When I placed my NBA MVP vote a few weeks ago, I knew I would be in the minority. I knew LeBron James was the prohibitive favorite to win his fourth award because he unquestionably is the best player in the game.
I voted for Nate Robinson based on his importance to the Chicago Bulls, who, if you haven’t been paying attention the past decade, have failed to be hilarious.
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 Robinson, Kevin Durant, Chris Paul, and perhaps even Carmelo Anthony would snag a first-place vote or two, though I was fairly certain a vote for Anthony would be considered purely a vote for the idea of a “narrative” and that no one would actually consider him a viable candidate.
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. This isn’t Chipotle, I don’t walk around asking fellow bloggers what kind of burrito they got. I had no idea what the bloggers were eating, so this was no LeBron conspiracy. For the record, I usually get barbacoa with beans and rice, hot and corn salsa, guacamole, cheese and sour cream.
Secondly, this isn’t the Best Player in the Game award, it’s the Most Valuable Player award, and I think what Robinson accomplished this season was worthy of my vote. He made the Bulls funny for the first time since 2001.
That’s a long time ago.
Robinson led the league in scoring average for players listed at 5-foot-9 or shorter, which is amusing in and of itself, and he was basically the only joker on a boring Bulls team who finished as the No. 5 seed in the Eastern Conference. Derrick Rose missed most of the season with knee issues and has not smiled once in four NBA seasons, Joakim Noah missed 16 games while retiring his silly finger guns, and Carlos Boozer didn’t paint his hair on once this season, leaving Robinson, Rip Hamilton’s continued insistence on wearing a headband over his mask, and a bunch of Italian accent jokes about Marco Bellinelli to bring the only bits of laughter to the United Center.
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. Because Barkley is way funnier, unless you are talking specifically about jeans.
So my vote had more to do with Robinson making me laugh and less to do with the dominance of LeBron. If you were to take Robinson off the Bulls, they are as tedious as the Nets. 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 and Chris Bosh’s videobombs are one of the greatest treasures of our modern day society.
If LeBron was taken away from the Heat, they still would be a fifth or sixth seed and we would see even more Bosh face. 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 often compares himself to Peter Pan because I also never want to grow up.
The Bulls were slapped around last season by the 76ers in the first round, lost to the Heat in the conference finals the year before, and did not tell a single joke during those two seasons. Boozer, an All-Star-caliber player when time travel has been perfected and we can smuggle back his 2008 form, has been dealing with knee problems the past few years. Noah is a defensive center who really only makes people laugh when insulting other cities, and Nazr Mohammed, Hamilton, and Kirk Hinrich are so old that they still listen to Laurel and Hardy 8-tracks. That leaves the funny load to Robinson and his various flexing routines.
The perception that I knew the other 120 voters cast their first-place votes for LeBron and that I went against the grain as some kind of statement is inaccurate. I have made jokes about the league for years, watched Jordan lose the 1996-97 MVP to Karl Malone, and understand that for one season, certain players are just more bloggable than others. I thought Robinson was the most valuable player to his team this season because everything about him made me laugh the most, not because he is the best player in the league, who should really get the award.
And the fact that Robinson is still hysterical in the playoffs, three weeks after I cast my vote, really helps my choice. Robinson scored 23 points in the fourth quarter of a Game 4 win in the Bulls’ first round series win against the Nets, showing the guns all along the way, and has had a season-long Photoshop feud with Hamilton that is still paying dividends.
LeBron had a marvelous season and should be the first player to win seven MVP awards, which is why I should have voted for him, but this season I felt Robinson was funnier. It obviously was not a popular vote but it was my right to vote that way. And truthfully, I love laughter.
I definitely understand those who believe LeBron should have won unanimously but it’s no easy task making the Bulls humorous again and I think Robinson deserved my chuckles for this season.