We brought it up a couple of days ago, and it’s looking more and more likely — based off how quickly the media has latched on to the idea — LeBron James might become the first player since Jerry West in 1969 to win the Bill Russell NBA Finals MVP Award despite being on the losing team.
LeBron was asked about that possible outcome, and reacted the same way West did after the Lakers’ arduous seven-game loss to Russell’s Celtics in ’69. ESPN’s ‘Bron watcher Brian Windhorst shared James’ response to the idea he wins the MVP even if his Cavs fail to win the series:
Pretty much. The majority of NBA executives believe he deserves the award after the first five games of the series. That chorus will only intensify if he somehow wills the Cavs to a victory tonight when so many think the Dubs close them out.
Most of us predicted a Warriors win before the series started. The moron writing this even picked the Dubs in a sweep.
Yet, the powerful play of LeBron shred any notion of brooms as quickly as your jaw dropped when James knocked down that 34-footer in Game 5.
James is the best player in the world. He’s better than any advanced force further out in the galaxy, like the alien race who gave Jodie Foster that 15-minute interstellar ride in Contact. His brilliance is so extraterrestrial, Will Smith has secretly been lobbying LeBron to play himself for Men in Black [insert number].
James is a freak, taking a banged up Cavs team that would struggle to win 15 games in their current form to a 2-1 Finals lead over the best team in the NBA.
The power of James can’t be quantified, and while he’s probably pissed we’re even having this discussion right now, considering his Cavs are down 3-2, he should still be the MVP. He should be MVP even if he throws up an abysmal Game 6 and the Dubs win. The last clause of that last sentence is redundant: The Cavs can’t survive even a middling James effort.
Tonight is all about whether LeBron can put up another 40- or 50-point triple-double and force a Game 7 back in Oakland, while simultaneously buttressing a unique choice for the Bill Russell Finals MVP.
But James might have already locked it up. Even with Iggy and Steph doing their best to make the Finals MVP a more wide-open race, LeBron’s excellence has forced the basketball-watching public to re-evaluate the very boundaries of what one man can achieve on an NBA court. It only makes sense he should also make media members question whether the winning team has to also include the MVP.