Twitter, Le Batard shine light on absurdity of MVP voting
Posted May 6, 2013
LeBron James was voted as the NBA's Most Valuable Player, but he wasn't a unanimous choice. The centerpiece of the Miami Heat's All-Star trio received 120 of the 121 first-place votes, with New York's Carmelo Anthony getting the lone vote of dissent.
This did not sit well with people and set off an absurdist display of social media mob mentality. Welcome to 2013.
The reaction was more interesting than the actual vote itself since no player has ever won the award unanimously. Folks wanted to out and shame the voter for being contrarian, which lead to a rush of media members claiming they were not the culprit. Frank Isola of the New York Daily News floated on Twitter that a "Miami media guy" voted for Anthony.
Somehow the "Miami media guy" accusation morphed in Dan Le Batard, columnist for The Miami Herald and radio host for 790 The Ticket. Never mind that Le Batard had actually written earlier on Sunday that James was "the most valuable basketball player running and jumping and dribbling atop this globe." Never mind that Le Batard doesn't get an MVP vote. Twitter ran with it, so he figured it would be fun to run with it too.
Le Batard proceeded to retweet selected mentions that put him on blast. It was even more hysterical when he posted screengrabs of text messages from various national radio shows looking to book him as a guest to discuss his vote. Whether intentional or not, Le Batard showed just how ridiculously easy it is to troll social media.
So who actually voted for Anthony? Gary Washburn of The Boston Globe outed himself as the lone wolf, arguing Anthony "meant more" to the Knicks and the main reason why New York made the playoffs in the first place. It's a classic "take this player off the team and see how awful they are" theory, where Washburn believes the Heat would still be in the postseason thanks to Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh.
Washburn is entitled to his opinion and everyone else is entitled to disagree. It makes the sports world go round.
Besides, there could have been a worse fallout had Washburn stepped in line with the rest of the voters. Had James been the first unanimous NBA MVP, it would have set off another series of angry debates. The Michael Jordan contingent already has enough problems accepting James' four awards by age 28 compared to His Airness' two. Jordan has five total MVP trophies, but it could be debated that fatigue prevented him from adding a couple more. James will likely match that total and surpass Jordan by the time his career is over.
All of this highlights the awkwardness of most valuable player voting in general. Media members tasked with proclaiming a winner get bogged down in overthinking the entire process. Even when value is taken out of the equation, such as awards for "most outstanding" or simply "player of the year," it has a sneaky way of creeping back into the brain.
That's how the ACC Player of the Year became a hot debate topic. Virginia Tech's Erick Green had a season for the ages, but voters weighed other factors like Shane Larkin's value to Miami and whether or not a player of the year could come from the worst team in the conference.
It's the same reason why Mike Krzyzewski has only won ACC Coach of the Year five times and hasn't been awarded the honor since the1999-2000 season. In the meantime, Duke has finished first in the conference four times and won eight ACC Tournament titles.
Voting for the obvious choice isn't sexy and fun, but sometimes it's the only choice. James was that only choice this season in the NBA.