Race to the MVP Mailbag: Week 4
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Dec. 1, 2006 -- Maybe it dates back to the fact his mug was on the cover of Sports Illustrated when he was only a teenager.

It could have something to do with his high school games being shown on national television or the infamous Hummer H2 he used to drive.

Somewhere between picking up the nickname the “Chosen One” and getting crowned “King”, hoop heads around the world began hating on Cavaliers superstar LeBron James.

And for the life of me, I can’t figure out why.

Obviously he has had a life that most of us can only dream about. But last I checked, he worked his butt off to reach his full potential on the court and deserves the fame and fortune that come along with it.

Not a lot has been given to LBJ. He has gone out and earned it.

I've been amazed this week by the hundreds of e-mails I've received bashing James as if he is a media creation instead of a supremely talented individual who at this pace will end up at the Basketball Hall of Fame when he hangs up his Nikes.

"LeBron should change his name to LeHype. I know you guys want him to win MVP but at least make it look fair."
- James in Kentucky

"Half the game of Basketball is DEFENSE. LeBron is a bad defender, so much so that the Cavaliers hide his weaknesses on the defensive side. He is not worthy of number one until he stops gambling and being a liablity on defense. Are you one of those journalists who only believe in stats?"
- Too Short in Seattle

"Well I thought that MVP isn't about numbers, right? Kobe didn't win it last year and his numbers were great. It's just that Golden boy James has so much "protection" - and it's a shame that MVP voting isn't about value but popularity."
- Murdoch in Czech Republic

"LeBron is No. 1 ... have you lost your mind? Has LeBron learned how to play defense yet?"
- TP in Dallas

"You should be embarrassed for having LeBron first on your list. People are hating on this kid because of all the hype he gets."
- Mike in Brooklyn

"Maurice, I respect your opinion, but I must say you are making a very serious error by placing LeBron at No. 1! Please don't just jump on the LBJ wagon."
- Ryan in Kansas

"LeBron is the Peyton Manning of basketball. If you digest Peyton's career he has played nine key games in his life and has zero wins. He'll win a championship when the world becomes flat again and LeBron is exactly like him. In other words, when their careers are over each will have plenty of numbers, stats and records but no rings."
- Ric in Florida

Here is a quick reminder of some of the things James has accomplished in his NBA career so far:

  • He became the first Cavalier and, at the age of 19, the youngest player in NBA history to be named Rookie of the Year
  • At 20 years and 20 days, he was the youngest player to record a triple-double
  • He was the youngest to score 50 points in one game (20 years, 80 days)
  • He was also the youngest player in NBA history to win an All-Star Game MVP (21 years, 55 days) and be named to the All-NBA first team (21 years, 138 days).

    I could go on and on about him being one of only four players to ever average at least 30 points, seven boards and six assists for a season or about his triple-double in his playoff debut or the 10-and-counting Cavaliers records he holds.

    Of all people to have to defend about their greatness, I thought James would be last on the list. Maybe Michael Jordan went through the same thing, too.

    Time to respond to your e-mails.

    Jeremy in Wisconsin: Being a huge Laker fan, I am pleased to see that there is a Laker in the top 10 for MVP. The problem is you have the wrong one. I am a huge Kobe fan and have loved him since he entered the league but at this point in the season Lamar Odom is the reason for this team's success. Now don't get me wrong, as the season progresses Kobe will surpass Odom but for now, Odom deserves that spot. Maybe just switch the two for now.

    Brooks: Jeremy, after watching Kobe torch the Jazz for 52 in three quarters last night Kobe will be switching spots in the rankings but instead of moving down the list he will be going up.

    Surik in California: Please don't put Portland's Zach Randolph in the Race to the MVP again or I might have a heart attack.

    Brooks: Despite running the risk of being sued by you for causing your heart attack, if he continues to put up 25 points and 10 rebounds, and if Portland doesn't fall apart, Zach will continue to be ranked.

    Tim in Utah: I'm a huge Spurs fan. I want to hear your opinion on what do you think it will take Tim Duncan and Co. to do to win the title this year?

    Brooks: Personally, I think the Spurs are perfect the way they are. Superstar player, great role players, great bench, great coaching. As long as they are healthy, a title is within grasp.

    Jeff in Colorado Carmelo Anthony should be much higher on your list. He is even playing "D" better than ever. In a couple of games he was assigned to tough covers. Not switches or loose ball situations, but actual stopper-type resposibilties. Also he is No. 2 in the league in steals behind Ron "Tru Warrior/can't sell CD's" Artest. Not bad.

    Brooks: I agree Carmelo is an underrated defender. As far as Artest goes, all of my friends and family listen to hip hop and I don't know a single person who owns his album. Heck, I haven't even heard a single on the radio yet.

    Andmay in Utah: Man, you're treating Deron Williams like Jay-Z did Nas (fell from Top 10 to not mentioned at all). And for what? He's practically closed the gap on Chris Paul statistically, and he's hit clutch shots in almost every Jazz victory. They'd be below .500 without him.

    Brooks: Andmay, this is the e-mail of the week, well done with the Jay-Z-Nas reference. Deron is great, I just think that right now Carlos Boozer is the MVP of that team. Which team would suffer more - the Jazz without Deron or the Hornets without Paul?

    Momin in Washington: I really like the way you rank players. My favorite player is Ray Allen hands down. Do you think that he with the help of Rashard Lewis and Luke Ridnour can lead Seattle to the championship?

    Brooks: Thanks for the kind words and to answer your question, not a chance in the world. The West is way too deep and the Sonics are still a player away from being serious contenders.

    Joe in Canada: How bout a little love for Kevin Martin? The guy has been putting up ridiculous numbers, and is a big reason the Kings are playing well.

    Brooks: Despite his ugly shot, K-Mart is enjoying a career season. There is nothing not to like about his game right now. We'll see if he can crack the top 20 on Tuesday.

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