Interesting article from ESPN about the Kobe vs. LeBron argument for who is MVP.
ESPN: Perplexed myself by the elusive answer to the very question I was asking, I approached LeBron James for his counsel Sunday, seeking guidance for who is going to end up No. 1 and No. 2 on my Most Valuable Player ballot when I submit it to the NBA office on the day after the regular season ends.
The question: In this particular two-man race (and yes, Dwyane Wade, it is a two-man race, as I’ll explain later), what should go down as UDF — the Ultimate Deciding Factor?
If you’re going to choose Kobe Bryant over LeBron, or if you’re going to vote The King ahead of The Mamba, what single thing is going to tip the balance one way or the other? Better record? Better stats? Better job given the relative merits of each of their supporting casts? What they did head-to-head? Which guy’s team would be worse off if you took that particular player off it?
The UDF tends to change from year to year, and I’ve been covering the league long enough to remember the discussion back in 1996-97 when the UDF seemed to be “Isn’t it time that Karl Malone won this award?” — an argument whose validity was ultimately undermined by what happened between him and Michael Jordan in the Finals.
The ever-changing nature of the UDF was a source of frustration for Shaquille O’Neal when I spoke to him about the subject a couple of weeks ago upon his return to Miami. The Big Sewer (OK, that’s one of his old nicknames, but still a favorite — if you can figure out the meaning) seemed frustrated that his legacy will include only one MVP award, or half as many as those won by the guy sitting across from him in the locker room, Steve Nash.