LeBron James was at his best this season, and the voters tasked with selecting the NBA’s Most Valuable Player took notice.
Every voter except one, that is.
The NBA still does not have a unanimous MVP, though no one has come closer than James did this season. The Miami Heat star was presented with the Maurice Podoloff Trophy for the fourth time in his career on Sunday after collecting 120 of the 121 first-place votes, with Carmelo Anthony of the New York Knicks picking up the lone remaining top choice.
“It was probably a writer out of New York that didn’t give me that vote,” James said. “And we know the history between the Heat and the Knicks, so I get it.”
A panel of 120 sports writers and broadcasters cast ballots in the NBA MVP voting, with a combined online fan vote also being taken into account.
Shaquille O’Neal got every first-place vote but one in the 1999-2000 season, when one person cast his ballot for Allen Iverson — who finished seventh that year. This season, Kevin Durant of the Oklahoma City Thunder finished second, well ahead of Anthony, who was third and didn’t even appear on nine of the ballots cast. James was the only player listed on all 121 ballots; Durant was omitted from two, according to the results released by the NBA.
“Congrats to the king,” O’Neal wrote on his Twitter account.
For months, there really had only been two questions about this season’s MVP race: When will James get the award, and would the results be unanimous?