LOS ANGELES – LeBron James has been awarded the NBA Most Valuable Player award four times in his career, tied with Wilt Chamberlain for the third-highest spot of all time, but one of his teammates, forward from Los Angeles Lakers Kyle Kuzma says James should have doubled that. At least.
“The NBA MVP is a very political award,” Kuzma said after the Lakers’ 116-105 victory over the Charlotte Hornets on Thursday. “Bron should have been the MVP at least eight, nine, 10 times. Everybody knows it.”
James’ team officially kicked off the campaign for the 36-year-old, now in his 18th season, to win his fifth after dazzling with 37 points on 14 of 22 shooting, eight rebounds and six assists in the win over the team. owned by Michael Jordan, one of only three players in history with more MVP than James.
When asked about Kuzma’s claim, James admitted that he felt he had been snubbed in the past, but did not specify how many he felt he deserved to win.
“I think I should have more than four,” James said. “But … I don’t sit around thinking about it or crying about it, or whatever the case may be. I’m just trying to come next season and be the MVP and get talked about it. [for] again. I bet a lot of the best who played this game feel like they should have more too, if you ask any of those guys.
“This is another opportunity for me to be recognized as the best player for that particular season, and this season. So hopefully I can continue to play great basketball and see what happens in the end.”
The win over the Hornets brought Los Angeles 4-0 since the All-Star break, and all of those wins came without Anthony Davis, who has been out of the game for more than a month with a calf strain and tendinosis in the right leg. In those four games, James scored a double-double against Indiana, consecutive triple-doubles against Golden State and Minnesota, and the monstrous stat line against Charlotte.
“He’s playing every night, setting a great tone, I think, for the young players and for the entire league who, if he feels good, will be there and compete at a super high level and dominate the game.” “Said Lakers coach Frank Vogel.” He’s the MVP in the league, in my opinion, so far because of that mindset and what he’s doing for our team and he just wins the game in so many different ways. .. He’s really doing it all for us. “
It has been eight years since James last won the award after the 2012-13 season, his third season with the Miami Heat.
“It is a mistake of the voters to go season after season without voting for the best player in the league,” Vogel said. “You know what I mean? That’s the simplest way to put it. There have been other players who have deserved it, but he has been the best player in the league for as long as I can remember. Maybe since his second, Third year in the league. It’s one of those things that is unfortunate. It’s not right. And he should get it this year. He’s doing it every night and no one deserves it. “
Last season, when he finished second for the award for the fourth time in his career, finishing with just 16 first-place votes compared to the 85 first-place votes for Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Milwaukee Bucks, James admitted the result. ” upset.”
A month later, he won his fourth championship and earned his fourth Finals MVP in the process.
“That could have subliminally lit a fire under him, although there’s already a fire under him every time you’re in the playoffs,” said teammate Alex Caruso. “People vote for things, at the end of the day, players recognize greatness … I think the best player in the world, today, yesterday, was LeBron.
“Obviously, I could be a bit biased being his teammate and playing with him, but that’s how I feel.”
Without openly proclaiming his claim to the Maurice Podoloff Trophy for this season, averaging 25.5 points, 8.1 rebounds and 8.0 assists while missing just one game so far, James admitted the award is something on his mind.
“It’s something,” he said. “It means something, for sure. I’m not going to sit here and say that it means nothing to me. And for me, to be able to win it a few times in my career has always been special … To be in the race, to hear my name with some of the best basketball players in the league this year again, it would mean a lot.
“At my age, what I am capable of, what I have been doing all season, what I bring to the table every night on both sides of the court, it would mean something incredible to me, especially at this point in my life. race “.