|LeBron James won his fourth NBA MVP award in five years. (nydailynews.com)|
The hype started in high school. The criticism started once he reached the NBA and has followed him every year since, because that's what hype from a young age brings.
But LeBron James built up more firepower to fight the critics Sunday when he was named the 2012-13 NBA MVP, the fourth of his nine-year career. James received 120 out of 121 first-place votes.
Only James and a handful of players, four others to be exact, have won four MVP awards. That's impressive. But James has won those four awards in the past five years, which is unheard of.
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, who leads everyone with six MVP awards, Michael Jordan, five, Bill Russell, five, and Wilt Chamberlain, four, are the only other players on the exclusive list to win the award four or more times. While every player above is known for their scoring ability, you must be a complete player to win this honor. Sure, if LeBron wants to score, very few can stop him, but his game has evolved into so much more.
James finished fourth in the scoring race at 26.8 points per game, trailing Carmelo Anthony, Kevin Durant and Kobe Bryant, but he was the most efficient, joining Chris Mullin as the only players to shoot 55 percent from the field and 40 percent from 3-point range in a season. James also tallied eight rebounds, 7.3 assists and 1.7 steals per game, showing he could dominate a game through all facets. This isn't new. He has averaged at least 26 points, six rebounds and six assists every year since his first season in the league.
At the rate James is playing, it's hard to imagine him not winning two more MVP awards to tie Kareem, especially if, at the age of 28, he is able to play another six or seven seasons mostly injury free.
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