The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

Sports

May 6, 2013

James wins MVP, 1 vote shy of unanimously

(Continued)

Miami hosts Chicago in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinals on Monday night, when NBA Commissioner David Stern will present James with the trophy, largely just for the benefit of giving Heat fans a pregame reason to cheer.

"My ultimate goal is to win an NBA championship," James said. "That's what I was brought here for. That's why I signed here as a free agent in 2010. It wasn't to win MVP trophies. It was to win a championship — and win multiple championships — and that's still my No. 1 priority."

James averaged 26.8 points, 8.0 rebounds and 7.3 assists this season, leading Miami to a league-best 66-16 record while shooting a career-high 56 percent. Only Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (six), Michael Jordan (five), Bill Russell (five) and Wilt Chamberlain (four) have as many MVP awards, only Russell won four in a five-year span, and only Abdul-Jabbar went back-to-back twice, like James did with trophies in 2009 and 2010 and now again in 2012 and 2013.

Sunday's ceremony was filled with tributes and even some laughs, like when James' younger son Bryce posed for photographers on stage while his father was speaking and older brother LeBron Jr. looked on — and when James' fiancee, Savannah Brinson, appeared on a congratulatory video and called him "Honeybunny."

"I know you're embarrassed when I call you that," Brinson said. "But whatever."

Over on the far side of the dais, set up on the floor of the Heat home court, James' teammates roared in hysterics — and Udonis Haslem made sure James knew that they were talking about Brinson's pet name for her future husband. The 14 other Heat players were dressed casually in team garb, while James donned a dapper suit for the festivities.

As he did on Saturday, a day after it became widely known that the award would be his again, James thanked his teammates.

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