I’m about to catch some heat for this next post.
“Fence sitter!” they’ll scream from the rafters. “LeBron apologist!” will cry anyone who has ever read this site. “Make a damn decision and stick with it!” will shout the purists.
Well, these days, doing so isn’t that simple and I’ll tell you why.
We’re living in a complicated time. Between all the misinformative, political divisive, virus-spreading, mask-shaming, business-closing, curfew-imposing madness that has become modern America, we now face another decision that is equally as controversial.
Who is this year’s NBA MVP: LeBron James or Giannis Antetokounmpo?
As its players prepare for an unprecedented playoff in an isolated bubble in luxurious Central Florida, the Association announced on Tuesday that all voting for regular season awards would include only play up to this point, which means the play that ended three months ago.
If you recall, when we last left our merry band of basketballers, LeBron James was narrowing, if not surpassing, the gap between he and what many considered the MVP favorite, Milwaukee’s Greek Freak. Similarly, the Rookie of the Year race was heating up. Memphis’ Ja Morant had the award all but locked up until New Orleans’ Zion Williamson came back from injury and reminded us all why he was picked number one in the first place.
I have a solution that’s bound to upset the masses but if you think about it, it makes perfect sense. And before you compare me to a coach who likes giving out participation trophies to all his kids, I can assure you this is a far cry from that.
I propose we split the awards and name both Giannis and LeBron NBA Co-MVPs and Ja and Zion Co-Rookies of the year.
Such a decision is not unprecedented. In 1994-95 Grant Hill and Jason Kidd split Co-Rookie of the Year. In 1999-2000, Elton Brand and Steve Francis also shared the award. In 1993, John Stockton and Karl Malone of the Utah Jazz split the All-Star Game MVP. In 2009, former teammates Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal did the same thing. Just because the actual regular season league MVP has never been shared between two players doesn’t mean it should (or could) never happen, especially in the midst of a pandemic that abruptly ended the regular season.
More than any other league, the NBA has proven it is about compromise and a common interest. Splitting the MVP between the two players that are clearly the two best in the league is no soft option.
Giving the award to either player is a perfectly acceptable answer, however, one could also make the argument, which I am, that under these circumstances, the only incorrect answer would be to exclude either of these two for the seasons they had. I could throw a bunch of otherwise meaningless statistics to prove one is more worthy but why bother?
Let’s go with this instead. If I were to ask you which player you would rather have, looking for a loophole the sensible you would logically answer “both.” If I followed up that question with a “But you have to choose just one,” the sensible you would simply answer “Why’s that?”
So, I ask you, why can’t we have both? Let’s be honest. It’d be the least ludicrous thing to happen so far in 2020. Just because it’s never been done before doesn’t mean it can’t happen now. We are not setting any sort of precedent that it must happen in the future. It is perfectly acceptable if not appropriate, however, that it happens this year.
In this era of indecision, I’d like to propose the best decision… which is to vote both LeBron and Giannis co-MVPs. We’re already going to remember this season as one that was shortened by COVID, likely placing an asterisk on whoever wins the championship anyway. So why not award Co-MVPs to put a nice little bow on it?
And when LeBron and Giannis (hopefully) meet in the NBA Finals, we will finally see which one of them is truly more valuable. That’s the trophy they really want anyway.