Predicting How Many MVPs LeBron James Will Win in His Career

Eric EdelmanCorrespondent IFebruary 24, 2013

LeBron James can take comfort in knowing he's in the same company as Moses Malone, Larry Bird and Magic Johnson as far having three career MVP awards.

Only four other players have won more: Michael Jordan, Wilt Chamberlain, Bill Russell and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. No matter the era, Most Valuable Player has always held a special esteem.

Many often try to quantify a player's value with varying statistics, but that single award by itself tells us more than a printout of obscure arithmetic or out-of-context data. The MVP award is more a recognition of the eye test than anything else.

LeBron James passes the eye test. You don't need to look at stats to know how critical he is to his team's success. 

He is a hulking, hyper-athletic behemoth of a man whose dominance is undeniable. He is a mismatch for virtually any player who attempts to guard him from a physical standpoint.

His height, weight and speed obliterate any concept of specific positions, and he is a reflection of the recent trend of super-versatile players. 

Considering his career so far, just how many MVPs could LeBron win? Well, it's not an easy question, and there are a number of variables to factor in.


The Rise of Competition

The MVP award is an open contest. Kobe Bryant, Tony Parker, Chris Paul and Kevin Durant are arguably LeBron's biggest current competition. LeBron will have to continue to push himself and his teammates to new levels if he is to be in the running throughout his career. 

The award itself is mostly subjective. As we mentioned before, it is often a reflection of the "eye-test," and history shows that players from bad teams don't take home the award. At 39-14, LeBron doesn't have to worry about that with the Heat.

Parker and Bryant may offer competition (however slight) for the MVP award this season and possibly next, but LeBron will have to ward off a new group of players in the coming years.


LeBron and Father Time

LeBron James is arguably the most gifted athlete in the history of the NBA.

Because his game is predicated on what he does physically, what will happen when he loses a step? At some point, LeBron will have to develop a better mid-range and post game, something we're already seeing glimpses of.

While he still might be a great player, he may not be as dominant as he is now.

Although he's only 28 years old, Kyrie Irving (20), Russell Westbrook (24), James Harden (23), Paul George (22), Kevin Durant (24) and Blake Griffin (23) are all quite a bit younger. Many of the aforementioned players haven't hit their primes yet. 


How Many MVPs?

If there ever was someone who could match Kareem (six MVPs), LeBron is the guy to do it.

LeBron is a supreme floor general and elite scorer rolled into one. He is relied upon to distribute the ball just as much as he is relied upon to score and dominate individually.

He is a superstar in a superstar's market on an incredible all-around basketball team. When you consider that concept in a nutshell, you realize that he could easily win this year's award and the next two after this season. 

Although his hairline may be completely gone sooner rather than later, five MVPs is a conservative estimate.