Epic Battle of MVPs Inevitable in the NBA Finals

Just recently, with the elimination of the Miami Heat, NBA fans were robbed of a chance to watch two former teammates and good friends compete against each other for a trip to the NBA Finals. While we didn’t get the Eastern Conference Finals matchup we wanted, we sure did in the West. Kevin Durant and Steph Curry are battling it out for a trip to the NBA Finals, and it is must see TV.

The NBA has a lot of stars, but LeBron James, Steph Curry and Kevin Durant are on a level all their own. The trio has won seven MVP awards and will have a combined ten trips to the NBA Finals once they get underway. Regardless of the matchup, someone will be looking for revenge in the Finals. In 2012, LeBron beat Durant and won his first NBA Championship. Last season, Curry beat LeBron (without Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving) and won his first NBA title (the first for the Warriors since 1975).

For the past two seasons, I’ve been hearing that Steph Curry is the new King of the NBA. Even Kyle Lowry had something to say about that before the Eastern Conference Finals. I’m sure he regrets that now. No disrespect to Steph, he’s a tremendous player in this league, but he’s not yet the King. Yes, Steph has won back-to-back MVPs, he’s drained an absurd 402 three-pointers in one season, and he helped his team win 73 games, but I’m not ready to coronate Steph just yet. Let’s not forget LeBron has won 4 MVPs of his own and could win the MVP every single year, but voter fatigue is very real. Just ask Michael Jordan.

In 2011, the media gave the MVP award to Derrick Rose instead of LeBron James even though LeBron outplayed Derrick in every statistical category. It would have been James’ third straight MVP. The two went onto meet each other in the 2011 Eastern Conference Finals and LeBron had a chip on his shoulder. The Miami Heat went on to beat the Bulls in five games and when guarded by LeBron, Rose shot a measly 6.3% in the series.

For me, this 2015-16 season is very reminiscent of that season. By no means am I saying Steph did not deserve this year’s MVP; he did deserve it. But in addition to all the accolades, Steph is also getting most of the publicity and hype as well, and LeBron is not ready to give up his throne.

After losing in his first two Finals appearances, King James finally got the monkey off his back and beat Kevin Durant and the Thunder in 2012 for his first NBA title. At the time, I thought it was going to be the first of many matchups between the two, but like Rose in 2011, Durant stopped LeBron from a chance at three straight MVP awards. So while Durant will want a chance to return the favor and beat LeBron and win his first championship, LeBron won’t forget that Durant won the 2014 MVP and stopped him from an MVP three-peat.

We never got to see the “LeBron vs Kobe” Finals match-up, but we are assured a LeBron/KD or a LeBron/Steph rematch, and that makes us, the fans, the real winners.

Don’t Hate the King!

Elie Neufeld is the founder of DHTK. DHTK’s clothing line integrates brand affiliation with positive athlete role models and an active lifestyle that pursues excellence in mind, body and spirit.


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