LeBron James Wins MVP: Why the Award Will Make or Break the Rest of His Career

Joye PruittSenior Analyst IMay 12, 2012

MIAMI, FL - MAY 09:  Forward LeBron James #6 of the Miami Heat plays against the against the New York Knicks in Game Five of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals in the 2012 NBA Playoffs  on May 9, 2012 at the American Airines Arena in Miami, Florida. Miami defeated the Knicks 106-94 to advance to the next round four games to one.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Marc Serota/Getty Images)
Marc Serota/Getty Images

LeBron James is reportedly taking away his third NBA MVP award, according to the AP’s Tim Reynolds. So, let’s all slow clap and gradually rise before and after the announcement is officially made during James’ MVP presentation at 1 p.m., as reported by the Sun Sentinel’s Ira Winderman.

Moments later, will we still care that LeBron has captured his third NBA MVP?

No, we will not.

This is due to the fact that there is one hurdle that James has yet to clear that will define his career and his standing as one of the greatest players to play the game.

Will he or won’t he walk away from the 2011-12 season wearing a 2012 NBA championship ring? Will it be a dream deferred?

Will the hopes of the LBJ fanbase wither away and die if he walks away without brass at the close of this year’s postseason?

The criterion for LeBron James may not be fair, but it stands as strong as ever as he captures the third MVP of his career and joins the company of so many greats that have come before him. There is a huge difference cascading between James and this group of men.

They have championships. James has yet to claim his own.

Before, fans have been able to separate James from the company that he so desperately desires to keep. The Michael Jordans, the Larry Birds and the Magic Johnsons have been an illustrious bunch when it comes to ranking James’ reputation and value to the league. Simply put, they have achieved the greatest feat in the NBA world.

What has LeBron done? Despite his individual accomplishments, he has not been able to lead a squad of men through the hell and backbreaking pressure the NBA playoffs force players to endure.

He has not been that physical and mental presence his franchises have needed to be the sole organization left standing when the clock runs dry in the fourth quarter of a series-clenching NBA finals game.

He has not been that guy.

With the road seemingly cleared in the Eastern Conference—Miami’s strongest competition being knocked out of the ring—LeBron is left standing in the middle of a glaring crowd with his third MVP and nowhere to go but up.

He can’t possibly disintegrate. James is too powerful of a physical specimen and too talented athletically to backslide.

However, the scariest fraction of his game is that he has seemingly stood still. Without a championship, there has been no progression. LBJ’s individual game has repeatedly heightened, while his franchises have continued to sputter.

His third MVP award forces the issue of him to be named with all of the greatest players ever witnessed on the hardwood. How he finishes this season will either be the staple that keeps him in good company or the straw that broke the camel’s back.

So, congratulations to LeBron James for another individual accolade.

The fight starts now. The journey starts here.

Only he can decide where it’ll all end up.