James won the award in 2009 and 2010, only got four first-place votes in 2011 — his first season with the Heat — then reclaimed the award last season.
“The other day I was sitting there with him, a week or two ago and it dawned on me,” Heat guard Dwyane Wade told the AP. “I said to him, ‘Do you know you’re about to get four MVPs in five years?’ And he’s like, ‘Man, I’m just a kid from Akron.’ He could have gotten five in five. You know how crazy that is? This is crazy.”
The “kid from Akron” is truly entering rarefied air now.
It’s certain that stars like New York’s Carmelo Anthony, Oklahoma City’s Kevin Durant and the Los Angeles Lakers’ Kobe Bryant will be listed on ballots — the league will unveil the full results Sunday — though the only drama left is seeing if any voter thought someone had a better season than James. A panel of writers and broadcasters from the United States and Canada vote for NBA awards. There also is one combined vote from fans who chose an MVP through online balloting or social media.
There have been instances of people coming close to sweeping the first-place votes. Shaquille O’Neal got 120 of the 121 top votes cast after the 1999-2000 season, with Allen Iverson getting the lone other one that year. And after the 2003-04 season, Kevin Garnett — then with Minnesota — got 120 of 123 votes, with two going to Jermaine O’Neal and the other to Peja Stojakovic.
“Do the right thing,” was Heat forward Shane Battier’s suggestion to voters, just before the ballots were due.
James finally got his first NBA championship last season, followed that up by helping the U.S. win a gold medal at the London Olympics, and then vowed to come back this season even better.