LeBron James is the last of the five Obama-themed covers…or technically third (by the cover’s watermark), depending on how you look at it. Either way, LeBron has not disappointed this season, as he’s been atop SLAMonline’s MVP rankings all season. No player has legitimately come close to challenging King James.
Our MVP columnist, John Krolik, has done an excellent job decrying the numbers—how LeBron leads everyone in everything, no matter how advanced/skewed you make it. Sure, numbers are part of the Most Valuable, but there’s far more that goes into the MVP equation. The full MVP DNA sequence is longer than a cross-country tricycle ride from here in New York City to the land formerly known as Supersonic country—you can’t possibly quantify the factors that make an MVP-worthy player. Not to say SLAMonline‘s rankings are off (I agree with them wholeheartedly), but it’s well-known that statistics can’t possibly justify a player’s value entirely. Sorry, Hollinger.
A key quotient for the award is lifetime achievement. And, if anything, this will likely be the last season that LeBron’s age will play the role of any sort of deterrent in the number of votes he gets. If the vote was put up to the players, LeBron almost certainly would have to earn his stripes even longer before he wins the award. Players–not named Tracy McGrady–value longevity and thus Kobe might get the nod for another season or two.
What LeBron does bring to the table in high density is TMV. As we described on a Slamadaday last month, LeBron James makes a lot of hype within the basketball circles as well as outside of it. Dude is probably the only NBA player you’ll find on the cover of SLAM, People, GQ and Men’s Health all in the same month. When a King highlight occurs, people’s Fav Fives light up around the country with a superfluous array of !!!!!!s. Not only is LeBron the League’s most impressive athlete, he also wins games. And that’s something we haven’t seen him focus on as much in the past. If he keeps up this play, LBJ may very well need a new (very large and wide) curio cabinet after the season to devote to his trophies.