LeBron James did not hide his true feelings as he settled for another second-place finish in the NBA Most Valuable Player race.
The Los Angeles Lakers star said he was “pissed off” after finding out the NBA crowned Milwaukee Bucks ace Giannis Antetokounmpo as the MVP for the second consecutive season.
It was the fourth time James, a four-time NBA MVP, finished as the runner-up for the highest individual league honor.
“That is my true answer,” James told reporters. “It pissed me off.”
What irked James more, he said, was the fact that he received only 16 first-place votes as Antetokounmpo garnered 85 of the total 101 first-place votes.
Antetokounmpo, whose Bucks suffered a stunning second-round playoff exit to the Miami Heat, dominated the MVP race with 962 points overall, while James collected 753 points.
“I’m not saying the winner was not deserving of the MVP. But that pissed me off. I finished second a lot in my career, from a championship and now 4 times as MVP,” James said.
Throughout his 17-season NBA career, James noted the criteria for choosing the MVP and other award winners vary.
“Sometimes it is the best player on the best team, sometimes it is the guy with the best season statistically. It has changed over the course of my career,” James said.
“Giannis had a hell of a season, I can definitely say that.”
James, though, immediately got consolation for his MVP snub as the Lakers crushed the Denver Nuggets in Game 1 of their best-of-seven Western Conference finals series.
He finished with 15 points, 12 assists, and 6 rebounds in the 12-point win despite a tweaked ankle.
“I’m fine. We’re up 1-0 in the Western Conference finals. I’m pissed off with the reaction earlier, I’m absolutely great now.” – Rappler.com