Most Valuable Player to me means the player most significant to their team's success. LeBron James won the award for the 2011-2012 season, marking the third time he's taken the trophy in four years. Although this was his best season statistically there are other players whose individual contributions were more vital to their respective team's success. The two previous times he's won the award were during seasons of 60+ wins, and more importantly number one seeding for his Cleveland Cavaliers. Undoubtedly the team leader James was the only elite level player on the roster, single handedly leading them to the top of the conference. There's no better reflection of LeBron's impact on the team than its record the season he took his talents to South Beach. In 2010-2011 the Cavs went 19-63 ironically losing a record tying 23 consecutive games. It's astonishing to think that one player could have so much impact on a franchise, but the Most Valuable Player can.
Although this current MVP season was statistically his best, the circumstances in which they were achieved lead me to question its credibility. It isn't an award for best player, or best statistical season. Its for the player most important to maximizing his team's potential. The Miami Heat finished second in the East to a Chicago Bulls team that played virtually half the year without 2010-2011 MVP Derrick Rose, not very impressive. Especially with one of the most talented rosters in league history. A roster that includes three of the top fifteen players in the league, an NCAA Championship MOP Mario Chalmers, a former three-point contest champion James Jones, and a perennial member of the NBA's All-Defensive team in Shane Battier. With that roster a far lesser, non-MVP-caliber player could be interchanged with Lebron and achieve the same regular season success. I could easily see a team of Wade, Bosh and say Danny Granger being the number two seed in the Eastern Conference. Players like Joe Johnson, Luol Deng, or Rudy Gay could all be eligible candidates as well.
There's no way someone on such a heavily talented team should be voted MVP. This season's scoring champion Kevin Durant was irreplaceable for Oklahoma City. No one other than an all world MVP-caliber player could've led them to the second seed in the highly competitive Western Conference. At 33 years of age Kobe Bryant put together one of the most remarkable seasons in NBA history. In his sixteenth year after losing the greatest coach of all time, and tearing ligaments in his shooting wrist during the preseason Bryant still managed to
finish second in PPG leading the Lakers to the third best record in the conference. All this after the "Chris Paul Fiasco" divided his locker room and led to the departure of former Sixth-Man of the Year Lamar Odom. Tony Parker even led his wildly over-achieving San Antonio Spurs to the best record in the league, and are now the favorites to win the title. Not saying they're better players, or even that they had better seasons, but they all played more of an essential role in their respective team's success than Mr. James.
Most Valuable Player is an individual award but one's supporting cast must be taken into consideration when voting. Finishing second in an inferior conference when you have one of the most dynamic rosters in history isn't an MVP season to me. Lebron was most certainly worthy of the award, I just think the other candidates were a bit more deserving.