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LeBron James is NBA MVP because he really did get better. That's hard to believe when you consider how much James had already done. It's hard to believe when you consider James is just 24-years old and there is still room to grow. And it's hard to believe when you consider James, like a few other stars, spent last summer competing for Team USA, and you could forgive him if he lost a little edge during the long NBA season. Sam talks about the magical season for King James in his latest.
LeBron James is NBA MVP because he really did get better.
That's hard to believe when you consider how much James had already done. It's hard to believe when you consider James is just 24-years old and there is still room to grow. And it's hard to believe when you consider James, like a few other stars, spent last summer competing for Team USA, and you could forgive him if he lost a little edge during the long NBA season.
Mostly, the Cavaliers basketball king is MVP because he shared the ball. Not that James hasn't always been a great passer from his small (point) forward position. It's just that this year, he trusted his point guard to run the offense. He displayed confidence in all his teammates, giving them equal opportunity to lead the team in scoring, pad their stats, win the game.
Again, James has always been a team player. But in previous seasons, he sometimes felt compelled to stand at the top of the key, dribbling and dribbling and dribbling as precious seconds ticked off the shot clock and the offense crashed to a halt. That can happen when guys like Eric Snow or Larry Hughes are running the point.
Today, the point guard is Mo Williams. He is the type of penetrator, shooter and overall creator the Cavs had been lacking during previous seasons of the LeBron era. Now, just because Williams was added to the lineup doesn't mean the Cavs had to finish with the best record in the league. James had to buy into giving up the ball at the beginning of the shot clock, giving up a few shots and giving up a little bit of the individual glory. James did. Fittingly, he's receiving more individual glory than ever.
But perhaps the most notable difference in James this season has been his demeanor. He spends more time in the locker room before and after games locker room smiling, joking and giving reporters a little more to work with.
For instance, James wasn't playing in the regular-season finale, as the Cavs had already clinched the league's best record and home-court advantage throughout the playoffs. So before the game he stood in front of his locker, pulled a dress shirt over his head, smiled and yelled in mocking fashion to no one in particular, "Oh no. LeBron's not talking today. What are we gonna do?"
He then said, "I gotta get outta here," and promptly left the room to play chess in a private area in the bowels of Quicken Loans Arena.
No one can say for sure how James fared in that game. But based on his play on the court, he probably made all the right moves.
And that is why he is MVP today.
Sam Amico is the editor of ProBasketballNews.com and a frequent contributor to The Cleveland Fan and SportsTime Ohio.
May 03, 2009 7:00 PM
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