LeBron James won his fourth NBA MVP trophy on Sunday, falling just one first-place vote shy of being a unanimous selection. LeBron received 120 of the 121 possible first-place votes and, during Sunday’s award ceremony at American Airlines Arena, he speculated that a New York writer was the one who voted for Carmelo Anthony over him.
“It’s probably a writer out of New York that didn’t give me the vote,” James said, via ESPN.com. “I know the history between the Heat and the Knicks. So I get it.”
He guessed wrong.
Anthony’s lone vote was cast by the Boston Globe’s Gary Washburn. LeBron assumed it was a New York writer fueling the rivalry between the Knicks and Heat, but the Celtics and Heat dislike each other just as much. However, Washburn attempted to explain his decision — one that he says had nothing to do with rivalries or a personal agenda — in a column on Monday morning.
…this isn’t the Best Player in the Game award, it’s the Most Valuable Player award, and I think what Anthony accomplished this season was worthy of my vote. He led the Knicks to their first division title in 19 years.
That’s a long time ago.
Anthony led the league in scoring average and basically carried an old Knicks team to the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference. Amar’e Stoudemire missed most of the season with knee issues, Raymond Felton missed six weeks, and Tyson Chandler dealt with nagging injuries, leaving Anthony, J.R. Smith, and a bunch of lottery picks from the mid-1990s to win 54 games and beat the Miami Heat three times.
Washburn sternly opposed the notion that he voted for Carmelo simply to go against the grain, insisting he did not go around asking the other voters who they were voting for. He also said he was surprised that he was the only person who didn’t give LeBron a first-place vote, which seems hard to believe when more than 100 other people did it. His argument is simply that Anthony has made the Knicks relevant again.
This isn’t the first time it has seemed like a first-place vote given to a player for no reason and it certainly won’t be the last. It happens every year in almost every sport. That being said, the NBA does not reveal the names of voters. Kudos to Washburn for coming forward and trying to validate his decision.