James runs away with MVP award
Bryant finishes distant second
AKRON, Ohio - Unstoppable at both ends of the floor this season, LeBron James claimed the NBA Most Valuable Player award yesterday, receiving the honor in the high school gym where he first made his name.
The Cleveland Cavaliers star won what some expected to be a close vote in a slam dunk. He received 109 of a possible 121 first-place votes to easily outdistance Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers. James totaled 1,172 points in balloting by members of the media.
Bryant, last year's winner, got two first-place votes and finished with 698 points. Miami guard Dwyane Wade was third with 680 points and was named first on seven ballots.
Orlando's Dwight Howard (328) was fourth, followed by New Orleans's Chris Paul (192).
James is the first Cavaliers player to win the award. He averaged 28.4 points, 7.6 rebounds, and 7.2 assists this season.
"You look at the guys who have won this award - Michael Jordan, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Dr. J, Oscar Robertson. All these guys laid down the path for guys like myself and Kobe Bryant, Chris Paul, Dwight Howard, and Dwyane Wade to name a few," James said.
James credited his teammates for raising their games in the Cavaliers' best season ever.
"Individual accolades come when team success happens," James said. "You look at those 14 guys over there, I got the award because of them. They put in the work."
At 24 years, 106 days on the final day of the regular season, James is the youngest player to win the award since Moses Malone (24 years, 16 days) in 1978-79. Wes Unseld was 23 when he won it in 1968-69.