Kevin Durant's Nice Guy Reputation Will Help Him Win 2012 NBA MVP

Matt ShetlerCorrespondent IMay 3, 2012

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK - APRIL 30:  Kevin Durant #35 of the Oklahoma City Thunder looks across court after the win against the Dallas Mavericks in Game Two of the Western Conference Quarterfinals in the 2012 NBA Playoffs on April 30, 2012 at the Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Oklahoma City defeated Dallas 102-99. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using the photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Brett Deering/Getty Images)
Brett Deering/Getty Images

The 2012 NBA MVP award winner will be announced in the upcoming week and, even though Oklahoma City Thunder superstar Kevin Durant said Miami Heat's star LeBron James deserves the MVP award, the race isn't over yet and Durant still has a puncher's chance of overtaking James.

Casting his vote for LeBron was a nice thing to do by Durant and James is certainly worthy after posting a tremendous season in which he averaged 27.1 points per game, 7.9 rebounds per game and 6.2 assists per game—leading the Heat in all three categories—while shooting 53 percent from the floor.

It's that nice-guy reputation of Durant that ultimately could help him leapfrog James and snatch away the MVP.

Durant certainly has an MVP-type resume, leading the NBA in scoring at 28.0 points per game, while pulling down 8.0 rebounds per game and shooting near 50 percent from the floor.

On the court, you can't go wrong with either guy.

Former MVP Kareem Abdul-Jabbar recently told Fox Sports Florida's Chris Tomasson he would cast his vote for Durant.

“I think that this year’s MVP award will end up in the hands of Kevin Durant,’’ Abdul-Jabbar said of the Oklahoma City forward. “Durant is my choice as front-runner due to the success of his team. Yes, he is on a young and talented team, but his presence has been the catalyst for their recent dominance.’’

Yet another former MVP in Hakeem Olajuwon leans towards LeBron, also telling Tomasson.

“There’s no question LeBron deserves the MVP, with his performance playing a complete game and for a successful team,’’ said Hakeem Olajuwon, the 1994 winner for Houston. “When you look at his contribution to his team and their record, there’s no question he deserves it.’’

Tomasson polled 11 former MVPs overall, with five leaning towards Durant, four towards LeBron and two didn't cast a vote.

That just goes to show that the voting could end up even closer than people think, which also allows for reputations to come into play.

On the surface, James is viewed by many as a guy who's struggled in clutch fourth quarters and has trouble as a closer. While that reputation is totally false, it's still out there after his performance in last season’s finals.

LeBron has more of an attention-grabbing personality that tends to rub people the wrong way.

On the other hand, Durant is the humble superstar. He's nice and often quiet. He rarely says or does things off the court to bring extra attention to himself.

If voters are undecided based on their performance on the court, who do you think they will vote for?

Naturally, the guy they like more as a person.

That alone could make this vote much closer than it probably should be and, ultimately, could sway things in Durant's favor.