Lakers' LeBron James Says 'I Should Have More Than 4' MVP Awards

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistMarch 19, 2021

Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James signals to a teammate during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Charlotte Hornets on Thursday, March 18, 2021, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Marcio Jose Sanchez/Associated Press

Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James is chasing his fifth NBA MVP Award this season, but the league's longtime gold standard believes he should already have a few more Maurice Podoloff trophies.

The 17-time All-Star explained his mindset after scoring a game-high 37 points in Thursday's 116-105 victory over the Charlotte Hornets.

"I should have more than four, I believe," James told reporters. "But ... I don't sit around thinking about it or crying about it, or whatever the case may be. I just try to come in the next season and be the MVP and be talked about [for] it again. I bet a lot of the greatest that played this game feel like they should have more as well, if you ask any one of those guys."

James hasn't won an MVP Award since the 2012-13 season, which is almost unfathomable because he's been a top-tier candidate every year other than 2018-19, when he was limited to 55 appearances because of injuries.

The 36-year-old Ohio native has finished fourth or better in the MVP voting every season other than 2018-19 since he last won the trophy. That includes three instances in which he finished second.

Although it's become cliche to say the former Cleveland Cavaliers and Miami Heat standout could win the league's top individual honor every year, it's mostly true, and voter fatigue after James won the award four times in the span of five years could be a factor.

"The NBA MVP is a very political award," Lakers teammate Kyle Kuzma said. "Bron should have been the MVP at least eight, nine, 10 times. Everybody knows that."

James should be viewed as the leading candidate this season. He's averaging 25.8 points, 8.1 rebounds and 8.0 assists while shooting 51.4 percent from the field, and his importance to the Lakers has soared with Anthony Davis sidelined by injuries for the past five weeks and counting.

The four-time NBA champion also leads all players in ESPN's Real Plus-Minus by a considerable margin. His advantage over second-placed Stephen Curry (1.5) in the metric is more than the difference between Curry and sixth-placed Paul George (1.3).

So, while the narrative has once again started to shift with Boston Celtics legend Paul Pierce vouching for James Harden and Giannis Antetokounmpo gaining some traction in his hunt for a third straight Maurice Podoloff Trophy, James should be the player to beat in the MVP race down the stretch.

James said after leading L.A. to the win over Charlotte winning the MVP would be meaningful, especially at this stage of his career:

"It is something. It means something, for sure. I'm not going to sit here and say it doesn't mean anything to me. And for me to be able to win it a few times in my career has always been special. ... Being in the running, hearing my name with some of the best basketball players in the league this year again, it would mean a lot.

"At my age, what I'm able to do, what I've been doing this whole season, what I bring to the table every single night on both sides of the floor, it would mean an unbelievable thing for me, especially at this point in my career."

He'll look to continue building his case Saturday when the Lakers host the Atlanta Hawks at Staples Center.