MIAMI — Calling the honor “overwhelming” but pointing to a “bigger goal,” LeBron James on Saturday became the eighth player in NBA history to win the MVP award three times.
James accepted the trophy and will get to show it off to Miami Heat fans today when he’s presented with the prize again by Commissioner David Stern before Miami faces Indiana in Game 1 of an Eastern Conference semifinal series.
“Heat nation, we have a bigger goal,” James said. “This is very overwhelming to me as an individual award. But this is not the award I want, ultimately. I want that championship. That’s all that matters to me.”
James won the award for the third time in four seasons. Only Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Michael Jordan, Bill Russell, Wilt Chamberlain, Larry Bird, Magic Johnson and Moses Malone have won at least that many MVP trophies. Abdul-Jabbar won six times, Jordan and Russell five times each, Chamberlain four times. Now, they’re the only players with more than James.
“We love you,” Heat President Pat Riley told James during the ceremony. “Not just because of this, but because of what you mean to our organization.”
James received 85 of a possible 121 first-place votes from a panel of sports writers and broadcasters who cover the league, as well as one collective fan vote on NBA.com.
James credited several of the league’s best players for being part of his inspiration to play at the highest level.
“We do not take LeBron James for granted, not here n this organization,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said.