Updated NBA MVP Odds: Can Kobe Bryant Usurp LeBron James' Throne?

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Updated NBA MVP Odds: Can Kobe Bryant Usurp LeBron James' Throne?
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Early in the season, the race to the 2013 NBA MVP appeared certain to come down to the final few weeks.

LeBron James laid that theory to rest after tearing through February with unprecedented efficiency.

With the Miami Heat now riding a franchise-record 18-game winning streak, they have all but locked up the best record in the Eastern Conference, only furthering James' runaway MVP candidacy.

The award might look like a lock for James, but the Los Angeles Lakers' recent run has Kobe Bryant firmly back in the MVP conversation.

Amazingly, Bryant has only won one regular season MVP award over the span of his entire illustrious career. He'd have to keep the 40-point games flowing, but winning the MVP this year essentially could be a career recognition award and a mea culpa from voters for years past.

Bryant isn't the only MVP candidate rising as we approach the home stretch. To be on this list, a player either has to be the undisputed best player on his team, one of the league leaders in a major statistical category or on a team with one of the best records in the league.

What will it take for Bryant or another superstar to sneak up in the final few weeks of the season and snatch the MVP from James' grasp? Let's find out.

Note: Statistics and records are current through games played on March 10, except where otherwise noted. See last week's rankings here

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