The MVP Double Standard
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J.C. Smith
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 07, 2008 2:04 am    Post subject: The MVP Double Standard

As we head into the final stretch of the season, the MVP discussions have began to heat up. As they have, one thing has become painfully obvious. Whether he has earned these honors or not, he will not receive them. It's not my place to decide if Kobe Bryant, Lebron James, Chris Paul, or Kevin Garnett is most deserving of this award. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion. Each of those players have staked a rightful claim to the award with their play this season. What is unfortunate though is that one of the favorites to win this award is not being given a fair and objective chance at winning it.

Prior to Colorado, and the sexual assault allegations, Kobe was the NBA's golden child. Similar to Lebron James the media had latched on to him early. A boy wonder with a squeeky clean image. That image would forever be shattered after those allegations. The story then became that of a fallen hero. Like a greek tragedy, people were entertained by the idea of an ego-driven star who had broken up a dynasty, driven out it's other stars and Hall of Fame Coach. Kobe the villain sold newspapers and improved ratings. That is not to say that he has not deserved the criticism he has received. There is one question that deserves to be asked though. Is it truly possible that Kobe was once a model citizen and a great guy, only to one day decide do a complete role reversal and turn into the Anti-Christ? A much more feasible explanation is that he was never as clean, or as evil as his media portrayal.

The reality is that journalists are just people. They take sides. They become offended if they are snubbed by a player, and sometimes they can be vindictive. Yet the NBA's Most Valuable Player award is determined by the sports media. Two seasons ago Steve Nash walked away with MVP honors for the second straight season, joining an elite cast of multiple time winners. Nash had a great season, and kept the Suns afloat without the injured Amare Stoudemire. Kobe Bryant would finish fourth in MVP voting despite averaging 35.4 points, 5.3 rebounds, 4.5 assists and 1.8 steals. His 35.4 points was the most the league had seen in nineteen seasons, since Michael Jordan averaged 37.1 in 1986-87, and he led that Lakers team to a 45-37 record and pushed them to the brink of an upset, going up 3-1 against the Phoenix Suns in the playoffs.

Allow me remind you of his roster at that time. That team featured Smush Parker, Kwame Brown and Luke Walton as 3/5 of it's starting lineup. Kwame Brown is stinking it up on one of the leagues worst teams and Smush Parker has been on paid vacation for most of this season by the league's worst team. Luke Walton had his break out season the next year, but averaged just 5 points and 3.6 rebounds that season. To have led that team to 45 wins and the brink of an upset was truly an accomplishment for Kobe. Say what you will about the Cavaliers supporting cast this season, but they are innumerably better than Kobe's Lakers team two seasons ago.

Yet 22 members of the media didn't even feel that Kobe was worthy of a top five vote. The 125 man panel gave him 22 first place votes, 11 second place, 18 third place, 22 fourth place and 30 fifth place votes. If cornered with the question of why Kobe Bryant failed to receive more two votes the de facto response were that his Lakers team simply wasn't good enough. The MVP usually goes to the best player on one of the best teams. Okay, I can respect that. The media backed up that notion last season by voting Dirk Nowitzki as the league's MVP.

What I don't understand is that many members of the same media have suddenly done a 180 on the criteria of MVP this season. Kobe has taken more of a backseat role this season. He has allowed his teammates to do more, and in the process the Lakers have become a better team. Even before the acquisition of Pau Gasol, the Lakers were the top team in the West prior to Bynum's knee injury. His 28.3 points, 6.1 rebounds, 5.3 assists and 2.0 steals is more impressive than the 24.6 points, 8.9 rebounds, 3.4 assists and 0.8 blocks that Nowitzki posted en route to the MVP last season.

Yet, there is an alarming trend in the media. Suddenly they have decided that the old criteria didn't make much sense after all. In recent weeks the Lebron for MVP talk has picked up. The Cavs are 35-27 and in 4th place in the much weaker Eastern Conference. The Lakers are 43-18 and second in the Western Conference, despite battling injuries all season. Let's put that into perspective. Despite playing in the much weaker conference, and thus having a lighter schedule, the Cavaliers current record would place them as a 10th seed in the west, or two seeds away from the last spot in the playoffs.

ESPN's John Hollinger answered some questions on his choice of Lebron James, followed by Chris Paul as his MVP candidates earlier this week. He began by explaining that 58 of the 82 games are identical between the two conferences and that it shouldn't make a large difference in the win/loss column. I'm sorry John, but that just won't fly. That leaves a whopping 30% of the eason where western conference teams are battling it out with much stiffer competition. Mr. Hollinger knows this well, as his power rankings are determined by a statistical analysis which calculates the Strength of Schedule. According to his own power rankings the Cavs would place as the 15th best team. The Cavs have faced the 18th most difficult schedule in the league this season. The Lakers meanwhile are even with the Mavericks for the 7th most difficult. Of the ten most difficult schedules to date, only three of those teams were in the eastern conference, topped by the Knicks at #4. If the strength of schedule means so little, then why does he weight it so heavily in his standings? In the end he would explain that he felt that Lebron was head and shoulders above the rest of the league right now, and for that reason he would get his vote. If that were the case then why didn't he vote for Kobe two seasons ago?

Kelly Dwyer shared his sentiments in a recent article at Yahoo Sports. He would say in that article that Kobe probably should have been the MVP in the 2005-2006 MVP race, and not have been punished for playing on an otherwise poor team. He would then explain his thoughts of why Lebron has been a better player this season and deserves the award this season. The problem here is that Kelly Dwyer wrote an article two years ago at when he picked Lebron James as his MVP then. Why the change of heart now? Does anyone honestly believe that the Cavs supporting cast is weaker right now than the Lakers was two seasons ago? If next season Kobe averaged 50 points a game beause the rest of his team died in a plane crash but the Lakers struggled, would the criteria change yet again?

Has Lebron really surpassed Kobe as the games best player? If you look at statistics, then a strong case can be made. Lebron outdoes Kobe in just about every statistical ranking at a glance. Lebron averages 2.3 more points, 2 more rebounds and 2.3 more assists per game than Kobe. He also shoots a better field goal percentage and has more blocks. Kobe has a higher free throw and three point percentage, as well as averaging more steals. He does play a couple more minutes per game than Kobe. On the surface it seems like an easy choice if the criteria is purely on who is the better player. Numbers can be deceiving though.
The most important difference is defense. You know, the activity that occurs during the other half of the game. Kobe has been on the all-defensive team seven times in the past eight seasons, including five first team appearances. Lebron meanwhile is an average defender. The interesting thing is that some members of the media have attempted to do the jedi mind trick on us, and convince us that Lebron has turned into a good defensive player. While I agree that his defense has definitely improved, to call him a good defender would be a stretch. Effective Field Goal Percentage is a representation which takes three point baskets into the equation of field goal percentage. Opposing small forwards have shot a 50% eFG against Lebron this season. Meanwhile, Kobe has held opposing shooting guards to a mere 44.1% eFG against him. That's a huge difference.

Next up is rebounding. Both players are good rebounders at their positions. The difference is the positions they play. Kobe plays 77% of his minutes as a shooting guard, and the remaining 23% as a small forward. Meanwhile Lebron plays 73% of his minutes as a small forward, and the remaining 27% as a power forward. Rebounding is primarily a responsibility of forwards, and not guards.

Assists is a no brainer. Lebron is a better passer and more willing passer than Kobe. Kobe leads his team in assists year in and year out though. Over the past seven years Kobe has averaged 5.4 assists per game. His primary role though, is as a scorer. As a scorer, Kobe is second to none. Despite chasing Lebron for the scoring lead this season, Kobe is still the better scorer. His field goal percentage as a result of 74% of his shots being outside shots, as compared ot 61% of Lebron's shots. Kobe shoots 45.8% efG on his jump shots though, as compared to James' 39.3%, that's the difference of 6.5%. The big difference difference here is that Lebron is taking 22.3 shots per game, as compared to just 20.4 by Bryant. That is nearly 7 shots less per game than Bryant took two seasons ago.

At the end of the day you can make a strong argument for either player as the games best. Do you value Lebron's passing or Kobe's defense? What you can not argue though is that Lebron makes his teammates better and that Kobe does not. This is an argument that gets used seemingly any time the two are compared. Apparently averaging more assists equals out to making your teammates better. Nevermind the fact that the triangle is not an assist-friendly offense. Let's just stick to the undeniable facts and compare the teammates of both players. The only player who has shown any significant improvement prior to being traded to play with Lebron are Drew Gooden and Carlos Boozer. Boozer was a rookie the year before Lebron came, and had a decent year with him before heading to Utah. His field goal percentage dropped with Lebron but his scoring average went from 10 to 15.5. They only played together one season. Drew Gooden saw his field goal percentage leap by 4.7% in his first season with Lebron, and his scoring average jumped by 2.8. His scoring would drop back down in later seasons.

Ilgauskus was an all-star before playing with Lebron. He has not shown any improvement. In fact the only career high he can boast since the arrival of Lebron is in blocked shots. What has been most confusing about Lebron's game though is that they have brought in a number of guys who have played absolutely terribly with him. One would have to wonder why Kevin Ollie saw his shooting percentage drop from 45.1% the season before playing with Lebron to 37% in the season playing alongside of him. He was only 31 years of age. Ricky Davis was traded mid-season in Lebron's rookie season. He responded by lifting his shooting percentage by 5.7% and his three point percentage by 2.6%. Eric Snow had averaged 12.1, 12.9 and 10.3 points in his three previous seasons, while shooting 44..2%, 45.2% and 41.3%. He joined Lebron at age 31 and plummeting to 4 points per game on 38.2% shooting, despite playing a 22.8 minutes per game.

The next season they made the moves that were supposed to move them into contention. They brought in Donyell Marshall, who had long been a deadly shooter. He had averaged 11.5 points on 41.6% from beyond the arc the season before, and had shot 40% or better from that range for the past two seasons and routinely averaged in the low teens. Yet in three seasons with the Cavs he never shot better than 35.1% from that range or averaged more than 9.3 points. Damon Jones was also brought in to space the floor. The 29 year old averaged 11.6 points on 43.2% shooting from beyond the arc and 45.6% from the field the season before in Miami. Those numebrs dropped to 37.7% shooting and 6.7 points playing under Lebron, however. The largest disappointment though was Larry Hughes. Hughes was an all-defensive player who was coming off a year in which he averaged 22 points on 43% shooting. He had averaged 18.8 points the season prior to that. Yet he never averaged more than 15.5 points or 40.9% shooting in three seasons with Lebron. He was recently traded to the Chicago Bulls and saw a 4.1 point and a 4% leap in his field goal percentage in the seven games since the trade. It's way too early too make any determination on the impact of his latest shooter, Wally Szczerbiak, but it should be noted that in the six games since joining the Cavs he has seen his fielg goal percentage plummet by 13.6% and his three point percentage drop by 4.9%.

I don't want to hear how Lebron makes his teammates better ever again. There simply is no statistical analysis to support this. In fact, he seems to destroy the shooting stroke of the guys brought in to spread the floor for him. Oddly enough, the guy who for years the media has said does not make his teammates better, has indeed done a much better job.
Perhaps the best indication is Smush Parker. Smush bounced around from team to team for a couple of years, never having averaged more than 6.2 points or shot better than 41.9%. The previous season he averaged 3 points per game. Yet he averaged 11.5 and 11.1 in two years with Kobe, having career best numbers in both shooting and three point shooting in each of those seasons. He left to the Miami Heat thsi season, where he saw his average drop by 6.3 points, his shooting percentage by 12.1% and his three point shooting by 11.5%. Chris Mihm was a 45% shooter on his career, with a career high 48.8% from the field. Not only did he have career highs in scoring average during each of his first two seasons with the Lakers but he also shot above 50% in each of those seasons prior to his injury. Kwame Brown had never shot above 49% in his career, yet he shot 52.6% and 59.1% as a Laker. He was traded mid-season this year and since that trade he has seen his field goal percentage drop from 50.3% to 35.3%. The other big man in that trade, Pau Gasol has seen his field goal percentage raise from 50.1% in Memphis to a whopping 59% alongside of Kobe, as well as raising his scoring average by 1.8 per game. Gasol is a 51.1% career shooter who had never shot better than 53.8%. The third piece of that trade, Javaris Crittenton, has sene his shooting percentage drop from 49.1% to 38% since it was made. Another mid-season acquisition in Didier Ilunga-Mbenga has seen a similar rise. He shot 31.3% from the field last season, and 39.1% in 16 games with Golden State this year. He has shot 45.5% in 14 games with the Lakers. Derek Fisher's three years away from L.A. saw him shoot 39.3%, 41% and 38.2% from the floor. Since returning to the Lakers he has shot 44%. Laron Profit suffered a career ending injury in his first season as a Laker. In the 25 games prior to his injury though he shot 47.6%, his previous career high was 43.8% with two seasons under 40%. Jumaine Jones shot 39.1% from beyond the arc and 43.2% from teh floor playing alongside Kobe, after shooting 34.4% from teh floor and 29.5% from beyond the arc the season before. Since leaving he has never shot better than 40.5% from teh floor or 34.3% from long range. Chucky Atkins also had arguably his best season alongside of Kobe, scoring 13.6 per game while shooting 38.7% from beyond the arc. He hasn't matched either number since.

Lamar Odom has in the eyes of some struggled to co-exist with Kobe. In many ways this is true, as both guys like to have the ball in their hands. In reality though he had shot under 43.9% in each of his three previous seasons before joining Bryant, and never above 46% in his career. He has shot 47.3%, 48.1%, 46.8% and 50.4% in his four seasons with the Lakers. His scoring has dropped slightly, by a couple of points a game. The other odd case is Caron Butler. Caron became an all-star after being traded from the Lakers, and some might use that as justification that Kobe held him back. The reality though is that Caron averaged a career high in both points per game and in field goal percentage in his season with Kobe. His field goal percentage jumped 6.5% from the season before and was 2.9% higher than his previous career best.

In the end, there is plenty of evidence to support Kobe making his teammates better, but not much at all to support Lebron doing so. In fact the evidence would seem to point the opposite way. You can read into that what you will. But at the end of the day members of the media will soon determine who is the NBA's next MVP. It's a reasonably safe bet that the name on that trophy will be Lebron James and not Kobe Bryant. In the aftermath of that you will hear a lot of rhetoric and hyperbole about why they gave him the award. What I would like to see from those very same writers though is to address the things written here. Kobe has been among the best, if not the best player in the NBA for a very long time. Yet he has never won the trophy. At just 23 years of age, Lebron is going to have many chances to hang that trophy. Kobe Bryant is not. He has earned it by the very criteria that they set out. In a perfect world he would be the 2007-2008 MVP. In reality though, that is not likely to happen. Not because he hasn't earned it, but because too many of the people who have earned a vote simply do not like him.
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Cardom
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 07, 2008 2:10 am    Post subject:

Kobe had sex with a white woman in Colorado. Ever since then white referees and white sports writers have given Kobe nothing but grief. For him to win the MVP would truly be a triumph. Sorry to pull the race card out but it's been pretty blatant.
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 07, 2008 2:20 am    Post subject:

KG and LeBron are the two stupidest candidates KG's supporting cast is off the chart and LeBron's team's record isn't good enough. Chris Paul is too young.

It would be completely (bleep) up if the media gave it to anyone but kobe. Then again many of us including myself felt he had it locked in 05-06. So much for the media.
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 07, 2008 2:25 am    Post subject: Re: The MVP Double Standard

BTW Props on your 2500th Post J.C.!! What a nice way to get it!
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lilmomo
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 07, 2008 2:28 am    Post subject:

Wow! That post brought tears to my eyes. That was magnifico
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 07, 2008 2:31 am    Post subject:

Cardom wrote:
Kobe had sex with a white woman in Colorado. Ever since then white referees and white sports writers have given Kobe nothing but grief. For him to win the MVP would truly be a triumph. Sorry to pull the race card out but it's been pretty blatant.


c'mon did you really have to ruin the thread posting this?
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 07, 2008 2:39 am    Post subject:

AndrewBynum17 wrote:
Cardom wrote:
Kobe had sex with a white woman in Colorado. Ever since then white referees and white sports writers have given Kobe nothing but grief. For him to win the MVP would truly be a triumph. Sorry to pull the race card out but it's been pretty blatant.


c'mon did you really have to ruin the thread posting this?


Coming from you, that comment very well may be textbook hypocrisy.
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 07, 2008 2:53 am    Post subject:

J.C.... as usual, great post. Although I agree with your argument, I don't agree that Kobe won't win the award. If anything, I think Kobe for MVP talk as increased more of late, especially after his Dallas performance. Lebron talk hasn't increased or isn't any more substantial than Kobe's was in 2005-2006. Unless Lebron wins 50+ games this year (which I don't think he will), I think Kobe gets his first MVP.

Sometimes the extreme voices seem to stick out more than the overwhelming greater number of rational ones.. that might be the case here.
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 07, 2008 3:00 am    Post subject:

Nice post
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J.C. Smith
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 07, 2008 3:09 am    Post subject:

LakerSanity wrote:
J.C.... as usual, great post. Although I agree with your argument, I don't agree that Kobe won't win the award. If anything, I think Kobe for MVP talk as increased more of late, especially after his Dallas performance. Lebron talk hasn't increased or isn't any more substantial than Kobe's was in 2005-2006. Unless Lebron wins 50+ games this year (which I don't think he will), I think Kobe gets his first MVP.

Sometimes the extreme voices seem to stick out more than the overwhelming greater number of rational ones.. that might be the case here.


I hope he does, he's earned it. The problem is that even though a lot of media members are signing on board for him as the MVP, there are plenty of others who are going in the other direction. The Hollinger and Dwyer activity recently are good examples of that. They are preparing the public for the reasons they aren't voting for him. Hollinger has him listed as third. Two years ago 22 people left him completely off the ballot and he had far more 4th and 5th place votes than 1st-3rd place votes. In my opinion its very possible that he gets more first place votes than anyone else, but loses due to the 5th place votes or people who just leave him off the ballot due to having issues with him personally. Kobe has some media members who love him and others who absolutely detest him. It's hard to imagine T.J. Simers or Skip Bayless giving him any points at all for example.
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 07, 2008 3:22 am    Post subject:

J.C. Smith, if Sterns & co give skumbags like Brainless and Jerk Simers the MVP votes, they should be shot and doomed.
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 07, 2008 4:27 am    Post subject:

Are the actual MVP votes by the journalists made public, or kept anonymous?
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 07, 2008 4:41 am    Post subject:

J.C. Smith= GOAT
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 07, 2008 5:05 am    Post subject:

Awesome. Send multiple copies of that post to every single sports media outlet in the World....!
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 07, 2008 5:18 am    Post subject:

nice post dude. If only some other media writer would say the same.
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 07, 2008 5:19 am    Post subject:

Cardom wrote:
Kobe had sex with a white woman in Colorado. Ever since then white referees and white sports writers have given Kobe nothing but grief. For him to win the MVP would truly be a triumph. Sorry to pull the race card out but it's been pretty blatant.



sad but true, sometimes i even think to myself what if that woman was black, will everything been different from that incident? think about it.
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 07, 2008 5:20 am    Post subject:

One of the best posts I have ever read on LG.
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 07, 2008 5:34 am    Post subject:

lalfan wrote:
Cardom wrote:
Kobe had sex with a white woman in Colorado. Ever since then white referees and white sports writers have given Kobe nothing but grief. For him to win the MVP would truly be a triumph. Sorry to pull the race card out but it's been pretty blatant.



sad but true, sometimes i even think to myself what if that woman was black, will everything been different from that incident? think about it.


Kobe went from being the most beloved to most hated right there. Ever since he's been getting negative coverage whether he deserved it or not.
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 07, 2008 5:34 am    Post subject:

THERE IS NO DOUBLE STANDARD.

THE MEDIA HAS BEEN USING A CONSISTENT STANDARD: ONE THAT DENIES KOBE BRYANT AN MVP AWARD ANY SEASON.
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 07, 2008 5:46 am    Post subject:

Cardom wrote:
lalfan wrote:
Cardom wrote:
Kobe had sex with a white woman in Colorado. Ever since then white referees and white sports writers have given Kobe nothing but grief. For him to win the MVP would truly be a triumph. Sorry to pull the race card out but it's been pretty blatant.



sad but true, sometimes i even think to myself what if that woman was black, will everything been different from that incident? think about it.


Kobe went from being the most beloved to most hated right there. Ever since he's been getting negative coverage whether he deserved it or not.


most of the negative coverage comes from espn, i also think east coast bias plays some role in it too. espn is notoriously known favors east coast teams/stars.
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 07, 2008 5:53 am    Post subject:

Wow, a Chicken Little post on the MVP vote. Oh, no, John Hollinger didn't pick Kobe! The sky is falling!

Kobe is the clear frontrunner for the MVP. I do not understand why some of you are so determined to convince yourselves otherwise. Almost every analyst on ESPN picks Kobe as the MVP, but you folks obsess about two or three who don't.

As for Kobe not being on the ballot for 22 voters in '06, I addressed that in another thread. Even the winner (Steve Nash) did not make everyone's ballot. If you believe that someone on a 45-37 team should not be considered for the MVP (which many MVP voters do in fact believe), then you should have omitted Kobe. But of course many of you have a paranoid obsession that the same people will vote for Lebron this year. And the comments of a couple talking heads (Hollinger, Adande) just pour gasoline on the flames of paranoia.

Seriously, I think a lot of you would be desperately disappointed if Kobe won the MVP. I think you prefer to feel persecuted. Get a grip.
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 07, 2008 5:56 am    Post subject:

nice read J.C.

The media will always have that kobe-colorado incident in their minds and it will always be a hindrance to kobe's hunt for an mvp title. Kobe did settle things and went bck to business continuing to be the very best in the nba/world.. he has dominated opponents, he has clearly made other players/team mates better as pointed out by JC, and he has excelled not just scoring but assists and rebounding and steals...

CMON MEDIA PEEPS, dont listen to stern and just vote for Kobe.
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 07, 2008 6:14 am    Post subject:

Cardom wrote:
lalfan wrote:
Cardom wrote:
Kobe had sex with a white woman in Colorado. Ever since then white referees and white sports writers have given Kobe nothing but grief. For him to win the MVP would truly be a triumph. Sorry to pull the race card out but it's been pretty blatant.



sad but true, sometimes i even think to myself what if that woman was black, will everything been different from that incident? think about it.


Kobe went from being the most beloved to most hated right there. Ever since he's been getting negative coverage whether he deserved it or not.




While I agree with you about the race thing Kobe was hated by a lot of people even before this but a lot of them used this as their reason even though they hated him before Colorado whether it was over arrogance, being a Laker etc.
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 07, 2008 6:17 am    Post subject:

lalfan wrote:
Cardom wrote:
Kobe had sex with a white woman in Colorado. Ever since then white referees and white sports writers have given Kobe nothing but grief. For him to win the MVP would truly be a triumph. Sorry to pull the race card out but it's been pretty blatant.



sad but true, sometimes i even think to myself what if that woman was black, will everything been different from that incident? think about it.




Yes because we would've never heard about it folks in a predominantly white town could care less if a woman of color may be hurt.. That and its not nearly as newsworthy to hear about "black on black crime" the only exception was probably Tyson and that beauty queen and even she was getting dogged in the media over it.
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 07, 2008 6:22 am    Post subject:

Aeneas Hunter wrote:
Kobe is the clear frontrunner for the MVP. I do not understand why some of you are so determined to convince yourselves otherwise. Almost every analyst on ESPN picks Kobe as the MVP, but you folks obsess about two or three who don't.


It's not a question of whether or not he receives votes, or even if he deserves the award. It's a question of bias from some members of the media against the guy because of things that have happened in the past. He has locked some people out. Some people have made a living by ripping him. If it were a case of those guys voting for Lebron #1 and Kobe #2 then that is a different story. If they leave him off the ballot then that makes a big difference.

Aeneas Hunter wrote:
As for Kobe not being on the ballot for 22 voters in '06, I addressed that in another thread. Even the winner (Steve Nash) did not make everyone's ballot. If you believe that someone on a 45-37 team should not be considered for the MVP (which many MVP voters do in fact believe), then you should have omitted Kobe. But of course many of you have a paranoid obsession that the same people will vote for Lebron this year. And the comments of a couple talking heads (Hollinger, Adande) just pour gasoline on the flames of paranoia.


So let's see so far in this thread you've said I have a paranoid obsession and that I'm a chicken little. And then on top of all that, this is your argument? Your diplomatic skills need work.

First off 17.6% of the voters left Kobe off their ballot completely that year. 17.6% decided he wasn't top five material. A total of two people left Nash off their ballots (1.6%), and 5 left Lebron off theirs 4%. A bit of a difference don't you think? The fact of the matter is that just as many people left Kobe off their ballots completely, as did who voted for him in first place (17.6%). 8.8% voted second, and 14.4% voted third. 17.6% thought he was the 4th best candidate and 24% thought he was the fifth best choice. So during that season, when he took a very undermanned Lakers team to 45 wins and posted incredible stats/1st team all-defense just 40.8% of the voters felt that he was top 3 material. The other 59.2% thought he was 4th or lower. Those #4, #5 votes don't count for nearly as much as a top 3 vote, but it's far worse to be left off the ballot entirely. Kobe had 22 1st place votes to Lebron's 16 that year, yet he finished 203 points behind him. Why? Because 72% of voters picked Lebron as a top 3 pick and only 4% left him off their ballots. 87.2% of voters picked Nash as a top 3 and he ran away with the award.

If the reason he was left off the ballot is because his team wasn't good enough, then so be it. But when you go through the media blitz in recent weeks there are two clear cut candidates, Kobe and Lebron. Lebrons team certainly isn't a top team at this point. They would be the 10th seed in the West. So why have so many picked him as the #1 choice? So long as they vote realistically that would be no problem. But if 22 people leave him off their ballots, he isn't going to win it.

I am rooting for him to get the award, but whether he does or not doesn't really matter. What does matter though is the double standard. Kelly Dwyer can write an article and claim that Lebron deserves the award, but that Kobe should have won two years ago... when two years ago he wrote that Lebron James was his MVP. Why has he changed his criteria? How can Hollinger try to justify Lebron as #1 by saying that a mere 30% of the schedule is different between the two conferences like it means nothing, and then use the strength of schedule as a major weighting on his own power rankings is ridiculous.

It hurts Kobe because he is a guy who you love or you hate. The people who hate him still get their vote. How many people out there hate the other candidates though? Lebron is not a guy who you would dislike. Chances are the people who vote Kobe #1 will vote Lebron #2, which counts for nearly as many points. Yet, of those who vote Lebron #1, can you say the same? For half the guys out there, you probably can. For others, you simply can not. I listen to announcers from opposing teams quite a bit, and about half of them despise the guy. The media is not much different. Last year when Kobe was on his high point terror after our losing streaks I sat and listened to announcers trash him saying that he was just trying to get his points, etc during half of those games. How many negative articles have you read about Lebron? About Chris Paul? Dwight Howard? Kevin Garnett? You can probably count them on one hand, if you can think of any at all. Kobe is a different subject though. He's given the media fuel to tear him down. He gave them the feuds with Shaq and Phil. He gave them the Malone issue. He has been accused of shooting too much, or in a couple games of not shooting to prove a point. He demanded a trade and trashed the front office. He's had players call him the GM. He's not innocent of all of these things, but those past actions weigh on some voters minds. I'm guessing that Peter Vecsey would rather chew nails than see Kobe win an MVP.
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