Who cast a first-place vote for Carmelo Anthony for Most Valuable Player, denying LeBron James the honor of being the first unanimous selection in NBA history?
It was Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe.
“I voted for Carmelo Anthony based on his importance to the New York Knicks, who, if you haven’t been paying attention the past decade, have failed to be relevant,” Washburn writes in Monday’s editions of the Globe. ”When the voting was announced Sunday afternoon, I was flabbergasted to learn I was the lone voter among 121 to not give LeBron a first-place vote, truly believing Anthony, Kevin Durant, Chris Paul, and perhaps even Kobe Bryant would snag a first-place vote or two. Firstly, when I submitted my vote in mid-April, I had no idea I would be the only voter to leave LeBron out of first.”
A report was published on Deadspin saying the vote was cast be Dan LeBetard of the Miami Herald and ESPN, but it was refuted at 9 p.m. LeBetard was not an MVP voter.
“It was probably a writer out of New York. … I get it,” James said after receiving the award Sunday at American Airlines Arena in Miami.
Not New York, ‘Bron.
It was the second time a player fell one vote short of an unanimous MVP selection, with Shaquille O’Neal also receiving 120 of 121 first-place votes in 1999-2000 when Fred Hickman of CNN cast his first-place vote for Allen Iverson.
As a matter of policy, the NBA does not reveal individual votes — a policy that was instituted several years ago. My first-place vote went to James, and I had Anthony second, Kevin Durant third, Tim Duncan fourth and James Harden fifth. There were 15 other voters who listed Anthony as No. 2.
Of the 121 votes, 120 come from writers and broadcasters who cover the league on a regular basis. One vote comes from fan balloting on NBA.com, and that vote went to James.
More from Washburn: “This isn’t the Best Player in the Game award, it’s the Most Valuable Player award, and I think what Anthony accomplished this season was worthy of my vote. He led the Knicks to their first division title in 19 years. That’s a long time ago. Anthony led the league in scoring average and basically carried an old Knicks team to the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference. Amar’e Stoudemire missed most of the season with knee issues, Raymond Felton missed six weeks, and Tyson Chandler dealt with nagging injuries, leaving Anthony, J.R. Smith, and a bunch of lottery picks from the mid-1990s to win 54 games and beat the Miami Heat three times. LeBron can win the MVP award every year. He is that good. And it’s to the point where I put him on a Michael Jordan scale. Jordan won five MVP awards but could have earned 10. In the 1992-93 season, Jordan averaged 32.6 points, 6.7 rebounds, 5.5 assists, and 2.8 steals and shot 49.5 percent from the field. And the MVP award went to Charles Barkley. So my vote had more to do with Anthony and less to do with the dominance of LeBron. If you were to take Anthony off the Knicks, they are a lottery team. James plays with two other All-Stars, the league’s all-time 3-point leader, a defensive stalwart, and a fearless point guard. The Heat are loaded. If LeBron was taken away from the Heat, they still would be a fifth or sixth seed. He is the best player of this generation, a multifaceted superstar with the physical prowess of Adonis, but I chose to reward a player who has lifted his team to new heights.”
James joined Michael Jordan, Bill Russell,Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Wilt Chamberlain as the only players in NBA history to win at least four MVP awards. He joined Russell as the only players to win the award four times in five seasons.
“I tried harder to win defensive player of the year than I did MVP,” James said. “That’s my goal. Coach (Erik Spoelstra) had me guarding every position. We’ll try again next year.”
Here are the full vote results:
2012-13 KIA NBA MOST VALUABLE PLAYER AWARD RESULTS
Player, Team 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th Total
LeBron James, Miami 120 1 - - - 1,207
Kevin Durant, Oklahoma City – 93 21 2 3 765
Carmelo Anthony, New York 1 16 51 27 17 475
Chris Paul, L.A. Clippers - 2 27 39 23 289
Kobe Bryant, L.A. Lakers - 4 12 23 27 184
Tony Parker, San Antonio - 2 7 8 13 86
Tim Duncan, San Antonio – 2 1 12 10 65
James Harden, Houston - – - 7 12 33
Russell Westbrook, OKC - - - 1 6 9
Dwyane Wade, Miami – - 1 - - 5
Stephen Curry, Golden State – - - - 3 3
Kevin Garnett, Boston - - - - 1 1
David Lee, Golden State – - - - 1 1
Ty Lawson, Denver - - - – 1 1
Marc Gasol, Memphis – - - – 1 1
Joakim Noah, Chicago - - - – 1 1