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Posted at 04:45 PM ET, 04/18/2012

LeBron James: ‘It would mean a lot’ to win third MVP


King James is at the top of his game and the Heat are closing in on the top spot in the Eastern Conference. (Ray Stubblebine - REUTERS)
LeBron James is enjoying another MVP-caliber season. And this month, you’d be hard-pressed to find another player who is consistently putting up numbers that rival those of the Miami Heat star.

The April line: 29.6 points per game, 6.5 rebounds, 4.9 assists, 1.7 steals

Not too shabby, and in a season marked by massive scoring explosions from several of the league’s brightest stars, the guy playing his best down the stretch could be the one to emerge from the pack with the MVP award.

If James ends up being that player — which would give him his third MVP trophy — he would not complain.

“It would mean a lot, honestly, it would mean a lot," James told ESPN.com this week. "If I'm able to win it this year it would be very humbling knowing the caliber of guys who have won it three times.”

Those guys include Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (6 MVPs), Michael Jordan (5), Bill Russell (5), Wilt Chamberlain (4), Magic Johnson (3), Larry Bird (3) and Moses Malone (3). That’s some pretty elite company, and at 27, James would be the fastest player to claim three awards after Abdul-Jabbar.


Kevin Durant is right there with LeBron. (Jeffrey Phelps - AP)
“I remember me being a little, scrawny guy from Akron, Ohio, and watching so many greats either watching games, knowing and loving the history of the game and seeing the guys who have paved the way for myself,” James said. “I’ve always respected that. I’ve always respected the talent that came before me.”

With injuries keeping Kobe Bryant and Kevin Love off the court in recent weeks, James’ top competition looks like Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant who has his team atop the Western Conference.

Here’s how they stack up side by side this season:

James: 27.1 points, 7.9 rebounds, 6.3 assists, 1.9 steals, 0.8 blocks

Durant: 27.8 points, 7.9 rebounds, 3.5 assists, 1.4 steals, 1.2 blocks

The key distinction between James and the three-time MVP crowd, of course, is a ring. All seven won at least one championship during their distinguished careers.

But maybe three will be the magic number for LeBron — both Chamberlain and Malone won their third MVP in the same season they won their first title.

Follow us: @MattBrooksWP | @CindyBoren

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Is Kevin Love a legitimate NBA MVP candidate?

By  |  04:45 PM ET, 04/18/2012

 
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