philtration - Apr 18, 2012 at 8:59 PM

    LeBron has the stats to win it without a doubt even though Durant should be the man this year.
    I remember Barkley and Malone getting the MVP award when it was Michael Jordan that should have won it.
    It was a feel good lifetime achievement award at that point.

    It makes a nice consolation prize when you have been in the league for years and can’t win a championship.

  7. lucky5934 - Apr 19, 2012 at 12:33 AM

    He will have to fill his trophy case with something, becauase he can’t win the championship. But hey, I am glad he is focused on individual success instead of focusing on the team winning it all. And the Lebron fans wonder why people “hate” on James.

  8. packymalley - Apr 19, 2012 at 12:42 AM

    In my opinion, Miami won’t get to the finals and LeBron won’t win the MVP. This incredible stretch of years without a championship is very compelling. Durant will get it and I think he deserves it. I love the NBA playoffs and can’t wait for them to start.

  9. abchome - Apr 19, 2012 at 2:35 AM

    3 times MVP with no ring? I know it’s a regular season award but it’s just not right. How can you join the ALL TIME greats (3 or more times MVP – Jordon, Magic, Bird, Jabbar, Chamberlain, Russell, M Malone) without leading your team to at least one title (not two, not three)…

    I don’t have any problem if LBJ would win a dozen more MVPs should his performance warranted, but if and only if he could win a title first.

  10. BigBeachBall - Apr 19, 2012 at 4:00 AM

    “Whats this trophy for Lebron???”
    Lebron: “that’s the year i dominated the regular season but our team got bounced in the playoffs….”

  11. drewdatwit84 - Apr 19, 2012 at 5:33 AM

    This is how free speech gets abused, hmm? All this useless hate smh… Imagine if LeBron was like “u losers won’t make your rent this month” or “you’re not a success in life or a worthy contributor to society bcuz your job sucks and your social life is GARBAGE u lonely bastards” …except LeBron doesn’t think that way about u hating-ass losers, he lives his life very positive and has fun with his teammates and his fiancee and sons. Yet, here are u assholes wishing/predicting straight NEGATIVITY about that man. Yes he’s a tad immature but he’s a good dude.

    And you’re all a bunch of jealous hating-ass losers. LeBron was right. When u wake up in the morning, all your lives will still SUCK. that man is happy, rings or no rings. Let that man LIVE! damn u haters…

  12. gmsingh - Apr 19, 2012 at 8:03 AM

    If LeBron gets MVP he’ll deserve it. The fact that he will *never* get MVP in an NBA Finals is the problem.

  13. gmsingh - Apr 19, 2012 at 8:06 AM

    And Kurt: please stop shilling for the NBA and David Stern. Please stop describing LeBron as a giant happy go lucky elf that just has fun playing basketball. When he has a look on his face like he has hemorrhoids because his team isn’t playing well enough to win a clutch game I really don’t think he is “having fun.”

  14. lakerluver - Apr 19, 2012 at 8:59 AM

    I’m sure it would, since he may never win a title. I think he’d rather win the MVP anyway. Give him the next 10 MVP’s. That way in the end he’ll have the record for most MVP’s without ever winning a ring.

  15. thestudiokida - Apr 19, 2012 at 9:33 AM

    Jesus Christ why don’t you jerkoffs write a book about championships? You obviously all know so much about it.

    LeBron James is 26 years old and has a lot of prime left to go. Remember how for the last ten years we all hated on Dirk Nowitzki for choking in the playoffs and never winning a championship? Well now we consider him MegaClutch. It could happen at any time for LeBron… or it could not. Let’s hold our snarky comments for his retirement. Oh and KARL MALONE BLOWS!!

    • southbeachtalent - Apr 19, 2012 at 10:25 AM

      Nothing but champions in here.

      • ntestarossa - Apr 19, 2012 at 10:27 AM

        Marlins?….panthers? cus I no you dont mean the heat. They haven’t won since lebron joined the team.

    • ntestarossa - Apr 19, 2012 at 10:26 AM

      Uh..he is a lot closer to 28 than 26 bud. Though it doesn’t matter but you can’t just throw around facts and not get called out on them. I dont think anyone hated on Dirk, dude is and was a stud, played one some good teams but the west was such and still is a dominating conference. (and you wonder why lebron stayed in the east )

      MVP is for the, most valuable player, if you took lebron off of the heat, what would happen? They would lose 5 or 7 more games?(keep in mind, in this “what-if” situation, they would have 20+mil in cap space) haven’t seen or heard of to many games this year where Lebron took over like Jordan use to do.

      Durant should win it, as talented as that team is, you take him off that team and they are not leading the west.

  16. lakerluver - Apr 19, 2012 at 12:01 PM

    @studiokida, no one hated on Dirk. I don’t recall him ever having a celebration BEFORE winning a title, nor do I recall him predicting 7 rings!! Yeah, LBJ is only 26, HOWEVER, OKC’s whole darn team is younger than that!! And Chicago’s reigning MVP is only 23!! Get my point??!!!

    • thestudiokida - Apr 19, 2012 at 12:09 PM

      You must not have been watching the NBA in 2007 when Dallas won 67 games and was the consensus favorite to win the title. Then they got LIT UP by a hot Warriors team and lost round 1 in six games. Every headline read something like Dirk chokes, MVP who? etc etc. Nobody has been so embarrassed to accept an MVP trophy as Dirk was in round 2 of the playoffs after his awful performance.

      I admit I was among the Dirk haters and now I feel like he proved me wrong. From now on I’m holding my tongue when it comes to sports because things can change quickly.

  17. loungefly74 - Apr 19, 2012 at 1:22 PM

    hate him or love him…lebron is a great basketball player putting up monster numbers. number of rings and past success/failures should not factor into this season. if lebron wins…good for him. if durant wins…good for him as well. (Laker fan here…)

  18. mikeewright7 - Apr 19, 2012 at 1:28 PM

    I think Lebron gets so much reaction (negative or positive) is because he was hyped up to be one of the Greatest players ever even before he reach the league, then he went to the Cavs and became their “HERO” and captured MVP after MVP and always had talent, i think he is the most talented player ever to walk on a NBA court,

    Agree or Disagree he jumps like a Younger Jordan, He rebounds well he sees the court like Magic Johnson, he has so many great player skills in their prime

    However, he lacks the killer instinct those players have, and thats y ppl knock him for not winning a ring right now, I mean then again i see why he hasnt won one yet he did go up against the Celtics twice in the playoffs before he went to Miami, and playing a hot spurs team with the greatest PF of all time Tim Duncan in the finals in 2007 doesnt help.

    HOWEVER prediciting to win not 1-7 rings and fail your first attempt to the finals makes it easier to downtalk him. Even at 26-27 his window is closing quickly because of a younger OKC and Bulls team who will win 2-3 rings i believe

    But if you dont believe Lebron will get a ring then i would disagree, like i said i see him getting atleast 2 or 3, but Karl Malone, Charles Barkley, Reggie Miller, John Stockton was a great player also, how many they get?

  19. mikeewright7 - Apr 19, 2012 at 1:29 PM

    oh and im a celtics fans!

  20. gavinbethell - Apr 19, 2012 at 6:39 PM

    He doesn’t deserve MVP until he gets a chip

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