Lebron James, Michael Jordan & MVP Voters Fatigue

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Updated: January 8, 2014
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I’ve actually had the idea behind this story for a few years, and I got the idea courtesy of something basketball analyst and former coach Jeff Van Gundy said during a Miami Heat telecast after the 2011-2012 NBA season. Van Gundy was asked a question about Derrick Rose winning the MVP over Lebron James the prior season, and Van Gundy said he was a huge fan of Derrick Rose, but for anyone to think that LeBron James was not the best player in the league they had to be crazy. 

The next thing he said is what really got my mind going. He said it reminded him of the NBA in the 80’s and 90’s, because he always knew Michael Jordan was the best basketball player on Earth, and how Jordan did not win 10 straight MVP’s made no sense to him. He said the reason was because of voters fatigue and everyone in the league knew Jordan was the best but that voters fatigue was a real thing and that LeBron would be the next person to experience that. I am starting to see what Van Gundy was talking about.


I read a story on another site earlier detailing their top 12 candidates in order for the MVP race as of today and LeBron was 2nd and Kevin Durant was 1st. I am a huge Kevin Durant fan and I think he is the second best player in the Association and is the next one up after LeBron James. But LeBron James is the best player in basketball and that is not even up for debate. Charles Barkley referred to LeBron as a “weapon of mass destruction” and he’s absolutely correct. Lebron is amazing, but voter fatigue may start to set in. 

So I started doing my research on the MVP’s throughout the Jordan era and who won the MVP’s during Jordan’s all-time great career with the Bulls, and I think there are two reasons Jordan did not win at least 4 more MVP’s in his career, the love and greatness of Magic Johnson in the late 80’s, and voters fatigue during his Bulls run and absence. 

Michael Jordan won his first NBA MVP in the 1987-1988 NBA season, but lost out the next two years to Magic Johnson. The numbers in the seasons Jordan lost to Magic seem to favor Jordan. In 1988-1989 season, Magic Johnson averaged 22 points, 12 assist, 8 rebounds, 4 turnovers and shot 50% from the field. Across the board those numbers are amazing. 

That same season Michael Jordan averaged 32 points, 8 assist, 8 rebounds, 3 turnovers and shot 53% from the field. Crazy numbers from Jordan just like the numbers from Magic. Magic had better assist numbers, but averaged one more turnover per game and shot the ball just a bit worse than Jordan. That season was basically a toss-up vote. Because the argument that Magic deserved it because his team was better makes no sense because the season prior the Los Angeles Lakers finished first in the west and Jordan’s Bulls finished 3rd in the East 7 games back, yet Jordan won the MVP that season. 

In the 1989-1990 season, Magic Johnson averaged 20 points, 11 assist, 6 rebounds, 3 turnovers and shot 50% from the field. His numbers took a slight dip in points per game, rebounds and assist, but still very good numbers. 

That same season Jordan averaged 34 points, 6 assist, 7 rebounds 3 turnovers and 52% from the field. Other than Jordan’s points per game, he also took a slight dip in his numbers across the board. Both the Lakers and the Bulls made the playoffs so if just looking at the numbers, Jordan had a better statistical season than Magic. But Magic took the trophy home that season. Was this a one last hurrah MVP for Magic? 

No idea, but Jordan had great numbers both those seasons and did not win the MVP. Magic was the more popular player, already a legend and playing on the legendary Lakers team. The Bulls had yet to win any of their trophies at that point so maybe that played a role in it.


Jordan went on to win the next two MVP’s and lost out in the 1993 season to Charles Barkley. Barkley is one of the greatest power forwards to ever play the game and he has said on numerous occasions Michael Jordan is the greatest player of all time. But he beat out Jordan for an MVP. Barkley’s numbers that season were 25 points, 5 assist, 12 rebounds, 3 turnovers and 52 % from the field. The double-double alone is pretty special, then add to the fact that Barkley’s Phoenix Suns team finished with the best record in the west and you can make a good case for why Barkley was the MVP that season.

Jordan’s numbers in the 93 season were 32 points, 5.5 assist, 7 rebounds, 3 turnovers and 50% shooting. Barkley definitely had the better numbers. Barkley’s team had the better regular season and Barkley had the better regular season numbers. Not debating that. But in the NBA Finals that season Jordan’s Bulls team beat Barkley’s team 4-2 to win the NBA championship and Jordan lifted his third straight Finals MVP. Jordan was clearly the better player overall but Barkley had a better statistical season. 

The next two seasons Jordan was mostly gone playing baseball or just starting to get his game back when he finally did return to the Bulls in his number 45 jersey. Hakeem “The Dream” Olajuwon and The Admiral David Robinson won the trophies in those missing Jordan years. In the next 3 years after Robinson won his trophy, Jordan won 2 of the 3 MVP awards, losing on to Karl Malone in the 1996-1997 season. The same Karl Malone that lost two Finals to Michael Jordan while Jordan lifted another two Finals MVP’s.


In any of the seasons Jordan did not win the MVP trophies against Magic Johnson, Charles Barkley or Karl Malone, Jordan was the best player in the league, but the numbers favored the player that did win. 

It might be the same fate that LeBron James will succumb to. As of right now Kevin Durant is averaging 29 points a game, 8 rebounds 5 assist, 2 steals and 1 block per game and shooting 49% from the field.

Bron is averaging 25 points, 7 rebounds, 6 assist, and 1 steal per game and shooting an absurd 60% from the field. But people are accusing Bron and his team of coasting. If those are his coasting numbers than there is no reason for us to ever consider anyone else for MVP. But that’s not how the MVP voting works, and if Durant keeps up these numbers he may win the MVP over LeBron just like Derrick Rose did in 2011 season.

Courtesy of gammalabs.net

Bron is this greatest basketball player since Jordan, and there is no way he is not the MVP every season since about 2008. But just like His Airness before him, Bron is just too great for his own good, and this season may be the second season we see LeBron not win the trophy, but we all know that without question he is the greatest basketball player alive. 

Sometime being great has it’s shortcomings, but if he lifts his 3rd straight NBA title just like Jordan did during his first 3-peat, I doubt King James will care. And rightly so.

Courtesy of thebitbag.com

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One Comment

  1. Kyle

    September 4, 2014 at 10:31 PM

    Hey I loved your post and I was wondering if you could give me advice about how to write. I have a blogger account that I started last Friday and I am looking for feedback so that I can continue to improve. My blog is called “The Sports Blog” and I would be very grateful if you could take 5 minutes to read one of my posts. My google account is Kyle Brown by the way.

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