May 11, 2012, 7:32 PM EDT
It’s not yet official, but this really isn’t a surprise either.
A person familiar with the decision tells The Associated Press that Miami’s LeBron James will be announced Saturday as the NBA’s MVP, the third time he’s won the award in the past four seasons.
The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the results have not been released. James is expected to be presented with the trophy Sunday by Commissioner David Stern before Miami hosts Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinals against Indiana.
LeBron was the clear frontrunner for the award after a fantastic statistical season, averaging 27.1 points while shooting 53.1 percent on the year, and he had a league-best PER of 30.7. Simply, he stepped up and took on a larger role on offense and defense for the Heat and still had a more efficient season.
This would be LeBron’s third MVP award. It’s an elite group, the only others to do that are Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Michael Jordan, Bill Russell, Wilt Chamberlain, Larry Bird, Magic Johnson and Moses Malone.
I can hear LeBron’s haters now — it doesn’t matter until he wins a title. All the other people on that list have a title. That’s true for the public perception of him in this moment. But if (really, when) he wins one or two, these MVPs will be a strong part of his legacy as one of the all time elite players.
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