NBA: LeBron James Takes Third MVP Award
Miami. Miami Heat star LeBron James was named the NBA’s 2011-2012 season Most Valuable Player on Saturday, capturing the award for the third time in four years but the first time since joining the Heat in 2010.
James became only the eighth player to win the award three or more times, a list that includes six-time winner Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, five-time MVPs Michael Jordan and Bill Russell and four-timer Wilt Chamberlain.
James joins a list of three-time MVPs that includes Magic Johnson, Larry Bird and Moses Malone. But of all the players who have won the award three times or more, James is the only one never to have won an NBA title.
“I would give all three of them back for an NBA championship,” James said. “It’s my main goal.”
The Miami forward joins Chamberlain, Abdul-Jabbar and Malone as the only players to win the award representing two different clubs.
James, in his ninth NBA season, won in 2009 and 2010 while playing for the Cleveland Cavaliers.
“Less than 10 years ago, I had dreams of being in the NBA. I had dreams of putting on an NBA uniform,” James said. “I never dreamed about being a Most Valuable Player.”
James averaged 27.1 points, 7.9 rebounds and 6.2 assists in 62 games this season in his second campaign after signing with the Heat.
James finished with 1,074 points in voting by a media panel and NBA fans over the internet, including 85 first-place votes.
NBA scoring champion Kevin Durant of Oklahoma City was second with 889 points, including 24 first-place ballots, followed by Chris Paul of the Los Angeles Clippers on 385 points with six first-place nods.
Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant was fourth with 352 points, including two first-place votes, and Frenchman Tony Parker, a star guard with the San Antonio Spurs, was fifth with 331 points and four first-place votes.
Last season, James led the Heat into the NBA Finals, where Miami lost to the Dallas Mavericks.
This season, the Heat have reached the second round of the NBA playoffs.Miami will open a best-of-seven Eastern Conference series against Indiana at home on Sunday.
James stressed the importance of team success as opposed to individual honors, enticing his teammates onto a stage at a ceremony in the Heat’s home arena and praising them as the secret to his solo success.
“Even though, this is an individual award, it’s not an individual award,” James said. “The reason I’m up here is because of those guys. If those guys don’t sacrifice what they sacrifice… I wouldn’t be up here.”