Chris Paul and Kobe Bryant have been fighting for position in the MVP race, just like their respective teams — the Hornets and Lakers — have been battling it out atop the tight Western Conference.
ESPN: A season like no other has had an MVP race like no other.
The hot names early in the season were Kevin Garnett (for Boston’s 29-3 start), Dwight Howard (for Orlando streaking on the road) and LeBron James (for being LeBron).
Then as it dawned on everyone that the Lakers and the Hornets were for real, and might not fade as in seasons past, two more names broke through: Kobe Bryant and Chris Paul.
From there, it became a question of what voters (and fans) valued most:
• Garnett’s defense and leadership toward the biggest team improvement in NBA history;
• Howard’s impersonation of Shaq … and Superman;
• LeBron’s amazing numbers in the face of team turmoil;
• Paul’s mastery of the point guard position and firm control of the surprising Hornets;
• Bryant’s key role in leading the Lakers while holding the unofficial title of Best Two-Way Player in the Game.
In the end, KB24 prevailed narrowly over CP3 on ESPN.com’s ballots, as many expect to happen in the official voting results. Bryant’s supporters made clear their vote was not a “lifetime achievement award,” but at the same time, many have wondered how long he must wait to win. Since Paul is just 22 years old, and James is only 23, presumably their time will come, some would say. And Garnett took home his MVP trophy four years ago.