Just yesterday LeBron James picked up his fourth MVP trophy Sunday and oddsmakers consider he gained a new appreciation for the rivalry between his Miami Heat and the New York Knicks.
The Ohio native became the youngest player in history of the league to win four MVPs after receiving 120 of 121 first-place votes by NBA media members and analysts. The lone other first-place vote went to New York’s star Carmelo Anthony.
This was the second time a player fell one vote short of an unanimous MVP selection, with Shaquille
O’Neal also receiving 120 of 121 first-place votes in 1999-2000.
YouWager experts consider that even when coming up short of a unanimous selection it didn’t overshadow a historic feat for James, who joined Michael Jordan, Bill Russell, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Wilt Chamberlain as the only players in league history to win at least four MVP awards.
The 28 year-old player also joined Russell as the only players to win the award four times in five basketball seasons.
In addition, it was the third MVP trophy James has collected in the span of 12 months. After winning the MVP last season in May, James said he would trade in his third Maurice Podoloff trophy for a first championship. Two months later, he led Miami to a title and was named Finals MVP after beating the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Oklahoma’s forward Kevin Durant finished second to James in MVP voting for the second straight year, with Anthony third, Chris Paul fourth and Kobe Bryant fifth in votes.
Now experts believe James has his sights set on another evasive honor: Defensive Player of the Year. The 9x NBA All-Star player was upset two weeks ago when he finished second for the second time in his career for that distinction. New defensive player of the year is Memphis Grizzlies center Marc Gasol.