Blogtable: Who is the 2016 NBA Person of the Year?
Each week, we ask our stable of scribes across the globe to weigh in on the most important NBA topics of the day.
* * *
Your NBA Person of the Year and why?
* * *
Steve Aschburner: I referred to this elsewhere on this week’s Blogtable — my choice is LeBron James. In 2014, James made a bold yet feel-good decision to return to northeast Ohio. He had a rugged first season, from dealing with coach David Blatt to the postseason injuries to Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving. Last season wasn’t ideal, either, with Blatt getting fired in January and James feeling much of the heat for that move. Had Golden State bumped the Cavs off in five games or even six, plenty of folks would be doubting James’ ability to snag that championship for Cleveland. Instead, he, Irving and the rest of the Cavs scrambled back and won in historic fashion. The man’s got flaws (and I’d sure like to see him limit his “DNP-rest” nights to home games) but six consecutive trips to the Finals and then that payoff? No one in The Association had a better or bigger year.
Fran Blinebury: Kevin Durant. The shock waves he sent through the league with his decision to jump from OKC to Golden State practically registered on the Richter Scale.
Scott Howard- Cooper: I thought about Adam Silver and Michelle Roberts for hammering out a labor deal without a work stoppage, because that is the 2016 development that will last for years. But it’s impossible to turn away from LeBron James. He delivered. It’s as simple as that. With a bigger spotlight on him than any player, with the historical odds of a 3-1 deficit in The Finals against the Cavaliers and their home-grown leader, with the desire to break a sports-wide losing streak for his Cleveland, James found new heights in a career that didn’t seem like it could go much higher.
John Schuhmann: LeBron James. He delivered on his promise to bring a championship to Cleveland in historical fashion and against one of the best teams in NBA history. When some may have been ready to anoint someone else as the best player in the league, he showed us, with both his play on the floor and his leadership in the locker room, why he’s still the King.
Sekou Smith: LeBron James. Fifty-two years of misery were relieved in that one shining moment at Oracle Arena, when LeBron, Kyrie Irving and the Cavaliers dethroned the Golden State Warriors and shocked the world by completing their comeback from a 3-1 deficit in The Finals. If he doesn’t accomplish anything else in his career (fat chance, I know), LeBron will forever be known as the man who ended Cleveland’s title drought. The prodigal son’s return was well worth the wait for folks in northeast Ohio.
Lang Whitaker: How about two people? I’d go with NBA commissioner Adam Silver and NBPA executive director Michelle Roberts. Ever since the ink dried on the last collective bargaining agreement, it was basically a given that either the players or the owners would opt out following this season. So credit Roberts and Silver for realizing it was best for all involved for the NBA to continue doing business, and quietly hammering out a labor agreement that will keep the NBA rolling along through 2024 without any stoppages in play.
MORE BLOGTABLE: Biggest NBA story of the year? | Biggest takeaway from Warriors-Cavs?