LeBron James Leads Luka Doncic, Steph Curry and Others in Early Race For 2021 MVP

Published 01/10/2021, 3:54 AM EST
Dec 25, 2020; Los Angeles, California, USA; Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (23) drives past Dallas Mavericks forward Dorian Finney-Smith (10) and Dallas Mavericks guard Luka Doncic (77) for a basket in the first quarter of the game at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports


LeBron James has had a phenomenal start to the season. The LA Lakers star has been a bright spot throughout the NBA season. Coming off of his fourth NBA Championship, James seems motivated to go back-to-back, a feat he hasn’t pulled off since his days in Miami. And because of his performances, he now leads the MVP race.

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LBJ leading the MVP race

NBA.com released a list yesterday of the top five MVP contenders from the NBA season so far. LeBron James led the list as the standout frontrunner to win the recognition this season. He has established a significant advantage over players like Steph Curry, Joel Embiid, Luka Doncic, and Paul George.

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James has helped the Lakers get off to a hot start this season. The Lakers currently have a 7-3 record, the best in the NBA tied with the Suns, 76ers and Celtics. Throughout the season, James has looked like his old self. Despite what he said earlier in the season about missing games, James has played every game this season for the Lakers, including back-to-backs.

James was a frontrunner for MVP last season. However, Giannis Antetokounmpo won the award ahead of him. James was unhappy about the low number of votes he received from journalists and players alike. Despite James finishing in second place for the MVP race, James felt insulted and used the snub as motivation.

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LeBron James didn’t win the award and ‘took it personally’

In the NBA playoffs, James went to another level. He helped the Lakers breeze past the Western Conference, handing out gentleman sweeps to the Trailblazers, the Rockets, and the Denver Nuggets. James and the Lakers entered the NBA Finals as the favorite to win it all. But it would not be easy.

Dec 22, 2020; Los Angeles, California, USA; Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (23) poses with 2020 NBA Champion ring before a game against the Los Angeles Clippers at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

James had to go against his former team – the Miami Heat. Playing against a coach that was present for his greatest success was a big challenge. However, James showed that not challenge is too big for ‘The King’, as the Lakers defeated the Miami Heat in six games. For his performances, James was named Finals MVP, becoming the first to win three of those with three different teams.

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Can LeBron James sustain this level of play and win MVP this season? If he can, he would tie Bill Russell and Michael Jordan for second-most MVP wins with five. With the Lakers and LeBron playing the way they have, winning MVP is a genuine possibility, if not a strong probability.

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Aaditya Krishnamurthy

1313 articles

Aaditya Krishnamurthy is an NBA & NFL journalist for EssentiallySports, before which he worked at BusinessWorld magazine. He has been a fan of Basketball for over 10 years now, since Shaquille O’Neal was a Phoenix Suns player. During his time at Symbiosis School for Liberal Arts, he started a sports magazine for the college called the Overtime Tribune and hosted the Overtime Tribune Podcast until he graduated.

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