Before the Lakers’ 126-114 Game 1 win over the Denver Nuggets to tip off the Western Conference finals, the league introduced the MVP voting for the 2019-20 season on Friday and James got here in moment to the Milwaukee Bucks’ Giannis Antetokounmpo.
It used to be the fourth time in his 17-year profession that the Lakers’ famous person completed because the runner up for the league’s maximum prestigious particular person award.
“Pissed me off. That’s my true solution,” James mentioned after pumping in 15 issues and 12 assists within the collection opener. “It pissed me off as a result of out of 101 votes, I were given 16 first-place votes. That’s what pissed me off greater than anything else.
“You know, now not announcing that the winner wasn’t deserving of the MVP. But that pissed me off. And I ended moment so much in my profession, both from a championship, and now 4 occasions as an MVP.”
James used to be referencing his NBA finals report of 3-6, a successful share that steadily will get introduced up as the very first thing isolating him and Michael Jordan, who used to be 6-Zero within the championship spherical.
It used to be James’ closest second-place end, with 209 voting issues isolating him and Antetokounmpo. In 2017-18, he completed 227 issues in the back of James Harden. In 2005-06 he completed 236 issues in the back of Steve Nash, and in 2013-14 he completed 341 issues in the back of Kevin Durant.
“I by no means got here into this league to be MVP or to be a champion,” James mentioned. “I’ve at all times simply sought after to recuperate and higher each unmarried day, and the ones issues will handle itself. But some issues is simply out of my hand and a few issues you’ll’t keep watch over. But it pissed me off.”
James took goal on the undefined standards for the award, which leaves voting up for interpretation. The NBA’s annual awards are voted by way of an international panel of 100 media individuals from throughout print and broadcast journalism, plus a unmarried fan vote.
“I do not understand how a lot we’re in reality looking at the sport,” James puzzled aloud concerning the panel.
“I’m now not going to sit down up right here and discuss what the standards will have to be or what it’s. It’s modified over time since I’ve gotten into the league,” he mentioned. “Sometimes it is the most productive participant on the most productive group. Sometimes it is the man with the most productive season statistically. Sometimes … I imply, you do not know. You have no idea. But you already know, Giannis had a hell of a season, I will indubitably say that.”
Antetokounmpo, 25, gained his moment immediately MVP, doing so in equivalent model to James’ first two MVPs: His group led the league in regular-season wins however flamed out within the playoffs.
Antetokounmpo used to be additionally named Defensive Player of the Year this season, becoming a member of Jordan (1987-88) and Hakeem Olajuwon (1993-94) as the one gamers to win that award and MVP in the similar 12 months.
James completed moment to Marc Gasol for Defensive Player of the Year in 2012-13 — the 12 months he gained his fourth MVP — and he mentioned it nonetheless perplexes him.
“I had an opportunity to be Defensive Player of the Year and likewise MVP in the similar season,” he mentioned. “And that 12 months [Marc] Gasol used to be [voted] Defensive Player of the Year, however he made Second Team All-Defense, OK. So that does not make sense. It’s like being MVP of the league however you’re making Second Team All-NBA. That’s once I in reality began to have a look at issues roughly like otherwise. I used to be like, how does that even make any sense?”
Unsurprisingly, James’ teammates took up his case for the award after the sport, too.
“He merits it,” mentioned Anthony Davis. “What he is been in a position to do for our group, the issues he is been doing for my part, on a constant foundation, night-in, night-out, simply it isn’t even a query who merits it.”
The numbers again up Davis’ endorsement. L.A. used to be a plus-173 in 862 mins with James at the courtroom with out Davis within the steady season. In the 677 mins L.A. performed with Davis at the courtroom with out James, the Lakers had been a minus-29, in keeping with analysis from ESPN Stats & Info.
Lakers trainer Frank Vogel additionally advocated for James.
“You guys all understand how I believe about it,” he mentioned. “To me, he is the MVP of the league this 12 months. No disrespect to Giannis. Giannis had an ideal season. He’s an ideal participant. What LeBron does for our group to me is remarkable.”
Before completing his ideas at the topic, James made it transparent his total center of attention stays at the Lakers’ group good fortune.
“I imply, I’m tremendous. Don’t get it twisted,” James mentioned. “I’m completely tremendous. We’re 1-Zero within the Western Conference Finals. I’m completely tremendous. So do not — like I used to be frustrated on the response previous once I noticed it. I’m completely nice now. I’m going again to my room, drink some wine and sleep rather well this night. Let’s now not get it twisted. I’m nice. It’s simply the voting scale is somewhat bizarre to me now and again.”