Annoyed LeBron questions NBA MVP voting

LA Lakers' LeBron James took out his frustrations on Denver after missing out on NBA MVP honours.
LA Lakers' LeBron James took out his frustrations on Denver after missing out on NBA MVP honours.

The bigger story wasn't how the Los Angeles Lakers manhandled the Denver Nuggets in game one of the NBA's western conference finals on Friday.

The displeasure of LeBron James over the MVP voting and the distance between his second-place vote tally and that of winner Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Milwaukee Bucks took centre stage after the game.

"It pissed me off," James, who had 15 points, 12 assists and six rebounds in the Lakers' 126-114 win over the Nuggets, said.

"That's my true answer.

"It pissed me off because out of 101 votes, I got 16 first-place votes.

"That's what pissed me off more than anything."

Antetokounmpo received the other 85 first-place votes with James 209 points behind the Greek star, who earned the award for the second straight season.

"You know, not saying that the winner wasn't deserving of the MVP but that pissed me off," James said.

"And I finished second a lot in my career, either from a championship, and now four times as an MVP."

James, who is a four-times league MVP, suggested the voting panel might not be well-informed.

"I don't know how much we are really watching the game," James said.

"I'm not going to sit up here and talk about what the criteria should be or what it is.

"It's changed over the years since I've gotten into the league. Sometimes it's the best player on the best team. Sometimes it's the guy with the best season statistically.

"Sometimes ... I mean, you don't know. You don't know.

"But you know, Giannis had a hell of a season; I can definitely say that."

James last won the MVP after his 2012-13 season with the Miami Heat.

Antetokounmpo joined Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and James as the only two players to win multiple MVP awards by age 25.

The Bucks forward also became just the third player to be named MVP and defensive player of the year in the same season, joining Hall of Famers Michael Jordan (1987-88, Chicago) and Hakeem Olajuwon (1993-94, Houston).

Voting for the award was based on regular-season play through March 11, the night the season was halted due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Australian Associated Press