The Legend of Cecilio Guante
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Anyone Remember This LeBron James Character?

First things first. I can find no fault in anyone selecting Kobe Bryant, Chris Paul or LeBron James as NBA MVP. Apparently, the Lakers star will have the award bestowed upon him later today (nothing like suspense, eh?).

Many in the basketball know unequivocally tag Kobe as the best player in the NBA. He may very well be. You also can’t question those who are putting their support behind Chris Paul.

The MVP thing is a bit of “who’s hot today.” There’s also the age-old question of the true meaning of that mysterious word “valuable.” It’s been debated since the days of the Roman gladiators and continues to divide civilizations (and sports fans) to this day.

All that said, here’s our only issue. LeBron James seems to have disappeared from the discussion of late. Completely. While there are probably countless reasons, part of it is that he is so good, so soon, that expectations of his play are fairly out-of-whack. Accordingly, there has been a bit of sentiment that LeBron has not been at the very top of his game. Fair enough. Let’s assume that’s true. It really shouldn’t matter…in a way.

Here’s what I mean, and the real crux of my beef with LeBron’s fading out of the race (although we’ll see how far he faded, or if, later today). I take the traditional view of valuable in the sense of “how would this team be without this player’s contributions.” As I mentioned back in early February, the Cavs are borderline awful without LeBron. Now, that particular post was written at a time when Eric Snow, Donyell Marshall and Ira Newble were getting mad run. Granted, things have changed slightly.

But, still, who’s LeBron’s running mate? Wally Szczerbiak? Ilgauskas? Boobie Gibson? Please, people. CP3 has fellow All-Star David West by his side with New Orleans. West poured in 30 points and grabbed nine boards in game one against the defending champs. Kobe has Gasol, Fisher, Odom, and a significantly more talented supporting cast right down the line (than does LeBron).

Take away Paul, James or Bryant from any of their respective teams and the results would be frightening. That’s a given. However, without James, the team in Cleveland is startlingly poor. He carries that team. He carries that franchise. In many ways, he carries that city. It doesn’t mean he should definitely be the MVP, but he still certainly deserves to be in the conversation. That’s alls we’re sayin…

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  1. Carolyn

    May 6, 2008 at 9:25 am

    Well said. A big thank you from Cleveland.

  2. Anonymous

    May 6, 2008 at 10:24 am

    Give it time and Erie’s Scribe could be the one who carries the city of Cleveland.

  3. P-Cat

    May 6, 2008 at 11:04 am

    Good point. And you’re right. Cleveland is a one-man team right now and without him, they’d be winning at about 40%.

    I also think giving Kobe the award has something of the “Lifetime Achievement” award to it. He’s never gotten it and that had to be rectified. So this year was as good as any.

  4. Harvey Bars

    May 6, 2008 at 12:20 pm

    I agree 100%. What would LeBron do if he had Chandler/West/Peja or Odom/Bynum/Gasol? Paul and Kobe are outstanding, but Cleveland without LBJ would have a hard time competing with Idaho Stampede. Would D-West, Boobie Gibson, Wally, Ben Wallace, and Z scare anyone?

  5. Cecilio's Scribe

    May 6, 2008 at 1:07 pm

    wow, it’s kinda nice to get people agreeing. still suffering from all the backlash of those Spurs fans last week…

  6. Matt

    May 6, 2008 at 3:08 pm

    He doesn’t have the rings yet, but Lebron is in the Shaq/MJ stratosphere. He should win it every year, but he’ll only win it when nobody else resembles a candidate. Let’s just hope he gets the same motivation from losing.

  7. Clinton

    May 6, 2008 at 3:43 pm

    By this logic Kobe should of won MVP two years in a row.

  8. Johnny Utah

    May 7, 2008 at 1:16 am

    Lebron’s been hurt by the, what-have-you-done-lately for me bug. CP3 is ESPN mag, Kobe is SI, Lebron is Sporting News.

  9. Crucifictorious

    May 7, 2008 at 3:54 am

    Excellent points. Not sure if you’re familiar with the basket-blog award voting (over the course of the season, about 40 bloggers voted every two weeks on MVP), but the results support your conclusion; LeBron was the leader in six out of 11 surveys, while no other player topped more than three biweekly polls. However, LBJ faded in the last five weeks as CP3, Kobe, and even KG passed him on bloggers’ ballots.

    However, if the MVP was really awarded for a player’s “entire season of work,” LBJ would have been the convincing winner–at least, when it came to basket-bloggers.

  10. Cecilio's Scribe

    May 7, 2008 at 7:50 am

    good stuff, crucifictorious.

  11. FilteringCraig

    May 7, 2008 at 8:47 am

    Of course, being a Clevelander, I agree with you.

    The really big issue I take with this process is KG. How is it that the man who became a part of “The Big Three” can be selected above LeBron in the east? They had a great season in Boston, but it is absolutely ridiculous to me to give KG credit for the turnaround there year over year.

    LeBron was a draft pick that turned the entire city of Cleveland around almost by himself. He didn’t need the help of Ray Allen and Paul Pierce, (although he could use their help.)

    While I am not a hater of Bill Simmons, his KG for MVP article was the worst defense of homerism that I have ever seen in my entire life. I have no problems with Kobe and CP3, but I can’t believe that LeBron only got ONE VOTE in the process and finished below KG. That is completely ridiculous.

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